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Philosophical Heuristics

Translated by Ben Koschalka


Jan Hartman

«Philosophical Heuristics» aims to translate philosophical issues into meta-philosophical issues examined from a unique perspective. The analytical and interpretive practice of heuristics seeks to grasp synchronously all the processes leading to the formation of philosophical discourse, its language, form and content. The book takes hermeneutics and pragmatism as a starting point for a multifaceted and systematic examination of philosophical heuresis and promotes a style of philosophising «in the suspense of heuristic reflection», something more than ordinary theoretical self-awareness.
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7. Heuristics and Self-Knowledge


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7.  Heuristics and Self-Knowledge

For heuristics, the matter of dealing with itself is no more important than addressing anything else in philosophy. In other words, its self-knowledge is not the decisive heuristic form for it. The experience of structuralist thinking and Nietzscheanism set us free from the charm of self-knowledge, which until recently seemed something irreplaceable in philosophy – the very crux of the philosophical pursuit. Yet in tackling the presentation of the idea of heuristics, and thus facing the practical need to offer a certain knowledge and idea of heuristics about itself, we are met with the challenge of formulating certain elements of its self-knowledge. For heuristics, though, self-knowledge is above all a form of heuresis – something interesting, but no more than that, and not decisive in its heuristic status. It is therefore better that we call a chapter looking at heuristics in terms of the question of the status of talking about it not “Self-knowledge of heuristics”, but “Heuristics and self-knowledge”.

7.1  Introduction to The Question of The Neutrum

A dozen or so years ago, when I was making the first attempts to sketch out the project that I am presenting here as heuristics, the part of it that I regarded as the most important was the structuralist conception from the spirit, involving introducing into philosophical language a quasi-concept that could not be uniformly characterised as “something”, a “theoretical object”, or even a certain “form” or “operator”. This was...

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