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
Handout, "Challenging a Phenomenologist
(do one of the questions as one of your reflections)
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
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.
At the end of the semester, the students should be able to:
Explain the key philosophical conceps of Husserl, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty
Explain the general significance of phenomenology as a tradition and how
this tradition differs from what came before
Explain some of the similarities and differences between the three philosophers
Explain phenomenology as a "method" and what this entails
Construct a phenomenological experiment and explain some of the theoretical
points in practice
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
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
? 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
? 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.