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03 phenomenology

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03 phenomenology

  1. 1. Phenomenology The “lived” experience
  2. 2. What we will cover • Phenomenology as a Philosophy/History – Transcendental – Hermeneutic – Existential • Phenomenology as a methodology – Descriptive – Interpretive • What Phenomenologists believe and do • Strengths and Weaknesses • Disciplines that use phenomonology
  3. 3. Phenomenology is… A Philosophy A Methodology AND “The renewed interest in phenomenology has seen a return to the much discussed question of what phenomenology is, for which a definitive answer has yet to be found” (Rouback, 2004)
  4. 4. Phenomenologists assert that the study of phenomenaphenomena is the correct and most primordial objective of philosophers.
  5. 5. The Form and its Phenomenon Reality versus our experience of reality.
  6. 6. The problem of the (im)possibility of objective experience has been a focus for Metaphysics since the beginning of philosophy and has consequences for nearly all branches of philosophical thought. Phenomenology is an attempt to answer this (seemingly) basic question: How can we have knowledge ofHow can we have knowledge of the world,the world, as it really is?as it really is?
  7. 7. How can we distinguish between the shadow of a rabbit and a rabbit?
  8. 8. Descartes also approached this question. Employing the method of radical doubt he concluded that the only thing that one can know with certainty is that a thing is doing some thinking: Cogito Ergo Sum
  9. 9. This thinking may be described as RationalismRationalism.
  10. 10. In contrast Empiricists approach the problem by rejecting the existence of extra-worldly phenomena like ideas/spirit/soul and seek an explanation from observable phenomena.
  11. 11. This thinking may be described as Empiricism.Empiricism.
  12. 12. Phenomenology as a Philosophy Transcendental Phenomenology Edmund Husserl “Father” 1920 Hermeneutic (interpretive) Phenomenology Martin Heideggar 1927 Existential Phenomenology Merleau-Ponty and Jean-Paul Sartre conflict Post WWII Positivism
  13. 13. What is Phenomenology? CONTRA Descartes and Locke, Husserl argues that in order to answer the question of how we can have knowledge of the world ; we ought to turn our attention to the study of our experience of it. Phenomenology studies the structure of various types of experience including: Perception Thought Memory Imagination Transcendental Phenomenology Edmund HusserlEdmund Husserl (1859-1938)
  14. 14. Transcendental Phenomenology Edmund Husserl (1859-1938) • Sprouted from post WWII positivism. Phenomenology rejects positivism. • This can be achieved through reduction (Epoché) • “transcend” the experience to discover meaning. There is “natural attitude” (our everyday involvement in the world) and “phenomenological attitude” (the philosophical act of pure reflection (where we suspend the natural attitude). • knowing is always and only through a state of pure consciousness…the mind is directed toward objects of consciousness that can be reflected upon. Lived world
  15. 15. What is Phenomenology? The structure of these forms of experience typically involves what Husserl called "intentionalityintentionality", that is, the directedness of experience toward things in the world, the property of consciousness that it is a consciousness of or about something. According to classical Husserlian phenomenology, our experience is directed toward things only through particular concepts, thoughts, ideas, images, etc. These make up the meaning or content of a given experience, and are distinct from the things they present or mean.
  16. 16. Transcendental (descriptive) Phenomenology • Within the range of unique experiences, there is a larger, transcending, essential and unvarying quality of a phenomenon…that can be discovered! Unvarying Quality Of a Phenomenon
  17. 17. “BACK TO THE THINGS THEMSELVES!!” By “going back to the things themselves” Husserl meant the entire field of original experience. He came to the point that the ultimate root of Philosoiphy and of all rational assertions was not to be found in a concept, nor in a principle, not in the Cogito in the whole field of our lived experience. Going back to the phenomenon, to that which presents itself to man, seeing things as they really are, independent of any prejudice.
  18. 18. Returning to the Hammer Transcendental (descriptive) Phenomenology
  19. 19. As what do we experience this hammer? It is many things to many people. To a carpenter it is a TOOL. To a retailer it is MERCHANDISE.. To a killer it is a WEAPON. To a lecturer it is a PROP. To my girlfriend it is a NUISANCE. To a communist it is a SYMBOL. Transcendental (descriptive) Phenomenology
  20. 20. Edmund Husserl Describing experiences? Feelings? Emotions? Fantasies? Dreams?
  21. 21. Logical Investigation Objective Facts Psycho-Logical Investigation Subjective Events
  22. 22. Critique of Science Husserl argued that the scientific method was delusional. The impossibility of casual passive observation meant that the notion of 1. Observing the world 2. Discerning Patterns 3. Deriving Laws Was not as simple as scientists would have us believe. Rather, our attention is always directed at the object of our experience and so before the scientist can only prove the accuracy of their original assumption. Put simply, Science was not fundamental in a way that would satisfy Husserl because if refused to concede the presuppositions upon which its enquiries were based. Transcendental (descriptive) Phenomenology
  23. 23. Transcendental (descriptive) Phenomenology Husserl came up with the main insight of phenomenology: THE INTENTIONALITY OF CONSCIOUSNESS. Every conscious act intends something. Consciousness is consciousness of something other than itself. If an act is present, the object is also present. Therefore, the character of the object is co-determined by the character of the act. Consciousness does not just adapt itself to the object passively but rather, its very essence is to form meaning, to give meaning to the objectto give meaning to the object.
  24. 24. noesis The intentional process of consciousness is called noesis. Phenomenology describes the objects of consciousness. noema, The Ideal context of noesis is noema. Phenomenology also describes consciousness itself. In this way it seeks to draw from both scientific and psychological descriptions of the world. The Objective and Subjective are correlative but never reducible to each other. In order to draw the distinction between these two different ways of our experiences of the world Husserl employed two greek terms: Transcendental (descriptive) Phenomenology
  25. 25. For a phenomenologist, then, there is no object without the subject, and no subject without the object. The subject-of-the-objectsubject-of-the-object is the noesis, and the object-for-the-subjectobject-for-the-subject is the noema. Put in other words, there is no world without man, and there is no man without the world. The world is a human world and man is a being-in-the-world.
  26. 26. The Phenomenological Reduction The purpose of this inquiry into the structure of experience is, remember, to provide a basis for knowledge about the world. Husserl argued that all consciousness is consciousness of something. There is always something towards which consciousness is directed. Therefore: If we are to gain knowledge about the object of consciousness we must first examine consciousness. The consequence of this is that consciousness is the pre-condition for knowledge. Let us return to our hammer. Transcendental (descriptive) Phenomenology
  27. 27. The Phenomenological Reduction Let us consider the following: Each of us is currently having an experience of the hammer. We are having a noesisnoesis of this object. However we are unable to get knowledge of noemanoema or the thing in itself because we are unaware of the schematic, psychological and scientific preconceptions upon which our experience (noesisnoesis) rests. Husserl argued through a radical reduction, it is possible to bracket off these schema and gain knowledge of the thing as it is in itself. In what he describes as an epoche the subject [brackets off] the natural attitude. The place to begin this enquiry is from our own experience of the world. From OUR FIRST-PERSON-POINT-OF-VIEW.
  28. 28. The Phenomenological Reduction In the phenomenological reduction one needs to strip away the theoretical or scientific conceptions and thematizations that overlay the phenomenon one wishes to study, and which prevents one from seeing the phenomenon in a non-abstracting manner. The Epoche is the moment in which we break free from our everyday experience of the world. An everyday experience in which we rely upon unquestioningly and unaware of a number of the suppositions of science. This moment is transcendental. If the epoche is the name for whatever method we use to free ourselves from the captivity of the unquestioned acceptance of the everyday world. Then the reduction is the recognition of that acceptance as an acceptance.
  29. 29. Let us return to our hammer; we have already spoken about the different ways we may encounter it, as a tool, a weapon etc. But have we gone far enough? Our questioning is only beginning. What are the assumptions governing your experience of this hammer at this moment? Scientific Assumptions Perceptive Assumptions Sociological Assumptions How do these affect your experience?
  30. 30. Hermeneutic (interpretive) Phenomenology • Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) • Hans-George Gadamer and Paul Ricoeur • Disagrees with Husserl’s epoche. • An effort to “get beneath” the subjective experience and find the genuine, objective nature of things. • Focuses on the relationship between the event and the person, and how meaning is formed in that relationship. • Leads to endless possibilities and endless interpretations. • Our relationship with things is not the object/subject relationship. “The “natural attitude” is integral to knowing” “reduction is impossible!!” Being in the world
  31. 31. Heidegger was a protégé of Husserl’s and subscribed to many of his ideas. However, he had his own ideas about the method of Phenomenology. Husserl ‘bracketed out’ the question of the existence of the real world and focussed instead on the fundamental experience of consciousness within It. This has been characterised as a transcendental turn and has inspired much comparison with Buddhist meditation. For Heidegger the transcendental turn was the wrong move for phenomenology. Heidegger argued that ‘bracketing out’ the question of the existence of the real world was not helpful. For him, the study of experience had to being where experiences occur and for whom. Heidegger proposed that Phenomenology was a ‘fundamental Ontology’. Put simply the description of experiences has to begin with People in the World. Hermeneutic (interpretive) Phenomenology
  32. 32. Ontology Epistemology seeks to answer the question: How can we have knowledge? Ontology seeks to answer the question: What is Being? Heidegger concurred with Husserl that neither radical empiricism or rationalism would provide a solid understanding of our experience of the world. For Heidegger however the goal of phenomenology was not to allow an access ‘to the things themselves!’. The goal of phenomenology was to make transparent the Being of Being transparent to the Being for whom Being is an issue. Put another way: Hermeneutic (interpretive) Phenomenology
  33. 33. The Hammer has no Being-in-itself. The Being for whom Being is an issue is the human being (Dasein). Heidegger makes the distinction between: Being Sein beings seindes If Phenomenology is to describe our experience of the world; then it ought to begin with the most basic experiences. Things like our experience of picking up a hammer to put up a shelf. As what do we experience the hammer? We experience it as a tool ready-to-hand to be employed in the process of hammering. Hermeneutic (interpretive) Phenomenology
  34. 34. The most important experience that phenomenology has to provide an account of is the experience of being. For Heidegger then Phenomenoloy was transformed into fundamental Ontology. Hermeneutic (interpretive) Phenomenology
  35. 35. Ontology He seeks to describe this entity we call Being (Da-Sein) in its average everydayness. He denotes the categories of experience as existentiale: In answer to the question: What is Being? Heidegger replies that a fundamental and reflective approach to descriptive phenomenology reveals the following categories of Being: Being-In-The-World Being-With-Others Being-Towards-Death Hermeneutic (interpretive) Phenomenology
  36. 36. Being-In-The-World It does not make sense to talk of experience occurring outside-of-the- world as in the Cartesian exercise. Dasein (Being) is always being-in-the-world at a certain place and time. But the World should not be thought of as a collection of objects as under the extreme empiricist viewpoint. Rather the World is understood as the horizon in which experience takes place. Being is Being-In-The-World. Hermeneutic (interpretive) Phenomenology
  37. 37. Being-With-Others Being in the world is Being-With-Other people. This signifies that we are with other Beings in a way more complex than we are being alongside beings. How is this kind of Being-With-Others characterised? It is characterised by our caring about other people. Being is Being-With-Others Hermeneutic (interpretive) Phenomenology
  38. 38. Being-Towards-Death To be is not to be. One of the fundamental facets of Being is the fact that all Being is Being- Towards-Death. Being is Being-Towards-Death. Hermeneutic (interpretive) Phenomenology
  39. 39. Hermeneutics Hermione was a messenger between mortals and gods in ancient Greece. She was also a terrible trickster figure and would often deliberately miscommunicate the messages of the gods. This obfuscation inspired the school of thinking called Hermeneutics. Heidegger wrote that Ontology is the Hermeneutics of Facticity. Factical objects in the world are never uncovered without preconceptions. Hermeneutic (interpretive) Phenomenology
  40. 40. Authentic and Inauthentic Being: A Qualitative Distinction For Heidegger one could have an authentic or inauthentic attitude towards one’s Being. As what does one experience oneself in everyday existence? It is both shocking and unnerving to hear that in everyday existence we do not experience ourselves as anything like we truly are. Instead we have an inauthentic apprehension of our selves. Most tragic is an inauthentic being-towards-death. Hermeneutic (interpretive) Phenomenology
  41. 41. How to Philosophise with a Hammer To conclude our example of the hammer: The Cartesian/Rational Approach would deny the possibility of having certain knowledge; under the method of radical scepticism. The Empirical Approach would affirm the scientific existence of the hammer but would give us no information about the hammer as we experience it. The Husserlian Transcendental model would ask us to gain knowledge of the hammer as-it-is-in-itself by bracketing off the presuppositions and schema that we bring to the act of perceiving it. The Heideggerean/Hermeneutic model would argue that the hammer has no Being. Any knowledge we can gain about the hammer must be first examined for hermeneutic impurities and is subject to change.
  42. 42. Existential Phenomenology • Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961) and Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) • Rejects Husserl’s belief of transcendance and embraces the lived experience, the concrete. • Aim is not to find a common theme, but the goal is to "concentrated upon re-achieving a direct and primitive contact with the world.“ • Describes everyday experience as it is perceived by the consciousness of individuals. • This “new” phenomenology rejects the historical division between the inquirer and the social world (subject/object) • This movement marked a return to studying the direct, lived experience of the “field worker” as a source of knowledge about the world. "The most important lesson that the reduction teaches us…is the impossibility of a complete reduction."
  43. 43. Phenomenology as a Methodology two camps-a resurgence in the 1970s • DESCRIPTIVISTS • Believe it is possible to suspend personal opinion to arrive at a single, essential, descriptive presentation of a phenomena • Think that if there is more than one reality, that leaves doubt, ignorance, and a lack of clarity. • Husserl followers (Rapport 2006) • INTERPRETIVIST • There are endless number of realities. • Interpretations are all we have, because description IS an interpretive process • Heidegger followers
  44. 44. Phenomenology…as a Methodology • …is focused on the subjective experience of individuals or groups. • …is personal. The world as experienced by the individual, not relationships between people. • …uses small, purposive samples of 3-10 participants that have experienced the phenomenon. • …attempts to describe accurately a phenomenon from the person’s perspective.
  45. 45. Phenomenology as a Methodology • …is where art and science collide? The interpretation of lived experience and daily life. Understanding meaning from the world around us. • …assumes that “There is a structure and essence to shared experiences that can be narrated” (Marshall 2006 p. 104) • …assumes that the only things we can know, are those that are directly observable and experienced. The only reality we can know is the one we directly experience.
  46. 46. Phenomenologists…. • REJECT scientific realism (objects exist independently of our knowledge of their existence). • DISAGREE that the empirical sciences are better methods to describe the features of the world. • DESCRIBE the ordinary, conscious experience of things. • OPPOSE the acceptance of unobservable things. • REJECT naturalism and positivism. • BELIEVE objects in the natural world, cultural world, and abstract objects (like numbers and consciousness) can be made evident and thus known. • RECOGNIZE the role of description prior to explanation by means of causes, purposes, or grounds. • DEBATE whether Husserl’s transcendental epoche and reduction is useful or even possible. • STUDY the “life-world” (the taken-for-granted pattern of everyday living). http://www.phenomenologycenter.org/phenom.htm#2
  47. 47. Strengths of phenomenology • Efficient and Economical (only in terms of data generation or maybe not at all. . .) • Direct Interaction with Participants • Allows the researcher to ask for clarification and to ask immediate follow-up/probing questions • Allows the researcher to observe nonverbal responses which can be supportive or contradictory to the verbal responses • Data is in the participants’ own words
  48. 48. More Strengths • Synergy: participants react to and build upon the responses of other participants. • Flexible research tool • Applicable to a wide range of settings and individuals. • Results are easy to understand (in terms of people’s direct opinions and statements) Marvin Farber 1966
  49. 49. Therefore, it is useful for… • A person | student who wants to understand human experience. • finding a universal meaning of an experience. • The reduction of context specific information to a more general understanding of the phenomenon is desired. • A researcher who is willing to become closely entwined with the research.
  50. 50. Weakness of phenomenology • Findings are difficult to generalize to a larger population • Small number of participants who are often attained in a convenient manner • Individual responses are not always independent of one another • Dominant or opinionated members may overshadow the thoughts of the other group members (only if group interviews are performed). • Data is often difficult to analyze and summarize. • Researcher may give too much credit to the results (immediacy of a personal opinion) • Requires a quality moderator • It is a “soft science” at best, really it is not science, it is more like philosophy and religion (Charles Harris, 2006) • Critics of phenomenology think you cannot describe the unique experiences AND make generalizations about the experiences at the same time. Marvin Farber 1966
  51. 51. Disciplines that use Phenomenology • Nursing • Education • Psychology • Social Sciences • Urban Planning • Art • Pretty much anything Concepts such as suffering and well being and the intersubjective nature of the nurse- patient relationship cannot be studied from a paradigm traditional to the natural sciences. Rapport (2006)
  52. 52. The Experience of Motor Disability A Young Child’s Sense of Time and the Clock Awaiting the Diagnosis The Stillness of a Secret Place Nature Experience of 8-12 year old Children Possibilities of the Father Role The Nature of at Home-ness Phenomenological Research Titles Loneliness ALivedExperienceof MakingaDrawing: DrawingAmy Mathematics Teaching: Moving from Telling to Listening Being Nostalgic Naming our Child
  53. 53. “…you can’t impose method on a phenomenon since that would do a great injustice to the integrity of that phenomenon…” “…the phenomenon dictates the method.” Hycner 1999 An Example from CSS…….