Go Back   Christian Guitar Forum > Deeper Issues > Academics
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Arcade Mark Forums Read

Reply
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Unread 04-19-2013, 09:39 PM   #1
Moderator
 
bread man's Avatar
 

Joined: Aug 2004
Location: Australia
Posts: 8,024
Send a message via AIM to bread man Send a message via MSN to bread man
Help me understand Husserl/Phenomenology

Because I have a lot of spare time at the moment and I don't get much opportunity to use my brain in any of my jobs, I've been working through this course (I just finished the lecture on Emergence and Whitehead). It's incredibly good; I always regretted that I wasn't able to take any Philosophy in my undergrad degree so I've read a few intro type books, but this is the first thing I've picked up that seems almost entirely free of unexplained jargon.

I had no problem understanding any of the concepts until I got to the lecture on Husserl and Phenomenology. I didn't have anywhere near as much confusion with the Analytic stuff or even the stuff about Physics, which was a surprise because I'm not a very mathematically-minded person. I think I understand some of it, but I still feel pretty lost and I understand that Husserl was a heavy influence for Heidegger and a lot of Continental thinkers, so I don't want to move on to that stuff until I feel that I understand him a bit more clearly.

Here's my take on it (drawn from my notes on the lecture) with some questions, and I'd appreciate if you guys could correct anything I'm misunderstanding and/or fill in some of the gaps in my knowledge:

- Husserl accepted that logic and mathematics existed outside of human experience and therefore the meanings of things can't be purely psychological or drawn from experience; some things must be universally and necessarily true. Therefore, he wanted to study phenomena as presentations to consciousness.

Questions: How much of this is in response to Kant? Is it a complete break from Kant's Constructivism? Does Husserl accept Kant's noumenal/phenomenal dualism, is he rejecting it wholesale or is he just not even interested in talking about the world in that way? With the phrase "to the things in themselves", I understand Phenomenology was rejecting representational theories of mind. Does that mean that Kant's dualism was wrong, or is it accepting Kant and just approaching it from a different angle?

- Husserl thought we should begin with experience and not presuppose anything about the world.

Question: Is this like reversing Descartes, beginning 'outside-in' instead of 'inside-out'? Is Husserl seeking a foundation for knowledge in the same way Descartes was, or is this just a methodological starting point for the study of objects? (I think it's the latter but I'm not sure if I'm even framing the question right)

- In order to do phenomenology, it's necessary to bracket the belief in our head that all experiences and all objects are caused by natural things in the human body, as well as the belief that experience takes place inside a physical world that is caused by events and processes we know from science. He's not asking whether these things are true or not, he's just bracketing them out.

Question: Have I got this right? If so, does this mean that he's putting Kant's dualism out of play completely?

- 'Idetic reduction' - this means to just describe our perception of objects.

- Husserl's process is as follows: suspend the natural standpoint > idetic reduction > describe the universal and necessary features of objects. Example: in any 3D object, part of it must always be hidden. The basic aim of this is to produce a scientific study of whatever appears in consciousness.

- Husserl does this in order to study objects more like a mathematician (who contemplates what a triangle is and works out its features with the mind) than an Empiricist (who presupposes the existence of nature, analyses ideas in the mind and then relates them to likely causes of things in the external world). He wants to apply this method to whatever appears in consciousness.

Question: I think this is where my lack of mathematical ability shows itself. I don't understand what the point of this is. What question is it trying to answer? What does it actually acheive? Why is this even worth doing?

- Phenomenology is a foundation of all other knowledge; experience is more foundational than natural science.

I guess this answers my previous question and the one about Descartes, but something isn't clicking. My brain understands this but I don't feel like I'm fulling grasping it.

- The present can't be conceived as a point on a line because it must contain a retention of the past and an anticipation of the future; time is complicated when we look at how it's experienced.

Question: Does this have anything to do with all the previous line of thought or have we shifted gears entirely?

- Experience must be constituted by the Transcendental Ego.

Question: This is where I'm lost completely. What does this mean?

- Husserl wanted to avoid all metaphysics.

- He has to say that if something from the outside is affecting consciousness, once it's inside consciousness its quality and status is affected by the transcendental ego itself.

This is one of my notes word-for-word, but I have no idea what it means.

- Science and technology are built on experience but have built over and forgotten experience and this makes us estranged from our own experience. The modern world leaves behind authentic, basic, immediate experience in favour of mass culture, technology and science.

------------------------------

So the biggest question I'm left with is: what, in a big-picture sense, does this actually do? I feel like I could give some tentative answers, but I don't feel like I'm grasping it entirely. Here's my best stab at a summary:

Husserl, like Descartes, was arguing for a foundation of all other knowledge > He grounds this in human experience rather than the existence of our own mind > He does this because he believes logic and mathematics exist outside of human experience and are universally and necessarily true > His method is to approach experience the way a mathematician approaches the study of mathematical concepts > This allows for the investigation of experience without reducing it to science, psychology, etc > This moves us to the study of 'the things in themselves' and away from abstraction

How am I doing?

__________________
blog
bread man is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Unread 04-21-2013, 10:18 AM   #2
Lieutenant Commander
 
slap_j's Avatar
 

Joined: Nov 2002
Location: the U.S.
Posts: 21,818
Sorry, I only briefly touched on Husserl when studying Carnap and the positivists.
__________________

A d A s t r a P e r A l a s P o r c i
slap_j is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 04-18-2014, 09:40 AM   #3
and you were wondering??
Administrator
 
Uptown Thrunk's Avatar
 

Joined: Aug 2004
Location: In the bedrock of Being.
Posts: 14,786
paid
I have been reading some introductory stuff on phenomenology and I keep coming back to the idea that it could serve as a sort of natural refutation to the increasingly popular materialistic reductionism encountered through scientism and other reactionary social movements.

These ideas that things are as they are presented, that we can trust our senses, that there are differences in being, and the conception of intentionality are all compelling and important concepts.

Also, I realized recently that some of my favorite thinkers are phenomenologists (like, for instance, Ricoeur)
__________________
Hello! Come visit my blog! http://taylormweaver.wordpress.com/

Yes... I am the official "Knight Who Will Write Something On Derrida".
Bask in the wonderful glory.

"outside of a dog a book is a man's best friend... inside a dog it is too dark to read."
-groucho marx

Quote:
Originally Posted by Demon_Hunter View Post
Taylor, you just got drive-by theologied.
Uptown Thrunk is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 04-18-2014, 10:12 AM   #4
Lieutenant Commander
 
slap_j's Avatar
 

Joined: Nov 2002
Location: the U.S.
Posts: 21,818
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thrash View Post
I have been reading some introductory stuff on phenomenology and I keep coming back to the idea that it could serve as a sort of natural refutation to the increasingly popular materialistic reductionism encountered through scientism and other reactionary social movements.
That's why your phenomenologists are usually continentals.
__________________

A d A s t r a P e r A l a s P o r c i
slap_j is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 04-18-2014, 12:03 PM   #5
Laborer/Philosopher
 
Chrysostom's Avatar
 

Joined: Sep 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 18,022
Depends on who is telling the story. Husserl's goal with phenomenology was, while on a slightly different track, just as boringly reductionistic as Sam Harris. The problem is that they keep hitting this brick wall, a gap in the reduction called "lived experience" or whatever the new author goes by. And so you get, for instance, Dominique Janicaud's hysterical worries in The Theological Turn In French Phenomenology that many phenomenologists have decided that we're hitting a brick wall because reductionism really doesn't work.
__________________
Peace,
John

CGR Blog
Chrysostom is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 04-18-2014, 12:46 PM   #6
and you were wondering??
Administrator
 
Uptown Thrunk's Avatar
 

Joined: Aug 2004
Location: In the bedrock of Being.
Posts: 14,786
paid
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrysostom View Post
Depends on who is telling the story. Husserl's goal with phenomenology was, while on a slightly different track, just as boringly reductionistic as Sam Harris. The problem is that they keep hitting this brick wall, a gap in the reduction called "lived experience" or whatever the new author goes by. And so you get, for instance, Dominique Janicaud's hysterical worries in The Theological Turn In French Phenomenology that many phenomenologists have decided that we're hitting a brick wall because reductionism really doesn't work.
I haven't picked up Husserl. Only read briefly a little about him in an intro course 5-6 years ago. Right now I am working through the intro you recommended, hoping it will make reading Marion a bit less confusing!

Part of what disturbs me about pop-scientistic discourse is the constant skepticism concerning what is experienced by the individual, the things that are encountered by agents. Obviously, more is going on than we can experience, things at ever smaller levels. But, the tendency in the discourse is to, for instance, counter the reality of, say, the cube as a thing by saying, "You are perceiving a shape, but really it is simply a group of lines arranged in a certain way." The cube ceases to be a thing because its parts are recognized, the shape becomes an illusion. Sokolowski consistently stresses that part of the problem in philosophy, and (I think) by extension a lot of other schools, is the confusion between parts and the whole, and then further between parts and moments.

So, in a sense, I see, at least through Sokolowski's explanation, a way to counter the materialistic reductionism I see in popular mediums, like facebook, where people make these silly assertions that we are all "just stardust" or that there is no distinction between living and inanimate matter, or that all humans can be reduced to their building blocks, and therefore I am just a long string of DNA being manipulated by my infinite past of ancestral traits (a la Dawkins' silly, but colorful, metaphors).
__________________
Hello! Come visit my blog! http://taylormweaver.wordpress.com/

Yes... I am the official "Knight Who Will Write Something On Derrida".
Bask in the wonderful glory.

"outside of a dog a book is a man's best friend... inside a dog it is too dark to read."
-groucho marx

Quote:
Originally Posted by Demon_Hunter View Post
Taylor, you just got drive-by theologied.
Uptown Thrunk is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 04-18-2014, 09:24 PM   #7
Laborer/Philosopher
 
Chrysostom's Avatar
 

Joined: Sep 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 18,022
Shapin and Shaffer wrote a book called Leviathan and the Air Pump. Daston and Galiston's Objectivity is also good. And Crary's techniques of the observer. Put them all together and you get the intellectual history of that rejection of the individual's personal knowledge, an agent's experience. Obviously the works of Polanyi, MacIntyre, and Taylor are relevant companions to the phenomenological tradition here too.

And yeah, reading Husserl sucks. He's brilliant but wordy and, as it turns out, wrong about pretty much everything, so he's not of interest nearly as much as some more recent thinkers despite being crucial to their own work.
__________________
Peace,
John

CGR Blog
Chrysostom is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

« Logotherapy | Hallo »
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:46 AM.


Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2