top of page

Synthetical philosophy

Meaning of experiments

Practice should be combined and fostered in balance with analysis. An important goal might also be to become less dogmatic. Alternative philosophy would intend to go beyond epistemology. Both not only rational knowledge and also practical applications are meant.   

We need to do a better job at understanding and acting in many respects concerning matters and ideas, persons and society. The modern Middle Way of ARS-UNA offers a practicable possibility to realize this without interference of biased people or groups.

In a first step to continue, the areas of analytical knowledge were conceived as broader and stronger overlapping in the context of publications published on the website than they usually are seen in classical philosophy, especially in its predominantly university-based form.

On the one hand, a strong reference to the human body and, on the other hand, a joint consideration of rather different areas of life, culture and science led to considerable generalization of four-dimensional description, which is widely used in modern nature description. In the alternative philosophy approach, it has been suggested, in particular, to simplify its axioms by starting from the Einstein formula instead of obtaining it as a result. In addition, finely graded additional possibilities for decisions, such as fuzzy logic between right and wrong, arise between dual extreme positions to be regarded as black and white painting.

A synthetically oriented approach as a dual counter-position to analytic philosophy appears to make sense and even to be necessary. At the beginning this referred to often very different experiences in personal life in Asia and Europe serving as heuristic evidence as well as later in similar way current European political developments, especially concerning the greatly increased migration and issues of increasingly less clear identity formation and their representation as conflict-free as possible.

Combining analysis and synthesis can bring significant progress, as evidenced by similar developments in the natural sciences. Modern technology has come about primarily through the combination of mathematical theory and experimental endeavors, which in fact often means balancing of analysis and synthesis. This was to be be underpinned by special mostly analytical philosophies for individual disciplines. Usually or at least often it was neglected that the experimental realm also requires a philosophical underpinning, however perhaps not merely rational and therefore inevitably needing a synthetical part, which opens up entirely new possibilities.

Most of the divisions of the hitherto predominantly theoretical areas could now be regarded as rather extreme procedures, based primarily on classical high-school philosophy, which placed states and static understanding rather unilaterally in the foreground. The assignment of more or less exclusively rationally understood areas has thus preferentially led to specialized analytical philosophies. But obviously, non-rational influences are increasingly causing significant problems, with a lack of a sufficiently sharp distinction between the terms "irrational" and "non-rational" apparently lacking, which may be important from a subjective perspective.

In traditional coexistence, both in the private sphere as well as in politics, clearly formulated identities still largely play a predominant role in such specialized and largely static philosophies. This finding can not be rigorously substantiated at this point, but seems to be sufficiently consistent now with recent private and public experience. However, as long as changes are prevented or at least made very difficult by actual fixations, the emergence of dynamics and thus new kinds of development is at least also severely impaired, which in particular makes conflict resolution in a more peaceful way more difficult or even impossible. The latter, above all, means continuous, preferably bilateral reforms. Otherwise, instabilities and tensions can easily build up to such a degree as to cause sudden discharge. In theory this is called a singularity, but in practice revolution or war, although these terms may not be completely congruent.

As a consequence, it seems important to focus more on synthetical philosophy, which should be more flexible and more practice-oriented. From an own scientific point of view, it seems to be a essential counterpart to the experiments of physics and, more generally, of the natural sciences and technology. However, these have not only led to widely recognized useful results, but also to increasing destruction, especially through weapons development. The technical production follows more or less immediately. Such a philosophy should, in principle, have the potential to be constructive by means of flexible identity formation and also by modern conflict resolution oriented to seeking middle positions, which is simply the opposite of destruction.

In particular, the bad experiences with ever-worsening wars and the Holocaust have shown clearly what dangers can lie in questionable philosophy, which is here subsumed under the term "irrational". A non-rational philosophy, on the other hand, should be understood in clear separation as an expanding useful form associated to the previous analytic philosophy. Beneficial syntheses can substantiate this in full analogy with useful experiments and the thereby resulting technology, without attempting to hinder analytic philosophy, but significantly reducing the downsides especially by brand-marking weaponry and destruction.

The dynamic terms constructive and destructive replace or at least supplement the earlier static notions of good and evil. In this sense, the entire classical and, to a large extent, logically rational philosophy would have to be sorted through in the actual usage, in which dynamic elements could only slowly assert themselves against static fixations, in particular through commonly and daily used word formations. This also applies to an absolutized concept of truth, to logic without fuzzy spread, and to art that takes place mainly in rigid museums. Behind all of this, however, is the increasing influence of complexity, which also affects our concept of time, ideas around ​​the imaginary, and the relationship between technology and nature, and thus of economy and ecology.

This problem becomes quite clear in the current discussion both about multiple identities of migrants and modern nomads and about possession of firearms, the latter in turn both in the private sphere above all in the US and in the political sector, in particular with regard to the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

The question of how this should really be tackled practically can already be outlined. Design thinking and hybrid thinking now are important subjects promoting creativity, and not just in this sense. These are currently competing for the favor of developers in a variety of industries, beginning with the effective enhancement of creativity, competitive speed, and environmental sustainability in new developments of various kinds with unconventional approaches.

This means above all empirical methods beyond pure rationality, which have obviously already proven themselves in practice, without having had yet a theoretical foundation demonstrated in convincing form so far. But this seems well possible with the help of alternative philosophy.

Design Thinking is programmatically based on three important basic concepts, namely team, space and process, at least in a version finding significant recognition. It becomes obvious that these three axiomatic starting terms cited as a possible base come very close to those of the alternative philosophy of , namely development, being (ontological existence as formulated in humanities) and action, or energy, matter and interaction (in sciences). They can seemingly be transformed with sufficient consistency into each other, without being able yet to give a precise proof.

Hybrid Thinking, on the other hand, puts the accent on interdisciplinary cooperation, which has been considered as another possible basis for the same alternative philosophy, namely to include areas between religion, the arts, humanities and natural sciences. Without wishing to elaborate details here and being able to do so independently, the parallelism of the arguments for Design Thinking and Hybrid Thinking quite convincingly shows the possibility, for both versions surprisingly promoting creativity, to deliver a theoretical basis by the alternative philosophy shown in (see homepage under “Special subjects: Digital design”).

At the same time, this philosophy emphasizes the seamless transition between rational logic and holistic "thinking", which certainly comes very close to the kind of "thinking" that is meant by Design Thinking and Hybrid Thinking. Here, too, the sliding connection between theory and practice and between logical analysis and complex synthesis is emphasized. Avoiding point sharpness brings great advantages in initially seemingly highly complicated tasks that require competitive creativity.

Both Design Thinking and Hybrid Thinking use iterative methods without prior knowledge of the goal. This point is also found in the recursive approximations of which we speak in the context of alternative philosophy. A possible new theoretical basis for both creativity-promoting procedures and their equivalence is very close to said Alternative Philosophy.

Corresponding efforts have become known in two other places under the not necessarily better name "Experimental Philosophy". A German group around Pascale Willemsen, Kevin Reuter and Albert Newen at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum uses experimental observations from other disciplines in order to process them rationally. Two American groups, most notably Joshua Knobe at Yale University and Shaun Nichols at Arizona University, seem to be using their own successful empirical research, especially through surveys. Which tasks can be attacked by this new field of work is still controversial. But the "Knobe effect" has caused quite a stir by now.

The clear differences in the approach of the German and the American groups can be seen quite clearly in the two Wikipedia articles "Experimentelle Philosophie" (in German) and "Experimental Philosophy". Also criticism of the current university philosophy is expressed in this context.  

© Copyright und all rights by Hans J. Unsoeld, Berlin 2018

Updated Dec. 21, 2019    

bottom of page