Cover of Phenomenology 2010

Phenomenology 2010

Selected Essays from North America Part 2
Phenomenology beyond Philosophy
2010, ISBN 978-973-1997-76-6
Editors: Lester Embree, Ion Copoeru, Michael Barber, Thomas J. Nenon

Table of Contents

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1. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 2
Lester Embree Introduction to Volume 5 (continued): Phenomenology beyond Philosophy
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2. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 2
Gary Backhaus Bioregionalism: Identification and Orientation as a Problem of Scale
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The thesis of this article maintains that identification and orientation are necessary existential modalities for the concretization of Heidegger’s notion of poetic dwelling. An equivocation of “place” and “region” foils bioregional polity due to differences in scale and human limits for place-presence. The solution advocated in this article is the creation of a form of life to be taken up by a bioregional advisory board. The goal of these bioregionalists would be to achieve identification and orientation in a variety of places within a region so that the networking required for bioregional polity would gain an experiential basis.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 2
Scott D. Churchill “Second Person” Perspectivity in Observing and Understanding Emotional Expression
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This paper explores the “intentional layering” within an emotional experience that was examined in a qualitative research class devoted to “depth phenomenology.” The idea was to approach qualitative data as a starting point for delving more deeply into an experience than a research participant might originally have been able to go. We begin by examining the method of access by means of which the discovery of this “layering” was made. In remaining faithful to Husserl, we shall talk about doing phenomenology from within the intersubjective relation and shall reflect upon what, precisely, are the “affairs” to which Husserl invites us to return.
6. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 2
Maureen Connolly Constructing a Curriculum of Place: Embedding Meaningful Movement in Mundane Activities for Children and Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
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Embedding meaningful movement into mundane activities is a scholarly project based in over a decade of focused, systematic observations of children and youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) and semiotic phenomenology have been used in the development of a movement curriculum which honors the lived experiences and stressed embodiments of the children and youth with ASD. The blended analysis strategies are described and discussed as are their applications to pedagogy and theorizing.
7. 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.
8. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 2
Steen Halling Psychology and the Eclipse of Forgiveness
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This chapter, which is based upon empirical phenomenological studies of the experience of forgiving a significant other, details the process people go through as they move from injury to forgiveness. Forgiveness is characterized not just by letting go of anger and resentment but as a movement of compassion toward the injurer and an opening up of a new future in one’s own life. Thus phenomenology reveals that the experience of forgiveness highlights our capacity for transcendence and demonstrates that forgiveness is a discovery rather an action requiring a conscious decision. This portrait of forgiveness is contrasted with traditional psychological studies that eclipse these key features of this phenomenon.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 2
David Seamon Gaston Bachelard’s Topoanalysis in the 21st Century: The Lived Reciprocity between Houses and Inhabitants as Portrayed by American Writer Louis Bromfield
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This article contributes to phenomenologist Gaston Bachelard’s call for topoanalysis by examining houses and inhabitation depicted in two works by American writer Louis Bromfield (1896-1956). The first work considered is “The Hands of God,” a 1939 short story that recounts the defilement of a 300-year-old Basque farmhouse. The second work considered is Bromfield’s last novel, the 1951 Mr. Smith, which depicts the unraveling, pre-World-War-II home life of Wolcott Ferris, a conventional Midwestern, middle-class husband and father. These two works demonstrate how, regularly in his creative efforts, Bromfield depicted a lived reciprocity whereby house and inhabitants mutually sustain and reflect each other, sometimes in positive ways that facilitate engagement and care; at other times, in negative ways that intimate or spur personal or social dissolution. The article concludes by considering implications for phenomenological research on houses and homes in the 21st century. The argument is made that, on one hand, inhabitation involves a lived whole unified by its total character. On the other hand, inhabitation involves a lived dialectic founded in a twofold significance involving internal diversity versus external connectedness. In both these inner and outer relationships, there are “sustaining” and “undermining” situations—e.g., the home as a place of comfort and regeneration versus the home as a place of unease, vulnerability, or conflict. Most broadly, the perspective argued for here looks inward toward the uniqueness of particular homes and inhabitations but also recognizes that they are integrally related outwardly to the world beyond, including other places, the broader societal context, and global interconnectedness.
14. 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.
15. 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.
16. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 2
Robert D. Stolorow Portkeys, Ressurrective Ideology, and the Phenomenology of Collective Trauma
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In this essay, I extend my conception of emotional trauma as a shattering of the tranquilizing “absolutisms of everyday life” that shield us from our finitude and our existential vulnerability, to a consideration of collective trauma. Using the collective trauma of 9/11 and its aftermath as my prime example, I illustrate how traumatized people fall prey to “resurrective ideologies” that promise to restore the sheltering illusions that have been lost. I suggest that an alternative to these grandiose illusions can be found in our “kinship-in-finitude.”
17. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 2
Sandra P. Thomas Merleau-Ponty and James Agee: Guides to the Novice Phenomenologist
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French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty and American novelist and journalist James Agee are credited with inspiring a novice in phenomenological research inquiry to see the lifeworld freshly. Insights derived from their works were particularly relevant to nursing studies of ill persons whose bodies had become obstacles rather than enablers and whose worlds had shrunk to windowless hospital rooms. Both Merleau-Ponty and Agee provided guidance regarding genuine dialogue with other persons, discovering deeper meaning in the words and phrases spoken by interviewees, and the vibrant writing that “opens a new field or a new dimension” to the reader of the research report.
18. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 2
Osborne P. Wiggins, Michael Alan Schwartz The Concept of Pathology and Psychiatry’s Need for a Philosophy of Life
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Stipulating that human being-in-the-world lies at the basis of phenomenological psychiatry, we move from the phenomenological notion of the correlation of experiencing subject with his or her experienced world to the level of the organism-environment relationship. Fundamental agreements between Hans Jonas’s and George Canguilhem’s philosophical biologies are shown. These agreements lie in elaborations of the “dynamic polarities” that relate the organism to its environment and the “norms” that preside over this relatedness. Three constituents of this relationship as explicated by Jonas are summarized: (1) since the organism is always threatened with nonbeing, it must of necessity always re-achieve its continued being by its own activity, (2) organisms are both enclosed within themselves, while they are also ceaselessly reaching out to their environments and interacting with them, and (3) organisms are both dependent on their own material components at any given moment and independent of any particular collection of these components across time. Since these three constituents of the organism-environment relationship are governed by norms the organism is also seen to valorize certain aspects of its environmentand not others.In accordance with Canguilhem’s conception of pathology as both restricting the organism’s possibilities and causing pain and suffering, we examine two personality types, the anti-social personality and the type that H. Tellenbach and A. Kraus call typus melancholicus. Changes in social environments greatly alter what can be termed the “pathology” of these personality types.We conclude by invoking Erwin Straus on the differences between norm and pathology of I-world relationships.
19. Phenomenology 2010: Volume > 5 > Issue: Part 2
Akohiro Yoshida Living with Multiple Psychologies
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Reflecting upon these fifty years of wandering experiences among multiple psychologies, the author attempted an explication of the values that governed his wanderings and identified some thirty insights regarding their essential meanings. Every psychology student today has to live with the chaotic multiplicity of psychologies. How could a novice, a teacher, a researcher and/or a theoretician live with it? Advices from a few sages were consulted. The theoretical problem of integrating the multiple psychologies emerged. The author proposes that phenomenological psychology is capable of and thus responsible for contributing toward creating a cosmos among the multiple psychologies.
20. 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.