sábado, 7 de mayo de 2011

Scopus pleasures: Wittgenstein phenomenology

The aim of this article is to show clearly what the terms "object" and "objectivity" as used over the centuries of modern philosophy - from the time of Descartes down to the time of Wittgensteinand Husserl, i.e., from early modern Rationalism and Empiricism to late modernPhenomenology and Analytic philosophy - have obscured. Objectivity, far from being "the ability to consider or represent facts, information, etc., without being influenced by personal feelings or opinions; impartiality; detachment," as the OED would have it, is fundamentally the condition of occupying the position of the significate in a triadic relation the foreground element of which is a sign vehicle conveying that significate to or for some third. Simply put, an "object" is a significate, a fact that common usage has come to obscure by sedimenting the influence of modern philosophy's reversal of the meaning of the terms "subjective" and "objective," where the former has come to signify "private opinion" in contrast to "the way things are." But this sedimentation to the level of common usage of modern solipsistic epistemology is precisely a usage that semiotic analysis of the linguistic sign overcomes, showing that in the expression "object signified" the qualification "signified" is redundant, for an object is nothing other than something signified! Thus "significate," a term that modern dictionary makers resist, says clearly what the term "object" says obscurely; and a great deal of mischief in philosophy over the centuries after Descartes has been the result of this distinctively modern obscurantism in philosophy. © Walter de Gruyter.




At the beginning of the 20th century an idea seems to get prominent among two philosophers as different as Husserl and Peirce : the project of a purely descriptive philosophy calledphenomenology (phaneroscopy for Peirce), a science without presuppositions. Along the 1920-1940s, two other important philosophers, Dewey and Wittgenstein claim that philosophy must be the description of the ordinary. Wittgenstein intends to describe well known facts which we fail to see because of their familiarity. So philosophy must be descriptive, but can it? And what does it means? This paper tries to show that description is not enough for these authors and that they ultimately betray their descriptive project.




This paper tries to clarify the reasons that made Wittgenstein believe that phenomenology had to be accomplished as what he called «grammar». In a second moment, the original discoveries and weaknesses of his grammatical conception of phenomenology will be critically discussed. © Pensamiento.




This paper takes issue with Heidegger's claim that discourse and understanding are equally basic in the constitution of our making sense of the world. I argue that Heidegger cannot consistently establish this claim, and that discourse can be thought of as being more basic than understanding. The proposed line of thinking has the advantage of shedding light on both the finitude and the normativity of our making sense of the world. Thus, by setting up an exchange with the later Wittgenstein's discussion of rule-following makes it possible to develop an approach to the normativity of meaning which was not readily available on Heidegger's account. Further, the paper offers an inquiry into a certain aspect of our finite sense of the world which, in spite of Heidegger's marked attention to finitude, was obscured by his approach to discourse. The implications of the argument might be far-reaching. The view of a basic role of discourse can put into question Heidegger's guiding vision according to which time alone is ultimately the fundamental constituent of our sense of what there is. The engagement with Wittgensteinindicates, in conjunction with other themes of the paper, that there are certain perspectives and issues in phenomenology which are much closer to aspects of the analytic tradition than is usually granted. © 2009 Taylor & Francis.




This paper reflects on how the possibility of meaningful evidence is to be assumed in view that all our linguistic exercises take place in the context of a dis-cursive horizon where we are situated. To do this, the paper starts distinguishing two phenomena: first, the possibility of meaningful evidence and second, the horizontal character that is inherent to the deployment of linguistic meaning. Furthermore, through a discussion with Husserl and Wittgenstein, the paper considers how those two phenomena are to be consistently assumed withinphenomenology.




This paper continues to explore the relationship between the imagination and learning. It has been claimed by Maxine Greene, amongst others, that imagination is the most important of the cognitive capacities for learning; the reason being that 'it permits us to give credence to alternative realities'. However little work has been done on what constitutes this capacity for the imagination. This paper draws on Husserl and Wittgenstein to frame a model of imagination that derives from the perspective of the 'transcendental phenomenology' of Husserl. The claim is made that by learning to be in the world in certain ways we must be able to construct imagined worlds with their own logics and presentations. This claim is supported by a discussion of the parameters required for owning and accepting to the self sensory and cognitive perceptions and beliefs. Imagination is also a necessary condition for the understanding of empathy; of grasping what it is like be another person. In this sense imagination can be better grasped through the category of ontology rather than epistemology. It can also, on the basis of ontology, be argued that understanding and acknowledging other cultures is a matter of being, imaginatively, in the other world. Some implications for approaches to teaching and learning are outlined. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008.




The transcendental problem that obsessed the great Western philosophers such as Kant and Husserl should be, according to Wittgenstein, conceived as a matter of understanding a process of reasoning in which a conclusion follows necessarily from stated rules. Once these rules, regarded as a priori categories by Kant and as eidos and eidetic relations by Husserl, are demonstrated to be no more than the language usages or rules of language-games related to our forms of life, Kant's transcendental idealism and Husserl's transcendental phenomenologyno longer have a leg to stand on. © 2008 Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag.





Two hundred years ago psychiatry began to establish itself as a practical and scientific institution. The views about the causation of and potential therapies for mental diseases were riddled with speculative metaphysical and religious thoughts. Around the middle of the 19th century psychiatry was integrated into medicine - taking over most of the methodological positions of natural science. Certain scientific findings - for example Wernicke's discovery that particular lesions in the brain are associated with aphasia - encouraged physicians in their confidence that medicine should become more or less exclusively a natural science. As a result of the increasingly scientific professionalisation of psychiatry, the philosophical and theoretical preconditions thereof were less reflected. Psychiatry positioned itself as a natural science, in which every form of scientific explanation could be based on the principles of mathematical physics. This so-called monistic approach emerged at the beginning of the 20th century and found strong support among scientists and philosophers. Two examples of this monistic position are logical empiricism, founded by Rudolf Carnap and Otto Neurath, and critical rationalism of Karl Popper. According to this point of view human behaviour could - and should - ideally be explained exclusively through general laws. On the other hand, a hermeneutic point of view developed - held for example by Wilhelm Dilthey - which contained a dualistic conception of science integrating processes of understanding. From the hermeneutic point of view every method used in science must adapt to its object. In this article several arguments are given in favour of a dualistic view of psychiatry. It is emphasised that psychiatry has uncritically adapted to behaviouristic psychology, ignoring arguments arising from phenomenological or cognitive psychology, among others. Some of the rare German-language publications by psychiatrists on the philosophy of science are presented. They show that the current debate on this issue has received little notice. Particularly the insights of the philosophy of language arising from the ideas of Ludwig Wittgenstein are completely neglected. It is pointed out that it is rather problematic that these papers, which do not reflect the discussion between the exponents of the monistic and the dualistic view, are presented in a textbook representing the "state-of-the-art" of psychiatry. Finally, proposals for the method one may use to complete current research are put forward. It is emphasised that psychiatry should integrate philosophical considerations and reflect on the assumptions upon which it has been founded.




This text, written by Lacan, was for the benefit of physicians whereas the speech given in Rome (which dealt with the same subject) was aimed at trainee analysts. The theories of the Ego were called into question to the benefit of a theory of the Subject. Resistance was to be looked for in the discourse and not in the Ego. For Freud, the Ego, an Ego that is based on the aggressive narcissic relationship, is built like a symptom and not like an objectivized Subject. Nevertheless, the Ego is not to be rejected, as is done by some phenomenologist-psychoanalysts who also reject the subconscious. The role of didactic analysis is to allow the analyst "to recognize symptoms of his ignorance in his own knowledge". Ignorance not being here a "non-knowledge". Listening is not directed by knowledge but by practice freed from speech. Hence the expression of "cure phenomena" in the shape of equations and axioms; Lacan was building up the theory of transference, not the theory of the subconscious. He transcribed what he listened to and not what he knew. Lacan's genius was to have introduced the logic of the signifier in the therapy phenomena at a time when symbolic logic was almost becoming independent from the objects existing in the world, and at the time when syntax and semantics appeared to be independent from the subject, because, at this time, psychoanalysis, which by definition develops from the ordinary language of the patient in a transference situation, was coming close to analytical logic which itself was now concentrating on ordinary language and not on scholarly language. Lacan came close to the Anglo-Saxon analytical philosophy of Bertrand Russell, Frege, Whitehead or Wittgenstein. This is a psychoanalysis which does not go beyond language and logic but where the sense of reality remains vital during the session. Therefore Lacan's approach to the transmission of psychoanalysis confronts us with the attitude of semioticians who encourage us to leave aside what tempts us most in the practice we are talking about: the "factual experience". It is of course impossible to set aside painful factual experience in psychiatry and psychotherapy, but we should combine empathy and semiotics in order to tackle the issue efficiently. We have to give life to the mind by the letter and not to the letter by the mind. © 2005 Elsevier SAS. All rights reserved.





At the beginning of the 20th century psychiatry was dominated by scientists who were convinced that mental disorders were more or less exclusively the result of diseases of the brain. Amongst many others Theodor Meynert in Vienna and Carl Wernicke in Halle emphasised the importance of neuroanatomical and neuropathological research. However, this naturalistic view on mental disorders - "mental diseases are diseases of the brain", as Wilhelm Griesinger pointed out in 1845 - was reiteratively critisised. Based on Martin Heidegger's, Jean-Paul Sartre's and Edmund Husserl's philosophy, in the middle of the 20th century a phenomenological-anthropological school of psychiatry developed. In Germany, amongst others, Erwin Straus, Ludwig Binswanger, and Werner Blankenburg stood for this particular approach to psychological phenomena which emphasised the subjective experience, contrary to a more objectivising, natural sciences-based approach of psychiatry. Phenomenological psychiatry argues that natural science-based research in psychiatry neglects crucial aspects of human experience. This scientific approach is grounded on the accurate reconstruction of narratives, given by individuals. Today, there are few scientists defending phenomenological psychiatry, yet recently there have been several publications, e.g. by Thomas Fuchs, dealing with the so-called 'Leibphänomenologie'. Derived from a philosophical perspective, which points out the constitutive impact of language for creating reality, the article presents critical remarks on some aspects of the 'Leibphänomenologie', which is strongly influenced by the publications of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Hermann Schmitz. Going back to Wilhelm von Humboldt, it was Ludwig Wittgensteinwhose work coined the development of a philosophy of language, especially by the well-known Tractatus logico-philosophicus and Philosophische Untersuchungen. Nowadays it is for example Karl-Otto Apel who - in his Transcendental pragmatic - emphasises the crucial role of language in the constitution of reality. In spite of their differences, elaborated on in this paper, phenomenological psychiatry and the philosophy of language agree in their scepiticism towards an only natural sciences-based psychiatry. Passages of two texts by Thomas Fuchs (University of Heidelberg), Leib, Raum, Person and Psychopathologie von Leib und Raum, in which the relation of 'Leibphänomenologie' to some mental disorders is considered, are discussed in detail. It should become evident that to a large extent the vagueness of the language of anthropological psychiatry is the result of a penumbrous relation between language and reality in phenomenological philosophy. It will be demonstrated that a critical review of a science's language can be of benefit clarifying the relation between this science and its objects, and moreover possibly initiating new conceptual considerations.







This essay is concerned with defending Husserl against the criticism that he is insufficiently attentive to intersubjectivity. It has two moments; the first articulates what I take to be a general version of the critique and then turns to a discussion of a version derived from Wittgenstein's private language argument and the ensuing debate regarding this critique between Suzanne Cunningham and Peter Hutcheson. This discussion concludes by noting a general agreement between the two participants that Husserl's ego is not directly involved in intersubjective relationships. I argue that as long as this is granted, the broader criticism cannot be answered. Whence, the second moment defends Husserl against this critique arguing that Husserl's transcendental ego is an intersubjective one.




The article tries to show, from the phenomenological position, that it must be possible to reflect on so called pre-linguistic experience. The argumentation is based on a disputation with a symptomatic example used by Wittgenstein to substantiate his language games theory. The analysis of the example attempts to indicate that the language games theory, which has to justify the rejection of the existence of pre-linguistic experience, meets with discrepancies and difficulties which limit the range of this theory to a certain extent. Because it presupposes the existence of "private", experiential sphere in which - even before language and verbalization enter the game - the structuring of the world, identification of things and an elementary understanding of these processes must be realized. It seems that the dis-cussion on this topic is not only a specific polemic over one problem that can be found in Wittgenstein, but has wider implications because the language games concept in the form of various "discourses", "vocabularies" or "cultures" has found great favour in contemporary postmodern philosophy. On its basis postmodern philosophy very radically (and perhaps against the will of Wittgensteinhimself) crosses out the world, profanes its rational, objective description and calls for free variation of different interpretations - their legitimacy is authenticated only by a consensus of their users. In this dispute, phenomenology does not declare that there is a single true description of the world and that it is possible to find a reliable criterion for its definite legitimization. It does, however, draw on the fact that so called pre-linguistic experience does not succumb to the variability of language games and the interests of its users, but that it more and more clearly reflects the unitary and scrutable style of showing the real, objectively given world even though this always happens in seemingly impalpable subjective acts. Copyright © Filozofický ústav SAV.







What kind of language game do we initiate by making 'evidence' the focus of methodological discussion? Drawing on the example set by Wittgenstein, our first step might well be to consider the senses in which we can use the notion of evidence in anthropological writing. These senses must be different if we are asking for evidence of the existence or nature of a phenomenon (such as, for example, totemism or kinship), or evidence to test a hypothesis from the standpoint either of validation or falsification. The sense must also be different if evidence is to be understood in a juridical sense or an experimental sense. Again, evidence may be understood to be synonymous with data, or could imply a sense of what is evident, or even self-evidence - the immediacy of experience as examined by phenomenology. To determine how these different senses of evidence color our understanding of the ethnographic enterprise is the ultimate goal of this discussion. Copyright © 2004 SAGE Publications.









This essay presents a selective, personal overview of work in Shakespeare studies during the past five years. It focuses especially on the re-emergence of the ghosts of the author and ideality in the face of the recent "obsession" with materiality. It begins by offering a critical examination of the idea of the materiality of the text and empirical objects, especially with regard to the work of Joseph Margolis, Jacques Derrida, and Karl Marx, before discussing new work on language that promises to put the residual Saussurean assumptions embedded in critical practice to rest. One of the ghosts that haunts the "grammar" (in Wittgenstein's sense of the word) of recent critical writing is that of the author, not only in such overt biographical work as Stephen Greenblatt's popular Will in the World, but also in the hidden assumptions of even overtly materialist work. I argue that a certain kind of biographical criticism may exemplify the new historicist desire to trace the historical circulation of cultural energy within a living nexus up to now carried sporadically by the anecdote. The essay concludes with a discussion of a new return to the early twentieth-century, "old" historicist interest in early modern physiological theories of the passions and psychology, and the emergence, at last, of a systematic attention to the omnipresence of service in the work (and lives) of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. © 2005 Taylor & Francis.
















The article reviews selected points arising from the quaestio disputata on the relation between philosophy and the sciences, published in this journal in September 2003 and then some weeks later treated in an open forum by professors and students of the Gregorian Faculy of Philosophy. The central issue emerging from the discussion was that of organizing the different modes of rational discourse in a manner that respects the specific methods of each, while remaining attentive to the unity of human thought and practical action. The later Wittgensteintook care to avoid mixing different types of discourse, while Carnap acknowledged the inevitability of including consideration of the psychP as an essential procedural step in every theoretical construct in the sciences. Maréchalian transcendental philosophies and Husserlianphenomenologies both insist that human subjectivity is more than functional, since it lies at the origin of rational activity. Thus, science draws attention to subjectivity, but a viable theory must still specify the status of actions proper to the latter.







Daniel Dennett's philosophical abolition of mind is examined with reference to its methodology, intent, philosophic origins, and internal consistency. His treatment of the contents of perception and introspection is shown to be derivative from realist reductionist misinterpretations of physics, physiology, and phenomenology of perception. In order to rectify inconsistencies of that realistic paradigm devolved from psycho-neural identity theory of midtwentieth century, Dennett radicalizes its logic and redefines even veridical phenomenology of exteroception to be "illusory." This measure in extremis still does not save the appearances of his predecessors, nevertheless, for Dennett tacitly presupposes the existence of veridical phenomenology in his very treatment of non-veridical sensory phenomena that he uses to argue analogically from, to thereby suggest the plausibility of a parallel illusoriness of veridical phenomena of perception and introspection. This inhering inconsistency renders unsound Dennett's radical extension of the logic of identity theory, and ironically shows up the persistence of mental phenomenologythat extant reductionism appears so desirous to argumentively eliminate. Nonetheless there is much to be learned from such an analysis of Dennett's purported elimination of mental contents, for a generalization of our critique throws light on the occult assumptions underlyingrealism and reductionism since early identity theory and its variants, and upon the possible viability of that programme as a whole. Someone does a sum in his head. He uses the result, let's say, for building a bridge or a machine... There surely must have been calculation going on, and there was. For he knows that, and how, he calculated; and the correct result he got would be inexplicable without calculation.- But what if I said: "It strikes him as if he had calculated..." (Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, § 364) My debt to Wittgenstein is large and longstanding. When I was an undergraduate, he was my hero. . .. I gave up trying to "be" a Wittgensteinian, and just took what I thought I had learned from the Investigations and tried to put it to work. (Dennett, 1991, p. 463).







In the first part, besides a basic characterisation of the ethnomethodological approach, this paper deals with four premises concerning peculiarity of ethnomethodology. First, it entails a different object and method of research. By asking the question "why", researchers investigate the "practices" or "labour" involved in producing orderly and coherent social interaction. Second, it focuses on ordinary language / speech, derived from the combined influence ofphenomenology, Wittgenstein and Bar-Hillel. The third premise in the article is that "action" and "account" are identical. Fourthly, member's common-sense practices and knowledge is examined. The second part of the paper considers various kinds of research, mainly "ethnographic ethnomethodology". As an example, one of the "degradation rituals" from Garfinkel is provided. It is suggested that Garfinkel's concept of degradation ceremonies could be elaborated upon by some Jayyussi's ideas about member's moral categorisation.


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