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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Phenomenology Kitten—Introductory Intending

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***  *** 
On this date on Round and Square's History 
4 November 2012—Structure, History, and Culture: The Electoral College (b)
4 November 2011—Prairie Ethnography: Introduction
[a] Appearing to consciousness RF
Our attainment of enlightenment is something like the reflection of the
moon in water. The moon does not get wet, nor is the water cleft apart...
The whole moon and the whole sky find room enough in a single dewdrop...
                             —Dōgen, Conversations

So we return to Phenomenology Kitten after a three month hiatus. 

We are not even going to pause to reflect or review. Instead, we are going to dive right into the heart of a very good little book on the subject (phenomenology...not kittens), and tease out a few more issues at the heart of the heart (of the heart) of the matter(s).

The book is by Robert Sokolowski, and presents an intriguing overview of many key issues in the study of phenomenology.

And, just to be clear (sort of)...we will be spending the month looking at, um, phenomena.

Most introductions to phenomenology start with "intention" or "intentionality." We will, too, but just "sort of." You see, the everyday use of that word ("intention") is so different from what we mean in phenomenological parlance that it is just short of a waste of time.
[b] Intending RF

I intend to make this a...

Never mind.

Let's stop just short of wasting time, then. For now, just realize that "intending" in phenomenological discussion, "simply" means the conscious relationship we have to an object. 

I cherish my baked hunk of lutefisk. I am conscious of it. I will reflect upon my relationship to it. That's phenomenological intending (and a hearty repast).

We'll return to this core concept, but it will "work" far better if we get a little codfish meat on our lutefisk phenomenology bones before we do. Before we leave, though, let's just consider a short passage from Robert Sokolowski's Introduction to Phenomenology.

          It is not at all otiose, therefore, to bring intentionality to the fore and to make 
          it the center of philosophical reflection. It is not trivial to say that consciousness
          is "consciousness of" objects; on the contrary, this statement goes against 
          many common beliefs. One of phenomenology's greatest contributions is to
          have broken out of the egocentric predicament, to have checkmated the 
          Cartesian doctrine. 

          Phenomenology shows that the mind is a public thing, that it acts and 
          manifests itself out in the open, not just inside its own confines. Everything
          is outside...The mind and the world are correlated with one another.[1]

It is my humble intention (yuk, yuk) to move this discussion to every more nuanced social and intellectual levels in the coming months.

And that is why they call me "Phenomenology Kitten" (all is wonder)...

[c] Intended RF
[1 ]Robert Sokolowski, Introduction to Phenomenology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 11-12.

Sokolowski, Robert. Introduction to Phenomenology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

[Originally posted on January 1, 2015]

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