Phenomenology: Nature, Significance, Limitations
Sku: 11600A0E050
Archival Number: CD/mp3 116
Author: Lonergan, B.
Language(s): English,
Decade: 1950

CD/mp3 116, part 2 of lecture 2 on existentialism. Corresponds to CWL 18, pp. 266-79 and 355-68. Sponsored by Thomas J. Farrell. Phenomenology is an account, description, presentation of data structured by insight. The first section of the lecture is devoted to explaining this definition. The data that are given are structured by insight, and are not limited to external phenomena. The account is selective, and the selection is of the significant. Phenomenology is not concerned with insight as such, nor does it head to a synthesis of fields. Its concern is not the subsequent conceptualization or definition or theoretic statement of the data but the data themselves as structured by insight, the pre-predicative, the pre-conceptual, the pre-judicial. Its significance lies first in the fact that it provides a technique for the exploration and presentation of whole realms of matters of fact that are important but that have been neglected: e.g., in psychology, the data of interiority. Its power is shown in Heidegger's analysis of Dasein, in Binswanger's interpretation of the dream, and in Heidegger's influence on Bultmann. Its first limitation is that while the pre-predicative provides the evidence for the virtually unconditioned, phenomenology itself does not penetrate to the rational process within which the grasp of the virtually unconditioned and the judgment occur. Its criterion of the true is the manifest, and if affirmation rests on the manifest, negation is based on what is not, on nothing. The manifestness of nothing is found in the anxiety crisis. A second result of making the criterion of truth be the manifest is the possibility of Husserl's epoche. It is possible if the really real is just a term of attention, but not if it has to do with what one knows to be true. Moreover, there is no return from the epoche if one suspends the really real, and no possible proof within phenomenology that being is what appears and nothing else. Truth, in other words, is the fundamental problem in phenomenology.


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