Olaf Dammann was born in Lower Saxony, Germany. He studied linguistics, informatics, and medicine at the University of Hamburg, Germany (Dr. med., 1991) and Epidemiology at Harvard University, Boston, USA (S.M., 1997). He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy of science at University of Johannesburg, South Africa, with a thesis on etiological explanations in epidemiology. He has contributed more than 200 papers to the medical, epidemiological, and philosophical literature. Dammann is professor and vice-chair of public health at Tufts University in Boston, professor of perinatal neuroepidemiology at Hannover Medical School, Germany, and adjunct professor in the department of neuromedicine and movement science at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim. He lives in Newton, Massachusetts, with his wife, two daughters, one big dog, one small dog, and one black cat.
Articles of Olaf Dammann
Trying Things Out. A Flusserian Vision for the Future of Science
My goal in this paper is twofold. First, I want to analyze two early texts by Vilém Flusser in order to explore what may have been his conceptualization of the relationship between science and philosophy. My analysis suggests that Flusser thought of both as tools to analyze reality by analyzing language. While he saw science as a (sometimes too vigorous) force forward, he viewed philosophy as what can prevent some of the negative consequences of such progress. In direct comparison, Flusser thought of science as a discourse with the purpose to provide novel information and of philosophy as what can keep objective science in check by moving the discourse into the realm of the subjective. It remains to be explored whether these results also apply to Flusser’s later writings. My second goal is to show the relationship between three aspects of modern science (crisis, contrast, and trying out) and what I see as Flusser’s early (mid 1960s) view of science in relation to philosophy and poetry.
Flusser’s Philosophy of Science
Many of Flusser’s books and essays refer to “science”, “epistemology”, and “knowledge”. His ways of conceptualizing these terms, however, remain to be explored in detail. To my knowledge, there is no secondary literature that analyzes “Flusser’s philosophy of science”. In this paper, I begin outlining such a project. I offer two translations of unpublished manuscripts, “La creation scientifique et artistique” (“Scientific and artistic creativity”) and “Wissenschaft, Weisheit (und Judentum)” (“Science, Wisdom (and Jewishness)). Based on an initial and very superficial analysis, I suggest locating Flusser’s concept of science at the center of a triangle of reciprocal relationships between philosophy, art, and religion.