In 1970 Jacques Monod’s seminal book “Le Hasard et la Nécessité” (Chance and Necessity) was published, on the cover of which the renowned biochemist summed up in a single and concise formula the world view that had dominated first Europe and then the entire world since the 17th century. For the objective scientist, so Monod’s message, the world is nothing but chance and necessity. For there is nothing in the world but these two principles alone: on the one hand, necessity representing that order, which the natural sciences explore in the shape of laws, and on the other hand, chance, which denotes the void within this order – in other words, a meaningless nothing with which science does not know what to do. Since Monod established this formula, neurology has made tremendous progress, his book is certainly no longer “up-to-date”, but the view that reality has nothing else to offer but these two dimensions has become even more entrenched. According to a now prevalent view, our world is made of calculable mechanisms of the physical and neuronal world, and the yawning emptiness of meaningless chance.
The call may sound rather strange. America? Isn’t that the country where a populist president divides his own countrymen like no one before him sowing the seeds of mistrust even in up to then friendly and allied nations? Continue reading Vivat America! (Nevertheless)
Again and again the interpretation of history has been seduced by naive humanism, because the latter represents the voice of conscience without any ifs or buts. The castles in the air thus created are full of charm as they embody the noble ideal in the face of a reality which lacks such perfection. Continue reading From Jean-Jacques Rousseau to Pankaj Mishra – all those one-eyed judgments of history
Philosophy is going through rather hard times at present. Like an old lady of genteel birth, she is still talked about because of her stately demeanor and tremendous self-confidence – just as if she did not know that you’re mocking her as a zombie behind her back. Certainly, philosophy is still present at almost all universities, but you only need to translate her boisterous Greek name into plain English to provoke a condescending smile. What, after all, is left of that ‘Love for Wisdom’? If people are serious about their life, they turn to business, logistics or physics. If they just want to have fun, they don’t care about wisdom at all. Continue reading Love for Wisdom (Philosophy) – Grande Dame or living Zombie?
(The German original, which bears the title Rechts oder Links – das ist die Frage, was published in EuroKalypse Now? (Metropolis 2014) Continue reading Left or Right – is that the question?