Issues in contemporary phenomenology
23-26 march 2017, Warsaw, Poland
Research areas and topic of the conference:
Contemporary phenomenology is, on the one hand, a specific discipline with its own method, aim and object of research. On the other, it is a very diverse current, constantly changing and in dialog with other scientific disciplines. The conference aim is to determine the current condition of phenomenology and present the most interesting directions of research and dialog between phenomenology and other disciplines.
Topics we would like to discuss:
Phenomenology of the body
Amongst philosophical accounts of the body, a phenomenological account is the most fundamental i.e. it proposes ontology and metaphysics of embodiment. This approach can be traced back to Husserl but it was fully developed in French phenomenology. Today embodiment is still the subject of many interpretations and discussions, thus it is important to confront them.
Phenomenology of intersubjectivity
One of the major challenges of contemporary phenomenology is to describe the complex phenomena existing in the social dimension. However, it is important not to lose, on the one hand, the strictly philosophical transcendental perspective, or on the other hand, the original dimension of experience. We can notice accounts of social life in politics in relation to such phenomena as affectivity, one’s own body, ethical relation, and erotic relation, which were all developed in recent years in phenomenology; we can also notice accounts in intersections of phenomenology and other disciplines.
Phenomenology and theology
Phenomenology renews the question of God, which was of primary importance in philosophical tradition. Husserlian tradition firstly reduces the question and then discovers specific phenomena in religious experience and theological inspirations, which it uses to redefine the phenomenology itself. Therefore the aim is not to justify the phenomenological theology, but to reach the borders of phenomenology, to redefine its limits by analysis of such phenomena as vocation and appeal, question and answer, birth and death, gift and donation, love, incarnation, event, and finally, revelation.
Phenomenology and aesthetics
During the last few decades art became the leitmotif of many phenomenological researches. Phenomenologists who aimed to describe the original experience drew attention to the aesthetic experience. This experience allows us to discover phenomena which are inapprehensible in everyday experience, yet determine the perception itself, thereby revealing the importance of the sphere of aesthesis. The field of the phenomenology of art includes analyses of various forms of artistic expression, such as painting, photography, motion pictures, the art of new media, and poetic language, as well as reflections on works of art and aesthetical turns in phenomenology itself.
Phenomenology and feminism
Feminism is an important area of the influence of phenomenology, the application of phenomenological methods, and also in the criticism of phenomenology. Relations between these two currents of thought are mainly present in topics such as embodiment (experience of the feminine body, sexual specificity of bodily changes, the issue of “one’s own body”), identity (construing the feminine subject; identifying phenomena associated with feminine subjectivity, experience of gender), and the other (gender as a differentiating factor). Interpretation of phenomenology through contemporary gender/sexual difference theories makes it possible to rethink issues of phenomenology from a different perspective.
Phenomenology and psychoanalysis
After discussing all the terminological differences between phenomenology and psychoanalysis relating to their distinct origins and theoretical background, we discover that descriptions of the deepest structure of experience are surprisingly similar. These currents are found to be complementary, especially when they analyze the constitution of consciousness that is in the unconscious or the origin of sense. The main difference between phenomenology and psychoanalysis does not come from cognition of experiences, but from the very attitude towards the experience itself.
Phenomenology and cognitive sciences
One direction of contemporary phenomenology is to enter the field of interdisciplinary cognitive sciences. Phenomenology, in addition to its method, which can be applied to some degree in the study of subjective states of experience, brings to cognitive science advanced analyses of the structure of consciousness, embodiment or intersubjectivity. Theoretical positions such as: neurophenomenology, enactivism or front-loaded phenomenology, refer to phenomenological tradition in varying degrees. In this context the problem of the ”naturalization of phenomenology” also appears, which raises controversies between both cognitive scientists and phenomenologists.