Being amongst others: phenomenological reflections on the life-world

Newcastle, U.K.: Cambridge Scholars Press (2006)
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Our world can be a bewildering place. The sense of awe and wonder at the states of affairs in which we find ourselves immersed give rise to philosophical questions. Philosophical reflection is a critical attempt to come to grips with our place in the world and the various problems we encounter in respect to the complexities encountered in everyday life. In the most basic terms, phenomenology is the study of the structures and relations of phenomena. Phenomenology begins from a descriptive analysis of our experiences of the world. It grants precedent to the first person perspective-how phenomena appear to consciousness. There are any number of problems related to the plenitude of kinds of experiences which confront us through the course of our lives, in addition to the structure of consciousness itself. This volume presents a variety of views on a number of the phenomena of our everyday lives, offering positions on such things from the nature of consciousness to the structures of religious or political experiences. Its appeal, however, should not be limited to philosophers alone-given that all persons can relate to the subject matter of the essays. For instance, one author asks, "what is friendship?" The present work may also be understood as a gesture toward bridging the division between the valuable insights of continental and analytic philosophical traditions. The authors include a combination of established academics, such as Jeffrey Wattles-the best-selling author of The Golden Rule-and young scholars from varied philosophical backgrounds. This collection is divided into four sections: (I) Foundational Elements of Experience; (II) The Experiencing Subject: What is it to be a Subject?; (III) Amongst Others: The Social World; and (IV) Social Objects and Institutions. Each section represents a level of experience, from the most basic structures of experience, to the subject's experience of the world and objects in it, to experiences and interactions with others, ending at the results of the codifications of certain social practices and beliefs. The sections treat their respective topics principally, even if they share material with other essays. Our experiences of the life-world, the world of human praxis, contain a multiplicity of elements; the divisions of this work are meant to demarcate various types of phenomena, not to offer any definitive thesis regarding a hierarchy or structure of relations.



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Eric Chelstrom
St. Mary's University, Texas

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