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Phenomenology according to Gabriel marcel
Transcript of Phenomenology according to Gabriel marcel
(December 7, 1889-October 8, 1973) •French Philosopher
•Christian Existentialist (First French Existentialist)
•A playwright (wrote 30 plays)
•His Father is an atheist and his Mother is Jewish.
•He was an Atheist until his conversion to Catholicism in 1929
• He focused on the modern individual’s struggle in a technologically dehumanizing society.
•He prefers the term “Philosophy of Existence” to define his own thought.
•“The Mystery of Being ” is a well-known two volume work by Marcel.
•He was also a music critic
Phenomenology •From the Greek "phainomenon", meaning "appearance". and "logos" meaning "study".
•Attempt to study experience itself objectively and scientifically.
•It is the study of “phenomena”: appearances of things, or things as they appear in our experience, or the ways we experience things, thus the meanings things have in our experience.
•It studies the structure of various types of experience ranging from perception, thought, memory, imagination, emotion, desire, and volition to bodily awareness, embodied action, and social activity, including linguistic
Existential Phenomenology •Gabriel Marcel’s philosophy was influenced by his religious views and Soren Kierkegaard’s Existentialist Philosophy. •Marcel introduced the works of Kierkegaard to France.
---For Marcel, Kierkegaard seemed to be writing about the anxieties experienced by all individuals.-- •Gabriel Marcel offers a bridge between the atheistic existentialism of Jean-Paul Satre and the theism of Soren Kierkegaard. •As a proponent of existentialism and phenomenology, Marcel argued for a rejection of philosophical systems that claimed abstract truths were of primary importance.
•In Marcel’s view, philosophy needed to emphasize lived experience: a phenomenological approach.
•For Marcel, philosophy and religion were both concerned with the means by which individuals could overcome estrangement and the irrationality of life in order to live an authentic meaningful existence. FREEDOM -demonstrated by a respect for and love of other individuals.
-Freedom is defined by Marcel in both a negative and positive sense.
-The free act is significant because it contributes to defining the self, “By freedom I am given back to myself,”
• For Marcel, philosophy and religion were both concerned with the means by which individuals could overcome estrangement and the irrationality of life in order to live an authentic meaningful existence. • Marcel considered himself a “Socratic Christian.” There is optimism with Marcel’s works, focused not on the dread and anxiety of Kierkegaard, but rather on the hope offered by Jesus Christ.
•Like Kierkegaard, Marcel was not concerned with proving the existence of nature of God. For Marcel, faith was a lived experience that defied explanation. •Negatively, freedom is, “The absence of whatever resembles an alienation from oneself,” • positively as when, “The motives of my action are within the limits of what I can legitimately consider as the structural traits of my self,” -Freedom, then, is always about the possibilities of the self, understood within the confines of relationships with others -As an Existentialist, Marcel’s freedom is tied to the raw experiences of the body.
-the Phenomenology of Marcelian freedom is characterized by his insistence that freedom is something to be experienced, and the self is fully free when it is submerged in the possibilities of the self and the needs of other “The objectification of the self through one’s possessions robs one of her freedom, and separates her from the experiences of her own participation in being. The idolatrous world of perverted possession must be abandoned if the true reality of humanity is to be reached” Autonomy -it is a discovery of the self as a being receptive to others, rather than as a power to be exerted.
Marcel’s autonomy is rooted in a commitment to participation with others, and is unique in that the participative subject is committed by being encountered, or approached by, another individual’s need. Participation •the body does not have instrumental value, nor is it simply a part or extension of the self. Instead, the self cannot be eradicated from the body.
•When we are able to act freely, we can move away from the isolated perspective of the problematic man (“I am body only,”) to that of the participative subject (“I am a being among beings”) who is capable of interaction with others in the world.
Marcelian participation is possible through a special type of reflection in which the subject views herself as a being among beings, rather than as an object. Kinds of Reflection Secondary -takes as its point of departure the being of the individual among others.
-an understanding of one’s being is only possible through secondary reflection.
-Participation which involves the presence of the self to the world is only possible if the temptation to assume the self is wholly distinct from the world is overcome. Secondary Reflection allows the individual to seek out others, and it dissolves the dualism of primary reflection by realizing the lived body’s relation to the ego. Primary -explains the relationship of an individual to the world based on his existence as an object in the world. Reflexive -is the reflection of the exigent self -It occurs when the subject is in communion with others, and is free and also dependent upon others Reflection is existentially significant, because it indicates the act by which the self concentrates its attention on its self, but such an act without secondary reflection would result in the same egocentrism that Marcel attempts to avoid through his work. Participation with others is initiated through acts of feeling which not only allow the subject to experience the body as his own, but which enable him to respond to others as embodied, sensing, creative, participative beings as well Feel •To feel is a mode of participation
•A creative act which draws the subject closer to an experience of the self as a being-among-beings. Creative Fidelity •For Marcel, to exist only as body is to exist problematically.
•To exist existentially is to exist as thinking, emotive, being, dependent upon the human creative impulse. “A really alive person is not merely someone who has a taste for life, but somebody who spreads that taste, showering it, as it were, around him; and a person who is really alive in this way has, quite apart from any tangible achievements of his, something essentially creative about him,” Presence •Presence is concerned with recognizing the self as a being-among-beings, and acknowledging the relevance of others’ experiences to the self, as a being.
•The notion of presence for Marcel is comprised of two other parallel notions, communion and availability.
•The mark of presence is the mutual tie to the other.
•Presence is shared, then, in virtue of our openness to each other. Availability -availability can be understood as being at hand, or handiness, so that a person is ready to respond to another when called upon.
-The positive result of living an available life is that it makes the subject more fully aware of herself than she would be if she did not have the relationship. Communion -Communion with other participative beings is renewing to the self as a result of the other giving to me out of who he is, rather than merely by what he says. Communion with others can give new meaning to experiences that otherwise would have been closed to the self. -Communion is necessary for presence, but is entwined with Marcel’s notion of availability Hope and Existential Self •The notion of “hope” for Marcel relies upon a significant Marcelian distinction between problem and mystery. Problem For the problematic man, each aspect of life is reduced to the level of a problem, so that the self and all of its relationships, goals, and desires are treated as obstacles to be conquered Life is, for the problematic man, a series of opportunities to possess, and the body is alienated from the problematic man’s own corporeality. Mystery The mystery of being, then, is a tale to be told, analyzed, probed, and worked toward. Even as experiences change, society evolves, and relations emerge, the individual who seeks meaning through an investigation of their being will never be fully satisfied If Marcel’s ontology is viable, and the self can question who it is that asks "Who am I?", then the self will find the answer to be constantly in flux. Sources http://www.iep.utm.edu/marcel/