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41. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 2
W. S. K. Cameron Socrates Outside Athens: Plato, the Phadrus, and the Possibility of “Dialogue” with Nature
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Environmental ethics has long struggled with a dilemma: many mistrust as “anthropocentric” our judgments about the values of non-human nature, but it is unclear how we could make, let alone justify, “biocentric” judgments; and recent worries that the world is linguistically constituted only exacerbate the threat of skepticism. Happily, Plato’s Phaedrus gives some indication of how a “dialogue” with nature might proceed. But since Plato’s confidence in the forms is likely irrecoverable, I turn to Gadamer for an account of the language-world relation that allows us to concede the world’s linguistic constitution while still acknowledging the possibility of nature’s dialogue with us.
42. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 2
Thomas D. Craig How to Make a Photograph within the In/Visible World of Autism
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Framing the world with a camera is a phenomenological and semiotic challenge both for documentary photography and research in lived experience. The skilled practice of photography itself can benefit from cross-fertilization with Communicology and its commitment to understanding the constitutive relations of visual givens and expressive bodies as mediated by the perception of cultural signs and codes (Connolly, Lanigan, and Craig, 2005). Communicology also can help to negotiate the perpetual lure of perceptual faith and its offer of some clever aperture providing access to the things themselves. In this essay I will describe the experience of phenomenologically-based research photography within a two week summer camp for children and youth with autism. Taking a clue from artist-professor Victor Burgin (1982) on commonplace photographic practice as the magnification of the natural attitude “viewed through a lens,” I will discuss the assumptions and pitfalls of “smiling for the camera” in the extreme contexts of autism. As I will show, Communicology can help to navigate through the idealist temptation to treat individual consciousness as an abstract object of inquiry as well as the pretense of capturing neutral objects at a distance.
43. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 2
Hwa Yol Jung Vaclav Havel’s New Statecraft of Responsible Politics
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Vaclav Havel is a playwright who turned into a statesman of extraordinary courage, wisdom, and morals by the exigency of his time. He has been the most prominent voice in post-Communist Eastern Europe. His close fellow-traveller was Jan Patočka who was a student of Husserl and Heidegger, and closely read the phenomenological ethicist Emmanuel Levinas who earmarked dialogical ethics as “first philosophy.” Havel’s signature essay “living in truth” marks the heart of his morality in politics, that is, the confluence of morality and politics. For him, politics as “the art of the impossible” defies politics as “the art of the possible” or Realpolitik. Responsibility as “first politics” is a moral alternative to violence whose ultimate telos is to destroy the Other.
44. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 2
Notes on Contributors: (Parts 1 and 2)
45. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 2
Chris Nagel Exposure, Absorption, Subjection—Being-in-Media
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In the Introduction to Marshall McLuhan’s Understanding Media, he argues for the relevance of the book’s subtitle, “The Extensions of Man.” Specifically, McLuhan claims that media—that is, electronic media—are extensions of the human nervous system, permitting a range of contexts, contacts, and experiences. To clarify what this means, I develop a phenomenological interpretation of media as existential, lived situation, drawing from McLuhan’s own account while critically analyzing it, and bringing into play the phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty. Our being-in-media may be as decisive for us as McLuhan seems to have thought, but may also be far better characterized by exposure, absorption, or subjection than by McLuhan’s optimism.
46. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 2
Richard M. Zaner Clinical Listening, Narrative Writing
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After presenting a brief history of my involvement in clinical settings during my twenty-some odd years at Vanderbilt, I turn to some of the specific questions ingredient to that involvement as a phenomenologist. Every such encounter is not only context-specific, structured by every participant’s biographical situation. Gurwitsch’s analysis of context provides a key way to understanding this complexity. Among the clearest challenge is understanding the presence of multiple narratives, most of them only partially unfolded but all of them situationally determined. This feature makes prominent the serious question of writing about the unique and individual: the delicate process of negotiation and compromise that characterizes human relationships in general and in particular underlies any clinical interaction. This leads to a brief analysis of the ethics consultant’s involvement, which is at once therapeutic and diagnostic: figuring out what’s going on and on that basis, determining how best to be helpful in resolving whatever problems are eventually identified and clarified. A brief historical excursus is presented to help clarify this complex of issues. Ethicists are hunters and gatherers at the same time, listeners and collectors of the almost always partial stories which make up any and every clinical encounter. Beyond attending to these stories, ethics consultants are also witnesses and guarantors, ensuring that every clinical narrative has its chance to be told and receives its appropriate hearing, that every “voice” has its chance to be heard.
47. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 2
Dennis E. Skocz Keynesian Phenomenology and the Meltdown
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The paper aims to show how key phenomenological concepts inform Keynesian economics. There is no indication that Keynes “knew” phenomenology but it well describes what he was doing when he brought “psychological” factors to bear on economic problems. With his “phenomenological turn,” Keynes freed economics from neo-classical models and could then revise theory to explain the Great Depression and prescribe a way out of it. Arguably, such a “turn” today could expose the gap between Wall Street practice and Main Street realities as it points to a need to ground financial abstractions in lived economic experience.
48. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 2
Lori K. Schneider Local Workers, Global Workplace, and the Experience of Place
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This paper presents selected findings from a hermeneutic phenomenological study of how remote workers in global corporations experience and interpret local place. The research was based on Heidegger’s thinking about space, place and dwelling, Giddens’ conception of globalization as “time-space distanciation,” research on remote work, and concepts from architectural theory. The eight study participants were knowledge workers in the United States and Europe who work full time from home as employees of three large global corporations. In this paper I share several insights about remote workers’ rich and varied lived experience of place. Key findings include the importance of managing the threshold between work and home and the need to create spaces for interaction at work. Some remote workers learn to shape, choose, or create places that better suit them, while others prefer to remain in place. Those remote workers who find that working at home brings opportunities to become more deeply involved in their local communities may ultimately help communities become more globally-connected while retaining unique local qualities. This research suggests that the essential phenomenological nature of place is both spatial and temporal. A place is a specific location within physical space that acquires personal meaning, arising from a person’s past history and evolving with ongoing or repeated experience. Individuals make meaning of place as Center (groundedness or rootedness), Setting (activity, convenience or purpose), and Source (generativity, inspiration or transcendence). Each facet of place experience contains, reflects, and tends toward the others; all contribute to the meanings of place. We shape and respond to places based on these lived meanings; places shape us as our lives take place within them.
49. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 2
Alberto J. L. Carrillo Canan, May Zindel Digital Image and Cinema
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The new Hollywood digital cinema centered in spectacularity on the basis of computer graphics, has driven the filmmakers to work with tecnoscientific teams concentrating in the total control of the image and it is just the predominance of the image that tends to simplify the cinematographic plots. This simplification seems to reject the old idea that cinema is “about telling stories through images,” instead it emancipates the image from the narrative. This goes hand in hand with a new sensibility that disregards the narrative and is centered in entertainment, regardless of the complaints made by intellectuals. With this, the new digital spectacular cinema reopens under new conditions a fundamental poetological polemic that had already a background in the debate about abstract painting and figurative painting: what are the specific possibilities of each media.
50. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 2
M. Reza Shirazi The Fragile Phenomenology of Juhani Pallismaa
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This essay argues that Finnish architect and phenomenologist Juhani Pallasmaa’s way of architectural understanding involves what might be called a “fragile phenomenology,” by which is meant a style of phenomenological interpretation that is contextual and multi-sensory. Pallasmaa’s fragile phenomenology moves beyond the hegemony of vision to enrich the presence of the body by giving attention to lived experience and replacing one-dimensional vision by multi-sensory perception. This article provides an overview and preliminary critique of Pallasmaa’s fragile phenomenology by evaluating his interpretation of architect Alvar Aalto’s Villa Mairea (1938-39). The article concludes that Pallasmaa’s style of architectural understanding largely involves a “phenomenology from within.” In regard to the Villa Mairea, for example, we gain an in-depth phenomenological understanding of many architectural aspects of the building, though we gain a less clear understanding of the building as a whole and of its lived relationship with site and surroundings.
51. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 2
Mark A. Hector, Judith E. Hector Walt Whitman, Nursing, and Phenomenology
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Each age has its sick and wounded and those who provide them nursing care. This paper links together “The Wound Dresser,” a poem by the Civil War nurse Walt Whitman, a musical composition by John Adams that is based on the poem, and a book on nursing research and practice. The poem, the musical composition, and the book are described and related from the perspective of phenomenology.
52. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 3
Panos Theodorou Heidegger’s Search for a Phenomenological Fundamental Ontology in his 1919 WS, vis-a-vis the Neo-Kantian Philosophy of Values
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It has already been remarked that Heidegger’s early Kriegsnotsemester of 1919 plays an important role in the development of his project toward a phenomenological Fundamental Ontology, which would elucidate the meaning of “Being as such.” However, both the reason why this happens and why it eventually fails appear to have been poorly understood. In this paper, I initially present the meaning of Heidegger’s effort, in that ‘semester,’ to build philosophy as a genuinely “primordial science.” Then, I explain the sense in which the neo-Kantian philosophy of values became a crucial constituent of his inspiration. In this direction, Heidegger’s thought experiment with the “African aboriginal” is examined and placed at the right position within his overall search for the “primal some thing” qua critical “formal indication” in the search and phenomenologization of “Being as such.” Finally, I present three serious difficulties that make this early attempt by Heidegger phenomenologically flawed and probably lead him to the new orientations of Being and Time.
53. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 3
Dean Komel On European Dialogue
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The question of the contemporaneity of Europe appears in the context of dialogue on the common European future, which, on the one hand is an achievement of the encounter of diverse cultural languages and, on the other, dictated through reflection on what is re-establishing the Europe of today as a world view. Views on “opening the future” and “enabling development” cannot be mutually harmonized, since there is a lack of experience of contemporaneity in the jointing of horizons. From this experience also comes the common interest in European dialogue. The diversity of European languages does not prove to be an obstacle to re-establishing this dialogue, but its vital condition. It is, namely, the historically mediated possibility that brings the essential diff erence into the uniform process of the expansion of power without difference.
54. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 3
Nicoleta Szabo The Dark Face of Praxis and Enlarged Pragmatism: Alfred Schütz and Wong Kar-wai
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The problem of the action’s meaning for the agent that executes it constitutes a complicated matter in terms of a phenomenology of action. Our task in this paper is to analyze the acts of consciousness that contribute to the constitution of this meaning, underlying two shortcomings with which Alfred Schütz struggled: the teleocratic character of the action’s project and, respectively, the “radical or vulgar” pragmatism, which represents the ordinary frame of reference for a pragmatic theory of action. The solutions proposed by Schütz—the “praxial” aspect of the ongoing deed, the importance of imposed relevances and a different understanding of pragmatism—will be scrutinized using a short case study occasioned by some interesting remarks of the film director Wong Kar-wai regarding his way of making films without a proper project.
55. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 3
Pedro M. S. Alves Image-Consciousness and Fantasy: The ego of observation and the ego of reverie
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In this paper I intend to understand from a phenomenological point of view the relationship between figurative consciousness and other non-original presentations, such as expectations, remembrances or fantasies. My analysis is focused on the difference between figurative consciousness, on the one hand, and a modality of fantasy that I call “reverie” (or daydream consciousness), on the other hand. I stress that figurative consciousness implies a pure observational ego, whereas reverie is a free construction of the ego’s own personal story. The freedom of reverie has, nevertheless, some important constraints. I emphasize the constraints that come from the passive and affective life of the ego. Finally, I propose new criteria for the phenomenological differentiation between several kinds of acts of non-original presentations (Vergegenwärtigungen).
56. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 3
Iris Aravot On the In-Between of Architectural Design
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The paper suggests that architectural-making, a process of research in practice, and itself bridging between the space of experience and the horizon of expectations, corresponds to phenomenology as a method of inquiry. This includes architectural phases parallel to epoché, phenomenological reduction, free variations, transcendental intuition of the essence, and description. The paper describes the in-between, its two edges, experience and expectations, and their mutual influences through the process of architectural making. Examples from the design studio and professional literature illustrate the argumentation. The in-between is presented as structured, notably having a depth—the ineffable origin of creativity. In conclusion, the paper suggests that the edges and the in-between are temporary configurations in a flux, wherein the architect makes use of his / her most inner resources, as a contribution to the meta mor phosis and revitalization of his / her culture.
57. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 3
Dmitri Ginev On the critique of ethnomethodology from the viewpoint of hermeneutic phenomenology
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Ethnomethodological studies of science proved to be a particular stage in the development of ethnomethodology. In the same vein, hermeneutics of scientific research belongs to the scope of contemporary hermeneutic phenomenology. The present paper tries to reveal deficiencies in the ethnomethodological description of everyday practices taking place in the “life-worlds” of scientific communities. On the author’s main claim, these deficiencies can be overcome by both revising and supplementing the ethnomethodological description. The outcome of this revision/supplementation is a sort of “double hermeneutics”—interpretative studies of science’s interpretative practices.
58. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 3
Andrea Altobrando Subjectivity, Nature and Freedom: An itinerary through Husserl’s philosophy
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In this paper I try to understand the relationship between nature and subjectivity from a phenomenological (mainly Husserlian) perspective and to bring into focus the consequences of this relationship to the problem of human freedom. Husserl did not deeply explore the concept of freedom in almost any of his works and manuscripts, i.e. he never really gave a definition and a thorough analysis of freedom. Nevertheless it is quite clear that freedom plays a peculiar role in many strategic points of his philosophy. We can say even more: the entire phenomenological enterprise is funded on freedom, since the so called “phenomenological reduction” is, according to Husserl himself, the result of an absolutely free act. But if freedom is necessary in order to have a genuine philosophical and phenomenological enquiry, shouldn’t this “condition of possibility” be queried and eventually elucidated? Or is freedom something which remains outside the boundaries of phenomenological investigation? I think that by following Husserl’s inquiries into the different levels of constitution of subjectivity it is possible to produce evidence in support of the claim that freedom is an apodictic fact, but a fact which, if correctly understood, has conditions as well as consequences which should not be neglected if we don’t want to miss freedom itself in our “human existence”.
59. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 3
Agustín Serrano de Haro Is Pain an Intentional Experience?
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My paper focuses on the main categories that phenomenology has employed to describe physical pain. I try to show that the early assumption of Stumpf`s concept of “affective sensations” (Gefühlempfindungen) faced strong descriptive difficulties, that seem to point to a sort of noematic character of pain: pain in its bodily location is the pole of a central attention, or at least of a conscious co-attention. But at the same time it is impossible to avoid the evidence that pain consciousness is not a perceptive grasp of one’s body, but a feeling of instantaneous or continuous hurting. The provisional thesis may be that the three main categories of Husserlian analysis of intentionality: hyletic layer, noetic intention, and noematic kern are needed in the basic description of pain experience, but they are required without any internal division—and this is the very core of the problem.
60. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 3
Daniel Marcelle The Great Gurwitsch-Follesdal Debate concerning the Noema: The Connection of the Conceptual to the Perceptual
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The Noema has enjoyed a tremendous debate in the history of phenomenology from the time of the 1960s to the present. The poles of this debate generally are Aron Gurwitsch and his “perceptual noema,” on the one side, and Dagfinn Follesdal’s noema as a sense, on the other. While Gurwitsch and Follesdal never directly debated, named, or impugned one another, these activities were eagerly taken care of by many others taking one side or another. First, I explore this debate and then in the end show that Gurwitsch’s position has been rendered into a kind of straw man. I then show how Gurwitsch’s understanding of the noema meets several of Follesdal’s challenging theses. Thus, I make a defense of Gurwitsch by show ing that his noema is very robust because not only is the perceptual noema amenable to gestalt organization, but that it is also conceptualizable. I finish by exploring these dimensions and describing the manner and importance of the conceptualization of the perceptual noema.