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Bachelard’s Philosophical Position in the Mirror of His „Topology of Philosophies“

(Original title: Bachelardova filozofická pozícia v zrkadle jeho „topologie filozofií“)
Filozofia, 25 (1970), 1, 31-46.
Type of work: Papers and Discussions
Publication language: Slovak
Starting from Bachelard’s outline of the arrangement of epistomological conceptions, in the publication Le rationalisme apliqué, designated too as „topology of philosophies“, the author attempts to determine closer some basic features of his own conception of this French epistemologist. The first significant characteristic is the central position of this conception between two tendencies of the „weakened thought“ (la penseé affaiblie). The analysis shows that the two tendencies, in fact, may be identified with the classical empiricism and rationalism. The critique of the tendencies, both general and aimed at single basic forms in which the decline of thought takes place, is very conclusive. From his central stadpoint, Bachelard does not deny utterly the two tendencies, but unifies them into the ambiguous unity. This gives remarkable dialectic features to it as well as makes very unstable. Hence it may be understood — and Bachelard himself does so — as the logical starting point of both mentioned tendencies. However, from other standpoint, this logical starting point may be interpreted as the historical outcome of the two tendencies. The fact that Bachelard confines himself only into the theory of knowledge, and even more closely in the theory of scientific knowledge reflecting the modern science with its remarkable theoretic character, imprints on his conception of epistemology rationalistic features,, though neorationalistic ones. Although he equally objects both the classical idealism (either that of cartesianism or kantianism) and the naive realism, that constitute the final points of the tendencies of the „weakened thought“, owing to his confinement in the problematic of knowledge, there emerges the idealistic tendency in his deductions. Even that much more that Bachelard considers knowledge as the starting reality. And as far as the problem of the relation of knowledge and reality occurs in his conception, that is almost exclusively the problem of the realization and materialization of knowledge through experimental or other technique. Though the reflections on the relation of theory and practice are inspiratory and with a certain amount of dialectic and genuine modern conception of the creative aspect of the scientific knowledge, and that, in our opinion, there is not the idealistic character in their intentions, they often sound ambiguously and may be interpreted also as idealistic reflections. Thereupon, the views about Bachelard’s denying attitude toward any realism arise. We attempt to show that those views are in their very essence mistaken, though some conclusions of Bachelard may serve as argument to support them. For the dialectico-materialistic theory of scientific knowledge Bachelard’s epistemological conception is, in spite of all its deficiencies, very stimulating not only because of its critique of the forms of the „weakened thought“, but also because of its extraordinary emphasize on the „active aspect“ and because of it is attempt for a new conception of realism and markedly dialectical character.
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