Contemporary Phenomenology and the Problem of Existence

Phenomenology (philosophy)
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For the publications list, click here. His research interests include: phenomenology, critical theory, the philosophy of history, image- and film theory. His main interests concern the status of phenomenological discourse and conceptuality in their connections with Greek and Christian traditions, the phenomenology of religious life, and the role of embodied experience in the phenomenological investigation.

Authors and Affiliations

Her main interests are phenomenology, theories of self, aesthetics, critical theory. Her thesis focuses on the transformations of the concepts of subjectivity and self generated by the changing perspectives on the constitution of experience in phenomenology. Alexandru Bejinariu. Human Studies Christian Ferencz-Flatz.

Abnormality and Perceptual Communication. Husserl on Exchanging Glances with Animals. Cristian Ciocan, Amalia Trepca ed. Zeta Books, Embodiment and Animality. Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology vol.

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Cristian Ciocan Abstract: Our project aims to answer—with the methods of phenomenology—to the new, unprecedented interrogations raised in the contemporary debate regarding the anthropological difference, i. Research Team: Dr. The latter are the acts that are responsible for conferring or giving meaning to symbolic representations or signs. What is characteristic of the relation between these two acts is a "difference" or "gap" p.

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According to Lohmar, it is precisely this difference that lends support to the claim that there can be non-linguistic thinking. What the difference shows, he maintains, is that "meaning-bestowing acts are not a necessary element of cognition understood as an independent intuition" p. More precisely, the "connection of categorical intuition with a meaning-bestowing act using language does not imply the necessity of such a connection p. Thus, we can have meaning-bestowing acts that are "performed" not only in a language other than one's native language but also, and most importantly, in another symbolic medium entirely.

His focus is the epistemological problem of other minds, namely, the issue of how we can justify the common belief that others have minds and mental states like ours. Drawing on ideas from Merleau-Ponty and Scheler, Overgaard explicates with remarkable clarity a perceptual solution to the problem of other minds, which, very briefly, holds that we are justified in believing that others have mental states because we directly perceive those states.

The perceptual account should be contrasted to an inferential account, which holds that perception provides us with data on the basis of which we can infer the existence of other minds p.

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Overgaard's essay is rich. In addition to presenting the perceptual solution, explicating the nature and commitments of such a solution, and arguing that a recently offered solution to the problem of other minds Smith is inferential, he provides support for the perceptual solution and defends it from objections. He takes it as a datum that at least sometimes it seems to us that we directly perceive others' mental states and calls cases in which it seems to us that we perceive that someone is angry, sad, happy, etc.

By itself, the claim that P cases occur doesn't entail that we perceive mental states directly.

Introduction

Introduction: Cool Phenomenology In recent years declaring oneself a phenomenologist, or of a phenomenological persuasion, has become a rather fashionable attitude among philosophers and scientists of cognitive neuroscience. In a certain technical sense, phenomena are things as they are given to our consciousness, whether in perception or imagination or thought or volition. But materialism does not fit comfortably with phenomenology. In the background figures my conviction that phenomenology, given its critical attitude towards modernity, offers us the appropriate means to unreservedly confront these vexed phenomena, that is, without reducing them to the surreptitiously claimed measure of either one reason or one true religion be it a religion of reason or of the spirit. Translated by C.

P cases could be the result of habitual or automatic inferences. That is, the existence of P cases doesn't rule out the possibility that we are inferring the presence of mental states, even though we are unaware of the fact that we are engaging in any sort of inference.

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Still, Overgaard maintains that there are good reasons to think that P cases are genuine cases of perception. Consequently, the inferential model is incapable of doing justice to the existence and phenomenology of P cases.

Overgaard's argument takes the form of a modus tollens. If P cases are the result of inferences, then it should be possible to suppress P cases.

The Phenomenology and Science of Emotions: An Introduction

In other words, if the fact that it seems to us that someone is angry is the result of an inference, then it should be possible to suppress or inhibit this appearance. But P cases can't be suppressed. They are not affected by our beliefs; we can't just make the looks go away. Therefore, they can't be the result of inference.

Overgaard describes P cases as "cognitively impenetrable" p. Insofar as they are cognitively impenetrable, it's reasonable to hold that P cases are genuine cases of perception. Overgaard explains:. Can you refrain from judging that the person you see is angry? Easily -- if you know that the person is an award-winning actor rehearsing for a part in a movie, for example. But you cannot make the angry look go away.

Regardless of what you know, the person will look angry to you. If this is true, then it seems plausible to say that cognitive impenetrability applies to some cases of detecting other's emotions by visual means. And if so, it seems reasonable to say that in those sorts of cases, the emotions are detected perceptually, not inferentially. It's worth noting that all of the examples that Overgaard offers involve basic emotions Ekman In the above quote, for instance, anger is the emotion that is directly perceived.

He also mentions the perception of sadness and happiness as examples of P cases. But it's far from clear whether his account would also apply to more complex or subtle emotions or moods. Is it true, for instance, that I can't make the look of guilt, contempt, boredom, or shame go away? For what it's worth, I am inclined to answer this question negatively. Of course, a perceptual account of emotions doesn't necessarily have to claim that every emotion can be directly perceived.

But does that mean that an adequate solution to the epistemological problem of other minds has to be hybrid? Do we directly perceive basic emotions and infer all others? Most importantly, we need to ask whether Overgaard is right to hold that it's impossible to make certain looks that of anger, for instance go away. Suppose that you are observing the following scene. Stella and Oliver are having a heated conversation. Stella says something to Oliver. He becomes livid. He clenches his fists; his eyebrows are raised; he's breathing heavily and he's sweating.

pierreducalvet.ca/652.php Now consider two variations of this scene. Variation 1. Stella and Oliver are actors and they asked to practice in front of you a difficult scene for their upcoming play.

Basic Problems of Phenomenology

Variation 2. Stella and Oliver are your friends.

While having dinner with them, they started fighting. It seems compelling to me to hold that Oliver will look different to you in those two variations, even though, ex hypothesis, Oliver's behavior is identical in the two variations. Among other things, the real fight between Stella and Oliver will stir up in you certain emotions and those emotions will color, I think, the way that you perceive Oliver.

Oliver will appear menacing or frightening. Suppose that you know that Oliver has a past of domestic violence. In that case you will perceive Oliver as having certain "darker" emotions. This example suggests that the way you perceive emotions can be influenced by your beliefs -- e. Overgaard seems to accept this conclusion. In a statement that is relegated to a footnote, he writes "[d]epending on the background information you have, the [angry] person may strike you as vengeful, hateful, or perhaps even disgusted" p.

But on the basis of this admission, it seems that not all P cases are cognitively impenetrable. Looks of emotions can change. They can certainly be enhanced. In variation 2, in addition to appearing angry, Oliver also seems vengeful, hateful, and even fearless. But if looks of emotions can change, insofar as they can be enhanced or diminished , then maybe they can even be replaced by other looks.

If on Overgaard's own admission, an angry person can strike you as disgusted, doesn't that suggest then that it is possible to make the angry look go away? That is to say, isn't it possible to replace the angry look with a disgusted look? In "Something That Is Nothing but Can Be Anything: The Image and Our Consciousness of It," John Brough does a marvelous job of explaining the complex phenomenon of image consciousness which is the type of awareness that arises when one looks, for example, at a photograph or painting.

It's neither memory nor phantasy p. Although it's similar, in certain respects, to perception, it would be a mistake to identify it with perception. Husserl's description of this mode of awareness as "perceptual re-presentation" Husserl , p. Image consciousness is both perceptual and imaginary.

As Husserl recognized, image consciousness involves three distinct objects. Consider one of Rembrandt's self-portraits as an example. There is the physical object, the canvas; there is also the depicting object, in this case, the image of Rembrandt; and finally, there is the depict ed object, Rembrandt, the man himself.

It is by perceiving the canvas that the image of Rembrandt appears.