Introduction to Phenomenology

Phenomenology has been, and still remains one of the most significant philosophical movements of the 20th and 21st century. It attempts to take the body and experience seriously, and find the complex inter-relation of body to mind, consciousness and language. Husserl (1859-1938) is generally considered to be the founder of Phenomenology, he developed a theory of how humans understand the world through their intentionality, and sensual engagement with objects and their experiential bodies. Max Scheler discovers Husserl’s theory but takes it in a more ethical direction. Phenomenology for Scheler, is the “loving act of participation by the core of the human being in the essence of all things”. Scheler strove to save philosophy and thought from the reductive mindset of the positive sciences and to a degree, American pragmatism.

In the Phenomenology Merleau-Ponty develops a theory which argues against the understanding of any mental process, thinking, reflecting, imagining, or understanding which is not fundamentally dependent on the way in which the body learns to negotiate with its physical environment. For Heidegger “we ourselves are the entities to be analysed, his phenomenology of ‘lived experience’ is a corrective to the enlightenment idea of reason. The essential text will be his opus work: Being and Time. Phenomenology is a vibrant part of contemporary philosophy, the theory has had many applications in fields such as medicine, psychology, and the arts. We will consider a range of philosophers who are currently working in the field. One of the top researchers presently is Prof. Dan Zahavi of the University of Copenhagen.

This class will be delivered online via the online platform Zoom. Enrolling students need to ensure they have an email, a reliable internet connection, microphone/speakers and access to a tablet, smartphone or computer.

COURSE OUTLINE

  • What is Phenomenology? The philosophical background of Phenomenology will be discussed in this lecture. We will be concerned with the question of the relationship between thought and perception; the idea and its expression; reason and emotion.
  • Edmund Husserl - Phenomenological Reduction: Husserl (1859-1938) is generally considered to be the founder of Modern Phenomenology. We will discuss Husserl's theory of perception, time, intentionality, and the phenomenological reduction.
  • Max Scheler: Like many of the Lebensphilosophen (philosophers of life) who had influenced him, Scheler strove to save philosophy and thought from the reductive mindset of the positive sciences and to a degree, American pragmatism. For Scheler, practical knowledge and practical consciousness are genetically the first form of knowledge for the individual. Yet, human beings are not necessarily tied to practical affairs and have the ability to comprehend and regard the world in terms of its essence or being.
  • Martin Heidegge - Being-with-Others: Heidegger (1889-1976) took phenomenology in a new direction with his concepts of: Being-with-Others; Care and Authenticity; and his original concept of truth as Revealing and Concealing. We will consider aspects of his most important text Being and Time.
  • Martin Heidegger - Technology of the Body: Heidegger was one of the first theorists to think seriously about the human relationship to technology. He considers questions such as: Is our fundamental human nature changed by the kinds of technology we use?
  • Maurice Merleau-Ponty: This week we will discuss Merleau-Ponty’s (1907-1961) concept of the body as a synergic system. Merleau-Ponty understands the human body and mind as a synergic system in which all the senses play an integrated part.
  • Merleau-Ponty - The Visible and the Invisible: In his book The Visible and the Invisible, Merleau-Ponty develops a theory which attempts to understand how meanings become embedded in the ‘fabric of being’.
  • Contemporary Phenomenology: We now turn to the contemporary situation. Some of the best new work being done in Phenomenology is coming from the continent. Prof. Dan Zahavi of the University of Copenhagen is one of phenomenology's top researchers, his recently published Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Phenomenology, has been widely discussed. We will consider some of these new developments.
  • Practical Phenomenology: Phenomenology has many contemporary applications in medicine, psychology, anthropology, and many other areas. We will consider some of these applications.
  • Phenomenology and the Arts: By adopting the phenomenological attitude, we pay attention to how objects such as paintings, symphonies, films, waterfalls appear to us not as ‘useful’ but as ‘contemplative’. We will consider the difference this aesthetic intentionally makes to our consciousness of art objects.

PLANNED LEARNING OUTCOMES

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Have gained an overall understanding of the key concepts in Phenomenology.
  2. Have gained an insight into the ideas of Edmund Husserl Max Scheler Martin Heidegger Maurice Merleau-Ponty Prof. Dan Zahavi and more.
  3. Apply these ideas to practical domains such as medicine.
  4. Relate phenomenological ideas to our contemporary world and current issues.
  5. Apply these ideas to their personal lives and choices.
$270 Limited / $243

<p>Phenomenology has been, and still remains one of the most significant philosophical movements of the 20th and 21st century. It attempts to take the body and experience seriously, and find the

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27 Apr

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