The Phenomenology Reader is the first comprehensive anthology of seminal writings in phenomenology. Carefully selected readings chart phenomenology's most famous thinkers, such as Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre and Derrida, as well as less well known figures such as Stein and Scheler. Ideal for introductory courses in phenomenology and continental philosophy, The Phenomenology Reader provides a comprehensive introduction to one of the most influential movements in twentieth-century philosophy.
The Distinction between Mental and Physical Phenomena. Letter to Anston Marty. Edmund Husserl Founder of Phenomenology. Introduction to the Logical Investigations.
Consciousness as Intentional Experience. What is Existenz Philosophy? Labor Work Action. JeanPaul Sartre Transcendence and Freedom. The Transcendence of the Ego. The Phenomenology of Internal Time Consciousness. Pure Phenomenology its Method and its Field of Investigation. And yet experience is part of what is to be explained by neuroscience.
A Historical Introduction to Phenomenology | Taylor & Francis Group
In the late s and s the computer model of mind set in, and functionalism became the dominant model of mind. On this model, mind is not what the brain consists in electrochemical transactions in neurons in vast complexes. Instead, mind is what brains do: their function of mediating between information coming into the organism and behavior proceeding from the organism. Thus, a mental state is a functional state of the brain or of the human or animal organism. Since the s the cognitive sciences—from experimental studies of cognition to neuroscience—have tended toward a mix of materialism and functionalism.
Gradually, however, philosophers found that phenomenological aspects of the mind pose problems for the functionalist paradigm too. Many philosophers pressed the case that sensory qualia—what it is like to feel pain, to see red, etc. Consciousness has properties of its own. And yet, we know, it is closely tied to the brain.
And, at some level of description, neural activities implement computation. In the s John Searle argued in Intentionality and further in The Rediscovery of the Mind that intentionality and consciousness are essential properties of mental states. Searle also argued that computers simulate but do not have mental states characterized by intentionality. As Searle argued, a computer system has a syntax processing symbols of certain shapes but has no semantics the symbols lack meaning: we interpret the symbols. However, there is an important difference in background theory.
For Searle explicitly assumes the basic worldview of natural science, holding that consciousness is part of nature. But Husserl explicitly brackets that assumption, and later phenomenologists—including Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty—seem to seek a certain sanctuary for phenomenology beyond the natural sciences. And yet phenomenology itself should be largely neutral about further theories of how experience arises, notably from brain activity. Since the late s, and especially the late s, a variety of writers working in philosophy of mind have focused on the fundamental character of consciousness, ultimately a phenomenological issue.
Does consciousness always and essentially involve self-consciousness, or consciousness-of-consciousness, as Brentano, Husserl, and Sartre held in varying detail? If so, then every act of consciousness either includes or is adjoined by a consciousness-of-that-consciousness. Does that self-consciousness take the form of an internal self-monitoring?
If so, is that monitoring of a higher order, where each act of consciousness is joined by a further mental act monitoring the base act? Or is such monitoring of the same order as the base act, a proper part of the act without which the act would not be conscious? A variety of models of this self-consciousness have been developed, some explicitly drawing on or adapting views in Brentano, Husserl, and Sartre. The philosophy of mind may be factored into the following disciplines or ranges of theory relevant to mind:.
Phenomenology offers descriptive analyses of mental phenomena, while neuroscience and wider biology and ultimately physics offers models of explanation of what causes or gives rise to mental phenomena. Cultural theory offers analyses of social activities and their impact on experience, including ways language shapes our thought, emotion, and motivation.
And ontology frames all these results within a basic scheme of the structure of the world, including our own minds. The ontological distinction among the form, appearance, and substrate of an activity of consciousness is detailed in D.
Meanwhile, from an epistemological standpoint, all these ranges of theory about mind begin with how we observe and reason about and seek to explain phenomena we encounter in the world. And that is where phenomenology begins. Moreover, how we understand each piece of theory, including theory about mind, is central to the theory of intentionality, as it were, the semantics of thought and experience in general. And that is the heart of phenomenology. Phenomenological issues, by any other name, have played a prominent role in very recent philosophy of mind.
Amplifying the theme of the previous section, we note two such issues: the form of inner awareness that ostensibly makes a mental activity conscious, and the phenomenal character of conscious cognitive mental activity in thought, and perception, and action. This subjective phenomenal character of consciousness is held to be constitutive or definitive of consciousness. What is the form of that phenomenal character we find in consciousness? A prominent line of analysis holds that the phenomenal character of a mental activity consists in a certain form of awareness of that activity, an awareness that by definition renders it conscious.
Since the s a variety of models of that awareness have been developed. As noted above, there are models that define this awareness as a higher-order monitoring, either an inner perception of the activity a form of inner sense per Kant or inner consciousness per Brentano , or an inner thought about the activity. A further model analyzes such awareness as an integral part of the experience, a form of self-representation within the experience.
Again, see Kriegel and Williford eds. A somewhat different model comes arguably closer to the form of self-consciousness sought by Brentano, Husserl, and Sartre. That form of awareness is held to be a constitutive element of the experience that renders it conscious. This reflexive awareness is not, then, part of a separable higher-order monitoring, but rather built into consciousness per se.
On the modal model, this awareness is part of the way the experience unfolds: subjectively, phenomenally, consciously. This model is elaborated in D. Whatever may be the precise form of phenomenal character, we would ask how that character distributes over mental life. What is phenomenal in different types of mental activity? Here arise issues of cognitive phenomenology.
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Or is phenomenality present also in cognitive experiences of thinking such-and-such, or of perception bearing conceptual as well as sensory content, or also in volitional or conative bodily action? These issues are explored in Bayne and Montague eds. A restrictive view holds that only sensory experience has a proper phenomenal character, a what-it-is-like.
Seeing a color, hearing a tone, smelling an odor, feeling a pain—these types of conscious experience have a phenomenal character, but no others do, on this view.
A somewhat more expansive view would hold that perceptual experience has a distinctive phenomenal character even where sensation is informed by concepts. Now, a much more expansive view would hold that every conscious experience has a distinctive phenomenal character. Classical phenomenologists like Husserl and Merleau-Ponty surely assumed an expansive view of phenomenal consciousness.
Even Heidegger, while de-emphasizing consciousness the Cartesian sin! Since intentionality is a crucial property of consciousness, according to Brentano, Husserl, et al. But it is not only intentional perception and thought that have their distinctive phenomenal characters. In Bayne and Montague eds. But now a problems remains. Intentionality essentially involves meaning, so the question arises how meaning appears in phenomenal character. Importantly, the content of a conscious experience typically carries a horizon of background meaning, meaning that is largely implicit rather than explicit in experience.
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But then a wide range of content carried by an experience would not have a consciously felt phenomenal character. So it may well be argued. Here is a line of phenomenological theory for another day. What is Phenomenology? The Discipline of Phenomenology 3. From Phenomena to Phenomenology 4. The History and Varieties of Phenomenology 5. Phenomenology and Ontology, Epistemology, Logic, Ethics 6. Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind 7. The Discipline of Phenomenology The discipline of phenomenology is defined by its domain of study, its methods, and its main results.
To begin an elementary exercise in phenomenology, consider some typical experiences one might have in everyday life, characterized in the first person: I see that fishing boat off the coast as dusk descends over the Pacific. I hear that helicopter whirring overhead as it approaches the hospital. I am thinking that phenomenology differs from psychology.
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I wish that warm rain from Mexico were falling like last week. I imagine a fearsome creature like that in my nightmare. I intend to finish my writing by noon. I walk carefully around the broken glass on the sidewalk. I stroke a backhand cross-court with that certain underspin. I am searching for the words to make my point in conversation. The History and Varieties of Phenomenology Phenomenology came into its own with Husserl, much as epistemology came into its own with Descartes, and ontology or metaphysics came into its own with Aristotle on the heels of Plato.
Phenomenology and Ontology, Epistemology, Logic, Ethics The discipline of phenomenology forms one basic field in philosophy among others. Consider then these elementary definitions of field: Ontology is the study of beings or their being—what is. Epistemology is the study of knowledge—how we know.
Logic is the study of valid reasoning—how to reason. Ethics is the study of right and wrong—how we should act. Phenomenology is the study of our experience—how we experience. Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind It ought to be obvious that phenomenology has a lot to say in the area called philosophy of mind. The philosophy of mind may be factored into the following disciplines or ranges of theory relevant to mind: Phenomenology studies conscious experience as experienced, analyzing the structure—the types, intentional forms and meanings, dynamics, and certain enabling conditions—of perception, thought, imagination, emotion, and volition and action.
Neuroscience studies the neural activities that serve as biological substrate to the various types of mental activity, including conscious experience. Neuroscience will be framed by evolutionary biology explaining how neural phenomena evolved and ultimately by basic physics explaining how biological phenomena are grounded in physical phenomena. Here lie the intricacies of the natural sciences. Part of what the sciences are accountable for is the structure of experience, analyzed by phenomenology. Cultural analysis studies the social practices that help to shape or serve as cultural substrate of the various types of mental activity, including conscious experience, typically manifest in embodied action.
Here we study the import of language and other social practices, including background attitudes or assumptions, sometimes involving particular political systems. Ontology of mind studies the ontological type of mental activity in general, ranging from perception which involves causal input from environment to experience to volitional action which involves causal output from volition to bodily movement.
Phenomenology in Contemporary Consciousness Theory Phenomenological issues, by any other name, have played a prominent role in very recent philosophy of mind. Bibliography Classical Texts Brentano, F. Antos C. Rancurello, D. Terrell, and Linda L. From the German original of Detailed phenomenological analyses assumed in Ideas I, including analyses of bodily awareness kinesthesis and motility and social awareness empathy. Extensive studies of aspects of consciousness, in analytic philosophy of mind, often addressing phenomenological issues, but with limited reference to phenomenology as such.
Core readings in philosophy of mind, largely analytic philosophy of mind, sometimes addressing phenomenological issues, with some reference to classical phenomenology, including selections from Descartes, Ryle, Brentano, Nagel, and Searle as discussed in the present article. Phenomenological studies of intersubjectivity, empathy, and sympathy in the works of Smith and Husserl.
Essays addressing the structure of self-consciousness, or consciousness-of-consciousness, some drawing on phenomenology explicitly. A study of structures of consciousness and meaning in a contemporary rendition of transcendental phenomenology, connecting with issues in analytic philosophy and its history. An extensive introductory discussion of the principal works of the classical phenomenologists and several other broadly phenomenological thinkers.
Studies of historical figures on philosophy of mathematics, including Kant, Frege, Brentano, and Husserl.
Studies of issues of phenomenology in connection with cognitive science and neuroscience, pursuing the integration of the disciplines, thus combining classical phenomenology with contemporary natural science. A contemporary introduction to the practice of transcendental phenomenology, without historical interpretation, emphasizing a transcendental attitude in phenomenology. Essays relating Husserlian phenomenology with issues in logic and mathematics. A collection of contemporary essays on phenomenological themes not primarily on historical figures.
Academic Tools How to cite this entry. Enhanced bibliography for this entry at PhilPapers , with links to its database. Other Internet Resources Husserl.
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