Supplementary Handout for MacLennan's Lecture
This supplementary handout is intended to help you understand
chs. 6 & 8 of
Phenomenology is notoriously hard to read, partly because of
the need to name things that are not named in ordinary
In fact, since these selections are especially difficult at
the beginning, I would suggest reading them twice; they
should make a lot more sense when you see where he is going.
for MacLennan's Lecture in
US 410: Perspectives on Creativity
The following glossary should help your comprehension.
Note however that I have not given the most general
definitions of these terms, only definitions relevant to
You might want to begin by reading
and then look up the other terms as the need arises.
Glossary of Phenomenological Terms
A judgement as to how well a phenomenological analysis has
been verified; phenomenological verification is based on
fulfillment, in which a less evident conscious
process is fulfilled and clarified by a more evident one.
For example, seeing the multiple possibilities inherent in a
noema is more adequate than seeing only
a single possibility, but the adequacy of the multiple
possibilities is built on the
of the individual possibilities (i.e., we must be able to
repeat the experience of each possibility).
Thus the foundation of adequacy is
- Apodictic (ap-o-DIK-tic):
Something is apodictic when we can return to it again and
again to fufill the experiential claim concerning seeing the
thing as this or that
Loosely, a repeatable experience.
The field in which a thing necessarily appears and to which
it is strictly related.
It is "the nexus of objects and objective sense explicitly
posited along with any object"
There are no "things-in-themselves," i.e. separate from a
"[T]he process of thinking away the
of an experience in order to concentrate on its intrinsic
- Curved Line Example:
- Deconstruction, Phenomenological:
Seeks "to approximate the
inherent in the
that is, to analyze a
into its possible modes of appearance, by mean of the
This is referred to as a possibilization of the
See also Reconstruction.
- Eidetic (eye-DET-ic):
Concerned with the structures or invariants ("essences") of
as opposed to the appearances themselves.
- Empirical Order of Possibilities:
The normal order in which possibilites are experienced,
generallly from the easier and more stable to the harder and
(eh-po-KAY or eh-po-KEE):
Suspension of the
"to suspend or step back from our ordinary way of looking, to
set aside our usual assumptions regarding things"
Essentially the same as
- Gestalt (geh-SHTALT):
An organized whole, in which the parts "derive their
character from the structure of the whole"
In this way an experience may derive its character from the
context, interpretation etc.
See also Hermeneutic.
The ordinary and naive view that certain
context-independent facts are given to us by the
- Hallway Example:
- Hermeneutic (her-men-YOO-tic):
Referring to the process of interpretation
Strategies of Interpretation).
Understanding a particular element of a whole can only be
done in the context of all its elements, but understanding
the whole depends on understanding that element; this is the
See also Gestalt.
- Hermeneutic Strategy:
Interpretive strategy that uses stories and metaphorical
naming to create a
noetic context, but what stands out is
noematic possibility; how it occurs is
Less technically, using a story or metaphor causes a
gestalt-shift that allows something to
be seen differently
something different from what it was).
The strategy is a way of causing a shift of perspective to
reveal a possibility hidden beyond the
Contrasted with the
The indistinct border, fringe or limit of the visual field
or, more generally, of any field of awareness.
See also Inner Horizon.
- Inner Horizon (or Internal Horizon):
The horizon within a thing, which
separates what is manifest or apparent about it (e.g. the
side of a book being viewed) from a latent field of
possibilities (the parts of the book not being viewed).
Directedness of consciousness towards its objects (content);
the "directional shape of experience"
Intentionality should be carefully distinguished from
intention in the ordinary sense of our intending to
- Natural Attitude:
Our ordinary attitude toward the world and experience of it
when we are engaged in everyday activities rather than
it is primarily constituted of
thus we speak of the recalcitrance of the natural
Contrasted with the phenomenological attitude.
(no-AY-ma or no-EE-ma; pl. Noemata, no-e-MA-ta):
What is experienced as something with sense,
something present to consciousness.
See also Noesis.
- Noematic (no-e-MAT-ic):
Referring to noemata.
(no-AY-sis or no-EE-sis):
How a thing is experienced or present to conscious.
The noetic (referring to noesis) and the
noematic (referring to
are two sides of the same experience; neither can exist
without the other.
Their relation can be represented by this diagram (after
I : noesis -> noema
experiencer : experiencing -> experienced
- Noetic (no-ET-ic):
Referring to noesis.
- Openness (Open Noetic Context):
Active search for all the possibilites in the
- Phenomenon (pl. Phenomena):
Anything that appears in experience (consciousness), whether
perceived, remembered, imagined, etc.
The study of the invariant structure of
One of its primary tools is
The discipline of phenomenology used in
was developed primarily by Edmund Husserl (1859-1938), but
also by Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-61) and Martin Heidegger
Having many shapes or forms; more generally, able to appear
in various ways.
These are its
- Praxis (PRAK-sis):
Goal-directed activity; practice as opposed to theory.
open noetic context,
as a tool of
See also Deconstruction.
Relating to the act of reference, by which one thing
refers to another.
- Sediment (Sedimented Beliefs,
Beliefs acquired and absorbed from the cultural environment,
and often consolidated in early life, but also later, which
are consequently difficult to abandon or set aside, even
They are generally an invisible part of the
background context in the
(and in fact determine the natural attitude),
but may be exposed through
- Seeing As:
When we see something, we see it as something.
Thus we may see a rock and see it as just a rock, or we may
see it as a hammer (if that suits our purposes), or see it as
a chair, etc.
Seeing-as is normally automatic and instantaneous, i.e., we
do not first experience raw sense data, and then see it as
- Strategies of Interpretation:
Ihde discusses two strategies, the
- Topography (Topographical
All the different ways of seeing or modes of appearance of
the possibilities inherent in the
- Transcendental Strategy:
Interpretive strategy that centers on the subject and the way
he or she perceives something and that relies on knowledge of
the mechanisms of perception; the perceiver controls the act
of perception, for example, by shifting focus or perspective.
This strategy emphasizes the process, that is the
noetic as opposed to the
noematic pole of the experience.
Contrasted with the
The hermeneutic strategy is usually easier, but the
transcendental strategy permits more systematic
- Variational Method:
One of the main tools of
One seeks for what is invariant in a phenomenon under all
possible variations, thus revealing the structure ("essence")
of a phenomenon.
In other words, the variational method explores the
of a phenomenon, by looking for what is potentially present
Interpretive strategies may be used
to reveal variations.
Unless otherwise noted, the definitions are my own, based on
- Blackburn, Simon. Oxford Dictionary of
Philosophy. Oxford University Press, 1994.
- Ihde, Don. Experimental Phenomenology: An
Introduction. G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1977.
- Runes, Dagobert D. The Dictionary of
Philosophy. Philosophical Library, n.d.
(especially good for Husserlian philosophy)
University Studies 410: Perspectives on Studying Creativity
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Mon Mar 27 12:42:28 EST 2000