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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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In this book I present the programme of metaphilosophical research which I have called “philosophical heuristics”. This derives from, and at the same time refers critically to many topics from philosophical tradition, which I discuss and comment upon synthetically. Methodological, pragmatic, rhetorical, hermeneutic and structuralist tradition are thus all covered.

Anything that benefits and advances cognition, especially discursive, can in the broadest sense of the word be called “heuristic”. All factors forming science, classified as intellectual means (questions, hypotheses, methods) and helping us to attain cognitive objectives, are part of so-called heuresis, and can be considered in terms of their heuristic value. By heuristics I am particularly thinking of its methodological meaning, in which cognition of heuresis serves as a means to refine subjective cognition (of some science). Yet heuristics, when it has followed the dream of the great art of inventionis, taking in hand the practical directives and methods of the elusive, the irrational moment of pure discovery, has conceived itself as something more than just methodology. The desire to exceed the framework of methodological thinking toward some greater generality was what (at least since the time of Bolzano) led to the use of the word “heuristics”, in order not to speak simply of methodology. This is also why I use the word “heuristics” in this book. With this meaning in mind, though, from the outset I would like to expand its scope considerably. I intend to go beyond the methodological perspective in a radical...

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