Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Philosophical View of Theory and Practice
Any theory exists with a measure of uncertainty. It has to because a theory attempts to bridge the gap between the known and the unknown. When the known and unknown are connected to time, then things known exist in the present moment, and things unknown exist outside the present moment, either in the past or in the future. This is in part why Kant criticizes Mendelssohn because Mendelssohn’s proclamation makes no sense if man lives in perpetuity uncertain about each new day. How then could one live unknowing the next day were it not for some concept that the next day will contain elements similar to the present one but with new exceptions? Those new exceptions do not yet exist, but man can be certain that they will. Therefore, he must prepare for those exceptions in so much as he understands the present ones, which are no longer exceptions but rules. Applying the rule one understands today in the context of tomorrow means one must have some faith that the rule will still work tomorrow. Understanding that tomorrow will not be precisely like today based on present knowledge that today is not precisely like yesterday, ought to guide one’s thoughts toward a framework to deal with the unknown. That framework is the rule by which man presently lives, hopeful of its usefulness in the future. Yet that usefulness will never come to fruition until it is tried. Therefore, the hope we have for tomorrow exists within a framework of tried rules we know today. In that sense, theory matters because it forms the basis for how to deal with uncertainty in practice.