What is Husserlian Phenomenology?

Discussion in 'Religion & Philosophy' started by Kyklos, Jul 22, 2018.

  1. Kyklos

    Kyklos Active Member Donor

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    Dark Star (1974): Phenomenology and Thermosteller Nuclear Bomb #20.
    Heidegger begins his examination into the question of Being using a method that Husserl founded called “phenomenology.” Heidegger was a student of Husserl and took certain concepts of phenomenology and applied them to his interest in the concept of “to be.” Heidegger utilizes the phenomenological descriptive method which describes and uncovers the essential structure of any examined phenomena. The phenomenological method seeks to dispense with pre-constituted meanings, we can include
    logoi (plural of logos) and reveal the genesis of all meaning structures. The phenomenological conceptual tools provided by Husserl are the Epoché (ἐποχή, epokhē ), and is understood as “the act of suspending judgment about the natural world that precedes phenomenological analysis.” Husserl used the word “intuition” to mean what is immediately present, comprehensible to sense perception, our memories, and our imaginations. Whenever we perceive the world, our first experience is our own ideas. Husserlian phenomenology sought to systematize essences, logical forms, and explicate the intersubjective totality of meanings that members of a culture share. The other tool of analysis Husserl provides is the method of Eidetic reduction to vary the possibilities of appearance of any kind to derive essences and therefore their clear meanings. Eidetic is from Greek, εἶδος, (eidos) that which is seen, form, shape, figure.

    A particular form of Being is “ontic” and these are the everyday objects of experience and scientific investigation. However, any object can be questioned as to its meaning as a form of Being. This aspect of beings is “ontological.” Dasein [for our purpose human-beingness] has the ontic characteristic to be ontological—this means, it is a historical fact of Human beings that they are able to question the meaning of their own existence. An inquiry into entities is “ontic,” but an investigation of Being is “ontological.”

    Phenomenology is the science of φαινόμενον, phenomenon, meaning, (photon), bring to light, make to appear, to show. Anything that shows or shines is a phenomenon. Heidegger makes the phenomenological distinction between mere appearing and appearance. Schein, means, semblence, “outward or surface appearance,” or misleading appearance--as it is not. On the other hand, Erscheinung means the way in which the thing appears, but is also a mark, or sign of what a thing is. The example used is a “symptom.” Red spots appear on the skin, but they signify something else, a fever. So the spots are Erscheinung of the fever. It is the thing that appears, but not what is meant. Phenomenon is what shows itself as itself. Neither semblence nor sign are possible without something appearing so phenomenon underlies all appearances.

    But it is precisely the investigation of appearance that Heidegger breaks from Husserl. If phenomenon shows itself as itself then why is a phenomenological method needed in the first place? Heidegger makes a change in the definition of phenomenon: it is that which can show itself. This is a major shift away from Husserl in the use of phenomenology as a method and not “an a priori science of mind as the foundation for scientific philosophy” that Husserl was trying to establish.
    Check out all the embedded links and think about all this and I will return here in a few weeks.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2018
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  2. Kyklos

    Kyklos Active Member Donor

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    The above post might be difficult to understand because of the way it is written. I should explain more.

    First, I just want to say, you don’t have to be a really smart person to study phenomenology, just an interested person; don’t let the word frighten you—you’re already half way finished knowing all the phenomenology you really need to know. Wikipedia is really a good source from my experience.

    Secondly, I want to show how a tiny change in the concept of “appearance” by Heidegger from “surface appearance” and adding “misleading appearance” has a profound change in understanding phenomenological analysis and its focus. This is true in all systematic philosophies—tiny adjustments result in large changes on the methodological end.

    The first paragraph [in the first post above starting “Heidegger begins his examination”] is explaining Husserl and a tool called the Epoché (ἐποχή, epokhē ), and is understood as “the act of suspending judgment about the natural world that precedes phenomenological analysis.” Epoche is also called “bracketing” meaning whatever is between these brackets [...] will only be described and the analyst will not get distracted by attempting to explain whether the phenomenon selected for description is “real,” or “imagined. The phenomenological analyst is only interested in describing our conscious experience. And in this same first paragraph I describe another phenomenological tool called Eidetic reduction. This is a fancy term that means the phenomenological analysts strips away (reduces) all the accidental attributes of an phenomena and leaves only the necessary elements which is called, “essences.” We do this all the time when we make dictionary definitions. So epoche and eidetic reduction are analytical tools—for Husserl.

    The second paragraph about “ontic” (objects)[“A particular form of Being--"beings" is “ontic”] and “ontological” (questions of meaning) is an example of Heidegger using Husserl’s tool of Eidetic reduction to distinguish things (beings) and conscious human being.

    This is how eidetic reduction goes: the subject is reduced to an essence which means we are not concerned about any particular accidental characteristic of a individual human being like his age, ethnicity, gender. No, the essence of human being is “being-there” and more particularly “being-in-the-world” as a portal to Being. Remember his quote, “Language is the house of Being,” As with Kierkegaard, Heidegger believes Dasien is the synthesis of the finite and infinite. Wikipedia reads as the following:
    Also, for definition of "ontology:"
    The third paragraph in the first introductory post above has more distinctions Heidegger creates using Husserl’s phenomenological tool of eidetic reduction of semblance (surface appearance), and Erscheinung (sign).

    So why did I just name the thread “Heideggerian Phenomenology?” Comparing and contrasting both Husserl and Heidegger’s use of phenomenology demonstrates how there are differences in interpretation. Also, the contrast allows one to learn two Phenomenologists at the same time. Husserl is clinical and analytical; Heidegger’s use is theological because a very small adjustment to Husserl’s “surface appearance” by adding “misleading appearance” changes the entire project for Heidegger. However, Heidegger rejects the label, “existentialist,” and embraces the label, “Phenomenologist.”

    Thermostellar Device #20 discovered that misinterpretation could have disastrous consequences. Dolittle either intentionally or by accident taught Device #20, pyrrhonism (absolute doubt) instead of Cartesian doubt, which is strictly methodological doubt.

    When Descartes poses a question like “How do you know the world exists?” (Husserl spends a lot of time studying Descartes) Descartes really doesn’t doubt the existence of the world; he just wants to build a hierarchical foundation for all knowledge based on an irrefutable proposition like, “I think; Therefore, I exist.” There would have been no reason to not explode if Device #20 only knew methodological doubt as a tool, or Device #20 would not have doubted his instructions from ship and aborted the sequence. Either way, when Device #20 re-emerged, it had become an authentic solipsistic entity whose purpose is to actualize its full potential.

    So be on the lookout for different interpretations of phenomenology from Husserl, Heidegger, John Paul Sartre...and people like me that favor Heidegger’s interpretation...this is the direction I want to go!
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
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  3. Adorno

    Adorno Active Member

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    This is very insightful. Really good. Indeed such summaries help bridge important connections in Heidegger's own work and that of his legacy. In particular for me, the highlighting of the phenomenological legacy in Being and Time is helpful in understanding Heidegger's treatment of truth as a form of disclosure; and, it goes a long way in grounding his idea of "thrownness" as well. Dasein, and all that comes with it [what it means to be in the world, how we relate to things (concern/care), to others (particularly unsettling when one thinks how much of our relatedness and social understanding is defined by an asinine "chattering" that now passes for rational discourse - shadows on the Cave wall indeed - a grotesque perversion of eidos), to ourselves (particularly our own mortality)] is, I think, a fascinating attempt to leave the Cartesian legacy behind by mediating Kant, through Hegel, and adding a splash of Nietzsche (e.g. existential celebration of the creative - a commitment to authenticity). I'm of two minds here, on the one hand Heidegger presents a new Copernican turn that opens up philosophical reflection in a wide variety of interesting ways, and yet his account of authenticity so fundamentally leaves behind the crucial critical element of the German Idealist tradition, that he ends up lost in a moral black hole. Without this normative component, and to his eternal shame, he ends up supporting the indefensibly barbaric (Germany 1933), and yet his own students, most notably Hannah Arendt, Herbert Marcuse, and Hans Jonas would take his insights and produce some of the most extraordinarily ethical and humane philosophy ever written. It really is stunning to see the development of Continental philosophy in Heidegger's wake. For example, throw in Lukacs' theory of reification and it's not hard to see how the Frankfurt School ends up where they did (even if they railed against Heidegger at virtually every opportunity - Marcuse's letter to Heidegger shortly after the war is particularly devastating - in response to Heidegger's complaint that critics judge Nazi Germany from the perspective of the end, not from perspective of the beginning, Marcuse writes: "we knew [in 1933]...that the beginning already contained the end...[now] you stand outside of the dimension in which a conversation between men is even possible - outside of Logos").

    Adorno's work too shows the impact - his suggestion that "The predicament of private life today is shown by its arena. Dwelling in the proper sense, is now impossible." (Minima Moralia, 38) "Wrong life can't be lived rightly." There is an undeniable imprint (and inversion) of Heidegger here. Indeed, Adorno's critique of the culture industry, also has a very interesting phenomenological component along these lines - it inverts the original Kantian schemata to emphasize the social component of the phenomenal - where the internal structuring of consciousness is not the product of a transcendental self, but an externally given product that shapes and structures our perception/conceptualization of reality. The cave wall internalized- the myopia is not just in what one sees (although this is still prevalent), but in how one sees it. Consciousness, the last refuge of freedom for Kant, has now, in late modernity, become mere conformity.
     
  4. Kyklos

    Kyklos Active Member Donor

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    I understood everything you wrote, and agree!

    Although, I never heard some of those quotes before. But this issue always comes up about Heidegger's behavior during WWII. I believe he stayed at the University for his students. He was under the gun of a particular censor until the Nazi's got tried of Heidegger's ability to maneuver around them. The Nazi declared Heidegger, "The Most Useless Professor" and sent him off digging ditches.
     
  5. Kyklos

    Kyklos Active Member Donor

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    A Paradigmatic Demonstration of Applying Heidegger’s Dasein Analytic in a Critique of Culture.

    Human consciousness can manifests itself externally as Erscheinung (sign) to show its internal state.

    In the "spirit," as Dostoevsky's "Notes from The Underground", I found this article about Nirvana and Kurt Cobaine's song, "Smells Like Teen Spirit." The German theologian, Hegel, speaks of the Unhappy Consciousness.
    Being has no structure that can be known (Skepticism), and words have no meaning. Cobain can find no words, because there are no words; and yet, his subconscious shouts out what took philosophers centuries to know. Strangely, there is great Truth here. The Unhappy Consciousness seeks Nirvana which is impossible to have because there is no acknowledgment of any correspondence between the Real and the damaged self.( As Leonard Cohen says the Self has been "murdered"--there is no "Self" in the future because the private life is gone. The lost self longs for "Stalin and St. Paul" because in the past there was at least a Self to destroy). This form of consciousness says, "I taste; therefore....nevermind," not the Cartesian Ego, "I think; therefore, I am." Philosophy has nothing to offer. Work is meaningless. Art is the only reprieve. Aphasia is the mind's natural condition.This is the nihilism that Chris Hedges describes in "The Empire of Illusion." There is no "intercourse," or a better term, "mediation," or interaction with the Real. Regardless of the existential situation it finds itself, intelligence still demands coherence and this is done by the unified self ("It makes me smile...") whatever its condition. What does the Christian Theologian have to say?

    Or a more modern Theologian:
    The meaning of the first lyrics in the song? (" ...She's over-bored and self-assured, Oh no, I know a dirty word....").

    Hey! you always got to send a message to your girlfriend especially in a Rock n' Roll song!

    Later, I will explore more of Cobain and Leonard Cohen when speculating on a theory of spiritual experience and sensory domination. There is something in the way keeping us from experiencing the world fully and coherently. We must re-examine our most fundamental assumptions about ourselves and the world, and how beliefs direct our behavior whether we are aware of it, or not. The Dasein Analytic is very helpful doing this kind of re-examine.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2018
  6. Kyklos

    Kyklos Active Member Donor

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    That's great! I like the highlighted text especially.

    What about the Neo-Kantians?

    The Kantian school understands these categories as “absolute,” or the necessary conditions for the possible of experience. The Neo-Kantians hold that these necessary a priori concepts are functionally indistinguishable from a priori "relative" categories. Relative categories are unnecessary for experience, but they change the way perception is organized. Relative categories are not just formal static logical concepts, but are changing historical-anthropological concepts by which cultures are organized. Conceptualizations can become "symbolized" to represent the relationship between concept and the particular in experience. Symbolization connects a perceptual sign with meaning. So uniting a sign and its meaning allows for distinctions in thought that are not found in fact: for example, thinking can distinguish the color and extension of an object, but the separation in not possible in fact. The epistemological distortion of instrumental reason is not only a question of possible false empirical facts, but a false ordering of facts.
     
  7. Kyklos

    Kyklos Active Member Donor

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    and so....
    The phenomenological Eidetic reduction stripped away all the accidental characteristics of human beings to reveal the essential characteristic of human existence ("existential's" of Dasein) as “being-there” and “being-in-the-world.” This is not psychology, but an eidetic analysis of the internal logical structure of Dasein. A Dasein analytic utilized in the critique of culture reverses the direct of the reduction to describe the relative categories of culture, and then these accidental characteristics begin to reappear.
     
  8. Kyklos

    Kyklos Active Member Donor

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    ...these accidental characteristics have a actual history and is fertile ground for empirical research.
     
  9. Kyklos

    Kyklos Active Member Donor

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    For theological phenomenology the “existentials” of Dasein are a “lens” for her analytical toolbox, and “...not a hammer,” of positivistic science.

    Remember in our earlier discussion we witnessed how small changes in interpretation, or analytical distinctions, have large consequences on the out come of analysis? First, we saw this done with Schein, meaning, “semblence,” and “Erscheinung” (Sign), and now with “epoche.”

    Husserl‘s “epoche” now means something like “conversion,” or the “overturning of the soul, ” the poet Leonard Cohen speaks about. The theological phenomenologist are not cheating, rather adjusting her tools for describing the subject. This is a far cry from Husserl’s original pan-mathematical-logico-formalism that characterized his “epoche.”

    The mathematician, Edmund Husserl, would always write a paper on phenomenology after he had written a paper on mathematics, and alternate between the two areas of philosophy.

    The Mystical A Priori.

    "It Seemed The Better Way"
    by
    Leonard Cohen

    "It seemed the better way
    When first I heard him speak
    Now it's much too late
    To turn the other cheek

    Sounded like the truth
    Seemed the better way
    Sounded like the truth
    But it's not the truth today...."
    Is it all True? All this is poetically beautiful, but is it True!?

    We should be able to figure that out. There are only two kinds of propostions: synthetic and analytic propositions.

    A synthectic poposition can either be true, or false like, “The circle is blue.” Synthectic propositions are statements of “fact.”

    On the otherhand, analytic propostions are true by definition such as “circles are round.” If we try to deny a tautology, it then becomes false by definition, “circles are not round” which is a contradiction and is now necessarily false.

    Of course it’s all true!—they are tautologies! And the truth of tautologies is derived from its own circular internal logical necessity.

    You may be surprised that the rule of non-contradiction “A is not non-A” is just a lanuage convention.

    I wonder what Theologian Paul Tillich will have to say about this?
    I was a little let down also when I discovered Logic is itself based on this same logical necessity. I don’t know the answer except “...If all the angels in heaven were to put their heads together, they could still bring to pass only an approximation....”

    All valid deductive arguments are tautologies:

    1.) If A, then B
    2.) A
    ---------------------
    Therefore: B (Modus Ponens, 1,2.).

    Simply add together premises 1, and 2, to form a conjunction.

    Make the conjunction the antecedent to a conditional proposition, and then we have a tautology:

    {[(A>B)*(A)] > B} is a tautology.

    * = and, (conjunction)
    >= If, then, (conditional)

    This works the same with all valid deductive arguments.

    I was a little disappointed that logical necessity is just a language convention. I set aside this problem in theology also because, “...If all the angels in heaven could put there heads together...” Well, you know.

    Tautologies are true...but unfortunately, they are not alway useful, or practical.

    ...on the otherhand, techology is very useful, and practical...but it’s presuppositions are not true. (See, “The Illlusion of Technique,” by Barrett, William, Achor Books/Doubleday, 1979.).

    Then if we are to believe in tautologies, are we then just solipsists?

    ...Solipsism, when it’s all worked out is the same as Realism.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2018
  10. Kyklos

    Kyklos Active Member Donor

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    Within advance industrial society there is both material and spiritual poverty, or in some instances, just poverty of the Spiritual Life. The Spiritual Life can be mutilated, and distorted, but its center holds. Dasein is a synthesis of the finite and the infinite-- the center never divides because that is on the infinite side, but the finite side can be destroyed.

    This form of consciousness is the “Aesthetic Life” The ruling ethical paradigm is psychological egoism that prescribes, “We should try to maximize out own intrinsic good and ignore everyone else’s...”and, “...people invariably do what pleases them by a law of their own nature.” Physical danger and exploitation are seen as enhancements for hedonistic pursuit. Deviousness is a virtue, and only outward appearances matter. The world is universally nihilistic except for love--which is identical to sex. Self-identity only exists in acts of creativity. This form of consciousness--like a mirror--reflects the spiritual condition of its Life World.

    ...but the center holds undivided because she’s “Made by god.”


    "Banana Brain"
    By
    Die Antwoord

    Banana brains, you're the apple of my eye
    Stay with me tonight
    Cause I'm having the best time of my life
    Banana brains, you're the apple of my eye
    Stay with me tonight
    Cause I'm having the best time of my life

    Made by God
    Ninji

    Baby girl, you're so fine

    So, so fine, you blow my mind
    Look at you, coochie coo
    Juicy, tushy, gushy, goo
    Boobie one, boobie two
    Bouncing like a Looney Tune
    Booty boomin', cookie juice
    Gushin' out your coochie, boo
    You're so cute, like Pikachu
    Ain't no one so sweet like you
    I whistle then you sneak into
    My lonely heart like peek-a-boo
    Now every time I think of you not by my side I dry my eyes
    I just wanna sing lullabies to my little butterfly

    Banana brains, you're the apple of my eye
    Stay with me tonight
    Cause I'm having the best time of my life
    Banana brains, you're the apple of my eye
    Stay with me tonight
    Cause I'm having the best time of my life
    Turn up!
    Banana brains, you're the apple of my eye
    Stay with me tonight
    Cause I'm having the best time of my life
    Banana brains, you're the apple of my eye
    Stay with me tonight
    Cause I'm having the best time of my life

    Baby boy, you so cool
    How can I stay mad at you?
    I love you and that's the truth
    You so silly, you so stupid
    You the best
    I never want you to stress
    Everything gonna be cool
    Wait and see
    Just hold my hand and stay with me
    B-B-Baby girl, you been there for me
    Through thick and thin with cool energy
    You cared for me, yeah, defended me
    Helped me defeat my e-e-enemies
    Life's weird it keeps testing me
    No other girl in the world impressing me
    You like Yudu, you voodoo fresh to me
    You just wanna be different
    Get the best of me
    It was meant to be
    You were sent to me
    You and me got wild destiny
    You're like a little angel won't ever pressure me
    E-e-everything you do is so Zef to me
    I love it that you best friends with me
    Just wanna treat your heart carefully
    Cause everyday I feel blessed to be
    The boy chillin' with you right next to me

    Banana brains, you're the apple of my eye
    Stay with me tonight
    Cause I'm having the best time of my life
    Banana brains, you're the apple of my eye
    Stay with me tonight
    Cause I'm having the best time of my life
    Stay with me tonight
    Stay with me tonight
    Stay with me tonight
    Cause I'm having the best time of my life

    I love your energy! (the best time)
    I love it that you're there for me! (the best time)
    Everything is meant to be! (the best time)
    Baby, you were sent to me! (I'm having the best time of my life)
    I love your energy!
    I love it that you're there for me!
    Everything is meant to be!
    Baby, you were sent to me!
    I love your energy!
    I love it that you're there for me!
    Everything is meant to be!
    Baby, you were sent to me!​
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2018
  11. vman12

    vman12 Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    I don't know, but I couldn't resist trying to say that 10 times real fast.

    Didn't turn out well.
     
  12. Kyklos

    Kyklos Active Member Donor

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    Oh, did I forget to mention that in the phenomenology reduction of the Aesthetic Life, religious symbolism is transubstantiated into gaudy commercialized blingism?
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2018
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  13. Kyklos

    Kyklos Active Member Donor

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    LoL!!! Now I get it!!!! LOL!
     
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  14. Kyklos

    Kyklos Active Member Donor

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    I am going to take a tiny, tiny break before going forward--not because I don't have more topics to discussion, but rather deciding what I want to leave out.

    Now, Bjork, has a great video called, "Big Time Sensuality." It's really good.

    But I wonder, when will she publish a video entitled, "Big Time Spirituality?" That would really be a good one!

    But then one come back might be, "Maybe they are the same thing."

    Hmmm....
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
  15. Kyklos

    Kyklos Active Member Donor

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    Earlier, I introduced the Husserlian concept of "Lifeworld," and Heidegger's concept of “being-in-the-world” to describe Dasein’s consciousness. “Lifeworld” is a useful concept when trying to understanding questions of economics, religion, and morality. When a system consumes, or colonizes the lifeworld that society then develops pathologies of nihilism, alienation, and neurosis.

    Edmund Husserl is the first to use this concept, "Lifeworld.” I could paraphrase another author’s description of the Lifeworld, but he has given a particularly good one--A little Husserl, salt, and a dash of Habermas.
    This last part concerning the Lifeworld is very relevant to our situation here at this political discussion board. Here are some details of how Habermas’ Lifeworld varies from Husserl’s: [my emphasis in bold]
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
  16. Kyklos

    Kyklos Active Member Donor

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    In regard to the Banana Brain critique, I should add the following description of the Aesthetic Life :
    "There is no mystical tea of enlightenment, only chemically induced alternated states of consciousness that is also directed toward hedonistic ends. “GOD” is a brand name."

    ...and then that jewelry thing kind of gets me...that in the phenomenological reduction of the Aesthetic Life, religious symbolism is transubstantiated into gaudy commercialized blingism. Or to say it another way: de-sacralization.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2018
  17. Kyklos

    Kyklos Active Member Donor

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    And like I said...It works! It works! It works!
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2018
  18. Kyklos

    Kyklos Active Member Donor

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    Index of # Posts and Topic:
    - 1, Introduction to Phenomenology
    - 2, Phenomenological Tools
    - 5, Dasein Analytic and Critique of Culture
    - 7, 8 Neo-Kantians and Eidetic Analysis
    - 9, Mystic A priori
    - 10, 11, 12, Phenomenological Reduction of the Aesthetic Life
    - 15, 16, 17, The Lifeworld


    More About Phenomenological Conceptual Tools, Methodologies, and Meta-Theology.

    Dr. Shields has asked [My paraphrasing] “Where does theological phenomenology stand on the important question of what is the ontological foundation of logical necessity?”
    Wittgenstein would qualify as a non-essentialist by not believing truth had an actual objective reality existing along side Plato’s Essences. It means we brush up on our Wittgenstein and Kierkegaard!

    Just as a side note: Margarete Wittgenstein and her relation with Ludwig Wittgenstein, her brother:
    There are two kinds of logicians: no! I don’t mean bad logicians, and good logicians, nor do I mean male and female logicians—I mean “essentialist” and “non-essentialist” logicians. The two groups are also known as “idealist essentialism” and “non-essential nominal realism.”
    The essentialist logicians believe that the essential “laws” of logic and mathematics are eternal, and objectivity exists in some kind of heaven with Plato’s Forms. Most mathematicians are essentialist including philosophers like Edmund Husserl, and Bertrand Russell who actually believed in essentialism. Wittgenstein is a nominalist.

    However, “essence” can have many different meanings.
    The ontological status of logical necessity is a serious issue that must be resolved, otherwise one could be caught is big contradictions later on down the road. The essentialist logico-mathematical philosopher must defend his position not unlike in the theism vs. anti-theism debate. Wittgenstein--a nominalist--would be by analogy on the “atheist” side of this essentialist debate.

    There is another difference between idealist essentialism and the non-essentialist nominalist: when an essentialist formulates a new mathematical law she views it as a “discovery” in mathematics just as in the positivistic empirical sciences. On the other hand, a nominalist would understand a new formula as a conceptual “invention” that has no independent objective reality from ourselves.

    I really like the rule of non-contradiction—“A is not, non-A,” and its necessity must ontologically stand on something! But Wittgenstein says, “Give it up!” it’s just a convention of language. So this is why I am with Wittgenstein, a nominalist, but I am not an “atheist” so to speak. I am more analogous to the “a-gnostic” (“a,” Alpha privative, meaning “none” and “gnosis” meaning, “knowledge”) about this question of logical necessity. Don’t be afraid to change your mind on this issue, however.

    “The phenomenological essence is always in relation to human experience, it has no reality outside of the experience of the experiencer.” (J.M Shields). I can still remain a theological phenomenologist without any nasty contradictions. A nominalist only admits the very least--with the least risk.

    In regard to that phenomenological tool called the “Epoche,” or the “bracketing” of questions about existents: we may have been too hard on Husserl by saying he had too ridged of a definition of the epoche. Husserl and religious phenomenologists’s view of the epoche may have been closer than first thought.
    The theological phenomenological project of critically seeing the world still remains intact regardless of the essentialist and non-essentialist debate.
    Theological phenomenology needs good descriptive authors with knowledge of philosophy to write critiques of culture, economics, and religion.

    And then we can step “back to watch the forms of transcendence fly up like sparks from a fire.”

    *Footnote: Anyone that could read J.M. Shields’ article on Religious Phenomenology and understand 90% of it, I would consider that person an expert on phenomenology. So with what I have written so far, you should be able to understand Shield’s article fairly easily.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2018
  19. Kyklos

    Kyklos Active Member Donor

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    Björk - National Theatre, Reykjavík (full concert - pro-shot) (1999)
    I commented earlier that Bjork should do a video song entitled "Big Time Spirituality." Actually, she already has with her many other songs--they are primarily about spirituality. In the Reykjanik Consert she sings and dances to a collection of her songs. You must see it! Her performance has a mystical feel.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2018
  20. Kyklos

    Kyklos Active Member Donor

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    The Reykjavík concert is beautiful! And Bjork is cute as a bug!

    Sorry, I'm just going to read and play today. This song is about human irrationality as a structure of its being. There is ambiguity in finite existence which causes anxiety. Hear at mark 48:48 minutes (Human Behaviour) in the Reykjavík concert.

    "Human Behaviour"
    by Bjork

    If you ever get close to a human
    And human behavior
    Be ready, be ready to get confused
    And me and my hereafter
    There's definitely, definitely, definitely no logic
    To human behavior
    But yet so, yet so irresistible
    And me and my fear can
    And there's no map uncertain
    They're terribly, terribly, terribly moody of human behavior
    Then all of a sudden, turn happy and they and my here after
    But, oh, to get involved in the exchange of human emotions
    Is ever so ever so satisfying and they and my here, oh
    And there's no map uncertain
    Human behavior, human behavior
    Human behavior, human behavior
    And there's no map
    And a compass wouldn't help at all
    Yeah, uncertain
    Human behavior, human behavior
    Human behavior, human behavior
    Human behavior, human behavior
    Human behavior
    There's definitely, definitely, definitely no logic
    To human, to human, to human, to human​
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2018
  21. Jonsa

    Jonsa Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Dasein - The journey as it reveals itself is the reward.
     
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  22. Kyklos

    Kyklos Active Member Donor

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    Thank you Jonsa! I like that very much.
     
  23. Kyklos

    Kyklos Active Member Donor

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    Index of # Posts and Topic:
    - 1, Introduction to Phenomenology
    - 2, Phenomenological Tools
    - 5, Dasein Analytic and Critique of Culture
    - 7, 8 Neo-Kantians and Eidetic Analysis
    - 9, Mystic A priori
    - 10, 11, 12, Phenomenological Reduction of the Aesthetic Life
    - 15, 16, 17, The Lifeworld
    - 23, Husserl: Empiricism, Psychologism, Circularity, and Reification

    Phenomenology first emerged as a school of philosophy from German Universities in Gottingen and Munich before World War I. Between 1913 and 1930 a series of articles on phenomenology were published by a group of phenomenologists whose chief editor was mathematician Edmund Husserl. Husserl always referred to himself as a “perpetual beginner.” Phenomenology is a non-empirical science that is descriptive without presuppositions and examines objects as phenomena. The term “intuition” simply means, “seeing.” The essences are the most general, necessary, and invariant characteristics of the object observed. “Bracketing” or “Epoche” (borrowed from skeptics) is the suspending belief in existence.

    “Bracketing” has under gone another change in meaning under Husserl. “Bracketing” means the transition from non-reflective thinking to reflective thinking. The purpose of this definitional change is to protect phenomenology from the criticism that it’s methodology and epistemology is logically circular. Phenomenologists have presented counter arguments claiming non-circularity, but I am unconvinced.

    One of the first schools of thought phenomenology had to defeat was Psychologism.

    Psychologism was popular at the end of the 1800s. The problem with psychologism is it reduces all knowledge to neuroscience which creates big epistemological problems since necessary truths like "A is not non-A" or "a ÷ b = a × 1⁄b" are not necessarily true at all since these formulas only express the physical structure of our brain which is contingent--that is, our brains could have been organized another way so that these necessary truths could be false! All of mathematics and logic would collapse if their propositions were merely contingently true! Edmund Husserl absolutely destroyed this school of thought in his book, Logical Investigations (1901). Husserl’s arguments against psychologism still stand today. In this famous critique of psychologism, Husserl revealed himself to be a Platonic Realist—numbers existed with Plato’s Forms. One of Husserl’s phenomenological studies asked, “What is a number?”

    Husserl thought of phenomenology as a scientific positivism of essences: Adorno is critical of them both phenomenology and positivism because they extract the “immediate data of consciousness” from phenomena in the stream of consciousness. Adorno argues that Husserl and Positivistic methodology buy into the idea that Thought is Being--which is pure Idealism. The Positivists are actually “subjectivists” except they eliminate the Subject from the Truth. And yet at the same time Positivism is solipsistic.”

    "What Husserlian phenomenology amounts to, therefore, is the "transfer of positivism into Platonic realism" (Adorno: The Recovery of Experience, Roger Foster, Loc. 54-55, p. 132).

    The Husserlian phenomenological definition of consciousness is Intentionality, "the distinguishing property of mental phenomena of being necessarily directed upon an object, whether real or imaginary." Consciousness is always directed at an object and has an object before it. You would think that positivists would be suspicious of "facts" if consciousness can only be directed at objects whether real or imagined. But consciousness can forget its transcendental character (not an object) and view itself only as an constructed “I.” The Subject identifies with objects because they are defined and static. Objectification of the self is the first reduction of the Self. This is Sartre’s existentialist theory of consciousness--The Transcendental Ego. In fact, all modern existentialist literature accepts this theory of the Self—that is, consciousness as intentionality.

    We also must understand “false consciousness” in which the symbol gets confused with the symbolized. Thought habitually reifies its experiences:
    "Whereas the philosophy of nature [Science] by contrast, seeks to eliminate the subjective, transcendental philosophy seeks absolutely to elucidate it." This is our current challenge today--to restore the Subject as Human Being. The elimination of the Subject from science, history, philosophy, logic--and even the science of psychology, of all disciplines--is the hallmark of our historical epoch--and it leads to an epoch of dehumanization. This is the, The Crisis of the European Sciences, by Husserl (1911)(Introduction free pdf.).

    Ideas, by Edmund Husserl,(1913)(free pdf.). This is the best book to start with if you want to read Husserl directly. I would recommend reading secondary material around phenomenology as much as possible before reading Husserl directly.

    Cartesian Meditations by Edmund Husserl (1929)(free pdf.)

    This work is divided into five "meditations" of varying length, whose contents are as follows:

    1. First Meditation: The Way to the Transcendental Ego
    2. Second Meditation: The Field of Transcendental Experience
    3. Third Meditation: Constitutional Problems
    4. Fourth Meditation: Constitutional Problems Pertaining to the Transcendental Ego Itself
    5. Fifth Meditation: Transcendental Being as Monadological Intersubjectivity

    What is the Transcendental Ego?
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2018
  24. Kyklos

    Kyklos Active Member Donor

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    Index of # Posts and Topic:
    - 1, Introduction to Phenomenology
    - 2, Phenomenological Tools
    - 5, Dasein Analytic and Critique of Culture
    - 7, 8 Neo-Kantians and Eidetic Analysis
    - 9, Mystic A priori
    - 10, 11, 12, Phenomenological Reduction of the Aesthetic Life
    - 15, 16, 17, The Lifeworld
    - 23, Husserl: Empiricism, Psychologism, Circularity, and Reification
    - 24,25 Absolute Consciousness, Sartre

    I want to examine Sartre’s argument for a new view of consciousness based on his study of phenomenology. Next, I want to discuss Sartre’s philosophical object of attack, and what advantage there is for a new position concerning a theory of consciousness. Why did Sartre believe that it was so important that consciousness be re-examined? Sartre’s phenomenological study of self consciousness, Transcendence of the Ego ,(1934) should not just be understood as a polemic against other theories of consciousness, but in light of Sartre’s later philosophical examination of human existence, Being and Nothingness,(1943). And I am always on the look out for a Theory of Spiritual Experience!

    Absolute Consciousness

    Without the “I,” consciousness is absolute. French phenomenological existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre reasoned consciousness is consciousness of itself. Consciousness is translucence and all objects are before it, making consciousness “positional” (asserting the existence of its object) when conscious of any object. However, when consciousness is conscious of itself, it is “non-positional” since consciousness cannot be an object for itself. Therefore, according to Sartre, absolute consciousness is “un-reflected consciousness,” and has no object for itself. A pure consciousness --having no object presenting --is consciousness of itself.

    What is the character of this “consciousness of consciousness?” Sartre reminds us that some philosophers in the past, like Spinoza and Descartes, were eager to present “knowledge” as the primary attribute of consciousness so that consciousness meant “ a knowledge of knowledge.” So for these thinkers, consciousness is knowledge--there is only the known and knower.

    The knower-known dyads are inadequate terms for understanding consciousness. Implicit to this idea of consciousness of an object is the idea of a consciousness, which is conscious of itself as a consciousness. One can be conscious of being conscious of a table, for example. However, we are faced with a problem because a third term, or observer, is needed in order for the knower to become known. We can have, for example, the observer of the table conscious of the table, and he can be conscious of being conscious of the table, and he can be conscious of being conscious of being conscious of the table—or “the known, the knower known, the knower known to the knower”….ad infinitum.

    What is Sartre’s solution for correcting this knower-known definition of “consciousness of consciousness?” We must stop at a “final term” or continue in an infinite regression of the knower-know series. This final term is a non-self conscious reflection, or a non-cognitive relation of the self to itself. It is a consciousness without the “me,” or “I.” So for Sartre, behind all positional consciousness that reflects on some object, there is a non-positional consciousness which has no concept of “I.” Only after perception, can one look back and reflect on the “I” which viewed the table. Sartre illustrates how the “I” disappears and re-appears in his famous streetcar example.
    This non-positional consciousness, or non-reflective consciousness is a pre-reflective cogito, or an absolute consciousness underlying the Cartesian “I think; therefore, I am,” cogito.

    Examining The Sartrean Critique of Consciousness for a Theory of Spiritual Experience.

    “….it would be an infinitely contracted me.”--Jean-Paul Sartre

    What would happen if we allowed this constructed “I” to be smuggled into consciousness? Sartre warns this constructed “I” would “tear” consciousness from itself, and obscure, or becloud the lucidity, and crystallinity of consciousness. This “I” before consciousness is a foreign body, or element contained within the glasslike structure of consciousness. Sartre tells us “It, the ‘I,’ would be to the concrete and psychophysical me what a point is to three dimensions; it would be an infinitely contracted me.” If one solidifies consciousness, then it becomes a concrete mass and loses its self-movement, self-activity, and spontaneity. Consciousness becomes a monad from the Greek work “μονάς” meaning single, or unit.

    This is one instance that Sartre gives a good reason for his new theory of consciousness. Sartre speaks of the “vertigo of consciousness,“ that is, the essence of consciousness is possibility. Also, the spontaneity of consciousness and its ability to choose projects-- an imagined goal--are the other important themes that lead to Sartre’s main theme of “Freedom.” This, I believe, is Sartre’s ulterior motive for writing, Transcendence of the Ego. Sartre is constructing a theoretical foundation for his theme of “Freedom” by eradicating the “infinitely contracted me” and replacing it with a self-moving, self-active, free consciousness.

    The concept of nothingness is applied here to describe consciousness; however, there is a correlative concept that must be explained in connection with consciousness as nothingness—Bad Faith.

    Sartre applies this concept of Bad Faith in at least two different ways: first, there is bad faith as play-acting. Again we have the imaginary café environment, but this time the bad faith example is a waiter who absorbs himself in the role of the waiter so as to escape making choices as a free and autonomous human agent. The demands placed upon him are those of a waiter, not the demands of a free human being; he pretends that he is bound by necessity—to earn a wage—but in reality it is a necessity that is self-imposed.

    Sartre has a second twist to the concept of bad faith in which the self views itself as only a determinate object. In order to escape making existential choices, the Subject will postulate itself as a “thing” wholly subordinated to physical causation—no freedom of will-- as a justification to escape responsibility from Freedom itself--from living an authentic life of choice. This form of consciousness understands human behavior as only a matter of physical forces that determine action just as a machine, or a leaf is blown in the wind. (Existentialism, Mary Warnock, New York : Oxford University Press, 1970, pp. 102-103.).

    To have consciousness as an object—as an Ego—is only a step away from bad faith. To view consciousness as reflected consciousness would negate consciousness of its plasticity. Sartre views consciousness as “unreflected consciousness.“
    In the beginning of Being and Nothingness, the first subject treated by Sartre is phenomenon. But in his study of phenomenon and Being, Sartre is soon led to that which phenomena presents themselves—that is to say, consciousness. Therefore, it is necessary to analyze with great care the whole concept of consciousness and its structure. Sartre puts forth some unique points of view which require careful attention in regard to how consciousness has been conceived of in the past and contrasted with the Sartrean concept of consciousness.

    Sartre presents his analysis of consciousness in the form of a rebellion against psychologists and philosophers who view consciousness, or in these person’s terms—the “Ego,” as a material present in consciousness. For Sartre, consciousness and ego are not the same. Indeed Sartre’s presentation is within the historical existential tradition. It has been said that Existentialism is not a disciplined philosophical system, but a general label for rebellions in various forms against traditional philosophy.

    At this point, one should point out a shortcoming of Sartre’s essay in The Transcendence of the Ego. First, Sartre never gives the reader a clear view of his object of attack. He may have classified his target for reform in some other philosophical work, but in The Transcendence of the Ego, he is vague on exactly what theory of consciousness is under attack. Sartre only quotes a few statements from Kant, Spinoza, and Descartes, then one is left with the task of piecing together the opposing view purely from Sartre’s new theory of consciousness. Sartre begins with one of the “classical views” of the “I” without giving any reasons why one should begin with Kant rather than Spinoza, or Spinoza before Descartes. One is purely at Sartre’s mercy on which direction one should go in this subject.

    Without this unity of consciousness, or the unity of apperception in which the “I think” must accompany any sensuous representation, no object could be intuited. This means that the problem of consciousness is one of logical validity—a problem of Critical Philosophy and not a question about ontology. This is a question of “fact” for Sartre:
    Kant, according to Sartre, has been misinterpreted, or at least Kant’s theory has been applied in such a way as to obscure the original task of phenomenology scientifically investigating the structure of consciousness. Sartre properly asks the fundamental question of Critical Philosophy, “Is the ‘I’ that we encounter in our representations, or is it the ‘I’ which in fact unites the representations to each other?” (Jean-Paul Sartre, The Transcendence of the Ego, pp.34.).

    Sartre’s critique perceptively cites those moments of awareness without the presence of “I” in his streetcar example. Sartre believed that Husserl’s phenomenology is able to solve many problems of Kant’s view of the “I,” or the relationship of the “I” to consciousness.

    What is Kant’s, or for that matter, the classical view concerning the presence of a transcendental “I”? The “I,” or “ego” is viewed as a substance, or point suspended within consciousness which radiates attention out into its field of perception. The “I” is a solid center perceiving phenomenon. They would consider the transcendental “I” as a need, or a theoretical requirement of consciousness because consciousness must have a nucleus, or core in which to unify itself and form a locality for its individuality. Also, the argument continues, the “I” provides a theoretically necessary reference point to which the self can refer its perceptions and thoughts. Thus, the “I” is an amalgamated base in which one’s consciousness is solidified. Therefore, we are all able to distinguish ourselves from one another; your consciousness, and my consciousness. Such is the classical view of the “I,” or “ego.”

    Sartre’s phenomenological critique of consciousness takes us beyond this artificial solidified center of the “I” that provides unity and individuality for consciousness. Sartre adapts Husserl’s definition of consciousness to disclose to us why this constructed “I” is not the true self. Husserl states that consciousness is consciousness of an object and is separate from that object. Further, all consciousness is consciousness of something and that consciousness has no content—it is a nothingness (no-thing-ness).
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018
  25. Kyklos

    Kyklos Active Member Donor

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    Index of # Posts and Topic:
    - 1, Introduction to Phenomenology
    - 2, Phenomenological Tools
    - 5, Dasein Analytic and Critique of Culture
    - 7, 8 Neo-Kantians and Eidetic Analysis
    - 9, Mystic A priori
    - 10, 11, 12, Phenomenological Reduction of the Aesthetic Life
    - 15, 16, 17, The Lifeworld
    - 23, Husserl: Empiricism, Psychologism, Circularity, and Reification
    - 24, 25, Absolute Consciousness, Sartre


    Sartre on Being and Nothingness

    “Nothingness” is a central theme in Being and Nothingness, and its basic meaning is partly derived from Heidegger’s use of the word. The concept is partly derived because there are four ways in which Sartre uses this word--two of which are borrowed from Heidegger’s philosophy.

    For Heidegger, nothingness described a kind of metaphysical distance that separates human existence and the world; more correctly, it is the gap between a person’s consciousness and objects in which they appear, or thrown before him. 1.) Nothingness in this sense is epistemological. Secondly, Heidegger uses nothingness in another way: as 2.) the “futility,” or the vanishing and passing away of objects. This second sense is very important because this is the foundation of the Heideggerian angst which transforms Human Being (da-sein, Heidegger would say this characterization is an over simplification) from an inauthentic existence to an authentic one. “Nothingness” in this sense is emotional.

    Sartre accepts and employs this first meaning of nothingness as epistemology—the metaphysical gap. However, Sartre then takes this concept of nothingness and connects it with 3.) “negation.” Sartre tells the story of Pierre being absent from a café—waiting for someone absent is an experienced negation. Here, Sartre is trying to show that nothingness can enter our experience of the world. Sartre is an extreme empiricist and even describes to us the experience of nothingness.

    Lastly, Sartre again modifies the concept of nothingness in a special sense which is important to our search for a theory of spiritual experience. Nothingness in this last sense describes the Being-for-itself; it is the emptiness of consciousness which one attempts to give substance by action, thinking, and perceptions of the work. 4.) Nothingness is for Sartre “potentiality” that must be actualized, or made real, by choice. Nothingness is both an external and internal phenomenon for Sartre (Existentialism, Mary Warnock, New York : Oxford University Press, 1970, pp. 93-95)

    Sartre believes philosophy should expel these “things” from consciousness and reveal its real connection with the world. An object, a table for example, is not in consciousness, but rather the table is in space. Consciousness is a positional consciousness of the world, and this positional consciousness transcends itself in order to reach an object. Thus, consciousness is “intention” (from Husserl’s theory of Intentionality) directed toward the world, toward the table, for example, and as intention is directed to the table, it is absorbed in it. Not only is the table “out there,” but also so is the ego, or “I,” which is also an object among many objects. This is what Sartre means by saying that consciousness has no content. Consciousness is only intentionality toward objects. Therefore, the ego, ideas, phenomena, and thoughts are not contained in consciousness, but are objects for consciousness. Sartre expresses this emptiness of consciousness as a “wind blowing toward objects.” It is total emptiness because all the world is outside of it.

    Sartre’s Relocation of the Ego

    We can see Sartre doing something extraordinary. Sartre takes Husserl’s theory of intentionality to reject, or eradicate the “I” from consciousness. Sartre performs a sort of theoretical house cleaning by situating the “I” outside of consciousness. However, one may ask why? Strangely, Sartre gives few reasons why the “I” must be located outside of consciousness; however, one thing is certain by viewing consciousness as emptiness, or “a wind blowing toward objects,” Sartre is able to lay the foundation for later analysis of Human existence (Being-for-itself). One can understand this more clearly by reading Being and Nothingness, which centers on this understanding of consciousness.

    Because consciousness is empty, we are able to understand Sartre when he says that consciousness is consciousness through and through. Consciousness can only be limited by itself. Sartre also says that the existence of consciousness comes from consciousness itself and that consciousness refers perpetually to itself.

    Sartre sees in this clear and lucid consciousness both unity and individuality without the need for this extraneous “I” to be interjected into pure consciousness. Sartre thinks that consciousness unifies itself by escaping from itself to an object of attention which is transcendent to consciousness, but it is within this object of attention that consciousness is unified. Because consciousness can be limited only by itself, the individuality of consciousness is from the very nature of consciousness itself. Consequently, Sartre and his phenomenological concept of consciousness reject the “I” and its importance of providing unity and individuality to consciousness. Sartre claims that the “I” is only an expression of unity and individuality of consciousness.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018

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