The articles and essays in this website range from off-the-cuff blogs to worked-out pieces. They also range from the short to the long. Many of these pieces are introductory (i.e., educational) in nature; though, even when introductory, they still include additional commentary. Older material (dating back mainly to 2005) is being added to this blog over time.
Thursday, 12 November 2015
A Short Note on Husserl's Notion of Phenomenological Reduction
He means WW1, not WW2.
Edmund Husserl's method of “suspension-of-belief” the
phenomenologist must literally erase all scientific and empirical
knowledge from his mind - at least during the period of the
phenomenological reduction and analysis. Is this suspension any more
psychologically possible than Descartes’ ‘doubt’? Indeed
without the empirical (never mind the scientific), the phenomenologist
wouldn't even have the words to describe his phenomenological
experiences. His language would be public. Thus of necessity he
couldn't ‘bracket’ everything empirical if the phenomenological
analyses were themselves described in a public language.
Husserlian phenomenologist had the same kinds of problem as the
Cartesian epistemic doubter – the problem of a genuinely private
language of private states of consciousness (or of private
a sense Husserl was right: objects can only ‘display’ themselves
in particular ‘profiles’. Not only is the phenomenological
display our only access to external objects: that display
itself must also be a profile (or mode of presentation) of some kind.
Thus, despite all of Husserl’s objectivism and strong
anti-psychologism, he still painted the subject as essentially
trapped within his own consciousness; or as necessarily determined by
- and dependent upon - displays which are themselves perspectival.
primarily scientists who don't accept such displays "as they appear".
Husserl said that we must do. Thus, in that sense alone, the
scientist is surely more of an objectivist than a Husserlian
still only the reduced conscious state that tells us the truth about
what is displayed. A non-bracketed conscious experience could indeed
tell us lies about itself or its objects. It would do so,
according to Husserl, because the present conscious state would be
weighed down with past empirical and scientific knowledge; which,
Husserl argues, simply distorts conscious states, their acts and
objects. We need, therefore, a clean slate of consciousness to get to
the truth of the matter.
objects and acts appear - as they are
to the scientist or layperson:
objects appear - not as they are
negative conclusion is a consequence, Husserl argues, of our not
proceeding without ‘presuppositions’ and thus not having reduced
consciousness and bracketed all references to empirical externals.
philosophy is ethico-philosophical in the sense (like Heidegger,
Levinas and Derrida) that he believed that man’s moral position (or
'being') must be the subject of Ethics as First Philosophy. In
Husserl’s case, instead of emphasising the social or moral nature
of man, he emphasised man’s subjective experiences. Here too
science is the offender. Husserl believes that science had
“progressively cut off subjective experience from the life-world”.