Phenomenology 2010

Selected Essays from North America Part 1
Phenomenology within Philosophy
2010, ISBN 978-973-1997-74-2
Editors: Lester Embree, Ion Copoeru, Michael Barber, Thomas J. Nenon

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1. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 1
Michael D. Barber Introduction to Volume 5: The Breadth of Phenomenology
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i. edmund husserl
2. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 1
Elizabeth Behnke The “Remarkably Incompletely Constituted” Body in Light of a Methodological Understanding of Constitution: An Experiment in Phenomenological Practice (I)
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Merleau-Ponty’s appropriation of Husserl’s reference to the lived body as a “remarkably incompletely constituted thing” transforms the sense of the phrase. My aim is to recover Husserl’s original sense by turning not only to his writings, but to the relevant experiential evidence. I show that any attempt to account for the constitution of the body as a thing necessarily presupposes a body that is constituting rather than constituted, then suggest how “constitution” can be understood methodologically rather than metaphysically, concluding with some reflections on how descriptions produced through Husserlian phenomenological practice both sustain and outrun specific positions in phenomenological philosophy.
3. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 1
Lester Embree The Justification of Norms Reflectively Analyzed
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Beginning from the equivalence of “A warrior ought to be courageous” and “A courageous warrior is good” in Husserl’s Prolegomena, the attempt is made to show how what these statements refer to are constituted in processes especially of valuing and are justified.
4. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 1
Saulius Geniusas What Does the Question of Origins Mean in Phenomenology?
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In what follows, I address the question of origins in the framework of Husserlian phenomenology. I argue that both the sense and the methodological justification of the phenomenological question of origins derive from the problematics of the horizon. I show that Husserl’s notion of the horizon entails two dimensions of sense: the horizon is a horizon of reference and of validity. As a system of reference, the horizon embraces all the implications that each appearance draws to other appearances. The qualification of the horizon as a system of validity entails a further realization that an actual appearance entails references not only to other actual appearances, but also, and even more importantly, to other potential modes of appearances. I interpret the phenomenological question of origins as the question that traces the concealed senseaccomplishments, which qualify the sense of any appearing objectivity. On the basis of what is stated above, I argue that (1) the horizon as a system of validity clarifies the sense of the question of origins, and that (2) the possibility of the question of origins is secured by the horizon as a system of reference.
5. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 1
George Heffernan From Violence to Evidence? Husserl and Sen on Human Identity and Diversity: Toward a Postcolonial Phenomenology of Humanity
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In The Crisis of the European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology (1936) Edmund Husserl describes how the crisis of the European sciences represents a crisis of European humanity, which in turn involves a crisis of human identity. In Violence and Identity: The Illusion of Destiny (2006) Amartya Sen explains how some human beings get others to see themselves in terms of a singular unique identity instead of in terms of their disparate but shared identities. This paper investigates Husserl’s and Sen’s approaches to human identity and diversity and explores their respective applications to and implications for humanity, rationality, and solidarity.
ii. contemporaries of husserl
6. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 1
Zachary Davis Scheler and the Task of Human Loving
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Max Scheler’s late work takes a peculiar turn toward a more speculative approach to phenomenology, particularly the work carried out under the titles of philosophical anthropology and metaphysics. I argue in this paper that this shift in Scheler’s approach does not render this late work as abstract, but rather deepens his investigations into the meaning the most fundamental and concrete human act, the act of love. Scheler’s late work ultimately demonstrates that loving is the task of being human.
7. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 1
Eugene Kelly In lumine Dei: Scheler’s Phenomenology of World and God
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The paper evaluates two theses central to Max Scheler’s philosophy of religion: that essential knowledge of God is universal to humankind, and that this knowledge is irreducible to any experience outside itself. We examine the phenomenology of the fivefold process whereby we obtain knowledge of the Absolute. The conclusion is that the first thesis is plausible, and the second less so. However, the defense of the second thesis led Scheler to a fruitful phenomenology of religious experience as seeing the world in the light of God. The paper evaluates this world-view as an alternative to the scientific Weltanschauung.
8. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 1
Leonard Lawlor What Is the Outside?
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This small essay is part of a book project called “Early Twentieth Century Continental Philosophy: Towards the Outside” (under contract with Indiana University Press). Examining key texts in Bergson, Freud, Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and Foucault, the book lays out a kind of narrative. The narrative aims to show that these thinkers contain conceptual components from which emerges a research program. There are four components: the overcoming of metaphysics (understood as Platonism); the starting point in immanent, subjective experience; the transformation of immanence into multiplicity; and a new form of thinking adequate to multiplicity. The crucial component is the transformation of immanence into multiplicity. Multiplicity is the outside.
9. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 1
Douglas F. Peduti, S.J. Heidegger’s Later Phenomenology: Allowing the Subtle Appearance to Emerge through the Din
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Heidegger’s turn to Being-in-the-World accentuates how human beings have access to the world. Heidegger’s destructive retrieval makes possible the unveiling of hidden Being and the recovery of community that Husserl’s solispsism overlooks. Through Ereignis, Vorsicht, and the falling silent of language on the way to Being, Heidegger’s later thought can achieve the synthesis of multiplicity and unity that Hegel and Derrida were unable to find.
iii. the first generation
10. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 1
Bruce Baugh Freedom, Fatalism, and the Other in Being and Nothingness and The Imaginary
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“Hell is other people,” but the absence of the Other, rather than being paradise, would be its own kind of hell: the fatalism of dreams, in which a possibility is no sooner conceived than it is realized. Freedom of action requires a resisting world and a temporal gap between intention and outcome, which requires that things be other than they are for consciousness, which requires the presence of the Other.
11. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 1
Eric Duffy Anguish and Nausea as Calls to Action
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Sartre’s Being and Nothingness intends to establish a “phenomenology of action,” where being-for-itself is structured by the law of consciousness and intentionality. Choice organizes the situation while being determined by the limitation of facticity. Anguish and nausea are twin structures that concern the breakdown of the for-itself’s relation to its freedom and to objects as meaningful, respectively. Sartre’s The Imaginary clarifies the central conceit of the novel Nausea. Finally, the discussion of anguish and nausea provide central insights into Sartre’s theory of subjectivity and phenomenology of action.
12. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 1
Matthew C. Eshleman The Misplaced Chapter on Bad Faith or Reading Being and Nothingness in Reverse
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This essay argues that Sartre’s notion of bad faith cannot be adequately understood, unless one takes the latter half of Being and Nothingness into serious consideration. Sartre employs a Cartesian methodology; consequently, his analysis proceeds from abstract simples to complex, concrete wholes. As his analysis becomes progressively concrete, Sartre revises two abstract claims made early in the text. Only after one appreciates that Sartre, strictly speaking, abandons a non-egological view of consciousness and an absolute view of freedom can one make sense out of several especially vexing features of bad faith.
13. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 1
Emma R. Jones On the Life That is ‘Never Simply Mine’: Anonymity and Alterity in Merleau-Ponty and Irigaray
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In this paper, I suggest that Merleau-Ponty’s discussion of anonymity in the Phenomenology of Perception bears a strong resemblance to Luce Irigaray’s discussions of the elemental. I argue that reading these two accounts together helps to counter some of the critiques waged by feminists against the language of anonymity, because anonymity—like the elemental—does not in fact function as a positive substratum that would shore up sameness and prevent the rupture of difference. Instead, anonymity names the way in which the subject is always already disrupted by its encounter with and belonging-to the natural world.
14. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 1
Matthew J. Goodwin Art and the Deflagration of Being: Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s Aesthetic Phenomenological Method
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This essay compares artistic and phenomenological methods to show how Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s artistic examples develop his method as a distinctly active and transformative phenomenology. This reverses one view that artists complete something like a phenomenological reduction in order to more adequately express the given. Instead, Merleau-Ponty turns to artists who manipulate, torment, and deflagrate being. Rather than avoiding presuppositions, artists employ them through passively constituted habits to see how they change and are reciprocally changed by their materials. Finally, rather than identifying certain artists or works as phenomenological, this recognizes Merleau-Ponty as ushering in a distinctly aesthetic method of phenomenology.
15. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 1
Shazad Akhtar Between Oneself and Another: Merleau-Ponty’s Organic Appropriation of Husserlian Phenomenology
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Merleau-Ponty’s “existential” reading of Husserl has long been controversial in phenomenological circles. In this paper I present this reading in a new light by arguing that the style and substance of Merleau-Ponty’s own philosophizing are organically interwoven with his interpretation of Husserl. This is a case of mutual implication: one cannot fully “buy” Merleau-Ponty’s Husserl without accepting certain “Merleau-Pontyean” figures of thought, but reciprocally, one cannot understand these figures without situating them within the stream of Merleau-Ponty’s reading and appropriation of Husserl. The bulk of the paper concentrates on the latter side of the equation through a systematic reconstruction of Merleau-Ponty’s as a “Husserlian” phenomenology.
16. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 1
Sarah LaChance Adams The Pregnable Subject: Maternity and Levinas’s Relevance to Feminism
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In Levinas’ Otherwise than Being, the mother appears as the prototype of ethical subjectivity, complete being for the other. Adams argues that Levinas appropriates the maternal perspective without concern for the actual complexities of motherhood. He especially neglects the (very common) experience of maternal ambivalence and women’s desires for independence. Ironically, Adams claims, Levinas provides the most valuable insights to mothering as an ethical practice when he is not speaking of mothers, women, or the “feminine” directly. In particular, he illuminates the temporality of maternal ethics and its complex relationship to freedom.
17. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 1
Michael D. Barber Ethics, Eidetics, and the Ethical Subject: A Critique of Enrique Dussel’s Appropriation of the Thought of Emmanuel Levinas
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Enrique Dussel’s Etica de la Liberacion en le Edad de la Globalizacion y de la Exclusion is undoubtedly one of the most important books of the last ten years in the current of thought known as “liberation philosophy,” and this book is valuable for the way it seeks to incorporate the thought of Emmanuel Levinas into a philosophy addressing global oppression and exclusion. However, Dussel fails to appreciate fully the distinctiveness of ethical experience according to Levinas as well as the significance of the eidetic features of Levinas’s account in particular for the understanding of subjectivity. Furthermore, in his discussion of subjectivity in the Etica, Dussel neglects how ethical responsibility can produce a powerful subject. As a consequence, he overlooks how this possibility, which in its generality is available to oppressors and victims of globalization alike, can be realized by the victims becoming responsible for other victims and coming to fear, as Levinas puts it, the murder of the other more than their own death.
18. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 1
David Leichter The Dual Role of Testimony in Paul Ricoeur’s Memory, History, Forgetting
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This paper explores some implications of Ricoeur’s conception of testimony. Testimony plays two roles: it enables us to know what actually happened and it reveals how the past continues to be meaningful. However, these two roles generate a peculiar problem: the meaning of the past, as bearing witness, cannot be exhausted by a narrative account of what happened. Furthermore, since testimony situates a people within a tradition and raises suspicion on such a narrative by showing that it does not fully bear witness to the past, Ricoeur’s understanding of testimony opens a site for ethical and political challenges.
iv. other authors and themes
19. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 1
Caroline Rebecca Lundquist Recover the Tragic: Exploring the Ethical Dimensions of Rape-Related Pregnancy
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There are few phenomena more tragic than rape-resultant pregnancy; faced with such pregnancies, rape victims are forced to make incredibly difficult and often heart-rending decisions. Yet both public and academic discourse on rape-pregnancy fails to acknowledge the profoundly tragic nature of these decisions, and also tends to implicitly or explicitly blame victims who opt for abortion or adoption. This paper critiques the use of praise and blame in relation to rape-resultant pregnancies, emphasizing the harmful effects of moral judgments on pregnant rape victims, and calls instead for a new ethical paradigm that acknowledges the deeply tragic nature of this phenomenon.
20. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 1
Peter Westmoreland Rousseau’s Phenomenological Model for the Co-Constitution of Self and World
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Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Vicar in Emile provides a phenomenological model for the co-constitution of self and world out of experiences as they emerge in the first person perspective. Self and world or non-self are intertwined in experience. Self is a spontaneous activity that differentiates and selects items given in experience as belonging to it based on how those items are given: by feelings or sentiments originating in the self or by sensations originating in the external world. Making this differentiation is not easy due to the interpenetration of self and world. Self constitutes itself according to ontological categories of mind and body that sort the sentiments. Self is constituted as a union of mental and bodily sentiments. Self constitutes the world according to how sentiments orient it toward the world and how sensations give the world to the self.