Dr Tina Rock
Philosophy, School of Humanities
+44 (0)1382 384208
In her research, Dr Tina Röck struggles with the old ontological question of what it means when we say that something is. While being has often been understood as some form of unchanging existence she is more interested in understanding being as becoming. So she is asking whether the world we live in is to be thought of as a complex of merely causally interrelated building blocks or as organically connected, moving, changing and developing? This interest also relates to the question of the role of science in our understanding of reality. If reality is fundamentally organically structured and developing, shouldn’t we then look to the life sciences in order to understand the world we live in and not towards physics? This conviction has led to her interest in the philosophy of nature and biophilosophy.
Her work is influenced mainly by Alfred North Whitehead’s process philosophy, the method of phenomenology (esp. Husserl and the late Heidegger) and, of course, Aristotle’s Metaphysics.
Before coming to Dundee she worked and taught at the University of Kassel (Germany) and the University of Innsbruck (Austria).
Dr Tina Röck’s research interests include the following:
- Ancient Greek philosophy (mainly the Pre-Socratics and Aristotle)
- Phenomenology (Husserl and Heidegger)
- Process ontology and process metaphysics (with a focus on a dynamic conception of reality in ancient Greek philosophy, Whitehead, Heidegger and Deleuze)
- Biophilosophy and philosophy of nature
- German idealism (Schelling and Hegel) and the relationship between ‘continental’ and ‘analytical’ philosophy
Dr Röck is currently working on the question of knowledge in a dynamic world: She is very interested in the correlation between a fundamentally dynamic reality and the ideal of objective knowledge, especially in the form of scientific knowledge. Can we ever know the concrete dynamic multiplicity of being, or do we have to make do with approximations, metaphors and descriptions? Do we actually lose anything if we cannot truly KNOW concrete multiplicity? And what does objective-scientific knowledge refer to, if it cannot grasp concrete multiplicity?
Since Parmenides it is clear that ratio and episteme do not mix well with movement and change – there is no way of propositionally knowing that which is in constant flux – so if concrete multiplicity is fundamentally dynamic what consequences does that have for i) knowledge in general, ii) our scientific understanding of the world and its paradigmatic medium, iii) rationality? The main thrust of my arguments is to show that there is a fundamental difference between our conceptual and scientific understanding of concrete reality and our experience of concrete dynamic multiplicity. Propositions are structured through their medium, propositional language, while experiences of the singular concrete multiplicity are structured through their content (i.e. the phenomena reflecting/disclosing/showing concrete reality).
This distinction between the basic phenomenal experience of concrete multiplicity and conceptually structured perception of sense data also allows for a better understanding of the difference between analytic methodology and at least some strands of continental philosophy. While analytic philosophers usually depart from the conceptually structured (be it sense data, concepts, propositions or sentences) as expressed in judgements and from there might venture into questions about the pre-conceptual, phenomenology usually begins with the attempt to uncover the pre-conceptual ‘givenness’ and struggles with putting these pre-conceptual ‘senses’ or ‘feelings’ into concepts.
One way to go about this kind of research is to begin by looking at a science that is caught between the phenomenological givenness of the concrete as its starting point and the aim for objective knowledge – the life sciences. Especially biology, but also other strands of the life sciences, are caught in an aporia: their ultimate object is a singular concrete, evolving, changing and idiosyncratic living being but the generated knowledge based on these beings has to transcend the level of the concrete in order to be considered knowledge at all.