Hans Radder undertakes the investigation of one of the deepest questions in general philosophy, the relationship between the human observer and the material world, in the context of the philosophy of science. The argument moves from refining and defining the thesis that concepts are essential to observation to a demonstration of how concepts enter into the world as perceived. This original and powerful study includes not only a philosophical analysis of the concept of abstraction but also a discussion of the practical issue of patenting the products of concept-driven research. The book is strongly to be recommended for the breadth of its content and for the clarity of exposition.
Observation and conceptual interpretation constitute the two major ways through which human beings engage the world. The World Observed/The World Conceived presents an innovative analysis of the nature and role of observation and conceptualization. While these two actions are often treated as separate, Hans Radder shows that they are inherently interconnected-that materially realized observational processes are always conceptually interpreted and that the meaning of concepts depends on the way they structure observational processes and abstract from them. He examines the role of human action and conceptualization in realizing observational processes and develops a detailed theory of the relationship between observation, abstraction, and the meaning of concepts.
The World Observed/The World Conceived will prove useful to many areas of scholarly study including ontology, epistemology, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, science studies, and cognitive science.
Readers will find this an interesting attempt to articulate a position on observation and conceptual understanding of the world that is grounded, on the one hand, in an appreciation of the concreteness and particularity of experience but that also avoids such 'extreme' positions as complete relativism and reductive materialism. Radder's clear, direct style makes this an enjoyable journey through a surprisingly wide range of central topics.
Radder has infused new life into the age-old problem or paradox involving the standard polarity between the mind-dependent and -independent approaches to the world. . . . Required reading for those philosophers and scientists concerned with this paradox and the larger mind-brain problem.
Hans Radder is professor emeritus in philosophy of science and technology at the Department of Philosophy of VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands. He is a fellow of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences and the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Bielefeld, Germany.