Phenomenology Liz Smythe
epistemology Banana Noun: A plant allied to the plantain, with soft luscious fruit What does this tell you? Is this the meaning of a banana?
concept Does the representation of the concept give you all there is to know?
getting nearer to the ‘thing in itself” Is a picture of the ‘real thing’ the same as the ‘real thing’?
Edmund Husserl 1959-1938 “Back to the things themselves” Numbers are an abstraction, Not the “thing itself” Mathematician 2A=h(a-b) Need to uncover the “essence”
What is the essence of our experience of bananas, without which they would not be bananas?
Essence of a chair Essence of a chair
What are the things about a chair that make it a chair without which it could not be a chair? What is the chairness of the chair? What are the things that are irrelevant to the notion of chair?
Essence of a chair Essence of a chair
Edmund Husserl Mathematician 2A= h (a+b) Bracketing Put everything you already know about ‘something’ out of your mind and then study it as if for the first time Mathematician 2A=h(a-b) Bracketing Put everything you already know about ‘something’ out of your mind and then study it as if for the first time.
Martin Heidegger 1889 - 1976 being The interpretive turn Ontology
Martin Heidegger 1889 - 1976 Who was the man? This is an exploration each person needs to make for themselves.
ontology (Heidegger) • We know banana’s • in our experience of • eating a banana • wanting a banana • finding a banana • seeing a banana • smelling a banana • not having a banana • Our meaning of a banana is always • found within specific experience, • Informed by everything we already know • about bananas.
A chair is a chair for …. sitting in to relax sitting at my desk standing on to reach the top cupboard It is always a chair in the context of ‘Dasein’ or being-there.
Chairness of the chair The chair as lived
Gadamer 1900-2002 Understanding is interpretation, and is always ‘my’ interpretation
Its meaning in my life may have nothing to do with ‘sitting on’. I have a chair by my bed that is for stacking my pile of books on. What is the meaning of the chairs in your life?
Fundamental to phenomenology Being-there Openness Dasein:
Phenomenon: the experience of walking the mountain
The experience starts with what comes before, preparing for, thinking ahead
It brings to mind every other experience of walking this mountain, remembering how the weather can change (foresight-Heidegger, prejudice-Gadamer)
‘They say’ not to go on the Mountain without the right gear
Time (ontic) is the time the sign says this walk will take; Measured time, ‘Watch’ time.
Dasein is about everything Is is always already
Time (ontological) is the long moment of holding the smile
It is a with-other experience With those left behind still with us in their absence
What is to come is part of the moment of ‘now’
It is the face that reveals the recovering leg injury
One’s feet ‘walk’ without thought They are ready-to-hand Until one slips… and suddenly they are called to our attention (present to hand) in the unready-to-handness of a sprained ankle
Time is ‘how long will it take’ before the weather changes, time is experienced as mood.
Going along is a solitary-together experience, each in her own Dasein, in her own experience, with her own understandings
Mood is always already there, impacted by everything around us and within us.
Yet, mood can change in a flash. Mood ‘is’
Going along is to be within one’s own thoughts, Which may be far removed from the mountain
Or it is to simply be-there, open to the sun on one’s back, but not seeing the grey cloud behind.
Dasein can never encompass ‘everything’; something always remains un-noticed, hidden, unthought…
Seeing the end, being nearly-there, changes the mood, releases the tension, revives one’s energy
The experience of walking the mountain lives on, remembered, retold, re-seen, re-enacted, re-interpreted in the warm comfort of bed.
Dasein Dasein is quite simply ‘Here I am now’ The ‘I’ of Dasein is not a thing but a way to be, not a what but a who, with its connotations of orientation to a unique situation. Kisiel, T. (2002). Heidegger’s way of thought. New York: Continuum, p.52/54.
Dasein is always in an environment in which it is tempted, seduced, soothed, or estranged. We never rise above our environment to some pure, lofty pedestal and pass judgment on the world, as if untainted by it. What we can do is liberate the hidden presuppositions of life even while living it, making those suppositions visible by interpreting them Harman, G. (2007). Heidegger Explained, From phenomenon to thing. Open Court: Chicago. p.30/31.