Dialogue and Universalism

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3/2015

A TOPOGRAPHY OF HERESIES OR THE ROAD TO RENEWAL? MANY FACES OF CONTEMPORARY PHENOMENOLOGY

 

 

EDITORIAL

 

   The main part of this Dialogue and Universalism issue TOPOGRAPHY OF HERESIES OR THE ROAD TO RENEWAL? MANY FACES OF CONTEMPORARY PHENOMENOLOGY investigates some carried out as well as admissible transformations of phenomenology. The idea, subject, and thematic scope of this collection of twelve essays are presented in details by Witold Płotka in his introduction. By discussing the changes and limits of phe-nomenology those essays give not only an impressing insight into some out-standing post-Husserlian phenomenological conceptions considered from the perspective set by the title problem. The collection also legitimizes a general thesis claiming that philosophical schools, positions, and traditions are not in-grained items, but vivid, open, developable and really developing projects. The transformations of philosophical traditions and conceptions are a spectacular feature of contemporary philosophy.

   Besides this Dialogue and Universalism issue includes the block entitled GAPS AND BRIDGES BETWEEN CULTURES which discusses the problem of differences and analogies between philosophical thinking and grasping the world in different cultures. By analyzing concrete philosophical problems three papers show that the differences of the said type—which may be conflicting forces—and analogies—which may lead to a consensus between cultures—occur together; they are united in dialectical nets. The two-sided dialectical view opposes those dominating recently, i.e. the view of globalizing the cultural world (one globalized culture theory), and the view of essential and absolute gulfs between cultures (radical multiculturalism position).

Małgorzata Czarnocka
Dialogue and Universalism Editor-in-Chief

 

 

INTRODUCTION

A TOPOGRAPHY OF HERESIES OR THE ROAD TO RENEWAL? MANY FACES OF CONTEMPORARY PHENOMENOLOGY

 

   This issue of Dialogue and Universalism presents a collection of essays on the topic: A TOPOGRAPHY OF HERESIES OR THE ROAD TO RENE-WAL? MANY FACES OF CONTEMPORARY PHENOMENOLOGY. By posing the question and suggesting an answer we propose to investigate the problem of the plurality or unity of the contemporary phenomenological move-ment. The main idea of this Dialogue and Universalism issue originates with a recognition of the paradox that today the many applications of phenomenology—from the classical theory of knowledge and metaphysical inquiry to increasingly popular studies in cognitive science, philosophy of mind, and her-meneutics, as well as, beyond philosophy, to mathematics, architecture, and medicine—represent diverse conceptions of how to do phenomenology, even as some of these conceptions transcend the limits of phenomenology as demarcated by its founder Edmund Husserl.

   Already Paul Ricoeur claimed that, “for a good part,” one has to understand the history of the phenomenological movement as “the history of Husserlian heresies.” In light of his observation, more than one hundred years after the publication of the Ideas I, this issue of Dialogue and Universalism reposes the perennial questions about the contemporary significance of phenomenology. What is the most important heritage of Husserl’s phenomenology for contempo-rary philosophy? Does phenomenology today present a consistent and unified philosophy? Or does it rather represent a vast mosaic, inviting but confusing? Is it a kind of philosophical Olympics of different, heteronymous “games” orga-nized internationally but by national federations? Should we understand con-temporary phenomenology as a series of heresies, or can we rather observe a genuine renewal of classical phenomenology in it? Within the horizon of more than a century of development in the phenomenological movement, we know that such thinkers as Max Scheler, Martin Heidegger, Emmanuel Levinas, Ro-man Ingarden, Jacques Derrida, Hermann Schmitz, and Michel Henry have questioned the adequacy not only of some of Husserl’s key positions and argu-ments, but also—and above all—his very idea of phenomenology in general, calling for a new phenomenology.

   With all this in mind, A TOPOGRAPHY OF HERESIES OR THE ROAD TO RENEWAL? MANY FACES OF CONTEMPORARY PHENOMENO-LOGY also considers the following questions: How does phenomenology adapt in the face of other styles of philosophizing, for example, Neo-Kantianism, philosophy of dialogue, French existentialisme and German Existenzphilosophie, and hermeneutics? What about the impact of phenomenology on hermeneutics or ethics and vice versa? Is there any such thing as the phenomenological method? Are there any limits of the application of a phenomenological method? How do phenomenological methods apply to topics in contemporary analytical phi-losophy? Do the many different ways of doing phenomenology display any methodological consistency? Is it possible to do phenomenology “correctly” and to exceed the limits of the philosophies of Husserl, Heidegger, Scheler, and Ingarden—to name only a few of the classical phenomenologists? Finally, can we say that today we have one phenomenology, or do we rather face many phenomenologies?

   As a matter of fact, this collection of essays does not represent any uniform, “orthodox,” view of phenomenology. It seems, however, that phenomenology can be defined only within the pluralist horizon of a plethora of perspectives. And thus it is good. For it is well known that phenomenology introduces to contemporary philosophy a strong conviction that there is no such thing as the “view from nowhere”. It also appears, for this very reason, that it is senseless to determine any universal perspective on what phenomenology is. On the other hand, can phenomenology be developed apart from the project of first phi-losophy? How can we define principle methodological instruments that ground the phenomenological way of doing philosophy? Shall we go back to the original Husserlian intuitions on how to do phenomenology? Or rather shall we do phenomenology over and beyond its heritage? All these problems are expressed by the question: A topography of heresies or the road to renewal?

Witold Płotka
PhD, Institute of Philosophy, Sociology and Journalism
University of Gdańsk, Bażyńskiego 4, 80-952 Gdańsk, Poland

 

 

 

ABSTRACTS

 

Olga Bialer

HUSSERL’S PHENOMENOLOGICAL HERITAGE AS A SOURCE OF INNOVATIVE INSPIRATION AND CRITICAL EVALUATION FOR EMMANUEL LEVINAS’ ETHICS AND MARTIN BUBER’S ECOPHENOMENOLOGY

   This article presents an ambiguous approach of two main representatives of dialogical philosophy, Emmanuel Levinas and Martin Buber, towards Husserl’s phenomenology. It is demonstrated that Levinas is not an anti-phenomenological postmodernist. Although he does not implement all the Husserlian methodology, he imitates Husserl’s philosophical rigor in exploring forgotten horizons. Buber’s theory of knowledge is analyzed from Levinas’ perspective. The closing part is devoted to a still unexplored area of Buber’s ecophenomenology. It is demonstrated that by indicating on complete relationship with nature, and showing gaps in classical phenomenology Buber makes a unique contribution to the phenomenological heritage.

Keywords: phenomenology, intentionality, relation, the Other, ecology, nature.

 

Affiliation: Faculty of Continental Philosophy, University of Warsaw, Krakowskie Przedmieście 26/28 00-927 Warsaw, Poland.

E-mail: obialer@hotmail.com

 

 

 

Saulius Geniusas

THE PATHOS OF TIME: CHRONIC PAIN AND TEMPORALITY

   The paper offers a phenomenological interpretation of the temporality of chronic pain. First, I maintain that the field of presence constitutes the exhaustive horizon within which chronic pain is lived. Secondly, I argue that chronic pain is a form of depersonalization in that it cuts the field of presence from the past and the future. Thirdly, drawing on some recent phenomenological and neurological findings, I argue that the past and the future, despite their apparent irreality, continue to affect the present “behinds its back”: either through implicit bodily memory, or through implicit bodily anticipation. Thus despite its depersonalizing effects, chronic pain is a deeply personal experience. In my conclusion, I turn to the therapeutic significance of such a phenomenology of temporality. I maintain that if chronic pain is nested in implicit temporality, then to confront it, one must become conscious of its effects and, if possible, neutralize their meaning.

Keywords: phenomenology, chronic pain, temporality, memory, anticipation.

 

Affiliation: Chinese University of Hong Kong, Fung King Hey Bld, Department of Philosophy, CUHK, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong.

E-mail: geniusas@cuhk.edu.hk

 

 

 

Hisaki Hashi

PHENOMENOLOGY AND BUDDHIST PHILOSOPHY ON EMBODIED COGNITION

   Contrary to Western philosophy, oriented to grasp and solidify the principles of essential being (ontos on), Buddhism seeks to understand the existence of human beings and the significance of suffering in human life. In East Asian languages human beings are described as inter-beings in that they are enveloped by the topos of life and death. Our life is bound to the moments of emerging and vanishing, being and non-being in an essential unity. Dōgen’s philosophical thinking integrated this conception with the embodied cognition of both the thinking and the acting self. In the phenomenological perspective, early Martin Heidegger emphasizes that being is bound to a fundamental substantiality which borders on the Abgrund falling into nothingness. According to Dōgen, the unity-within-contrast of life and death is exemplified in our breathing because it achieves a unity of body and cognition which can be called “corpus.” In a perfect con-trast, the essential Heidegger’s reflection grasps the fundament of being in the world, which represents the actualization of a thinking-being-unity. The goal of this comparison is to grasp what is the essentiality of being, life, and recognition (jikaku 自覚), bounded to embodied cognition.

Keywords: embodied cognition, Dōgen, Martin Heidegger, comparative reflection, philosophy in life.

 

Affiliation: Department of Philosophy, University of Vienna, A-1010 Wien, Universitätsstr. 7, 3. Floor, Austria.

E-mail: hisaki.hashi@univie.ac.at

 

 

 

George Heffernan

PHENOMENOLOGY OF EVIDENCE: PROMISES, PROBLEMS, AND PROSPECTS

   According to Ricoeur, phenomenology is “for a good part the history of Husserlian heresies.” In this paper, I argue that, at the crossroads between a possible “topography of heresies” and a potential “geography of horizons,” phenomenology of evidence takes “the road to renewal” in pursuit of knowledge of knowledge and truth about truth. In doing so, I suggest that phenomenology of evidence is not “heresy” against “orthodox” or “analytical” theory of knowledge. Rather, in so far as it is required by a phenomenological description of knowledge, phenomenology of evidence represents critical heterodoxy in the face of dogmatic orthodoxy. As such, it serves as a first step on “the road to renewal” of reflection on truth. Thus phenomenology of evidence emerges as one of “the many faces of contemporary phenomenology,” and as a very bright one indeed. In support of this position, I present arguments in the form of ten lessons from phenomenology of evidence for contemporary theory of knowledge.

Keywords: phenomenology, theory of knowledge, evidence, epistemic justification.

 

Affiliation: Merrimack College, North Andover, Massachusetts 01845, U.S.A.

E-mail: heffernang@merrimack.edu

 

 

 

Kenneth Knies

CRISIS AND THE LIMITS OF PHENOMENOLOGICAL REASON

   I consider two criticisms of Husserlian phenomenology that claim to find support in Husserl’s own Crisis. The first holds that the crisis-problematic entails a concession to the power of historical tradition that Husserl evades. The second holds that the crisis of science is a permanent feature of reason, though Husserl naively promotes its resolution. Against the first, I argue that the systematic question addressed by the historical method of Crisis is not “What can we know?” but “What are we entitled to hope?” The debate about historicism thus obscures that Husserl’s historical reconstructions represent a practical extension of phenomenological reason. Against the second, I argue for a distinction between two concepts: “Krisis der Wissenschaften” and “Unwissenschaftlich-keit der Wissenschaften.” While the latter includes elements of Sinnentleerung inherent to science, the former refers to a wavering faith in science’s Lebensbedeutsamkeit that phenomenology can reasonably claim to stabilize.

Keywords: Husserl, crisis, history, epoché, lifeworld.

 

Affiliation: Sacred Heart University, Philosophy Department, Academic Building, HC 135, 5151 Park Avenue, Fairfield, CT 06825, USA.

E-mail: kniesk@sacredheart.edu

 

 

 

Rosa Maria Lupo

DO PHENOMENOLOGICAL HERESIES EXIST?

   Should contemporary phenomenology be considered as a series of heresies or is it still possible to follow the direction of classical phenomenology to renew it? Does a classical phenomenology exist at all? We can already observe in Husserl’s work a kind of stratification of phenomenology which makes it possible to affirm that from its beginning phenomenology has been already deconstructed and revised, never closed in a specific ontological field. Rather it is an indication of a method, of a cognitive praxis with a transcendental status. That opens phenomenology up to continuous revisions according to the object to which consciousness is addressed. This methodological essence of phenomenology explains its wide thematic modulation and its claim to be applied as a method to everything that has a phenomenal nature. As a way towards phenomena, the aim of phenomenology still today goes on deciphering the conditions of phenomenality and its reception by subjectivity.

Keywords: phenomenology, method, phenomenality, givenness, subjectivity.

 

Affiliation: University of Palermo, Dipartimento di Scienze umanistiche, Viale delle Scienze, Edificio 12, 90128 Palermo, Italy.

E-mail: rosamaria.lupo@unipa.it

 

 

 

Marek Maciejczak

HUSSERL’S THEORY OF CONSCIOUSNESS IN THE PERSPECTIVE OF AUTOPOIETIC SYSTEMS

   The paper presents the process of auto-constitution of consciousness, its main parts and levels. It also explains the principles of working, temporal extension, source of dynamics, unity, aim etc., as well as a relative independence from other systems among which consciousness is placed.

Keywords: consciousness, auto-reference, habitus, inner time, Husserl.

 

Affiliation: The Faculty of Administration and Social Sciences, Warsaw University of Technology, Plac Politechniki 1, 00-661 Warszawa, Poland.

E-mail: marmaciejczak@poczta.onet.pl

 

 

 

Charley E. Mejame

LANGUAGE AND PURE OR RATIONAL ONTOLOGY

   This paper argues that the unicity of the signification of words makes intercomprehension possible, and explores the possibility of a pure or rational ontology as providing a space for communication between cultures. Therefore no culture has any proprietary right over that ontology.

Keywords: ontology, communication, cultures, ethnocentrism, openness, dialogue.

 

Affiliation: Michigan Technological University; Department of Humanities, Walker Arts and Humanities 333-1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931-1906 U.S.A.

E-mail: ejede.mejame@virginia.usa.com

 

 

 

Giuseppe Menditto

BLUMENBERG’S THINKING AS A PHENOMENOLOGICAL HERESY AND THE LIFEWORLD AS AN IMPOSSIBLE METAPHOR

   Hans Blumenberg’s reflection is grounded on the phenomenology of history that can be considered as one of the most heretical Husserl’s developments. Blumenberg sees these developments as a way of thinking, a “source” of inspiration, a “legacy” and a sort of “legitimacy.” The purpose of this paper is to stress two different but connected ques-tions on this heresy: on the one hand, the path of Blumenberg’s phenomenology not as continuum of historical substances, but as “reoccupation” of problems that a thinker bequeaths to another; on the other hand, the metaphor, as Blumenberg’s “semantic anomaly” and Husserl’s Lebenswelt images (e.g. “ground,” “horizon,” “leap”) as “infi-nite” heresy of their premises.

Keywords: lifeworld, metaphor, heresy, semantic anomaly, reoccupation.

 

Affiliation: University of Rome Sapi-enza, Chair of Aesthetics, via Carlo Fea 2, 00161 Rome, Italy.

E-mail: gmenditto@gmail.com

 

 

 

Michał Piekarski

THE PROBLEM OF REALISM IN ANDRZEJ PÓŁTAWSKI’S PHENOMENOLOGY

   The paper analyzes elements of Andrzej Półtawski’s (Roman Ingarden’s student) realistic position within phenomenology. His views are centred on embodied, dynamically understood consciousness.

Keywords: realism, idealism, truth, embodied, dynamical consciousness, Andrzej Półtawski, Edmund Husserl.

 

Affiliation: Section of Epistemology and Philosophy of Language on the Department of Christian Philosophy, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University, ul. Wóycickiego 1/3, 01-938 Warszawa, Polnad.

E-mail: m.piekarski@uksw.edu.pl

 

 

 

Andrzej Przyłębski

NEITHER HERESY NOR RENEWAL: PHENOMENOLOGY AS PERMANENT SELF-CORRECTION AND SELF-IMPROVEMENT

   The article considers the problem of the redefinition of the concept of phenomenology after Heidegger’s critique of the idea of presuppositionlessness, Ricoeur’s criticism of the beginning of the transcendental ego, and Merleau-Ponty’s criticism of Husserl’s perceptual apprehension.

Keywords: hermeneutic phenomenology, meaning structures, Heidegger, Ricoeur, Merleau-Ponty.

 

Affiliation: Institute of Culture Studies at the Adam Mickiewicz University, 60-569 Poznań, Szamarzewskiego 89A, Poland.

E-mail: andrzej@przylebski.com

 

 

 

Aleksandra Szulc

STEIN AND HEIDEGGER: TWO PHENOMENOLOGIES

   The paper analyses Martin Heidegger and Edith Stein’s conceptions of phenomenology. These analyses provide a basis to explain Stein’s critique of Heidegger’s thought. The author presents Heidegger’s hermeneutic phenomenology which assumes that the understanding of being is a fundamental category, and, next, elucidates Stein’s personal phenomenology. Heidegger and Stein, both Husserl’s students, change his conception: Heidegger introduces a new method and goal of investigation, Stein adds to it the Christian faith. In the last part, the author shows how Stein proves the incompleteness of Heidegger’s analysis of Dasein, death and temporality, in her view, the main shortcomings of his thought. Stein accuses him of saying nothing about the possibility of eternity and of taking into account only finite existence. The author of paper claims that Stein’s appraisal stems from her understanding of phenomenology which differs from Heidegger’s one.

Keywords: Stein, Heidegger, phenomenology, hermeneutic, Dasein.

 

Affiliation: Szczecin University, Ul. Krakowska 71-79, 71-017 Szczecin, Poland.

E-mail: aleksandra.szulc@op.pl

 

 

 

Peter Andras Varga

PHENOMENOLOGY AND ITS HISTORY: A CASE STUDY ON HEIDEGGER’S EARLY RELATION TO HUSSERL—AND A PLEA FOR THE HISTORICAL METHOD IN PHENOMENOLOGY

   In order to better understand the notion of history proper to phenomenology, I undertake a brief case study. Namely, I investigate Martin Heidegger’s relation to Edmund Husserl in the years preceding Husserl’s appointment to Freiburg, with a special focus on an occasional writing by Heidegger from 1912. The application of historical method not only dismantles the teleological constructions which mark Heidegger’s own account of his early discovery of Husserl’s phenomenology, but also present a young thinker eager to absorb cutting edge, though not necessarily consistent, developments from contemporaneous philosophy. Heidegger’s early approach could also be conceived as a window onto an elusive brief period of phenomenology before its transformation into a Movement, thereby illustrating the positive contributions of the historical approach to the history phenomenology.

Keywords: Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, early Heidegger, historiography of phenomenology, counterfactuals.

 

Affiliation: Institute of Philosophy of the Research Centre for Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, MTA BTK FI; Orszaghaz u. 30, 1014 Budapest, Hungary.

E-mail: Varga.Peter@btk.mta.hu

 

 

 

Margot Wielgus

ARENDT’S PHENOMENOLOGY: SOCIAL-POLITICAL THOUGHT AND ETHICAL LIFE

   Hannah Arendt brings the traditionally ontological practice of phenomenology into social and political philosophy. She does this in two ways: by employing phenomeno-logical methods in her approach to examining the world around her and by showing how phenomenology is related to ethical life through her description of thinking. In this article, I explore the first of these ways by locating Arendt’s methods in relation to Martin Heidegger’s definition of phenomenology, as given in the Being and Time. Arendt’s usage of phenomenological methods is clear in her examinations of banal evil and modern judicial systems. These topics lead to a discussion of how thinking, for Arendt, is a phenomenological activity that has bearing on ethical life. I will turn to Arendt’s essay, “Personal Responsibility under Dictatorship” to clarify how phenome-nology, as characteristic of the thinking Arendt prescribes, is ethically important.

Keywords: Hannah Arendt, phenomenology, thinking, evil, ethics, Martin Heidegger.

 

Affiliation: Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama. Auburn University, Department of Philosophy, 6080 Haley Center, Auburn, AL 36849 USA.

E-mail: margot.wielgus@g.uky.edu

 

 

 

Cezary Woźniak

OUT OF JOINT? AROUND SLAVOJ ŽIŽEK’S THOUGHTS ON THE PRIMORDIAL DISTURBANCE IN BUDDHISM

   In his book, The Fragile Absolute, in the chapter “Why Is the Truth Monstrous?”, Slavoj Žižek discusses Buddhism. Specifically, he claims that Buddhists have always found it difficult to explain, “how is it that the primordial was disturbed, and that desire emerged; that living beings got caught up in the wheel of karma, of attachment to false reality?” (2000. The Fragile Absolute, London: Verso, 73). Ultimately, Žižek suggests that in Buddhism “this fall into perversion is original, the original monstrous cut/excess, and the opposition between nirvana and desire for false appearances is there to conceal this monstrosity” (ibid. 74). Notwithstanding, in his singular views on Buddhism, Žižek does raise the question concerning the source of samsara, the source of cyclic existence, which he explains by using the concept of primordial disturbance that falls into perver-sion. This article discusses this Žižek’s concept and confronts it with the Buddhist un-derstanding of the source, causes, and the mode of emergence of cyclic existence.

Keywords: Buddha, Buddhism, Žižek, Longchenpa, Namkhai Norbu, samsara, nir-vana, language, silence, primordial disturbance, beginning, source, ignorance, mind.

 

Affiliation: Jagiellonian Universtity in Cracow, Management and Social Communication Department, Institute of Culture, str. prof. S. Łojasiewicza 4, 20-001 Kraków, Poland.

E-mail: cezary.wozniak@uj.edu.pl

 


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