Modern empirical research considers happiness to be identical with a subjective feeling of pleasure. This refers to both assessments of actual satisfactions of need and representations of possible satisfactions of need. Thereby, the aspects of cognitive representations of happiness are mainly focused, while the performing subject remains disregarded. The phenomenological approach tries to counteract such a situation. Phenomenology allows us to differentiate ‘striving towards happiness’ and the ‘experienced happiness’ as different polarities of this phenomenon. Based on this three aspects can be distinguished: (1) the present experience of happiness as an experience of satisfying actual urgent needs; (2) the temporally enduring form of (self-)satisfaction in the individual life; (3) the ethical form of happiness as felicity (Glückseligkeit) implying the teleological determination of human existence realized through socialization. In this paper, these aspects are considered phenomenological through intentional genetic analysis and taking into account some psychoanalytic results. This article aims at showing that happiness, particularly in the ethical form of felicity, cannot be considered as merely an individual issue, but is rather closely related to the sociality of human experience and to the intersubjective constitution of our shared reality.
In my paper, I analyze hate as one of the important factors that influence and structuralize the symbolic sphere. In the first step, I define the notion of “symbolic sphere”. Then, I analyze hate from the phenomenological and psychoanalytical points of view. My next step is a historical digression, concerning the place of hate in the social order. Next, I describe some important phenomena of the contemporary societies conditioned by the influence of hatred. Finally, I investigate which notions of the social theory are adequate to describe this kind of phenomena. Hate has been most frequently apprehended as a sudden eruption of bare violence. It was supposed to transform the symbolic sphere through sharp, directly aggressive, and often unexpected actions. Nevertheless, in societies wherein the symbolic legitimization of the political and social order was established as the consequence of the Second World War, a deep change in the attitude toward the bare and direct expression of violence took place. Acts of hate in the public sphere became morally delegitimized and symbolically repressed. We should ask then: if the bare violence and the hate determining this violence disappeared from the sphere of social praxis, although they still shape the social imaginary, how are they really founded? Thus, to answer these questions, I will have to ask not about the direct impact of hatred, but about its hidden influence.
This paper develops a phenomenological approach to the concept of pain, which highlights the main presuppositions that underlie pain research undertaken both in the natural and in the sociohistorical sciences. My argument is composed of four steps: (1) only if pain is a stratified experience can it become a legitimate theme in both natural and sociohistorical sciences; (2) the phenomenological method is supremely well suited to disclose the different strata of pain experience; (3) the phenomenological account offered here identifies three fundamental levels that make up the texture of pain experience: pain can be conceived as a prereflective experience, as an object of affective reflection, or as an object of cognitive reflection; and (4) such a stratified account clarifies how pain can be a subject matter in the natural and sociohistorical sciences. Arguably, the natural and sociohistorical sciences address pain at different levels of its manifestation. While the natural sciences address pain as an object of cognitive reflection, sociohistorical sciences first and foremost deal with pain as a prereflective experience and as an object of affective reflection.
This article examines the foundations of social experience from a psychoanalytic perspective. In current developmental psychology, social cognition debate, and phenomenology of empathy, it is widely assumed that the self and the other are differentiated from the outset, and the basic challenge is accordingly taken to consist in explaining how the gap between the self and the other can be bridged. By contrast, in the psychoanalytic tradition, the central task is considered to lie in explaining how such a gap is established in the first place. My article develops this latter idea. I focus on the infant’s early experience of care, show how the presence of the caregiver can be interpreted in terms of an interoceptive experience, illustrate the gradual self/other differentiation from this perspective, and thus argue that the other is granted ‘otherness’ gradually. By emphasising this graduality, I challenge the assumption that self/other differentiation dominates the infant’s life from the outset. In this manner, I show how the psychoanalytic theory may be used in contesting one of the cornerstones of the current research paradigm.
The aim of this article is to develop a phenomenological analysis of pretense. In different forms of pretense, something we take to be fictive is somehow transposed into a context that we experience as real. Due to this ‘transposition’, the context itself, under certain respects, becomes unreal or fictional. When we ‘live’ in a pretense context, we bracket or conceal what we take for real. Departing from both meta-representational and simulationist approaches, the phenomenological interpretation of pretense is developed based, on the one hand, on the analysis of the role of perceptual and, on the other hand, on the inquiry into the central moments making up the sociality of pretense. In relation to the intersubjective/social nature of pretense and to reassessment of the relation between ‘being’ and ‘appearing’, which result from the analysis of the role of perceptual, different forms of perspectival flexibility that are actualized in pretense will be discussed.
This essay develops an approach to a phenomenology of shame by taking recourse to different notions of shame found in various humanistic disciplines and in the history of phenomenology. The first part of this paper analyzes some of the central ideas on the nature of shame to be found in cultural anthropology, pedagogy, history and psychoanalysis. The second part discusses the phenomenological theories of shame proposed by Sartre and Levinas. Since their approaches are opposite to each other in crucial respects, the third part of this paper returns to the analyses of shame undertaken in the first part in order to resolve this apparent conflict and advance a coherent theory of shame. The essay’s final thesis is that shame is neither fundamentally destructive nor fundamentally constructive but that it can assume both guises. While it can threaten the subject up to the point of destruction triggering it in aggressive defensive mechanisms, it can also contribute to the development of the subject into a fully free individual capable of acknowledging and answering to others.
In speaking of the social dimensions of human experience, we inevitably become involved in the debate regarding how they are to be studied. Should we embrace the first-person perspective, which is that of the phenomenologists, and begin with the experiences composing our directly experienced lifeworld? Alternately, should we follow the lead of natural scientists and take up the third-person perspective? This is the perspective that asserts that we must begin with what is true for everyone, i.e., with what is available to both me and Others (the “they” that forms the grammatical third person). Both perspectives are one sided in that each presupposes the other for its intelligibility. The third-person perspective is Cartesian and, as I show, privileges space, while the first-person perspective is social in Levinas’s sense and presupposes time. Our reality, I argue, embraces both perspectives and is, in fact, set by their intertwining.
This paper combines perspectives from different disciplines to open up an interdisciplinary view on basic processes of human interaction. Part I addresses problematic assumptions of dominating theories of mind and limits of phenomenological description. Part II presents findings from social psychological and neuroscientific experiments on sensomotor synchronization. These experiments were carried out at levels of experiencing, behavior/kinematics, organic functions, and neurophysiology. Novel approaches that study intercerebral processes in musicians who interact face-to-face are particularly relevant: parts of non-identical brains function like temporarily coupled units. Part III discusses methodological issues and presuppositions of these experimental approaches as well as of current theories of mind. The findings from social psychology and neuroscience can serve to explicate phenomenological concepts and to complement descriptions, in particular of prereflective intentionality. Vice versa, the phenomenological view helps to critically examine limits and assumptions of empirical approaches and philosophical theories of mind. The presented findings on sensomotor and intercerebral synchronization corroborate phenomenological views of direct intercorporeal intersubjectivity, which provide an alternative to accounts that rely on simulation, representation, and inferential processes.