Phenomenology
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Phenomenology

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Phenomenology Document Transcript

  • 1. Phenomenology Introduction: Phenomenology is a word derived from phenomenon. Phenomenology is a Greek word Phenomenon (an appearance) and logos (reason or word, hence a “reasoned inquiry”). Thus phenomenology is a method of philosophical inquiry that lays stress on the impressions got by reader. So the reader is the main figure to determine the meanings of a given text. The name Husserl gave to his Philosophical method is phenomenology. What is Phenomenology: According to Husserl “Phenomenology that it is a form of methodological idealism, seeking to explore an abstraction called ‘human consciousness’ and a world of pure possibilities”. Husserl argues, how certain things appear to us immediately is consciousness whether the actual thing we are experiencing is an illusion or not. Objects can be regarded not as things in themselves but as things intended by consciousness. Theory of phenomenology has been criticized as a form of ideal abstraction detached from the world of concrete experience. Terry Eaglton (1996), for example, Phenomenology as an authoritarian theory based solely on intuition and assumptions that phenomenon can be intended subjectively without having to be interpreted through reasoned argument. Phenomenology is on of the longest standing philosophies of the twentieth century and has had a significant influence on literary criticism. The Geneva School, tried to apprehend the unity of an author’s consciousness as reflected in the unity of author’s consciousness as reflected in the unity of style, symbols and pattern of imagery in the text rather than investigating the author’s biography. Act of thinking and object of thought. According to Husserl, the act of thinking and object of thought are internally related and mutually dependent. He says all consciousness is consciousness of something and in thinking a reader is aware of his taught that is pointing towards something. Consciousness is not just a passive registration of the world but actively constitutes or intends it. He further demanded the reduction of non understood experiences that he called phenomenological reduction. Phenomenological Reduction: Phenomenological reductionis Husserl’s first important move. He proposes that anything that is not immanent to consciousness must be excluded. To establish certainty, we must first of all ignore or ‘put in brackets’, anything which is beyond our immediate experience, we must reduce the external world to the contents of our consciousness alone. This is called phenomenological reduction. Pure Phenomenon:
  • 2. Husserl’s concept of pure phenomenon seems to be concerned more than just random individual particulars. Pure phenomenon is a system of universal essences because phenomenology varies with each object with its imagination and discovers what is universal in it. What are presented to phenomenological knowledge are not just the experiences of jealousy of red color but universal types are essences of these things as jealousy or redness. So, here Husserl means by pure phenomenon seems to grasp any phenomenon wholly and purely what is essential and unchanging about it. The Greek word for type is ‘eidos’ and similarly Husserl speaks of his method as affecting an ‘eidos’ abstraction along with its phenomenological reduction. Husserl argues that phenomenology was not an art but a science of sciences. Phenomenology as Science of Sciences: Phenomenology could furnish the basis on which genuinely reliable knowledge could be constructed. It could be a science of sciences. It provided a method for study of anything what so ever, memory, matchboxes, mathematics. Human consciousness conceived not just as the empirical experience of particular people, but as the very deep structures of mind itself. Unlike the science it did not ask about any particular form of knowledge but about the conditions which made any sort of knowledge possible in this world, in the first place. It was the philosophy of kamle, a transcendental mode of inquiry and human consciousness which preoccupied, was a transcendental subject. According to Husserl “Phenomenology examined not just what I happened to perceive when I looked at a particular rabbit but the universal essence of rabbits and of the act of perceiving them” He further argued that it was not a form of empiricism neither was a kind of psychologism. It claimed to lay bare the structure of consciousness itself i.e. to lay bare the very phenomenon. So phenomenology was breaking the classical idealism and taking a methodological shape. Aim of Phenomenology: Aim of phenomenology was in fact opposite to abstraction. It was return to the concrete, to solid ground, as its famous slogan, “Back to the things themselves” suggested it philosophy had been concerned about concepts and too little with hard data. It had thus built it precarious top heavy intellectual systems on the frailest of foundations. Knowledge of phenomenon is apodictic: For Husserl knowledge of phenomenon is absolutely certain and apodictic because it is intuitive to quote Hurserl “I can doubt such things no more than I can doubt a sharp tap on the skull. For Leavis, certain forms of language are ‘intuitively’ right, vital and
  • 3. creative. It is so because words have no inherent properties. The eidos for Hurserl and life for Leavis, both don’t have to move beyond the security of immediate sensation in order to develop a global thing. For Hurserl phenomenon does not need to be interrupted in reasoned argument. So, we can think that Husserl’s intentional theory of consciousness suggest that being and meanings are always bound up with another. This leads to the mutual relationship of object and subject. Husserl’s view about object and subject Hurserl’s intentional theory of consciousness suggests that ‘being’ and ‘meaning’ are always bound up with one another. There is no object without an object. Object and subject, for Hurserl are really two sides of the same coin. In a society where objects appear as alienate, with off from human purposes, and, plunged in it anxious isolation this is certainly a consoling doctrine. Two way work of Phenomenology If phenomenology secured a knowable world with one hand, it established the centrality of the human subject with the other. Hurserl says that the world is what we posit or intend it is to be grasped in relation to as, as a correlate of our consciousness, and that consciousness is not just fallibly empirical but transcendental. Phenomenology restored the transcendental subject to its rightful throne. Phenomenology and Classical Bourgeois Ideology Phenomenology recovered and refreshed the old dream of classical bourgeois ideology. Classical Bourgeois ideology believes that‘man’ was somehow prior to this history and social condition, which flowed from him as water shoots forth from a fountain. How this ‘man’ had come to be in the first place whether he might be the product of social conditions. In recentring the world upon the human subject the phenomenology was providing an imaginary solution to a grievous historical problem. Influence of theory on Russian Formalist: Phenomenology had some influence on Russian formalists. Just as Husserl bracketed off ht real object so as to attend the act of knowing it, so poetry for the formalists bracketed off the real objects and focused on the way it was perceived. Phenomenological Criticism:
  • 4. Phenomenological Criticism inan attempt to apply the phenomenological method to literary works. As with Husserl’s “bracketing” of the real object, the actual historical context of the literary work, its author conditions of production and readership are ignored, phenomenological criticism aim instead at a wholly ‘immanent’ reading of the text, s totally unaffected by anything outside it. The text itself reduced to a pure embodiment of the author’s consciousness: all of its stylistic and semantic aspects are grasped as organic parts of a complex totality, of which the unifying essence is the author’s mind. To know this mind, we must not refer to anything we actually know of the author – biographical criticism is banned but only to those aspects of his or her consciousness which manifest themselves in the work itself. Moreover, we are concerned with the deep structure, of this mind, which can be found in recurrent themes and patterns of imagery; and in grasping these we are grasping the way the writer lived his world, the phenomenological relations betweenhimself as subject and the world as object; The ‘world’ of a literary work is not an objective reality, but the reality as actually organized and experienced by an individual subject phenomenological criticism will typically focus upon the way an author experiences time of or space, on the relation between self and others or his perception of material objects. The methodological concerns of Husserlian philosophy, in other words, very often become the content of literature of phenomenological criticism. To seize these transcendental structures, to penetrate to the very interior of a writer’s consciousness, phenomenological criticism tries to achieve complete objectivity and disinterestedness. Criticism is not seen as a construction, an active interpretation of the work which will inevitably engage the critic’s own interests and bases, it is a mere passive reception of the text, a pure transcription of its mental essences. The most impressive and remarkable fact about it is that it succeeded in producing some individual critical studies of considerable insight. For phenomenological criticism, the language of a literary work is little more, than an ‘expression’ of its inner meanings. This some what second hand view of language runs back to Husserl himself. For there is really little place for language as such in Husserlian phenomenology. What supplies meaning fullness to experience for Husserl is not language but the act of perceiving particular phenomena as universals an act which is supposed to occur independently of language itself. For Husserl, in other world, meaning is some thing which pre-dates language, language is no more than a secondary activity which gives names to meanings someone already possess. Martin Heideggers Views The reorganization that meaning is historical was what led Husserl’s most celebrated pupil, the German philosopher Martin. Heidegger, to break with his system of thought; Husserl begins with the transcendental subject. Heidegger reject this starting point and sets out instead from a reflection on the irreducible ‘give ness’ of human existence. It is for this reason that his work is often characterized as ‘existentialist’ in contrast to the remorseless ‘essentialism’ of his mentor.Language for Heidgger is not a mere instrument of communication, a secondary device for expressing ‘ideas’ it is the very dimension in which human life moves, that which brings the world to be in the first place understanding for Heidgger is radically historical. The title of his major work is Being and time rather than
  • 5. Being and history and there is a significant difference between the two concepts. ‘Time’ is in one sense a more abstract notion than history. It suggests the passing of the reasons or the way one might experience the space of his personal life rather than the struggles of nations, the nurturing and slaughtering of populations. Time for Heidegger is still an essentially metaphysical Category, in a way that ‘history’ for other thinkers is not. Flaws of Phenomenology Terry Eagleton points out some flows of phenomenology. According to him we cannot be sure of independent existence of things. Husserl argues, we can be certain of how they appear to us immediately in consciousness, whether the actual thing we are experiencing is an illusion or not. The act of thinking and the object of though are internally related, mutually dependent. My consciousness is not just a passive registration of the world, but actively constitutes or ‘intends’ it. To establish certainty then we must first of all ignore, or put in brackets, anything which is beyond our immediate experience, we must reduce the external world to the contents of our consciousness alone. Another flaw which Eagleton points out is that phenomenology recovered the old dream of classical bourgeois ideology. This ideology was pivoted on the belief that ‘man’ was some how prior to his history and social conditions Eagleton argues that how this ‘man’ has come to be in the first place whether he might be the product of social conditions, as well as the producer of them was not a question to be seriously contemplated in recentring the world upon the human subject, the, phenomenology was providing an imaginary solution to grievous historical problem. Criticism on Heidegger Eagleton critics Heidegger that because according to him Heidegger fails to overturn the static, eternal truths of Husserl and the Western metaphysical tradition by historicizing them. All he does instead is setup a different kind of metaphysical entity. His work represents a flight from history as much as an encounter with it and the name can be said of the fascism with which the flirted. This is not to suggest that Heidegger’s philosophy as a whole is no more than a rational for fascism, it is to suggest that it provided one imaginary solution to the crisis of modern history as fascism provided another, and that the two shared a number of features in common. Conclusion:
  • 6. To sum up we can say that like all other theories phenomenology also has no exception from the point of flaws and demerits. Phenomenology covers only one aspect of text and leaves all other things. It says what a reader is seeing at the moment is everything readers conscious then and there is everything. Reader’s history, his mood, writer’s background and shown alies for this theory. We must keep this factor also in mind that this theory also provides us a vast ground to concentrate on literacy work from the point of view of text as perceived by reader so indirectly reader also becomes important we cannot exclude him with all his intention and bent of mind to perceive . Indirectly his personal feelings are also involved to perceive anything that is literary.