Fall 02


Short Exercise on Doing Phenomenology

For your reflection, please do a “phenomenology of X” and try to use some of the Husserlian language.  (This could take more than a page.  Up to 5 pages.)  Some suggestions below:

1.  You might follow Ihde, and do a very simple perceptual phenomenology, of shapes or some object.  (You can stare at some section of your room or some item on your desk.  Every child knows how to do this, by looking at a cloud.  Do an adult version and apply some of the terminology—what is your “thing in question” in the natural attitude, and how does it shift when observed phenomenologically?  What are your noetic variations and corresponding noematic contents?  What might be some of the eidetic features?)

2.  Draw something you see—and then describe the process in phenomenological terms.  The beginning point, “I am going to draw X,” is the natural attitude “taking” of X.  Then, as you “deconstruct” your perceptual participation, your phenomenological attitude is already beginning.  By looking at the object as an object of drawing, you are transforming the “thing X” (say, a “cup”) to an object which appears to you in such and such a way, which you are trying to capture on a piece of paper in a such and such way.  Again, see if you can apply some of the terminology to describe this process.

3.  Phenomenologically analyze some music—in this case, again, in the natural attitude you are probably “listening to a song.” But as you bracket and step back, what becomes manifest in your field of consciousness?  What are some of the essences in that experience?  How does it move, and how might you describe the noetic-noematic contents?  Experiences of temporality?

4.  If you want something more complicated, try describing some very short segment of your actual experience, such as (what would in the natural attitude be described as) “having lunch with a friend and she said X,” “I was washing my hair,” “driving down Fulton St.” Again, pay attention to the shift from the natural attitude description to the phenomenological one.

5.  If you are thinking of presenting something in honor of Professor Makus at the end of the course (12/6), you might begin the initial process.  In this case, you might be involved quite heavily in some aspects of your memory, emotion, or some experiential aspects of loss, contemplations about death, illness, friendship, mentorship, etc.  Begin by just letting the experiences appear (“I think of Dr. Makus”), and then, focus on one aspect of it (for now), perhaps the strongest element, and then try to describe it first as a natural attitude (“I miss him”), then, bracket, and go into some deeper reflections about it and describe what that is like (“But what does this mean, exactly?  What are some of the experiential contents—my noetic states, noematic contents, the process, perhaps some of the eidetic features?  Is “missing” always about some person, or could it also be about some state you were in with respect to the other person, or perhaps for the “whole experience,” and, is it a combination experience, like sadness, fondness, all in one, but what makes this experience of “missing” different from just “remembering?”  (This is an eidetic question)  But surely, both involve some sense of recalling the past.  Emotionally, though, what is different?  Etc.)

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