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Husserlian Phenomenology

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Husserlian Phenomenology

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  1. Husserlian Phenomenology Dr. James A. SnyderPostmodern Philosophy

  2. Main question: What is consciousness (Bewußtsein)? The science of the “experience” of consciousness from a non-naturalistic & non-objectivistic perspective that adopts the phenomenologicalmethod Why study consciousness? Because it is the ultimate condition for the possibility of any experience whatsoever (whether practical or theoretical), including knowledge, faith, beliefs, and/or opinions. If we don’t know what consciousness is, then we know nothing, for it is the common root of all science whatsoever, i.e., all sciences, as well as all beliefs and opinions, are rooted in consciousness

  3. Husserl’s Task: Developing Philosophy as a Rigorous Science To find and secure the foundations of rational science/knowledge (whether philosophical or natural-scientific) through a phenomenological study of human consciousness To secure epistemological certainty To solve the “crisis” of European-Western science To overcome naturalism Why overcome naturalism? Because naturalism is premised on unjustified philosophical assumptions that render it problematic, in the best case, and meaningless in the worst

  4. Phenomenology as the Science of Experience Phenomenology is radical because it strives to be a presuppositionless science Phenomenology is a form of rationalism It searches for a priori principles and essences regarding the nature of consciousness Holds that truth and knowledge is a matter of rational evidence Phenomenology is a form of radical empiricism

  5. The Phenomenological Method requires a shift from the natural attitude to the phenomenological attitude The Natural Attitude: the mode of consciousness in which we usually relate to the world of objects. This attitude has several implicit and unrecognized assumptions that are as unwarranted as they are natural and taken for granted Metaphysical assumptions about “reality” ; the physical-metaphysical dichotomy The subject-object dichotomy The internal-external dichotomy The mind-body dichotomy Value determinations and judgments The Theoretical Attitude a mode, or manner, of consciousness with and through which we usually study the various dichotomies (subject-object, internal-external, mind-body etc)

  6. Step 1: Phenomenological reduction phenomenological epoche Enact a shift in consciousness into a phenomenological mode that allows phenomena to appear to consciousness so that one can philosophically analyze the nature of the contents of consciousness without making prejudicial unwarranted assumptions Epoche: “bracketing”, “suspending belief and involvement” suspend any and all attitudes, beliefs, judgments about the existence of the world the existence of particular entities, whether empirical or mental, real or ideal, imaginary or actual, etc theories about the nature and existence of the world, knowledge, self, God etc

  7. Step 2: Phenomenological description Once the world is bracketed, or suspended, the phenomenologist must describe the matter, or phenomena, under investigation This phenomenologically reduced description tells us about the actual experience of consciousness, for whatever thing-meaning is described is a necessary correlate of the consciousness When the consciousness of the phenomenologist achieves such a reduction, consciousness itself appears to itself: conscious awareness becomes scientifically aware of itself The consciousness of the phenomenologist is experienced firsthand, in a full evidentiary beholdinig: consciousness has become purified of its objects and is beheld by itself by its own purified activity of seeing itself in its purified state!

  8. Major Results: Consciousness as Intentionality What consciousness is not Consciousness is not a substance, either a physical (Aristotle, Hobbes, Marx) or a metaphysical thing (Plato, Descartes) Consciousness is not just a stream of sensations (Hume) Consciousness is not simply a transcendental but logical necessity (Kant) Consciousness is not simply the activity of a material brain as constructed by social-economic ideology (Marx) Consciousness has an intentional structure In-tention-ality: Consciousness is always an active projective tensiontoward a meaning, is always directed toward a meaning Experience is always a unified experience of something, which is the happening of meaning Structure: noetic correlate (subject) + neomatic correlate (object) Consciousness isbeing-in-the-world

  9. The Discovery of Essences • Eidetic reduction: consciousness further reduces the phenomenological description of experiential objects to their fundamental essences • Eidetic = Essence = the defining characteristics of …. X, i.e., the meaning of …. X • Essences are not discovered by means of empirical inductive abstractions and generalizations from particular instances • Rather, essences are experienced immediately through direct intuition, which allows things to be seen meaningfully • Result: the eidetic reduction reveals to us the world as lived, i.e., the life-world

  10. Transcendental Phenomenology • The transcendental ego: a non-substantial, transcendentally ideal (but not empirically real) sense (meaning) of “self” that is created by consciousness as the abstract logical correlate of the meaning of objects that are given to consciousness in a way that are constituted by consciousness • Genetic phenomenology: the study of the ways in which consciousness constitutes the meaning of objects

  11. The Life-World (Lebenswelt) • The life-world is the lived-experience of pre-reflective and pre-theoretical consciousness: the world as it is actually lived; not the world that is studied • The life-world is the experience of everyday existence; phenomenology studies its meaning without the imposition of empirical, objective natural science or various theories about experience • The meaning of ….X (selfhood, others, I-other relations, community, worldly objects, values, societal structures, religious communities and individual spiritual experiences, etc.)