Existential Phenomenology

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 (Frenchl’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]