Phenomenology (0122-402-01)

Fall 2002

Professor Yoko Arisaka, Ph.D
Office: Campion D8
Office Hours:  M 2-3p (or later), T noon-1p.  And by appointment.
Office Phone: 422-6424   (422-6543 for the philosophy dept.)

For the remainder of the course (Nov 25, 27, December 2, and 4), we are reading Merleau-Ponty.  Read from the beginning, of the Primacy of Perception book.

Short Exercise on Doing Phenomenology (up to 5 pages, due Oct 16)

Handout, "Challenging a Phenomenologist (do one of the questions as one of your reflections)

Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy (SPEP), including the conference program


Course Description:

Phenomenology is both a 20th-Century European philosophical tradition and a method that stems from this tradition.  In this course, we will begin by examining the tradition, starting with Husserl, and moving on to Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty (and possibly Sartre).  For this portion of the course, we will rely heavily on the discussions of the passages from these authors.  Today, phenomenology is also a widely used method of investigation, expanding well beyond the tradition.  We will examine some of the contemporary discussions that employs phenomenology (in feminism, post-colonial studies, etc.)  In addition, to understand something about the phenomenological method, we will examine as well as create various phenomenological experiments.

Section  1.  Introduction.  What characterizes the “phenomenological movement?”  How does it differ from other philosophical traditions up to that time?
Section 2.  Husserl.  In this section we will read and study the philosophical framework and insights of Edmund Husserl, usually considered the founder of the phenomenological tradition.
Section 3.  Heidegger.  Following Husserl, Heidegger develops phenomenology into a full-blown “phenomenological ontology.”  We will study the first sections from his magnum opus, Being and Time.
Section 4.  Merleau-Ponty.  Expanding on insights of both Husserlian and Heideggerian methods, Merleau-Ponty develops his own version of a phenomenology of embodiment.
Section 5:  Phenomenology Today: In this section we will read some contemporary essays that employ the phenomenological method.  In addition, we will conduct/create some phenomenological experiments.

The course is a seminar, designed for in-depth discussions and reflections about the reading materials.  The emphasis will be on analysis, critical assessment, and evaluation, as well as developing personal reactions.  The course readings are not necessarily easy, and this is an ambitious program.  It is important that you read the assignments before class, so that you would be ready to ask questions and to participate in the discussion.

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of the semester, the students should be able to:


1.  Phenomenology Reader, Moran and Mooney, eds.
 2.  Being and Time, Martin Heidegger
 3.  Primacy of Perception, Maurice Merleau-Ponty
 4.  Experimental Phenomenology, Don Ihde

There will be handouts for the latter part of the course.

Course Requirements and Grading:

1. Reading analysis (30%).  For every week, please keep a “reading analysis,” in which you will analyze at least one significant passage per week.  Cite the passage (and source, as in Reader p.xx), and then give your own analysis.  By the end of the semester, there should be at least 12 entries.  To be turned in every three weeks on rotation.
2. Phenomenology Experiment (20%).  To examine how phenomenology is a philosophical method of investigation, please make a report on one phenomenological experiment.  To be shared in class.  The write-up/summary of the report should be around 5 pages.  Suggested topics will be discussed later.
3. Final Paper (30%).  The final paper, 15-20 pages, should focus on analysis and evaluation, with at least 5 references.  Possible paper topics will be given out on Week  12.
4. Participation and Discussion (20%).  Weekly attendance and participation are required.  Each week, there will be assigned “discussion leaders” who will bring in insightful questions which are relevant to the material for the rest of the class to discuss.

Course Schedule and Reading

Week 1 (Aug 27, 29):  Introduction: What is Phenomenology?

? What is phenomenology?  Tradition and Method
? Moran, Editor’s Introduction, pp. 1-26.

Week 2 (Sept 3, 5):  What is Phenomenology Continued

? Tradition and Method
? Ihde, Chapter 1, pp. 13-27.  (Read more if you can.)
? Handout (Sokolowski)

Week 3 (Sept 10, 12):  Husserl

? Natural attitude, intentionality, the phenomenological/transcendental method
? Handout from Husserl’s Ideas

Week 4 (Sept 17, 19):  Husserl

? More on intentionality and the phenomenological method
? Moran, Part II, Section 4 and 5, Pure Phenomenology, its Method, and its Field of Investigation (pp. 124-150)

Week 5 (Sept 24, 26):  Husserl

? Lifeworld and Transcendental philosophy
? Moran, Part II, Section 6 (pp. 151-174)

Week 6 (Oct 1, 3):  Heidegger: Introduction (from Husserl to Heidegger)
Week 7 (Oct 8, no class Oct 10): Heidegger
Week 8 (Oct 15, 17): Heidegger
Week 9 (Oct 22, 24): Heidegger

? We will start reading Being and Time from the beginning, until p. 148.  Also see Moran, Part VI, on Heidegger.

Week 10 (Oct 29, 31): Merleau-Ponty
Week 11 (Nov 5, 7):  Merleau-Ponty
Week 12 (Nov 12, 14): Merleau-Ponty

? We will read the Primacy of Perception, Part I, until p. 155.

Week 13 (Nov 19, 21): Phenomenology Today.
Week 14 (Nov 26):  Phenomenology Today.  Experiment presentation
Week 15 (Dec 3):   Phenomenology Today.  Experiment presentation

? See Ihde
? Various handouts

Final Paper Due: Tuesday, December 10th, 5pm.

Policy on Attendance, Turning in your papers, etc.

You are expected to attend every class, as participation is weighed heavily.  I will accept valid excuses (medical emergency, or other events which are totally beyond your control).  It is your responsibility to contact me if you must miss class.

Please note that “turning in the paper” means that I receive it; it does NOT mean that you dropped it off.  When in doubt, you must make sure with me that I actually have your material.
I will accept electronic submissions.

There will be some penalty for late papers.  Late papers must be turned in within one week past  the dealine.  No papers will be accepted beyond that date.

You may turn your final in early.  No makeup for the final.

Feel free to talk to me about any concerns you may have about the course.  I am always interested in what you have to say.

Back to my main page.