Professor: Gerald Cupchik
Email: [email protected]
Office Hours: Thursdays 10-11; 2-3
TA: Michelle Hilscher
Email: [email protected]
Office Hours: Thursdays 10-11 am
Oatley, Keltner & Jenkins (2006, 2nd Ed.) Understanding Emotions.
If you have not already received your midterm mark, please email Michelle with your full name and student # ([email protected])***
Defined as “the science of experience”.
Phenomenology looks at the effect of prior understanding on human experience, including knowing.
Phenomena are not univocal but “appear” in a multiplicity of ways.
Edmund Husserl (1859-1938) argued that phenomenology begins with the direct description of experience.
We have direct experience prior to thinking about it. We must begin with an understanding of “the situation”.
For example, fear is:
(1) physiological change and...
(2) cognitive appraisal and...
(3) avoidance behaviour but...
(4) first and foremost it is fear.
It remains fear during and after scientific inquiry.
Its essential being is its being fear.
It means fear for us.
The neurological, cognitive and behavioural analyses are related to each other because they all refer to the structure we call “fear”.
Why has science overlooked this experiential ontology (defined as the science of being)?
By limiting fear to one aspect of its being, the physiologist discovers more about fear. The new discovery might be mistaken as the “essence” of fear.
For Husserl, we have an “intentional” relation to our environment which makes it intelligible. We don’t experience the environment as an unrelated series of meaningless data to be subsequently made intelligible and related to one another.
As Gestalt psychology has argued independently, we experience formal wholes, not disconnected data.
We have an understanding when we have a sense for the essence of a thing or event.
These meanings are not introspected but are intuited. Introspection means to “look within” and is modelled on observation...and detachment.
According to phenomenology, ideas and feelings are grasped without distance; they are intuited.
You understand directly and immediately. You see a person “as angry”.
Intuiting permits us to experience things are intelligible whole and not just as data.
Each of these “wholes” is identified and understood against a spatio-temporal “horizon” or “field”.
The human environment is always first of all “a situation” - an organized hierarchy of wholes.
Isolated and meaningless data are always the results of analytical abstraction from an original and organized whole.
For Husserl, we experience phenomena as a whole because the act of experiencing is holistic.
Don’t confuse the part or mechanism of experience with the experience itself.
Phenomenology maintains that sensing and judging occur simultaneously.
What is experienced is as much mental as it is sensory and is always a single experience and not a sensory datum of external origin followed by an introspective experience of the internal process of synthesizing and identifying data.
The object as experienced is always a meaning-being or a phenomenon.
The object is always an immediate fusion of the “real” and the “ideal”.
Stimulus and response must always be situated in a context… the “act” is the actual molar unit of behaviour.
The emotional stimulus is a stimulus only because it is immediately perceived as a meaning by and for a being who is acting to reach a goal in an environment.
* Consider act in a unified environment.
* Consider environment in relation to a purposive agent.
* The agent is always acting-in-the-world.
Existence - Latin root - “ex-sistere”… to stand out, to emerge.
We portray a human being not as a collection of static substances or mechanisms or patterns, but rather as emerging and becoming… as existing.
Soren Kierkegaard: “Truth exists only as the individual himself produces it in action.”
Feuerbach: “Do not wish to be a philosopher in contrast to being a man... do not think as a thinker... think as a living, real being. Thinking is Existence.”
Existentialism is concerned with ontology, “the science of being.”
Existentialists are concerned with rediscovering the living person amid the compartmentalization and dehumanization of modern culture.
According to Eric Fromm, during profound convulsions of a transitional period, individuals in society get caught up in spiritual and emotional upheaval… they tend to sink into dogmatism and conformism, giving up awareness.
The only way to overcome this is to strive for heightened self consciousness by which to become aware of their existence with new conviction and on a new basis.
Existentialism accepts people as always becoming and therefore potentially in crisis....but it is not despairing...
Thrownness concept and Pascal in his Pensées...
“When I discover the brief span of my life, swallowed up in the eternity before and behind it, the small space that I fill, or even see, engulfed in the infinite immensity of spaces which I know not, and which know not me, I am afraid, and wonder to see myself here rather than there, now rather than then...”
So, existentialism arises directly out of Western man’s anxiety, estrangement, and conflicts indigenous to our culture.
Kierkegaard wrote, before Freud, about the depression and anxiety that results from self-estrangement.
Both Kierkegaard and Nietzsche understood man as the being who represses, the being who surrenders self awareness as a protection against reality and then suffers the neurotic consequences.
But the person can never be separated from the object being observed.
We must avoid the doctrine that the less we are involved in a given situation, the more clearly we can observe the truth.
Truth is always relative.
Truth becomes reality only as the individual produces it in action, including in his or her consciousness.
He introduced the terms:
(1) Umwelt: world of people in biological environment
(2) Mitwelt: our personal relations with others
(3) Eigenwelt: the sphere of our relations with ourselves
Existential Psychotherapy is concerned with dasein, our being-in-the-world.
The significant tense here is the future.
Self-consciousness enables us to grasp our existence.
The sense of “being” is my capacity to see myself as a being-in-the-world, to know myself as a being who can do things (this relates to ego development).
The capacity to confront non-being is illustrated in the ability to accept anxiety, hostility, and aggression (i.e., to tolerate without repression).
Anxiety and Guilt are ontological (pertains to the science of being).
ANXIETY: The experience of the threat of immanent non-being. It strikes at the central core of self-esteem and self-value.
Anxiety overwhelms awareness of existence, blots out the sense of time, dulls the memory of the past and erases the future.
Fear is a threat to the periphery on one’s existence - it can be objectified.
Anxiety is ontological; it is a threat to dasein… fear is not.
GUILT: When a person denies potentialities or fails to fulfill them, the condition is guilt.
Guilt is a potent source of humility and produces unsentimental attitude of forgiveness.
Ontological Guilt: Everyone participates in it.
In relation to the:
Mitwelt - everyone at some time distorts the realities of other
Eigenwelt - no one completely fulfills his or her potential
Umwelt - in relation to as a whole
Ontological guilt does not lead to symptom formation but has constructive effects on the personality.
It should lead to:
(2) sharpened sensitivity toward others
(3) increased creative use of one’s own potential
Neurotic guilt comes from unfaced normal ontological guilt.
So we must learn to transcend our immediate situation and understand that the world is the structure of meaningful relationships in which a person exists and in the design of which he or she participates. It is reciprocal and pertains to the future.
How does the person experience time, space, causality and materiality?
Contrast objective time of the clock with the subjective experience of time.
We ask the questions:
(1) Is the experience of time disoriented or not?
(2) Are mental operations accelerated or slowed down?
Flowing time is automatically structured:
(1) Present - “the constantly now”
(2) Past is “what leaves us”
(3) Future is open to previewing or planning
Distortions of the feeling of time necessarily result in distortions of the meaning of life.
Mania - time speeds up
Anxiety, boredom or grief - Time flows more slowly
Depression - time flows desperately slowly, stagnating or even arrested.
Certain schizophrenics - time fixed at the present moment (delusion of immortality)
Oriented Space is equivalent to objective space and relates to ideas of verticality, elevation, and direction.
It is essentially mathematical or Euclidean space....3 dimensional.
It is the space of the Action Model....defined, organized, utilized, delineated and measured.
Touch involves near space.
Audition or vision involves remote space.
This spatial experience is determined by and reflects one’s mood.
Inside Oriented Space: fullness or emptiness, expanding or contracting.
* Happiness expands attuned space
* Sorrow constricts attuned space
* Despair makes it empty
In schizophrenic experience - attuned space loses its consistency
Outside Oriented Space: love is “space-binding” - close to beloved in spite of distance transcends distance
Dance space - ebb & flow
- distance is a quality and not a quantity
Clear - space of the horizon, perspective and distinctiveness, it is emotionally neutral
Dark - obscurity or fog; black, thick, gloomy, substratum of delusion of persecution
Luminous - blinded by intense light...mystical
In sum, hallucination and delusion cannot be understood without knowledge of spatial experience. The healthy mind involves not just reality testing but the structure of space.
(1) determinism and melancholia - crushed under the weight of the past, cannot change anything, nothing left to chance or free will
(2) chance and mania - world of irresponsibility bound neither to past nor future, everything is by chance
(3) intentionality - paranoiacs see intentions everywhere… everything has meaning related to them.
(1) consistency (fluid, soft, viscous)
(2) tension, shock, heaviness and lightness
(3) hot and cold
(4) light and colour
Each person has his or her own way of constructing meaning in their inner worlds. This involves unique interactions and distortions in the experience of temporality, spatiality, causality, and materiality.
This provides for the form of experience rather than its subject matter.
& Existential Analysis
(1) Existential analysis does not restrict itself to the investigation of states of consciousness but takes into account the entire existence of the individual.
(2) Phenomenology emphasizes unity of the inner world of experience, whereas existential analysis maintains that one individual may live in two or more conflicting worlds.
(3) Phenomenology takes into account only the immediate subjective worlds of experience. Existential analysis strives to reconstruct the development and transformation of an individual’s world or conflicting worlds.
In short, existential analysis operates within a larger frame of reference.