Philosophy of Nature in the Structure of Philosophy
(Original title: Naturfilozofia v štruktúre filozofie)Filozofia
, 24 (1969)
Type of work: Papers and Discussions
Publication language: Slovak
During the whole history of philosophy, the philosophy of nature was an inherent part of philosophy. The present paper investigates its position in the structure of philosophy and is focused on that form of the philosophy of nature which is by its origin and development connected with the postrenaissance upswing of investigation in natural science and whose prime culminated in the first half of the 19th century.
In its development roughly three stages can be distinguished: the stage of advancement in which the philosophical image of nature is being formed by means of natural science knowledge, however, without a purposeful reflexion of the mediative function of natural sciences. At this stage, the hnowledge of natural sciences in an unchanged, nontransformed form become the „elements“ of the philosophical system which is, cousequently, necessarily heterogeneous. The philosophy of nature built in such a way is, to a great extent, an independent, autonomous part in the structure of philosophy. 1
The second stage in its development begins by Kant’s and Schelling’s philosophy of nature. This stage is characterized by a critical philosophical investigation of the natural sciences as such, particularly of their contacts with philosophy; at the same time, however, the first attempts appear at a critical self-reflexion of philosophy (philosophy of nature) in its relation to the natural sciences. Owing to this reflection and self-reflection, in addition to the natural sciences a new mediation sphere is formed between nature and philosophy, which appears in Kant and Schelling as application.
At the third stage a split takes place. In one direction, the philosophy of nature continues, ontologizing and forming systems; it gets lost in speculation and by that becomes less attractive to the natural scientists, while the other direction starts from Kant and prefers gnoseological and methodological questions of natural sciences. A differentiation takes place within the philosophy of nature. Thus, its relations to the natural sciences arise and spread, but also its connections with the individual, purely philosophical disciplines become more complex, especially with ontology and gnoseology. In addition to the philosophy of nature, a new discipline begins to be formed — the philosophy of natural sciences. This accelerates the forming of the structure of the mediative sphere and, at the same time, gives rise to new integrative. tendencies. Both the philosophy of nature and the philosophy of natural sciences in nondogmatic systems stop being autonomous components of structure, become a real part of the whole in the sense that: they contribute to the progression of the philosophical hought, that they are organically, on the basis of their inner qualities, joined with the other parts of the whole, influence them and. share even in forming the properties of the whole.
In the present period, the philosophy of nature in its traditional form of the systemic ontological interpretation of nature, is an anachronism: it leads inevitably into diletantism and onesidedness. The anthropological turn in the conception of the object of philosophy brings new stimuli for the revival of seme tendencies of the traditional philosophy of nature and, at the same time, for their integration with the philosophy of natural sciences and the philosophy of man on a new basis.