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Phenomenology (philosophy)

2. The Discipline of Phenomenology

❶So, what is the value of phenomenology for psychology?

1. What is Phenomenology?


In everyday language, we use the word evidence to signify a special sort of relation between a state of affairs and a proposition: State A is evidence for the proposition "A is true. In Husserl's phenomenology, which is quite common, this pair of terms, derived from the Greek nous mind , designate respectively the real content, noesis, and the ideal content, noema, of an intentional act an act of consciousness. The Noesis is the part of the act that gives it a particular sense or character as in judging or perceiving something, loving or hating it, accepting or rejecting it, and so on.

This is real in the sense that it is actually part of what takes place in the consciousness or psyche of the subject of the act. The Noesis is always correlated with a Noema ; for Husserl, the full Noema is a complex ideal structure comprising at least a noematic sense and a noematic core. The correct interpretation of what Husserl meant by the Noema has long been controversial, but the noematic sense is generally understood as the ideal meaning of the act [29] and the noematic core as the act's referent or object as it is meant in the act.

One element of controversy is whether this noematic object is the same as the actual object of the act assuming it exists or is some kind of ideal object. In phenomenology, empathy refers to the experience of one's own body as another. While we often identify others with their physical bodies, this type of phenomenology requires that we focus on the subjectivity of the other, as well as our intersubjective engagement with them.

In Husserl's original account, this was done by a sort of apperception built on the experiences of your own lived-body. The lived body is your own body as experienced by yourself, as yourself. Your own body manifests itself to you mainly as your possibilities of acting in the world. It is what lets you reach out and grab something, for instance, but it also, and more importantly, allows for the possibility of changing your point of view.

This helps you differentiate one thing from another by the experience of moving around it, seeing new aspects of it often referred to as making the absent present and the present absent , and still retaining the notion that this is the same thing that you saw other aspects of just a moment ago it is identical.

Your body is also experienced as a duality, both as object you can touch your own hand and as your own subjectivity you experience being touched.

The experience of your own body as your own subjectivity is then applied to the experience of another's body, which, through apperception, is constituted as another subjectivity. You can thus recognise the Other's intentions, emotions, etc. This experience of empathy is important in the phenomenological account of intersubjectivity.

In phenomenology, intersubjectivity constitutes objectivity i. This does not imply that objectivity is reduced to subjectivity nor does it imply a relativist position, cf. In the experience of intersubjectivity, one also experiences oneself as being a subject among other subjects, and one experiences oneself as existing objectively for these Others ; one experiences oneself as the noema of Others' noeses, or as a subject in another's empathic experience.

As such, one experiences oneself as objectively existing subjectivity. Intersubjectivity is also a part in the constitution of one's lifeworld, especially as "homeworld. Lebenswelt is the "world" each one of us lives in. One could call it the "background" or "horizon" of all experience, and it is that on which each object stands out as itself as different and with the meaning it can only hold for us.

The lifeworld is both personal and intersubjective it is then called a "homeworld" , and, as such, it does not enclose each one of us in a solus ipse. In the first edition of the Logical Investigations , still under the influence of Brentano, Husserl describes his position as "descriptive psychology. The first volume of the Logical Investigations , the Prolegomena to Pure Logic , begins with a devastating critique of psychologism , i.

Husserl establishes a separate field for research in logic, philosophy, and phenomenology, independently from the empirical sciences. Some years after the publication of the Logical Investigations , Husserl made some key elaborations that led him to the distinction between the act of consciousness noesis and the phenomena at which it is directed the noemata.

What we observe is not the object as it is in itself, but how and inasmuch it is given in the intentional acts. Knowledge of essences would only be possible by "bracketing" all assumptions about the existence of an external world and the inessential subjective aspects of how the object is concretely given to us. Husserl in a later period concentrated more on the ideal, essential structures of consciousness. As he wanted to exclude any hypothesis on the existence of external objects, he introduced the method of phenomenological reduction to eliminate them.

What was left over was the pure transcendental ego, as opposed to the concrete empirical ego. Now Transcendental Phenomenology is the study of the essential structures that are left in pure consciousness: This amounts in practice to the study of the noemata and the relations among them.

The philosopher Theodor Adorno criticised Husserl's concept of phenomenological epistemology in his metacritique Against Epistemology , which is anti-foundationalist in its stance. After Husserl's publication of the Ideen in , many phenomenologists took a critical stance towards his new theories.

Especially the members of the Munich group distanced themselves from his new transcendental phenomenology and preferred the earlier realist phenomenology of the first edition of the Logical Investigations. Existential phenomenology differs from transcendental phenomenology by its rejection of the transcendental ego.

Merleau-Ponty objects to the ego's transcendence of the world, which for Husserl leaves the world spread out and completely transparent before the conscious. Heidegger thinks of a conscious being as always already in the world. Transcendence is maintained in existential phenomenology to the extent that the method of phenomenology must take a presuppositionless starting point — transcending claims about the world arising from, for example, natural or scientific attitudes or theories of the ontological nature of the world.

While Husserl thought of philosophy as a scientific discipline that had to be founded on a phenomenology understood as epistemology , Martin Heidegger held a radically different view. Heidegger himself states their differences this way:.

According to Heidegger, philosophy was not at all a scientific discipline, but more fundamental than science itself. According to him science is only one way of knowing the world with no special access to truth. Furthermore, the scientific mindset itself is built on a much more "primordial" foundation of practical, everyday knowledge.

Husserl was skeptical of this approach, which he regarded as quasi-mystical, and it contributed to the divergence in their thinking. Instead of taking phenomenology as prima philosophia or a foundational discipline, Heidegger took it as a metaphysical ontology: Phenomena are not the foundation or Ground of Being. Neither are they appearances, for, as Heidegger argues in Being and Time , an appearance is "that which shows itself in something else," while a phenomenon is "that which shows itself in itself.

While for Husserl we would have to abstract from all concrete determinations of our empirical ego, to be able to turn to the field of pure consciousness, Heidegger claims that "the possibilities and destinies of philosophy are bound up with man's existence, and thus with temporality and with historicality.

However, ontological being and existential being are different categories, so Heidegger's conflation of these categories is, according to Husserl's view, the root of Heidegger's error. Husserl charged Heidegger with raising the question of ontology but failing to answer it, instead switching the topic to the Dasein, the only being for whom Being is an issue.

That is neither ontology nor phenomenology, according to Husserl, but merely abstract anthropology. To clarify, perhaps, by abstract anthropology, as a non-existentialist searching for essences, Husserl rejected the existentialism implicit in Heidegger's distinction between beings qua existents as things in reality and their Being as it unfolds in Dasein's own reflections on its being-in-the-world, wherein being becomes present to us, that is, is unconcealed.

Some researchers in phenomenology in particular in reference to Heidegger's legacy see possibilities of establishing dialogues with traditions of thought outside of the so-called Western philosophy , particularly with respect to East-Asian thinking , and despite perceived differences between "Eastern" and "Western".

There are also recent signs of the reception of phenomenology and Heidegger's thought in particular within scholarly circles focused on studying the impetus of metaphysics in the history of ideas in Islam and Early Islamic philosophy such as in the works of the Lebanese philosopher Nader El-Bizri ; [37] perhaps this is tangentially due to the indirect influence of the tradition of the French Orientalist and phenomenologist Henri Corbin , and later accentuated through El-Bizri's dialogues with the Polish phenomenologist Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka.

In addition, the work of Jim Ruddy in the field of comparative philosophy , combined the concept of Transcendental Ego in Husserl's phenomenology with the concept of the primacy of self-consciousness in the work of Sankaracharya. In the course of this work, Ruddy uncovered a wholly new eidetic phenomenological science, which he called "convergent phenomenology. James Moor has argued that computers show up policy vacuums that require new thinking and the establishment of new policies.

For the phenomenologist, society and technology co-constitute each other; they are each other's ongoing condition, or possibility for being what they are. For them technology is not just the artifact.

Rather, the artifact already emerges from a prior 'technological' attitude towards the world Heidegger For Heidegger the essence of technology is the way of being of modern humans—a way of conducting themselves towards the world—that sees the world as something to be ordered and shaped in line with projects, intentions and desires—a 'will to power' that manifests itself as a 'will to technology'.

However, according to Heidegger this 'pre-technological' age or mood is one where humans' relation with the world and artifacts, their way of being disposed, was poetic and aesthetic rather than technological enframing. In critiquing the artificial intelligence AI programme, Hubert Dreyfus argues that the way skill development has become understood in the past has been wrong.

He argues, this is the model that the early artificial intelligence community uncritically adopted. In opposition to this view, he argues, with Heidegger, that what we observe when we learn a new skill in everyday practice is in fact the opposite.

We most often start with explicit rules or preformulated approaches and then move to a multiplicity of particular cases, as we become an expert. His argument draws directly on Heidegger's account in "Being and Time" of humans as beings that are always already situated in-the-world.

As humans 'in-the-world', we are already experts at going about everyday life, at dealing with the subtleties of every particular situation; that is why everyday life seems so obvious. Qualitative research in midwifery and childbirth: In phenomenological research , the essence is the underlying, and often unstated, message that pervades the overall experiences of the participants.

The lived experience of work and career: Phenomenological research , one type of qualitative research design, aims at gaining a deeper understanding of everyday experiences. Implementing Adlerian sand tray therapy with adult male substance abuse offenders: While this book is erudite and Williams has evidently given the topic a great deal of consideration and has done an enormous amount of research, and while it would be a useful book for anyone interested in music television or phenomenological research to read, I am not entirely sure that I agree with his thesis here.

Music Video and Aesthetic Communication. The acting person in purgatory: Her award-winning phenomenological research investigates cyborg pedagogies and the mediating influences of digital technologies in education. A phenomenological research design was used, and data was gathered through intensive repeated interviews with eight student participants enrolled at a private urban four-year university in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the U.

Transition from College to Work: Social theory, however, has been closer to phenomenology as such. Husserl analyzed the phenomenological structure of the life-world and Geist generally, including our role in social activity. Heidegger stressed social practice, which he found more primordial than individual consciousness.

Alfred Schutz developed a phenomenology of the social world. Sartre continued the phenomenological appraisal of the meaning of the other, the fundamental social formation. Moving outward from phenomenological issues, Michel Foucault studied the genesis and meaning of social institutions, from prisons to insane asylums. Classical phenomenology, then, ties into certain areas of epistemology, logic, and ontology, and leads into parts of ethical, social, and political theory.

It ought to be obvious that phenomenology has a lot to say in the area called philosophy of mind. Yet the traditions of phenomenology and analytic philosophy of mind have not been closely joined, despite overlapping areas of interest. So it is appropriate to close this survey of phenomenology by addressing philosophy of mind, one of the most vigorously debated areas in recent philosophy.

The tradition of analytic philosophy began, early in the 20th century, with analyses of language, notably in the works of Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, and Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Then in The Concept of Mind Gilbert Ryle developed a series of analyses of language about different mental states, including sensation, belief, and will. Though Ryle is commonly deemed a philosopher of ordinary language, Ryle himself said The Concept of Mind could be called phenomenology.

In effect, Ryle analyzed our phenomenological understanding of mental states as reflected in ordinary language about the mind. Centuries later, phenomenology would find, with Brentano and Husserl, that mental acts are characterized by consciousness and intentionality, while natural science would find that physical systems are characterized by mass and force, ultimately by gravitational, electromagnetic, and quantum fields.

Where do we find consciousness and intentionality in the quantum-electromagnetic-gravitational field that, by hypothesis, orders everything in the natural world in which we humans and our minds exist? That is the mind-body problem today. In short, phenomenology by any other name lies at the heart of the contemporary mind-body problem. After Ryle, philosophers sought a more explicit and generally naturalistic ontology of mind. In the s materialism was argued anew, urging that mental states are identical with states of the central nervous system.

A stronger materialism holds, instead, that each type of mental state is identical with a type of brain state. But materialism does not fit comfortably with phenomenology. For it is not obvious how conscious mental states as we experience them—sensations, thoughts, emotions—can simply be the complex neural states that somehow subserve or implement them. If mental states and neural states are simply identical, in token or in type, where in our scientific theory of mind does the phenomenology occur—is it not simply replaced by neuroscience?

And yet experience is part of what is to be explained by neuroscience. In the late s and s the computer model of mind set in, and functionalism became the dominant model of mind. On this model, mind is not what the brain consists in electrochemical transactions in neurons in vast complexes. Instead, mind is what brains do: Thus, a mental state is a functional state of the brain or of the human or animal organism. More specifically, on a favorite variation of functionalism, the mind is a computing system: Since the s the cognitive sciences—from experimental studies of cognition to neuroscience—have tended toward a mix of materialism and functionalism.

Gradually, however, philosophers found that phenomenological aspects of the mind pose problems for the functionalist paradigm too. Many philosophers pressed the case that sensory qualia—what it is like to feel pain, to see red, etc.

Consciousness has properties of its own. And yet, we know, it is closely tied to the brain. And, at some level of description, neural activities implement computation. In the s John Searle argued in Intentionality and further in The Rediscovery of the Mind that intentionality and consciousness are essential properties of mental states. Searle also argued that computers simulate but do not have mental states characterized by intentionality. As Searle argued, a computer system has a syntax processing symbols of certain shapes but has no semantics the symbols lack meaning: In this way Searle rejected both materialism and functionalism, while insisting that mind is a biological property of organisms like us: However, there is an important difference in background theory.

For Searle explicitly assumes the basic worldview of natural science, holding that consciousness is part of nature. But Husserl explicitly brackets that assumption, and later phenomenologists—including Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty—seem to seek a certain sanctuary for phenomenology beyond the natural sciences.

And yet phenomenology itself should be largely neutral about further theories of how experience arises, notably from brain activity. Since the late s, and especially the late s, a variety of writers working in philosophy of mind have focused on the fundamental character of consciousness, ultimately a phenomenological issue.

Does consciousness always and essentially involve self-consciousness, or consciousness-of-consciousness, as Brentano, Husserl, and Sartre held in varying detail? If so, then every act of consciousness either includes or is adjoined by a consciousness-of-that-consciousness. Does that self-consciousness take the form of an internal self-monitoring?

If so, is that monitoring of a higher order, where each act of consciousness is joined by a further mental act monitoring the base act? Or is such monitoring of the same order as the base act, a proper part of the act without which the act would not be conscious? A variety of models of this self-consciousness have been developed, some explicitly drawing on or adapting views in Brentano, Husserl, and Sartre.

Two recent collections address these issues: David Woodruff Smith and Amie L. The philosophy of mind may be factored into the following disciplines or ranges of theory relevant to mind:. Phenomenology offers descriptive analyses of mental phenomena, while neuroscience and wider biology and ultimately physics offers models of explanation of what causes or gives rise to mental phenomena. Cultural theory offers analyses of social activities and their impact on experience, including ways language shapes our thought, emotion, and motivation.

And ontology frames all these results within a basic scheme of the structure of the world, including our own minds. The ontological distinction among the form, appearance, and substrate of an activity of consciousness is detailed in D. Meanwhile, from an epistemological standpoint, all these ranges of theory about mind begin with how we observe and reason about and seek to explain phenomena we encounter in the world. And that is where phenomenology begins.

Moreover, how we understand each piece of theory, including theory about mind, is central to the theory of intentionality, as it were, the semantics of thought and experience in general. And that is the heart of phenomenology. Phenomenological issues, by any other name, have played a prominent role in very recent philosophy of mind.

Amplifying the theme of the previous section, we note two such issues: This subjective phenomenal character of consciousness is held to be constitutive or definitive of consciousness. What is the form of that phenomenal character we find in consciousness? A prominent line of analysis holds that the phenomenal character of a mental activity consists in a certain form of awareness of that activity, an awareness that by definition renders it conscious.

Since the s a variety of models of that awareness have been developed. As noted above, there are models that define this awareness as a higher-order monitoring, either an inner perception of the activity a form of inner sense per Kant or inner consciousness per Brentano , or an inner thought about the activity.

A further model analyzes such awareness as an integral part of the experience, a form of self-representation within the experience. Again, see Kriegel and Williford eds. A somewhat different model comes arguably closer to the form of self-consciousness sought by Brentano, Husserl, and Sartre. That form of awareness is held to be a constitutive element of the experience that renders it conscious. This reflexive awareness is not, then, part of a separable higher-order monitoring, but rather built into consciousness per se.

On the modal model, this awareness is part of the way the experience unfolds: This model is elaborated in D. Whatever may be the precise form of phenomenal character, we would ask how that character distributes over mental life.

What is phenomenal in different types of mental activity? Here arise issues of cognitive phenomenology. Or is phenomenality present also in cognitive experiences of thinking such-and-such, or of perception bearing conceptual as well as sensory content, or also in volitional or conative bodily action? These issues are explored in Bayne and Montague eds. A restrictive view holds that only sensory experience has a proper phenomenal character, a what-it-is-like.

Seeing a color, hearing a tone, smelling an odor, feeling a pain—these types of conscious experience have a phenomenal character, but no others do, on this view. A somewhat more expansive view would hold that perceptual experience has a distinctive phenomenal character even where sensation is informed by concepts. Now, a much more expansive view would hold that every conscious experience has a distinctive phenomenal character.

Classical phenomenologists like Husserl and Merleau-Ponty surely assumed an expansive view of phenomenal consciousness. Even Heidegger, while de-emphasizing consciousness the Cartesian sin! Since intentionality is a crucial property of consciousness, according to Brentano, Husserl, et al. But it is not only intentional perception and thought that have their distinctive phenomenal characters. In Bayne and Montague eds. But now a problems remains.

Intentionality essentially involves meaning, so the question arises how meaning appears in phenomenal character. Importantly, the content of a conscious experience typically carries a horizon of background meaning, meaning that is largely implicit rather than explicit in experience. But then a wide range of content carried by an experience would not have a consciously felt phenomenal character.

So it may well be argued. Here is a line of phenomenological theory for another day. The Discipline of Phenomenology 3. From Phenomena to Phenomenology 4. The History and Varieties of Phenomenology 5. Phenomenology and Ontology, Epistemology, Logic, Ethics 6. Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind 7. The Discipline of Phenomenology The discipline of phenomenology is defined by its domain of study, its methods, and its main results. To begin an elementary exercise in phenomenology, consider some typical experiences one might have in everyday life, characterized in the first person: I see that fishing boat off the coast as dusk descends over the Pacific.

I hear that helicopter whirring overhead as it approaches the hospital. I am thinking that phenomenology differs from psychology. I wish that warm rain from Mexico were falling like last week. I imagine a fearsome creature like that in my nightmare.

I intend to finish my writing by noon. I walk carefully around the broken glass on the sidewalk. I stroke a backhand cross-court with that certain underspin.

I am searching for the words to make my point in conversation. The History and Varieties of Phenomenology Phenomenology came into its own with Husserl, much as epistemology came into its own with Descartes, and ontology or metaphysics came into its own with Aristotle on the heels of Plato.

Phenomenology and Ontology, Epistemology, Logic, Ethics The discipline of phenomenology forms one basic field in philosophy among others. Consider then these elementary definitions of field: Ontology is the study of beings or their being—what is. Epistemology is the study of knowledge—how we know.

Logic is the study of valid reasoning—how to reason. Ethics is the study of right and wrong—how we should act. Phenomenology is the study of our experience—how we experience.

Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind It ought to be obvious that phenomenology has a lot to say in the area called philosophy of mind. The philosophy of mind may be factored into the following disciplines or ranges of theory relevant to mind: Phenomenology studies conscious experience as experienced, analyzing the structure—the types, intentional forms and meanings, dynamics, and certain enabling conditions—of perception, thought, imagination, emotion, and volition and action.

Neuroscience studies the neural activities that serve as biological substrate to the various types of mental activity, including conscious experience. Neuroscience will be framed by evolutionary biology explaining how neural phenomena evolved and ultimately by basic physics explaining how biological phenomena are grounded in physical phenomena.

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phenomenological research an inductive, descriptive research approach developed from phenomenological philosophy; its aim is to describe an .

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Phenomenology definition is - the study of the development of human consciousness and self-awareness as a preface to or a part of philosophy. .

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That's a pattern, and it can tell Ethan something about how parents deal. Essentially, phenomenological research is looking for the universal nature of an experience. Strengths and Limitations. There are several strengths of phenomenological research. For one thing, it provides a very rich and detailed description of the human experience. Phenomenology in business research focuses on experiences, events and occurrences with disregard or minimum regard for the external and physical reality. Phenomenology, also known as non-positivism, is a variation of interpretivism, along with other variations such as hermeneutics, symbolic interactionism and others.

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Definition of phenomenological. 1: This capability will be provided through basic phenomenological research, hardware, and algorithm development of sense-through-wall technology that can directly support tactical expeditionary urban operations in the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). What is phenomenology of practice? So, the aim of a phenomenological research project is to arrive at phenomenal insights that contribute to our thoughtfulness and practical tact, by using the methods of the epoché and the reduction. What is a phenomenon? The instant of the Now?