Concluding Levinas’s Time and the Other (1948), in which we talk about the present being freedom, before there’s even a will! Also: being encumbered by your own body, relating to the world as nourishment, and getting over yourself through good lovin.’
More Levinas, working this time through Time and the Other (1948).
What is it for a person to exist? What individuates one person from another, making us into selves instead of just part of the causal net of events? Why would someone possibly think that these are real, non-obvious questions that need to be addressed?
More Levinas, working this time through Time and the Other (1948).
What is it for a person to exist? What individuates one person from another, making us into selves instead of just part of the causal net of events? Why would someone possibly think that these are real, non-obvious questions that need to be addressed? Levinas gives us a phenomenological progression from the “there is,” terrifyingly undifferentiated Being, to becoming an individual through “hypostasis,” which is becoming an existent through a voyage out to the world and back to oneself. But this existing makes us solitary, not only in this weird ontological sense of being a distinct thing, but in a concrete, emotional sense. Overcoming this requires grasping the Other as a real Other, not as an object to fulfill our desires or get in our way. Really understanding this at our core takes some doing, and in the process, we gain a mature sense of time and of death, so, good for us!
End song: “Call on You” by Mark Lint from from the 1993 Mark Lint album Spanish Armada: Songs of Love and Related Neuroses.
Continuing on “Ethics as First Philosophy” (1984) and other essays. We try to complete Levinas’s story on how revealing the flawed, aggressive character of our culture and personal attitudes can lead us to recognition of the ethical demand of the Other.
On “Ethics as First Philosophy” (1984). More existentialist ethics, with a Jewish twist this time! Seth returns to join Mark and Wes in figuring out how to best leave off all this aggressive “knowing” and other forms of individual self-assertion to grasp the more primordial appearance of the Other in all his or her vulnerability, which Levinas thinks makes us wholly responsible for others right off the bat.
Mike Rugnetta of the Reasonably Sound podcast explains Deadpools apparent self-awareness by laying down some body phenomenology courtesy of our main man Maurice.
Consciousness, Nicholas Humphrey claims, does not add or enhance some survival ability (as, say, wings allow birds to fly). Consciousness improves the chance of survival because it makes life worth living. Being phenomenally conscious grants import, meaning, and ego, essentially fooling us into striving towards fulfillment.
There are two traditions within phenomenology: realist phenomenology and idealist phenomenology. The distinguishing feature is how they treat their ‘pre-bracketed’ and ‘post-bracketed’ states. In the realist case when we interpret (describe) the world we can bracket the truth of the claims epistemologically; in the idealist case we can metaphysically bracket claims.
Everyone (not just Citizens) can watch video of the first discussions of the ongoing Not School Heidegger reading group. Join up!
Five discussions which are only the beginning of a series that can be found on Stevie LeValley’s YouTube channel, largely recorded with him and Nathan Goldman. This first was recorded July 6, 2014 and covered the Introduction, Part I.
In one of Woody Allen’s films (Annie Hall?), one of the characters remarks that existentialism is a matter of projecting one’s neuroses onto the world. Instead of me being depressed, I am in an ontological state of despair. Instead of being a person who is considering what to do with my evening, it is the world that is pulsing with Continue Reading …
If the dialogue between Buddhism and American intellectuals like Owen Flanagan is part of a fashionable trend, then it has to be one of the longest lasting fads in history. Henry David Thoreau published the Lotus Sutra in the first issue of The Dial in 1844. William James was absorbing Transcendentalist ideas at the family dinner table, where his godfather Continue Reading …
Here’s a conference-lecture by Dan Zahavi (of the “Center for Subjectivity Research” at the University of Copenhagen/Danish National Research Foundation) that asks whether it’s a good idea to try to “naturalize” phenomenology. Watch on YouTube. He distinguishes early on what Flanagan means by phenomenology (referring to Owen by name), i.e. reports on what things seem like to us, and what Continue Reading …
Discussing The Bodhisattva’s Brain: Buddhism Naturalized (2011) with Owen Flanagan. What philosophical insights can we modern folks with our science and naturalism (i.e. inclination against super-natural explanations) glean from Buddhisim? Flanagan says plenty: We can profitably put Buddhist ethics in dialogue with familiar types of virtue ethics. However, we need to be skeptical of any claims to scientific support the superior happiness of Buddhists.
Discussing The Bodhisattva’s Brain: Buddhism Naturalized (2011) with Owen Flanagan. What philosophical insights can we modern folks with our science and naturalism (i.e. inclination against super-natural explanations) glean from Buddhisim? Flanagan says plenty: We can profitably put Buddhist ethics in dialogue with familiar types of virtue ethics. However, we need to be skeptical of any claims to scientific support the superior happiness of Buddhists. Learn more.
End song: “A Few Gone Down” from Mark Lint & the Fake Johnson Trio (1998).
If you’re still confused about what phenomenology is, what Husserl was about, and how he relates to Heidegger, this October 2011 episode of the Entitled Opinions podcast may help clear things up. Interviewer Robert Harrison starts the discussion expressing the excitement of applied, humanistic phenomenology, i.e. as it was used by existentialists like Sartre. Sheehan says that while there’s not Continue Reading …
There’s a guy on youtube named Corey Anton, who is a Professor of Communication Studies at Grand Valley State University. He’s posted a ton of videos on a broad range of subjects, many philosophical. He’s one of those that comes up when you search on the usual suspect terms and I’ve had occasion to watch him from time to time. Continue Reading …
John Townsend (who does video blogs about Merleau-Ponty) reminded me (here) that there’s more than one kind of “reduction” in phenomenology. Since pretty much none of these were covered in our Husserl episode as far as I recall, I thought this was worth my time to do some quick Wikipedia research and report back. The phenomenological reduction, or epoché, is Continue Reading …
It’s a strange but established fact that a number of strains in continental philosophy are most readily found in university departments other than philosophy: post-modernism, critical theory, semiotics, structuralism, post-structuralism, etc. I’d not previously thought, though, that this extended to phenomenology. Here is at least one example of this happening: It’s a podcast (not sure why it isn’t under iTunes Continue Reading …
Discussing Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s “Primacy of Perception” (1946) and The World of Perception (1948). What is the relation of perception to knowledge? In M-P’s phenomenology, perception is primary: even our knowledge of mathematical truths is in some way conditioned by and dependent on the fact that we are creatures with bodies and senses that work the way they do. Science is great, but it doesn’t discover the truth of things hiding behind perception: it is an abstraction from certain kinds of perceptions. Other modes of approaching things, e.g. art, can equally well give us knowledge, though of a different kind. Learn more.