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BSP Podcast

This podcast is for the British Society for Phenomenology and showcases papers at our conferences and events, interviews and discussions on the topic of phenomenology.

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Jeffrey McCurry - The Therapy of Putting Essences Back Into Existence: Wittgenstein, Merleau-Ponty, and Phenomenology as a Way of Life

This is one of the papers from our 2017 Annual Conference, the Future of Phenomenology. Information and the full conference booklet can be found at www.britishphenomenology.org.uk Phenomenology is often taken as a philosophy involving knowledge or representation of experience: a reflective, descriptive, scientific logos about structures of phenomena. But what if phenomenological discourse, just as such, could also be applied to life as a kind of ethics? What if phenomenology can be a hortatory discourse inviting us into a certain way of life? For the reflective meaning of phenomenology presupposes a more concrete meaning signifying a form of lived experience itself: a phenomenon with a certain logos or form to it, within it, and as it, which can go on to be represented as knowledge. Here phenomenology is fundamentally and firstly a way of life: life is phenomenological when it goes in a certain way that flows from, stays with, and lives into the natural grain of spontaneous, immediate, embodied experience. If life can be phenomenological, however, life can also not be. Life with the grain of experience can be dangerous and difficult, so human life rebels against it with a gamut of theoretical and practical fantasies that are all versions of “metaphysics.” Life with metaphysics is self-contradictory, is inauthentic, and vitiates experience, but it promises us simulacra of safety in purporting to distance us from the threats and challenges we fear in the plane of experience. Hence phenomenology needs to be seen not only as descriptive but also as evocative of a way of being human. Through meditating on Wittgenstein’s notion of philosophy as “therapy” and Merleau-Ponty’s idea that phenomenology means “putting essences back into existence,” I hope to show how phenomenology can be much more than knowledge. Engaging Wittgentsein and Merleau-Ponty helps us see phenomenology as a therapeutic, evocative discourse, an art of living, an ethics, meant to reconnect us with phenomenological life—meant to invite us into phenomenology as a way of life.

16mins

15 Aug 2018

Rank #1

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Niall Keane – Metaphysics and Nihilism

Here is the second of our recordings from The British Society for Phenomenology’s 2018 Annual Conference ‘The Theory and Practice of Phenomenology’. Dr Niall Keane was a keynote speaker at the conference, and his paper is titled ‘Metaphysics and Nihilism’. Niall Keane is Senior Lecturer and Head of the Department of Philosophy at Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, Ireland. He has published widely in the areas of phenomenology and hermeneutics and is the co-author of The Gadamer Dictionary (Continuum 2012) and co-editor of The Blackwell Companion to Hermeneutics (Wiley-Blackwell 2016). In addition to his publications on Husserl, Heidegger, Gadamer, Michel Henry, and in the field of ancient philosophy, he is Treasurer of the Irish Phenomenological Circle, and cofounder and coordinator of the Irish Centre for Transnational Studies. His current research project focuses on the transformed nature of the self in Heidegger’s thought. Abstract: “This talk will examine the interconnected issues of metaphysics and nihilism in the works of Martin Heidegger and Ernst Jünger. Exploring the issues of metaphysics and nihilism through the lens of their respective analyses of being and nothing, it will assess Heidegger’s interpretation of Jünger’s position as modern and metaphysical in that it remains trapped within the Gestalt of the human being as the subject that sets in place and produces the world and by doing so secures further production possibilities for itself. However, in Heidegger’s dialogue with Jünger one can detect deep structural affinities, especially in Jünger’s description of nihilism and his attempt to reconceive the ontological question. It is the aim of this talk to explore the points of convergence and divergence and to argue for the necessity of reading Heidegger with Jünger and with metaphysics as opposed to understanding Heidegger’s thought as anti-metaphysical through and through. This talk will address whether Heidegger’s re-conception of being and nothing as one and the same, albeit not identical, is not itself a real expression of metaphysical orientation, that is, whether the cunning of metaphysics is not already operative in Heidegger’s attempts to sketch the contours of another way of thinking about the human being’s relation to the question of being. Taking Heidegger at his word, when he claims that there is no such thing as a last word, especially when it comes to the question of being, it is my contention that his thought is metaphysical to the core and that this becomes clear in his response to Jünger and in what he took from Jünger. If it is true, as Heidegger claimed, that metaphysics is nihilism proper, then surely his goal must be to confront metaphysics from within metaphysics and not to overcome it. In the end, the paper will argue that there is a problematic tension in Heidegger’s interpretation of the history of metaphysics and nihilism, such that Heidegger vacillates between not wanting to belong to the metaphysical tradition and recognizing that all thought must necessarily belong to this tradition.” The British Society for Phenomenology’s Annual Conference took place at the University of Kent, in Canterbury, UK during July, 2018. It gathered together philosophers, literary scholars, phenomenologists, and practitioners exploring phenomenological theory and its practical application. It covered a broad range of areas and issues including the arts, ethics, medical humanities, mental health, education, technology, feminism, politics and political governance, with contributions throwing a new light on both traditional phenomenological thinkers and the themes associated with classical phenomenology. More information about the conference can be found at:https://www.britishphenomenology.org.uk/conference-2018/ The British Society for Phenomenology is a not-for-profit organisation set up with the intention of promoting research and awareness in the field of Phenomenology and other cognate arms of philosophical thought. Currently, the society accomplishes these aims through its journal, conferences and other events, and its podcast. You can support the society by becoming a member, for which you will receive a subscription to our journal:https://www.britishphenomenology.org.uk/about/

1hr 16mins

15 Feb 2019

Rank #2

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Julio Andrade – Normative provisionality as a means to navigate Levinasian infinite responsibility

Here is the latest of our recordings from The British Society for Phenomenology’s 2018 Annual Conference ‘The Theory and Practice of Phenomenology’. Julio Andrade is from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, and the paper is titled ‘Normative provisionality as a means to navigate Levinasian infinite responsibility’. Abstract: “The core of Emmanuel Levinas’s (1969) argument in Totality and Infinity is that because the other cannot be faithfully represented without reducing his/her alterity, I cannot discharge my responsibilities to him/her. As such, my responsibility to the other is infinite. Infinite responsibility is at the centre of Levinasian ethics, however, it is also the most problematic. If I am infinitely responsible for the other, what of my, and all the other others, needs and desires? Levinas responds by positing a third party to the face-to face encounter with the other. Levinas argues that justice (or the political) is “an incessant correction of the asymmetry of proximity” (1998; 158 emphasis added), i.e. justice or politics must constantly efface the alterity of the other in order to render the other representable, and thus comparable with the third. However, what such a politics entails in practice is not something that Levinas develops in any depth. He remarks that “[m]y task does not consist in constructing ethics; I only try to find its meaning” (1985; 90). However, his follow-up to this remark hints at an endorsement of just such an enterprise: “one can without doubt construct an ethics in function of what I have just said, but this is not my own theme” (ibid). It is by expanding on the above ‘incessant correction’ of justice that I hope to offer a way to ‘operationalise’ Levinasian ethics. In order to achieve this, I enlist Woermann and Cilliers’ (2012) ‘provisional imperative’. Pared to its essence, the provisional imperative reads as follows: “When acting, always remain cognisant of other ways of acting” (ibid; 451).I reinscribe this into Levinasian terms – ‘when representing the other, always be cognisant of other ways of representing the other.’ Then, by understanding responsibility as an ability to respond to the demands of the other, a response-ability, I argue that the other as infinity (Levinas takes the idea of infinity as the model for the other), should be understood as the other representing itself in an infinite number of ways, rather than a representation of itself as infinity. The provisional imperative, I conclude, drives this incessant, and infinite revision of the representation of the other, and concomitantly my responsibility to the other. The provisional imperative operationalises Levinasian ethics such that infinite responsibility to the other is not rendered quixotic even as it is confirmed as the limit of our responsibility.” The British Society for Phenomenology’s Annual Conference took place at the University of Kent, in Canterbury, UK during July, 2018. It gathered together philosophers, literary scholars, phenomenologists, and practitioners exploring phenomenological theory and its practical application. It covered a broad range of areas and issues including the arts, ethics, medical humanities, mental health, education, technology, feminism, politics and political governance, with contributions throwing a new light on both traditional phenomenological thinkers and the themes associated with classical phenomenology. More information about the conference can be found at: https://www.britishphenomenology.org.uk/conference-2018/ The British Society for Phenomenology is a not-for-profit organisation set up with the intention of promoting research and awareness in the field of Phenomenology and other cognate arms of philosophical thought. Currently, the society accomplishes these aims through its journal, conferences and other events, and its podcast. You can support the society by becoming a member, for which you will receive a subscription to our journal: https://www.britishphenomenology.org.uk/about/

19mins

10 May 2019

Rank #3

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Christopher Eagle – Brain Stories: On the Limits of Neuro-Fiction

Here is the second of our recordings from The British Society for Phenomenology’s 2018 workshop 'Embodied Subjects: Phenomenology, Literature, and the Health Humanities'. Dr Christopher Eagle is Senior Lecturer in Health Humanities, Emory University in the Druid Hills neighbourhood of the city of Atlanta, Georgia, United States. His paper is titled ‘Brain Stories: On the Limits of Neuro-Fiction’. The workshop took place in Manchester, UK, during the summer of 2018, and gathered together philosophers, literary scholars, phenomenologists, and practitioners to discuss the significance of embodiment for the health humanities. More information about the workshop can be found at: https://www.britishphenomenology.org.uk/embodied-subjects-workshop/ The British Society for Phenomenology is a not-for-profit organisation set up with the intention of promoting research and awareness in the field of Phenomenology and other cognate arms of philosophical thought. Currently, the society accomplishes these aims through its journal, conferences and other events, and its podcast. You can support the society by becoming a member, for which you will receive a subscription to our journal: https://www.britishphenomenology.org.uk/about/

32mins

11 Jan 2019

Rank #4

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Peter Wilson – Phenomenology and causal entities in psychiatry

Here is the latest of our recordings from The British Society for Phenomenology’s 2018 Annual Conference ‘The Theory and Practice of Phenomenology’. Rajan Nathan and Peter Wilson are from CWP NHS Foundation Trust & Universities of Liverpool and Chester, and the paper – presented by Wilson – is titled ‘Phenomenology and causal entities in psychiatry’. Abstract: “Psychiatric training emphasises the need to make sense of the patient’s experience at the symptom and diagnostic level of abstraction. In so far as attention is given to obtaining a representation of mental phenomena, this is a means to satisfy rules that define symptoms and diagnoses. In view of the questionable historical and empirical provenance of these rules, it is not surprising that underlying causal entities have proved elusive. The authors will draw on their clinical practice and the relevant academic literature to make the case for phenomenological analysis, not only to elucidate psychiatric experiences (in line with the tradition of Jaspers), but also as a process to generate data to explain these disturbances (i.e. extending beyond the limits of Jaspers’ notion of ‘static’ understanding). In this paper, the authors will demonstrate that neurobiological and phenomenological disciplines can complement each other in explaining troubling psychic events. However, using solely the language of brain structure, chemistry and circuits does not allow description of either what is troubling or psychic. Therefore, a neurobiological account in itself will never be sufficient for understanding. Additionally, the authors will make the case for identifying causal entities through phenomenological inquiry. The advantage of phenomenology over the traditional symptom enquiry approach will be illustrated by case examples of different types of psychopathology. The authors propose a two-step process comprising (i) phenomenological inquiry to produce a representation of the patient’s experiences without interference from preconceptions, and (ii) an analysis of this representation to identify an explanatory entity using principles emerging from the empirical literature in relation to mental mechanisms. Unlike the common use of existing psychological models in clinical practice, in the second step the psychiatrist must refrain from applying mechanisms that are generally associated with certain experiences and confine his/herself to the data elicited in that case.” The British Society for Phenomenology’s Annual Conference took place at the University of Kent, in Canterbury, UK during July, 2018. It gathered together philosophers, literary scholars, phenomenologists, and practitioners exploring phenomenological theory and its practical application. It covered a broad range of areas and issues including the arts, ethics, medical humanities, mental health, education, technology, feminism, politics and political governance, with contributions throwing a new light on both traditional phenomenological thinkers and the themes associated with classical phenomenology. More information about the conference can be found at: https://www.britishphenomenology.org.uk/conference-2018/ The British Society for Phenomenology is a not-for-profit organisation set up with the intention of promoting research and awareness in the field of Phenomenology and other cognate arms of philosophical thought. Currently, the society accomplishes these aims through its journal, conferences and other events, and its podcast. You can support the society by becoming a member, for which you will receive a subscription to our journal: https://www.britishphenomenology.org.uk/about/

23mins

31 May 2019

Rank #5

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Jack Lovell Price - Max Scheler, Critic of Phenomenology

This is one of the papers from our 2017 Annual Conference. Information and the full conference booklet can be found at www.britishphenomenology.org.uk A careful reading and interpretation of Max Scheler’s work highlights a thinker concerned with the diversity and multiplicity of human life. As a vehement critic of reductionism, determinism and the focus of phenomenology on the individual subject, Scheler offers trenchant insights and arguments which retain their power today. This paper begins by outlining Scheler’s conception of the human being, highlighting its distinction from a classical Husserlian model. For Scheler, it is wrong to conceive of the mind as reason alone. Instead, he offers a broadly tripartite division of mind into the drives and instincts common to the lowest forms of life, habitual and adaptive intelligent behaviours developed by higher animals, and finally self-reflective, rational spirit as the specifically human achievement. Perceptions, and especially intentions, operate on a pre-rational level. Pure experience, free of intentionality and interpretation, is therefore impossible: meanings are hardwired into any conscious experience and any attempt to bracket them away will fail. Sympathy likewise works at a pre-rational level; it is, for Scheler, the means through which we come to know ourselves. We recognise the other as an individual, and it is through our interaction with them (in particular, through love) that we come to be an individual ourselves. ‘Our’ world is therefore not our own. It is given form and substance by our social–cultural environment and the interactions we have with others. The problem of other minds, which so plagued Husserl, is thereby dissolved. We have, for Scheler, simply got it the wrong way around. Evaluating Scheler’s arguments, I conclude that it is important not only to see Scheler as a contributor to the grand phenomenological tradition, but to appreciate his role as an original and insightful critic of that tradition, with much to contribute to current problems.

22mins

5 Sep 2018

Rank #6

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Aoife McInerney – Phenomenology of Solidarity

Here is the latest of our recordings from The British Society for Phenomenology’s 2018 Annual Conference ‘The Theory and Practice of Phenomenology’. Aoife McInerney is from the University of Limerick, and her paper is titled ‘Phenomenology of Solidarity’. Abstract: “The term plurality is somewhat in vogue of late; yet, arguably its implications were not taken seriously until Hannah Arendt. Arendt displays a genuine engagement with what plurality actually means and what it has to offer. The consequences of this, on the one hand, call for a theoretical reframing of the conditions of political action and interaction. On the other, they force us to rethink the nature of pluralistic co-existence. While plurality may present challenges, such as how does one truly participate at the political level and how does the notion of solidarity fare against the reality of difference and uniqueness contained in everyday communal life and practice, a phenomenological investigation of plurality provides a compelling approach to today’s most vexing social-political problems. In order to extract the full potential from Arendt’s notion of plurality, this paper will begin at the conceptual level and systematically iron out the theoretical implications of plurality and the methodological challenges it presents. Subsequently, it will further explore what plurality has to offer in the political domain and how it is actualized, that is to say, how a theory of solidarity becomes practice. Finally, in terms of my own contribution, this paper will analyze these pluralistic implications in light of forming solidaristic relations which the notion of plurality could be seen to undermine. The notion of plurality that Arendt tries to capture is one which, in spite of a seeming conceptual contradiction, -- different but equal, separate but unified -- remains faithful to the phenomenon of political life with others, that is to say, the lived experience of intersubjectivity. Ultimately, Arendt’s contributions culminate in an innovative ethics of participative plurality which has far-reaching implications for current social policy, such as fostering solidaristic understanding and cooperation, and managing international mobility.” The British Society for Phenomenology’s Annual Conference took place at the University of Kent, in Canterbury, UK during July, 2018. It gathered together philosophers, literary scholars, phenomenologists, and practitioners exploring phenomenological theory and its practical application. It covered a broad range of areas and issues including the arts, ethics, medical humanities, mental health, education, technology, feminism, politics and political governance, with contributions throwing a new light on both traditional phenomenological thinkers and the themes associated with classical phenomenology. More information about the conference can be found at: https://www.britishphenomenology.org.uk/conference-2018/ The British Society for Phenomenology is a not-for-profit organisation set up with the intention of promoting research and awareness in the field of Phenomenology and other cognate arms of philosophical thought. Currently, the society accomplishes these aims through its journal, conferences and other events, and its podcast. You can support the society by becoming a member, for which you will receive a subscription to our journal: https://www.britishphenomenology.org.uk/about/

14mins

1 Mar 2019

Rank #7

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Rachel Coventry: Are the sunglasses a metaphor? Some Heideggerian Considerations of the Essence of Sunglasses

This is one of the papers from our 2017 Annual Conference. Information and the full conference booklet can be found at www.britishphenomenology.org.uk In The Origin of the Work of Art, Heidegger moves from the example of van Gogh’s painting of the peasant’s shoes to Meyer’s poem Roman Fountain. We are told that the painting is not merely a faithful representation of something present at hand but rather it reproduces the shoes in their essence. Next, Heidegger considers Meyer’s poem. He points out that although the poem is a fairly straightforward poetic description, it is not “a reproduction of the general essence of the Roman fountain.” It would seem that, in the poem, truth is set to work symbolically or metaphorically. However, for Heidegger, great poetry cannot be considered metaphoric because it transcends the sensuous/nonsensous dichotomy at the heart of Western metaphysics. Instead, we must say that the fountain in the poem ‘things’ or opens up the fourfold in a way that is different to the peasants shoes. Heidegger claims that in the technological age truth withdraws or things stop ‘thinging.’ Despite this, a good deal of contemporary poetry is preoccupied with things as metaphors, perhaps demonstrating Heidegger’s thesis that in the technological age the possibility of great art is threatened. This paper will show how Heidegger’s account can bring us towards a new understanding of contemporary poetry. This is worked out in terms of a pair of sunglasses as an example of a ‘thingless’ consumer object. If Heidegger’s account of technology warrants serious consideration, the question becomes do such objects have essences and if not how are contemporary poets to respond to them? The paper will consider the poem american sunglasses by Sam Riviere. It can be argued that sunglasses are enframed in the poem as there are no other options are open to the poet. In other words, what is the role of the poet in a time where essences withdraw?

19mins

8 Aug 2018

Rank #8

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O. Bader and A. Peri-Bader - The Presence of Others and the Constitution of Extraordinary Architectural Space

This is one of the papers from our 2017 Annual Conference, the Future of Phenomenology. Information and the full conference booklet can be found at www.britishphenomenology.org.uk Living with others is a key factor shaping our urban life. Their bodily presence scaffolds our social world and is involved in the way the built environment appears to us. In this article we highlight the influence of the embodied presence of other human beings on the constitution of a special type of urban architecture – the extraordinary architectural space such as museums, theaters, public libraries and central stations. Our analysis, which lies at the intersection between architecture, phenomenology and cognitive science, suggests that being in the direct presence of others constitutes this extraordinary architectural space in the sense that it transforms the built setting into a negotiated place and reveals for the subject some of its extraordinary properties. The architectural examples we discuss show that these intersubjective advantages are often embedded in and encouraged by the design of such built objects.

21mins

4 Jul 2018

Rank #9

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Erin Plunkett – Patočka’s asubjective phenomenology

Here is the latest of our recordings from The British Society for Phenomenology’s 2018 Annual Conference ‘The Theory and Practice of Phenomenology’. Erin Plunkett is from the University of Chichester, and the paper is titled ‘Patočka’s asubjective phenomenology’. Abstract: “The return to the ‘object’ or ‘thing’ in contemporary Continental Philosophy is in part a reaction to the past sins of what Husserl calls Cartesian philosophy—a philosophy in which truth hinges on subjective consciousness and in which the res cogitans and res extensa are thought as radically separate. The environmentally disastrous consequences of such a position are hard to deny and are diagnosed by Husserl himself in his Crisis. Yet, today Phenomenology is often lumped together with this tradition (in part because of Husserl’s own emphasis on consciousness) and, so, implicated in these consequences. Czech phenomenologist Jan Patočka, one of Husserl’s last students, was already thinking through the problem of subjectivism in phenomenology in the 1930s, and in 1971 wrote the essay ‘Husserl’s Subjectivism and the Call for an Asubjective Philosophy’, in which he argues that phenomena are not the mere ‘correlate of subjective processes’, nor the ‘accomplishment of subjective constitution’; rather, phenomena as such are primary. As for the subject, it is itself a phenomenon allowed by things, rather than the basis for the appearance of things. It is ‘not we but phenomenal being itself that indicates for us what possibilities there are for our own being’. This conception, I argue, is an advance on Husserl on the one hand and contemporary philosophies of the object on the other. It avoids the consequences of Cartesianism while providing a more coherent account of subjectivity (as a no-thing) and retaining the idea of Being over against beings or things. With these considerations in the background, I present Patočka’s asubjective phenomenology as a viable and relevant philosophical methodology.” The British Society for Phenomenology’s Annual Conference took place at the University of Kent, in Canterbury, UK during July, 2018. It gathered together philosophers, literary scholars, phenomenologists, and practitioners exploring phenomenological theory and its practical application. It covered a broad range of areas and issues including the arts, ethics, medical humanities, mental health, education, technology, feminism, politics and political governance, with contributions throwing a new light on both traditional phenomenological thinkers and the themes associated with classical phenomenology. More information about the conference can be found at: https://www.britishphenomenology.org.uk/conference-2018/ The British Society for Phenomenology is a not-for-profit organisation set up with the intention of promoting research and awareness in the field of Phenomenology and other cognate arms of philosophical thought. Currently, the society accomplishes these aims through its journal, conferences and other events, and its podcast. You can support the society by becoming a member, for which you will receive a subscription to our journal: https://www.britishphenomenology.org.uk/about/

20mins

19 Apr 2019

Rank #10

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Luna Dolezal – Phenomenology and Intercorporeality in the Case of Commercial Surrogacy

Here is the first of our recordings from The British Society for Phenomenology’s 2018 Annual Conference ‘The Theory and Practice of Phenomenology’. Dr Luna Dolezal was a keynote speaker at the conference, and her paper is titled ‘Phenomenology and Intercorporeality in the Case of Commercial Surrogacy’. Luna Dolezal is a Lecturer in Medical Humanities and Philosophy at the University of Exeter, UK. Her research is primarily in the areas of applied phenomenology, feminist philosophy, philosophy of embodiment, philosophy of medicine and medical humanities. She is the author of The Body and Shame: Phenomenology, Feminism and the Socially Shaped Body (Lexington Books, 2015) and the co-editor of Body/Self/Other: The Phenomenology of Social Encounters (SUNY Press, 2017) and New Feminist Perspectives on Embodiment (Palgrave, 2018). Abstract: “In this paper, I will attempt to put the maternal-foetal relation through pregnancy into the centre of the ethical questions that arise in the practice of commercial gestational surrogacy. I will proceed by drawing attention to the predominant logic regarding bodies, babies, pregnancy and motherhood that underpins most bioethical discussion regarding commercial surrogacy, making salient the dominant metaphoric and patriarchal landscapes which shape how we commonly understand pregnancy, surrogacy and parenthood in the present day. Following Emily Martin, I argue that key metaphors about the body and bodily events can shape one’s experience and the logic of the practices which surround those experiences. Through describing aspects of the metaphoric landscape within which the practices of commercial surrogacy are primarily thematized, I will demonstrate that a phenomenology of pregnancy, or a theorizing of pregnancy as a complex existential intercorporeal and lived experience, is most often omitted or effaced in bioethical discussions about commercial surrogacy. As such, I will suggest that what is missing in the discourse and bioethical literature on surrogacy is an adequate theorizing of pregnancy. In order to suggest how we might introduce a theory of pregnancy, I will turn to recent phenomenological ontological accounts of pregnancy and intercorporeality, using the insights of Maurice Merleau-Ponty as a conceptual ground. In doing so, I will describe the phenomenology of the affective maternal-foetal relationship, engaging with Iris Marion Young’s classical discussion of pregnant embodiment alongside recent accounts of the phenomenology of pregnancy from Jane Lymer and Sara Heinämaa. Ultimately I will argue that the role of the surrogate is phenomenologically and existentially significant in foetal development and in the creation of a new human subject through communicative intercorporeal relations. Overall, my aim is to put the maternal-foetal relation and pregnancy, as a complex life-generating and kinship-generating experience with substantial social, developmental and existential significance, at the centre of conversations about commercial gestational surrogacy and to disrupt the predominant logic that surrogate mothers are merely ‘human incubators,’ or a special type of container or vessel for the foetuses that they gestate.” The British Society for Phenomenology’s Annual Conference took place at the University of Kent, in Canterbury, UK during July, 2018. It gathered together philosophers, literary scholars, phenomenologists, and practitioners exploring phenomenological theory and its practical application. It covered a broad range of areas and issues including the arts, ethics, medical humanities, mental health, education, technology, feminism, politics and political governance, with contributions throwing a new light on both traditional phenomenological thinkers and the themes associated with classical phenomenology. More information about the conference can be found at:https://www.britishphenomenology.org.uk/conference-2018/ The British Society for Phenomenology is a not-for-profit organisation set up with the intention of promoting research and awareness in the field of Phenomenology and other cognate arms of philosophical thought. Currently, the society accomplishes these aims through its journal, conferences and other events, and its podcast. You can support the society by becoming a member, for which you will receive a subscription to our journal:https://www.britishphenomenology.org.uk/about/

1hr 26mins

8 Feb 2019

Rank #11

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Aoife McInerney - Practical Thinking

This is one of the papers from our 2017 Annual Conference, the Future of Phenomenology. Information and the full conference booklet can be found at www.britishphenomenology.org.uk One understanding of the division between ‘theory’ and ‘practice’ implies a gap between the spheres of thinking and acting that needs bridging. At the core of the matter lies a standoff between the contingency of acting and the enduring nature of thinking. However, this dichotomy conceals the interdependent nature of theory and practice in which thinking itself is an activity and manifests itself in the world through the inter-action of human beings. No philosopher dissolves this gap between theory and practice as convincingly as Hannah Arendt in her reflections on both the vita activa and ‘the life of the mind’. By way of phenomenological method, Arendt reveals how engaged action opens a space for appearances and encounters, making the political domain her main phenomenological concern. However, this is not a critique of theory for the sake of it. Arendt also champions a way of thinking, specifically practical thinking, which is intricately connected to the political. Such thinking informs and culminates in worldly action and is concerned with phenomenality. The real issue, then, is not the division between theory and practice, but rather their more nuanced collocation. After examining such a collocation, this paper will analyze how Arendt’s practical thinking is concretized in the idea of solidarity. Solidarity deals with the abstract values of human rights, while also entailing an essentially performative element. Arendt shows how essential it is to the integrity of this principle for there to be a political interaction. This paper aims to capture Arendt’s phenomenological insights into the interdependent nature of thinking and acting. I contend that an Arendtian account of solidarity allows us to move concretely beyond the seeming opposition between theory and practice, by showing how she argues that there is something wrong with the very framework of ‘applying theory in practice’.

18mins

18 Jul 2018

Rank #12

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James Rakoczi – Moving without movement: Merleau-Ponty’s “I can” in cases of global paralysis

Here is the latest of our recordings from The British Society for Phenomenology’s 2018 Annual Conference ‘The Theory and Practice of Phenomenology’. James Rakoczi is from King's College London, and the paper is titled ‘Moving without movement: Merleau-Ponty’s “I can” in cases of global paralysis’. Abstract: “In this paper, I aim to demonstrate how memoirs written by people who live with, or have experienced, global paralysis can illuminate and complicate Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s claim in Phenomenology of Perception that embodied movement is a necessary condition for a transcendental self. I argue that the kinds of movement these texts articulate shares an affinity with the kind of movement instantiated by Merleau-Ponty’s intentional arc: a ceaseless and adaptive movement, or a “therapeutic” movement, which constantly “recovers” from an incapacity to move. In short, Merleau-Ponty’s “I can” emerges ceaselessly from an “I cannot”. I shall make particular reference to two texts. First, I shall consider how any philosophy attempting to centre the importance of bodies-in-movement might align with the claims made in Kate Allatt’s memoir Running Free (2011), a text in which Allatt attributes an interior ‘running psyche’ as imperative to her miraculous recovery from locked-in syndrome. Second, I will read Jean-Dominique Bauby’s locked-in syndrome memoir The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly (Le scaphandre et le papillon, 1997) through the lens of Merleau-Ponty’s account of anosognosia, arguing that the text conceals its laborious method of production in the very process of describing that method. I will conclude by reflecting on the influence Merleau-Ponty has had on embodied therapies and textual accounts of lived illness experience, and indicate how understanding the ways in which embodied movement, textuality and therapeutics overlap has significance for our understanding of Merleau-Ponty’s claims.” The British Society for Phenomenology’s Annual Conference took place at the University of Kent, in Canterbury, UK during July, 2018. It gathered together philosophers, literary scholars, phenomenologists, and practitioners exploring phenomenological theory and its practical application. It covered a broad range of areas and issues including the arts, ethics, medical humanities, mental health, education, technology, feminism, politics and political governance, with contributions throwing a new light on both traditional phenomenological thinkers and the themes associated with classical phenomenology. More information about the conference can be found at: https://www.britishphenomenology.org.uk/conference-2018/ The British Society for Phenomenology is a not-for-profit organisation set up with the intention of promoting research and awareness in the field of Phenomenology and other cognate arms of philosophical thought. Currently, the society accomplishes these aims through its journal, conferences and other events, and its podcast. You can support the society by becoming a member, for which you will receive a subscription to our journal: https://www.britishphenomenology.org.uk/about/

21mins

3 May 2019

Rank #13

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Jakub Kowalewski - Levinas and the Deformalisation of Time

This is one of the papers from our 2017 Annual Conference, the Future of Phenomenology. Information and the full conference booklet can be found at www.britishphenomenology.org.uk In a 1988 interview Levinas describes deformalisation of the notion of time as the essential theme of his research. Commentators have usually interpreted this central Levinasian idea as a provision of a concrete experience in which the formal structure of time is realised. Although correct, this accepted definition is too general. As I will demonstrate in my paper, for Levinas, different concrete experiences not only realise time differently, but, more importantly, are able to impact on the formal structure of time-consciousness itself. In order to defend this thesis, I will argue that Levinas understands the form of time-consciousness as governed by a three-aspect internal tendency or ‘conatus’: a striving for the present; a horizontal synchronisation of the past, present, and future experiences; and a self-projection into the infinite future.  I will then examine the deformalisation of time in the phenomena of responsibility, fecundity, and death, in order to show the three distinct ways in which these phenomena modify, or put into question, the conatus characteristic of the form of time-consciousness. I will claim that a) responsibility for another human being interrupts the striving for the present, b) fecundity, and the time of the child it promises, refuses horizontal synchronisation, and c) death renders impossible the futural self-projection. I will conclude by suggesting that it is responsibility which occupies a privileged position with regards to the other concrete experiences which allow for the deformalisation of the notion of time. 

19mins

18 Jul 2018

Rank #14

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Anna Yampolskaya - Aesthetical experience as tranformative: Henry and Maldiney on Kandinsky

This is one of the papers from our 2017 Annual Conference, the Future of Phenomenology. Information and the full conference booklet can be found at www.britishphenomenology.org.uk I compare how two leading French phenomenologists of the last century – Michel Henry and Henri Maldiney – interpret Kandinsky’s heritage. Henry’s phenomenology is based on a distinction between two main modes of manifestation – the ordinary one, that is, the manifestation of the world and the “manifestation of life”; for him Kandinsky’s work provides a paradigmatic example of the second, more original, mode of manifestation, which is free from all forms of self-alienation. This is why Kandinsky’s paintings do no show us anything, but rather provoke in us certain impressions, certain feelings; they should be experienced, lived through. Henry claims that this living-though of the work of art is transformative; it is a kind of ascetic practice or mystical experience that goes beyond the distinction of the subject and the object. Maldiney also recognises in Kandinsky’s work an attempt to provide an access to an a-cosmic and a-historic experience of one’s inner self; yet for Maldiney this is not a positive characteristic. For Maldiney, the key distinction is not between modes of phenomenalisation, but between two dimensions of meaning (sens): the ordinary one, that he calls “gnostic” (gnosique), and “pathic”. This pathic dimension of meaning can be reached only in a personal contact with the living-world in its nascent state. According to Maldiney, there is no radical self-transformation which is not a transformation of one’s being-in- the-world and one’s meaning of the world (and vice versa). My access to myself cannot bypass my relation to the world, and so Kandinsky’s paintings cannot induce a true transformation of self. The disagreement of Henry and Maldiney on Kandinsky doesn’t unfold on the level of the phenomenological description of the concrete aesthetic experience, but rather on the level of metaphysics.

21mins

11 Jul 2018

Rank #15

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Zeigam Azizov - A Temporal Order of Things: Husserl’s ‘temporal objects’ and the (Industrial) Temporalisation of Consciousness

This is one of the papers from our 2017 Annual Conference, the Future of Phenomenology. Information and the full conference booklet can be found at www.britishphenomenology.org.uk I will look at the concept of ‘a temporal object’ coined by Edmund Husserl and to address its complex development in the philosophy of technology by the French philosopher Bernard Stiegler as the question of the ‘temporalisation of consciousness’  . Husserl coined the term   ‘a temporal object’ in order to show that ‘the object of inquiry’ (the intention of the consciousness directed towards objects of the world)   is a temporal state of the investigation itself. This temporal state creates the condition for the existence of a temporal object, which gives the ‘striking  evidence’(‘schlagender Evidenz’)  . A temporal object means that the object is not only in time, but it is constituted through time and its flux coincides with the flux of consciousness. A temporal object plays the role in the constitution of the subject since it is an object towards which the consciousness is directed. The temporal object is the part  of  the content that it translates (this content is the world) . The consciousness is also a part of the content, but there is a difference: the temporal object perceived as a result of the intention may be developed by the consciousness differently:  the consciousness may accept this object but also may reject it. In both  cases  the ‘consciousness’ performs the evidence , whereas the temporal object makes  evidence available. The consciousness is the intention of the subject; the temporal object is the intentionality of the world. This idea is developed by Stiegler,  who applies the notion of temporal objects to his critique of the technical “industrial temporalisation of the consciousness under the pressure of  hyperindustrialisation” . I would like to show how in this process a problem of a  fatal separation between the object  and the subject is created and continues to influence contemporary thought in relation to technics and memory.

19mins

20 Jun 2018

Rank #16

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Maria Jimena Clavel Vazquez - Naturalizing Heidegger (Against his Will)

This is one of the papers from our 2017 Annual Conference, the Future of Phenomenology. Information and the full conference booklet can be found at www.britishphenomenology.org.uk The question regarding the pertinence of using Heidegger’s analytic of Dasein as a guide for empirical research arises from contemporary attempts to bring Heideggerian phenomenology and cognitive science together. I will focus on one of the main figures behind these attempts, Hubert Dreyfus. I will start by showing that Dreyfus argues in favour of the idea that Heideggerian phenomenology can be naturalized and made continuous with scientific research on the basis of two implicit premises: (a) the interpretation of the analytic of Dasein as a regional ontology; and (b) an account of the relation between phenomenology and science as a relation that holds between two disciplines of the same kind, but that stand at different levels. The aim of this paper is to show that it is not possible to defend these premises on Heideggerian grounds. I will do so by analysing Heidegger’s considerations regarding anthropology, psychology, and biology, and their difference with the analytic of Dasein. I will argue that the main difference can be found in Heidegger’s definition of phenomenological concepts (i.e. formal indications). Finally, I will argue that, although Dreyfus fails to take into account the nature of phenomenological concepts as a relevant methodological matter, his project of naturalization raises a valid concern regarding the possibility of taking Heidegger’s ontology back to a relation with the ontic sciences.

22mins

1 Aug 2018

Rank #17

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Mariam Shah - Typical Criminals: A Schutzian Inspired Theoretical Framework Exploring Type Formation and Potential Application in Magistrate’s Courts in England

This is one of the papers from our 2017 Annual Conference, the Future of Phenomenology. Information and the full conference booklet can be found at www.britishphenomenology.org.uk This paper will review the potential reason for discrepancies in sentencing outcomes in magistrate’s courts in England.  Other disciplines such as criminology, psychology and sociology, have tried to explain why sentencing disparities occur, but have resulted in superficial analysis which has failed to penetrate to the core of this particular issue.  Through phenomenological inquiry, this paper will investigate how individuals involved in the criminal justice system could potentially be consciously and unconsciously influenced by innately determined types.  Conscious and unconscious reliance on subjectively determined types could allow assumptions to inform decision making, particularly when they are used indiscriminately and un-reflexively.  This paper will demonstrate how innately determined types could operate in practice in magistrate’s courts, and assess whether it is possible to interrupt these processes.

22mins

13 Jun 2018

Rank #18

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Marek Pokropski: Practicing Phenomenology in Cognitive Sciences: Toward Theoretical Integration with Mechanism

This is one of the papers from our 2017 Annual Conference. Information and the full conference booklet can be found at www.britishphenomenology.org.uk Phenomenology entered the field of cognitive sciences in the early 90s of the 20th century (Varela 1993). Since then, several proposals for introducing phenomenology to the cognitive sciences have been produced e.g. front-loaded phenomenology (Gallagher 2003), formalization of phenomenological description (Marbach 2010), neurophenomenology (Lutz & Thompson 2003). In my paper, I would like to propose another approach, namely non-reductive theoretical integration with mechanistic explanations. Mechanistic explanations are applied widely in life sciences especially in biology (e.g. Craver & Derden 2013). However, in recent years there have been attempts at introducing mechanistic thought to cognitive sciences (e.g. Bechtel 2008, Craver 2007) including an attempt to mechanistically explain consciousness (e.g. Oizumi et al. 2014). I will argue that this attempt is doomed to failure due to its phenomenological naivety. However, it can be improved by incorporating a phenomenological approach. In my paper, firstly, I will discuss the background of practicing phenomenology in the cognitive sciences. Secondly, I will characterize mechanistic explanations and show why the mechanistic naturalization of consciousness will fail if it refuses to incorporate phenomenology. Then, in order to prove that phenomenology can be integrated with mechanistic explanations, I will argue for a new reading of Husserlian phenomenology, namely that it can be read as a kind of functionalism. The main objective of Husserlian phenomenology was to give adequate descriptions of the functions of consciousness. Furthermore, phenomenologically described functions of consciousness are congruent to some extent with a mechanistic approach - they are autonomous, multi-level, and decomposable. Finally, I will argue that phenomenological practice can be inspiring and deliver explananda to researchers working on mechanistic explanation of consciousness.

18mins

29 Aug 2018

Rank #19