ART and ORGANISM
Existential-phenomenology is at first a mouthful of jargon, but it is also a convenient and conveniently descriptive term for a way of thinking about how best to keep HUMAN EXPERIENCE (as opposed to course content and scholarly analyses) at the center of our investigations in the interplay of art and biology.
It is EXISTENTIAL because it is places emphasis on the problems of existence of REAL individuals in the real world: “The proposition that existence precedes essence (French: l’existence précède l’essence) is a central claim of existentialism, which reverses the traditional philosophical view that the essence (the nature) of a thing is more fundamental and immutable than its existence (the mere fact of its being).To existentialists, human beings—through their consciousness—create their own values and determine a meaning for their life because the human being does not possess any inherent identity or value. That identity or value must be created by the individual. By posing the acts that constitute them, they make their existence more significant.” (Wikipedia)
It is PHENOMENOLOGY because it is the systematic study of the structures of experience of phenomena (including of one’s self) and of consciousness.
I recommend a paper (TLC 1989) that was originally written to keep EXPERIENCE at the center of consumer research — this is not nearly as remote from our interests as a first glance might suggest. It characterizes existential phenomenology … “as a paradigm for studying consumer experience. A paradigm refers to a group of researchers sharing common assumptions about the nature of reality, utilizing common methodologies, and dealing with similar problems (Kuhn 1970). Adherents of a paradigm have both a philosophy of what the world is like and investigative methods deriving from that perspective. Existential-phenomenology is a paradigm that blends the philosophy of existentialism with the methods of phenomenology (Valle and King 1978). The result is a contextually based, holistic psychology that views human beings in non-dualistic terms and seeks to attain a first-person description of experience (Giorgi 1983). [go to Thompson et al 1989]