Phenomenology (philosophy)

Phenomenology is a tradition in earlier 20C philosophy - Edmund Husserl (1859-1938), Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-1916), Martin Heidigger (1889-1961)

 a method designed to yield accurate descriptions of how things appear for us

importance of how we are in our bodies

our embodiment (Merleau-Ponty)

 the subject is immersed in the experience

our presentness in the LIFEWORLD - the world we live in, the everyday

embodied conception of the human subject

 we draw on our own body's interactivity with the world

our somatic (body) interactivity with the world

NOTE: social construction of the body and human subjectivity

 the brain's internal representations of the external world can be complete only to the extent to which they are integrated with the internal representation of body posture and movement

 external 'reality' is always mediated through consciousness

Our experience of a stage play or film or novel is a process of interaction between text and our consciousness.

NOTE: the embodied nature of play reception

 Phenomenology is particularly associated with Martin Heidegger (1889-1976).

He worked especially on language.

Also with Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961).

 Merleau-Ponty's concern was to return philosophical analysis of phenomena to the 'Lebenswelt'.

That is to the world we meet in the lived-in experience.

In his Phenomenology of Perception (1945/1962), he explained his theory of perception.

He stated:

Truth does not "inhabit" only "the inner man," or more accurately, there is no inner man, man is in the world, and only in the world does he know himself.

 Merleau-Ponty opposed the representational account which sees perceptual experience as the result of the manipulation, in accordance with constant laws, of determinate data that stand for features of the environment and the perceiver's relation to it.   
 

 Phenomenological perspectives are more satisfying in showing the involvement of human agency in the construction of culture.
 Phenomenological perspectives are lacking in analysis of the ways in which objective structures can partially determine subjectivity as well as bodily experience.
 Consider - Turner's sociology of the body, Bourdieu's development of the idea of a socially determined habitus and Giddens's structuration theory.
 CONTRAST - Foucauld's approach to social construction have at times presented an overdeterministic and dis-embodied analysis of human agency.
 

 Doctrine that the content of experience is the starting point of inquiry, studying phenomenal worlds as actually experienced by individuals.

Phenomenology is particularly associated with Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), who worked especially on language, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961).

Merleau-Ponty's concern was to return philosophical analysis of phenomena to the 'Lebenswelt', to the world we meet in the lived-in experience; and in his Phenomenology of Perception (1945/1962), he explained his theory of perception.

He states:

Truth does not "inhabit" only "the inner man," or more accurately, there is no inner man, man is in the world, and only in the world does he know himself.

 

He opposed the representational account which sees perceptual experience as the result of the manipulation, in accordance with constant laws, of determinate data that stand for features of the environment and the perceiver's relation to it.
In sociology, a focus (from Schutz) on the taken for granted knowledge that social actors share and which underpins everyday life.

It is part of the idealist tradition which focuses on consciousness and meaning, not structural social phenomena. [Tony Bilton et al., Introductory Sociology, 3rd edition. London, Macmillan, 1996:666]

REFERENCES

Merleau-Ponty, M., 1962 [1945], Phenomenologie de la Perception, trans. Smith, Colin, Phenomenology of perception, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. This text is also available in Joseph Kocklemans, ed., Phenomenology (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1967),

Garner, Stanton B., 1994, Bodied Spaces. Phenomenology and Performance in Contemporary Drama, Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.

Natanson, Maurice, The Erotic Bird. Phenomenology in Literature, 1998, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press

Varela, Francisco, Thompson, Evan, and Rosch, Eleanor, The Embodied Mind. Cognitive Science and Human Experience, 1991, Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press.

Csordas, Thomas. 1994. Embodiment and Experience: The existential ground of culture and self. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press.

Jackson, Michael, ed. 1996. Things as They Are. New Directions in Phenomenological Anthropology. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Bennington, Tammy, 'Mediated Perceptions: Contributions of Phenomenological Film Theory to Understanding the Interactive Video Experience', JCMC 5 (4) June 2000

Dorothea Olkowski, "Merleau-Ponty's Freudianism: From the Body of Consciousness to the Body of Flesh," Review of Existential Psychology & Psychiatry 18, nos. 1-3 (1982-83): 111

Sobchack, Vivian, 'The Scene of the Screen: Envisioning Cinematic and Electronic "Presence"'

http://www.cc.rochester.edu/College/FS/Publications/SobchackScene.html
Sobchack, Vivian, 'The Scene of the Screen: Envisioning Cinematic and Electronic "Presence"' in Materialities of Communication., eds. Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht and K. Ludwig Pfeiffer (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994): 83-106.

Sobchack, Vivian, The Address of the Eye. A Phenomenology of Film Experience, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1992.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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