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The phenomenological project

October 8, 2009

Today, I attended a reading group discussion that tries to pave the way for a richer, pluralistic and multitudinous way of approaching the question of the phenomenological, beginning perhaps from the Husserlian project that tries to differentiate empirical versus transcendental phenomenology, as well as the attempt to articulate various frames of consciousness. It wasn’t easy taking notes, since everyone was talking in top speed, but today’s discussion centered on the Derridean project versus the Deleuzian project, one privileging the semantics and language of philosophy whereas the other thinks in terms of the ontological. There’s this attempt to recuperate traces, signs, expressions, sense and sensibilities in the Derridean project.

However, it is unfortunate that we were not able to get further into the discussion on the strata versus stratum, as that would certainly help us link it more to the Deleuzian project. Bergson of course came up in the discussion (and I need to make a note to self to try to finish his “mind and matter” as soon as I can) and he is construed to have made a very Nietzschean reading of mind and matter (I have to admit that at this point in my graduate life, my knowledge in Nietzsche is still rather minuscule so I hope there’s a chance for me to take a course on him so that I will be able to have time to read more of him). Bergson’s move certainly privileges the hyle of Husserl and also portrays a high interest in developments within the neurosciences. There seems to be interest in bringing in the questions raised on neuroscience into the fold. The question plaguing the idea of naturalizing philosophy of science may soon plague the question of naturalizing phenomenology; how much of it becomes overly reductive at some point. At the same time, I am unsure as to how many scientists really understand the point of the phenomenology and its contribution to neurosciences. The analytic tradition does not talk much about phenomenology beyond Brentano (another guy I need to read). I hope someone reading this will be able to share some thoughts with me.

An interesting quote here from Deleuze. I am paraphrasing it here; there is no sense without event and event without sense. Is this a nod to introspective phenomenology. A privilege of the ontic being?

I can’t help thinking that new projects are often derived out of the misreading of the previous one. But then it’s all about verisimilitude rather than arbitrary truths.

I guess my other question to myself, stemming from a class discussion which I attended in the afternoon; how different is the phenomenological approach to science and phenomenological approach to art?

*Finally got myself the Crisis in European Science and Transcendental Phenomenology (unfortunately it’s reserved copy so I can only hold it for 3 days). But am excited to get to it. Might help me think through my class presentation on “thinking” and the mind next Tues.

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