Phenome…what?

Before returning to our series of posts on Core Texts in modernity, I would like to draw your attention to a BBC radio broadcast (h/t Bob Sandmeyer) that explores the philosophical movement in which I have been schooled.

Phenomenology-CloudMy philosophical scholarship has been concerned with a phenomenological inquiry into quantum mechanics, starting with the measurement problem. You can view and download some of my work on this subject on my Academia page.

To the uninitiated, phenomenology can seem an arcane approach to doing philosophy. It doesn’t originate in the Anglo-American philosophical tradition, so its questions, aims, and methods are often obscured by its bewildering conceptual vocabulary as well as issues of translation (mostly from German). But to help you get started, the content of this radio show is very helpful at drawing out some of the key insights a phenomenological approach brings to philosophizing. This, by the way, I think is key to understanding what phenomenology is about: it does not attempt to adopt, evaluate, remodel, or create de novo a theoretical framework or a set of doctrines as an explanatory mechanism for answering the basic philosophical problems with which humans have wrestled with from the beginning. It is, of course, historically situated and in some measure a response to the philosophical zeitgeist of its period and place. But starting with its founder, Edmund Husserl, it has always been a method of inquiry, and one which he thought should occur, like the natural sciences, in the context of the collective effort of a research team, rather than the stereotypical solitary “thinker” in his nightgown sitting by the fire.

Below the fold I’ve listed the topics discussed on the radio show, with the concept-rich elements in Husserl’s phenomenology highlighted.  Continue reading