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1. Selected Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy: Volume > 4
David Carr, Edward S. Casey Introduction
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Contrary to popular belief, professional philosophers want and need to be heard. Lacking a large and general public in this country, they turn to audiences of peers and rivals. But these audiences are found either in giant, unfocused professional bodies, or in restrictive groups of specialists. In this respect, the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy can claim a unique role among academic organizations in this country. Now in its tenth year, it has become one of the most important forums in America for the open exchange of ideas. The Society has grown considerably since its founding, and its annual meetings attract scholars in philosophy and other disciplines from across the country and abroad. But these meetings differ markedly from others: too large to be dominated by any single clique or doctrine, they are at the same time small enough to encourage lively discussion within its organized sessions and not just in the corridors outside. The Society derives its focus from the two closely allied philosophical “directions” indicated in its title. Yet from the beginning it has included in its meetings a sizeable number of contributors who are not identified with or even sympathetic to these directions, but are at least willing to engage in a dialogue with those who are. Furthermore, the Society has accomplished to a limited degree something rare indeed in American intellectual life: an interdisciplinary exchange. Though composed chiefly of academic philosophers, it counts among its members and contributors representatives of such different fields as psychology, history, the social sciences, and even mathematics. The papers collected here reflect this diversity of interest, talent, and background.
interpreting man
2. Selected Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy: Volume > 4
Paul Ricoeur Human Sciences and Hermeneutical Method: Meaningful Action Considered as a Text
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My aim in this paper is to test a hypothesis which I shall begin by expounding briefly. If there are specific problems which are raised by the interpretation of texts because they are texts and not spoken language, and if these problems are the ones which constitute hermeneutics as such, then the human sciences may be said to be hermeneutical (1) inasmuch as their object displays some of the features constitutive of a text as text, and (2) inasmuch as their methodology develops the same kind of procedures as those of Auslegung or text-interpretation. Hence the two questions to which my paper will be devoted are: (1) To what extent may we consider the notion of text a good paradigm for the so-called object of the social sciences? (2) To what extent may we use the methodology oftext-interpretation as a paradigm for interpretation in general in the field of the human sciences?
3. Selected Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy: Volume > 4
Charles Taylor Interpretation and the Sciences of Man
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Is there a sense in which interpretation is essential to explanation in the sciences of man? The view that it is, that there is an unavoidably “hermeneutical” component in the sciences of man, goes back to Dilthey. But recently the question has come again to the fore, for instance, in the work of Gadamer,1 in Ricoeur’s interpretation of Freud,2 and in the writings of Habermas.
4. Selected Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy: Volume > 4
Hans Jonas Change and Permanence: On the Possibility of Understanding History
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chilles sulks in his tent, mourns for Patroclus, drags Hector’s corpse around the funeral pyre, weeps at Priam’s words. Do we understand this? Surely, we do, without being Achilles ourselves, ever having loved a Patroclus and dragged a Hector through the dust. Socrates passes a life in discourse, examines opinions, asks what virtue and knowledge are, makes himself the gadfly of Athens in obedience to the god’s command, and dies for it. Do we understand this? Yes, we do, without ourselves being capable of such a life and such a death. A wandering preacher calls to two fishermen: Follow me, I shall make you fishers of men; and they leave their nets, never to return to them. Even this we understand, although the like of it has happened to none of us, and none of us is likely to follow such a call. Thus do we understand the never-experienced from the words of ancient writings. But do we understand it correctly? Do we understand it as meant by Homer himself and as understood by the listeners of his time? As Plato and the readers for whom he wrote understood the words of Socrates? As the Palestinian Jew of the first century understood the nearness of the kingdom of God and the call to it? Here we hesitate with our answer. Even he who affirms the possibility (and more than the possibility of adequate understanding no reasonable man will affirm) must add that we can never be sure whether the possibility is realized in a given case.
5. Selected Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy: Volume > 4
Fred R. Dallmayr Phenomenology and Social Science: An Overview and Appraisal
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The relationship between social science and social reality seems infinitely more complex than that between tool and object of analysis. In our time, the subterranean linkages of knowledge and experience have been vividly exposed: the crisis features of social reality have produced, or at least are accompanied by, an identity crisis in many academic disciplines—notably in social science. The manifestations of this malaise are familiar; they range from scholarly reassessments of specific research procedures to dramatic confrontations at professional meetings and in the context of professional organizations. Of late, such agonies have even surfaced in official pronouncements. In his recent presidential address to the political science fraternity, David Easton diagnosed professional unrest as a “new revolution” following closely on the heels of the behavioral or scientific renovation. As he pointed out, the preceding behavioral transformation had scarcely run its course before it was “overtaken by the increasing social and political crises of our time.” Although not diametrically opposed to its predecessor, the new insurgency involved a profound challenge to professional orthodoxy: “The essence of the post-behavioral revolution is not hard to identify. It consists of a deep dissatisfaction with political research and teaching, especially of the kind that is striving to convert the study of politics into a more rigorously scientific discipline modelled on the methodology of the natural sciences.”
evidence and the ego
6. Selected Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy: Volume > 4
David Michael Levin Husserlian Essences Reconsidered
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Husserl, in fathering phenomenology, envisaged a first science, a system of evidence that would found, and give an ultimate intelligibility to, all our ideal cognitive structures. And he thought that the ultimate evidences should be necessary and epistemically first (i.e., their truth must be knowable independently of the truth of all other cognitive structures)—in short, that they should be apodictic. Phenomenology must faithfully describe such evidences, in order to achieve the rational reconstruction of our knowledge. The system of evidence which, alone, can meet these requirements and provide the desired logos, is a system of eidetic insights. Phenomenology must recuperate essences. These essences are the objective accomplishments of a special subjective method, eidetic variation, and its consummate evidential act, eidetic intuition (the Wesensschau). In Formal and Transcendental Logic, this project of reconstruction is construed as an a priori transcendental logic, designed to exhibit the necessary epistemic conditions (i.e., the genetic constitution) that determine the givenness of objects of every sort. Genetic constitution, serving the highest imperatives of reason, employs the method of eidetic variation, and reaches fulfillment in the presentation of eidetic laws. Essentialism is thus the cornerstone, not only of transcendental logic, but indeed of the entire phenomenological enterprise.
7. Selected Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy: Volume > 4
Richard M. Zaner Reflections on Evidence and Criticism in the Theory of Consciousness
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In his brief addendum to Section 60 of his Formal and Transcendental Logic, Husserl stresses the central place of a theory of evidence, due to whose development alone “has a seriously scientific transcendental philosophy (‘critique of reason’) become possible, as well as, at bottom, a seriously scientific psychology, conceived centrally as the science of the proper essence of the psychic . . ..” Only a full theory of evidence, developed on the basis of a thorough criticism of “reason,” can properly yield a serious theory and approach to consciousness. He also emphasizes many times the fundamental failure of traditional philosophy to develop a proper and adequate conception of evidence. A brief rehearsal of this, and a systematic placement of the criticism of evidence in the theory of consciousness, will help to show the historical and vital urgency of those issues.
8. Selected Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy: Volume > 4
Jitendra Nath Mohanty Towards a Phenomenology of Self-Evidence
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A phenomenology of self-evidence has to begin with ascertaining the primary locus of self-evidence, which seems to me to be none other than consciousness. While phenomenologists have sufficiently recognized the intentionality of consciousness, the self-evidencing, self-illuminating character of consciousness has not been brought to the forefront. I propose to dwell on this briefly, before moving on to the question of truth and self-evidence.
9. Selected Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy: Volume > 4
Jon Wheatley Phenomenology: English and Continental
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In this paper I shall be discussing two forms of phenomenology, Continental and English. This is a very dangerous task because neither of these is a well-defined school with a known position, but each is a group of very different philosophers who have, by all means, discernibly similar philosophical methods but who also exhibit great differences. But I will not be intimidated by the fact that, in such an area, almost every generalization could be challenged: it is an important topic and worth tackling. I use Husserl as my touchstone for Continental phenomenology and Austin as my touchstone for linguistic phenomenology. But I refuse to be tied to either of these philosophers and will discuss other positions held within the two camps without inhibitions. I should also add that the paper is very condensed and quite deliberately so: prolixity is not a sign of profundity.
10. Selected Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy: Volume > 4
Lester E. Embree Reflection on the Ego
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Confining myself to the Ideas, Formal and Transcendental Logic, and the Cartesian Meditations, I shall attempt—in the brief time available—to expose the central features of Husserlian doctrine and method where the Ego is concerned.
11. Selected Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy: Volume > 4
Robert V. Stone The Self-Conciousness in Self-activity
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Although Sartre’s and Husserl’s accounts differ on the exact relation of the self to consciousness, they seem to agree that the ego in important ways transcends intentional acts. If we may speak metaphorically here we can picture the possible relations of the self to consciousness on the following spatial model: the self may be “before,” “behind,” or “in” intentional acts. Sartre stresses the sense in which we are before acts that are themselves anonymous. Husserl stresses the sense in which we are behind our acts as a center from which they emanate. I do not wish to take a position on either of these views as a whole. Rather, I shall attempt in what follows to make explicit a third relation of the self to consciousness, the sense in which we do not transcend consciousness because we are living in our acts. I shall understand “acts” in a broad sense in which walking, gesturing, and laughing are acts. My aim shall be to point out the unique type of consciousness of self that is present in action. Though this project is descriptive it has certain theoretical consequences that will be sketched.
science, mathematics, and logic
12. Selected Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy: Volume > 4
Theodore Kisiel Scientific Discovery: Logical, Psychological, or Hermeneutical?
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In matters of discovery, it has long been the custom to appeal to such imponderables as intuition, genius, the workings of the unconscious, and more recently, to the Eureka process or Aha Erlebnis of a Gestalt switch. This apparent appeal to irrational and even mystical factors has prompted the logical positivists to exclude the topic of scientific discovery from the philosophy of science and to “demote” it to the field of psychology. There is much to justify this attitude. All of us have been exposed to the fascinating but obfuscating anecdotes of discoveries made by “accident,” and of illuminations coming as if from nowhere: Archimedes’ bath, Newton’s apple, Kekule’s dream of the dancing serpents, Poincare’s step onto an omnibus, and so on. The risks of a genetic fallacy are compounded by the psychological questionnaires sent to creative scientists to survey not only their mental processes and methods, but also their daily schedules, personal habits, and idiosyncracies, in a curiosity that sometimes smacks of voyeurism. This recital of extremes does not mean to deny the importance of a factual basis for any psychological study of creativity, but to suggest the need to go further, toward what Husserl, for example, called an eidetic psychology, which would strive for an essentially rational account of the thought processes which enter into creativity.
13. Selected Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy: Volume > 4
Robert Tragesser On The Phenomenological Foundations of Mathematics
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My aim in this paper is a modest one. I wish to describe in concise terms the structure of transcendental phenomenology and its principal application as a universal theory of science.1 I believe that the terms in which I describe transcendental phenomenology are amenable to doing phenomenology. I shall furthermore discuss the problem of the foundations of mathematics from the viewpoint of phenomenology and I shall apply phenomenological analysis to the problem of distinguishing between mathematics and the empirical sciences as well as to the problem of giving a characterization of the nature of mathematics.
14. Selected Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy: Volume > 4
Gian-Carlo Rota Edmund Husserl and the Reform of Logic
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An unbridled and passionate interest in foundations has often been singled out as a characteristic trait of both philosophy and science in this century. Nowhere has this trend been more rampant than in mathematics. Yet, foundational studies, in spite of an auspicious beginning at the turn of the century, followed by unrelenting efforts, far from achieving their purported goal, found themselves attracted into the whirl of mathematical activity, and are now enjoying full voting rights in the mathematical senate. As mathematical logic becomes ever more central within mathematics, its contributions to the philosophical understanding of foundations wane to the point of irrelevance. Worse yet, the feverish technical advances in logic in the last ten years have dashed all hope of founding mathematics upon the notion of set, which had become the primary mathematical concept since Cantor. Equally substantial progress in the fields of algebra and algebraic geometry has further contributed to cast a shadow on this notion. At the other end of the mathematical spectrum, the inadequacy of naive set theory had been realized by von Neumann since the beginning of quantum theory, and to this day the physicist’s most important method of research remains devoid of adequate foundation, be it mathematical, logical, or philosophical.
15. Selected Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy: Volume > 4
Robert Sokolowski Logic and Mathematics in Husserl’s Formal and Transcendental Logic
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Formal and Transcendental Logic is as organic and independent as a written composition can be. It engenders its own parts, incorporates them, adjusts them when its growth demands, and finally subsists in a completeness achieved through its own work. But like an organism, no philosophical writing can live in sheer autonomy; Husserl’s Logic must absorb words and meanings from its context—ordinary language and the tradition of philosophy and science—but it leaves none unchanged. The book builds itself in assimilating them; it is the assimilation and activation of sedimented tradition. In comments on his methodology Husserl says he intends to accept “intellectual formations” from the tradition and radically investigate their sense by bringing them to original clarification. But radical investigation and original clarification mean “shaping the sense anew,” bringing it to clarity and understanding it has never enjoyed. The completed book is a constellation of such clarified senses, each determined in function of the others and brought to its definitive philosophical exposition.
emotions, art, and existence
16. Selected Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy: Volume > 4
George Schrader Anger and Inter-Personal Communication
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There are two major problems posed by the phenomenon of anger: what is it? and what are we to do about it? Philosophers have been primarily concerned about the second question and, thus, have treated anger and kindred emotions more from a normative than a descriptive standpoint. Psychologists and psychiatrists, on the other hand, have been primarily concerned with manifestations of anger and the conditions under which it arises and is discharged. More often than not the descriptive accounts of anger have been coupled with recommendations for the optimum manner of disposing of it; similarly, philosophical proposals for responding to anger have assumed a phenomenological account of it. It is apparent that the descriptive task is more demanding than has been recognized by either the psychologists or the philosophers. Because of the complexities involved and the clear priority of the descriptive question, I shall be more concerned with the constitutive features of anger than with moral responses to it.
17. Selected Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy: Volume > 4
Albert Rothenberg The Anatomy of Anger
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What is anger? I find it enormously strange that I, a psychiatrist, must seriously pose such a question in this day and age and I think it is virtually astounding that the answers are not only slow in coming but are embedded in a morass of confused definitions, misconceptions, and simplistic theories. Problems of violence, destructiveness, and hate are so much with us and there seems a crying need for clarification and understanding of these phenomena and any phenomena related to them. Anger, particularly, is of crucial importance in psychiatry where it is an everyday focus of attention in our patients, whether we do clinical evaluations alone, pass out drugs, or discuss, evaluate, and analyze in psychotherapy. Yet, there has been almost no attention paid to the phenomenon of anger in psychiatric and psychological literature. When it is mentioned at all, anger is subsumed under some general category such as aggression or affect and little consideration is given to the assumptions underlying such categorization.
18. Selected Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy: Volume > 4
Eugene T. Gendlin A Phenomenology of Emotions: Anger
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Although verbally and recognizably there is some small list of common emotions and sentiments, experience is vastly multi-faceted. Innumerable aspects, barely distinct, course through each other and breed others, utterly defying any thin scheme, logical system, or dictionary of kinds. Experience is not just packaged units. The seeming units—experiences, emotions, perceptions, ideas, feelings—which seem to stand still and stable always also involve a myriad flux. We will develop some ways to think about this myriad, hopefully so successfully that the question will then turn about and, if anything, we will be puzzled at how there can be something seemingly stable, recognizable, and universal. How is it, for example, that, with the myriad facets of any moment and the vast variety of what may make us angry in each different situation, when we lose our temper the stomping, hitting, or kicking of anger is always the same? Or is it? We must ask about both the myriad and the stable.
19. Selected Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy: Volume > 4
Alexander Sesonske Cinema Space
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Faced with the peculiar question, “What is a film?” or “What is the nature of cinema?” the most obvious starting point may well be the most obvious fact about film: a film is something that we see. Things seen are, necessarily, spatial. But reasonable as it seems to insist then that a film must be a spatial object, one cannot stop there. For while other spatial objects merely occupy a position within space accessible to our vision, a film also provides its own space to replace that of our normal visual field. My concern here is to describe clearly this peculiar space that cinema presents for our experience—what I call cinema space.
20. Selected Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy: Volume > 4
William Earle Variations on the Real World
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André Breton and Phillipe Soupault used to spend afternoons popping in and out of movie houses in Paris, seeing a bit of this film, a bit of that, refusing to observe the names of the films, or remember their plots. Max Ernst defined his surrealist art as “the fortuitous encounter upon a non-suitable plane of two distant realities”; and suggests that in this way “we have already broken loose from the law of identity.” Breton, again, in the Second Manifesto announces: “Everything tends to make us believe there exists a certain point of the mind at which life and death, the real and the imagined, past and future, the communicable and the incommunicable, high and low cease to be perceived as contradictions.”