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Introduction to Phenomenology [Paperback]

By Robert Sokolowski (Author)
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Item description for Introduction to Phenomenology by Robert Sokolowski...

This book presents the major philosophical doctrines of phenomenology in a clear, lively style with an abundance of examples. The book examines such phenomena as perception, pictures, imagination, memory, language, and reference, and shows how human thinking arises from experience. It also studies personal identity as established through time and discusses the nature of philosophy. In addition to providing a new interpretation of the correspondence theory of truth, the author also explains how phenomenology differs from both modern and postmodern forms of thinking.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Cambridge University Press
Pages   238
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.75" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   0.75 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 28, 1999
Publisher   Cambridge University Press
ISBN  0521667925  
ISBN13  9780521667920  

Availability  1 units.
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More About Robert Sokolowski

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Robert Sokolowski is the Elizabeth Breckenridge Caldwell Professor of Philosophy at The Catholic University of America. Twice awarded research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, he has also served as a consultant at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and gave the 26th J. Robert Oppenheimer Lecture there in 1996. He has also served as visiting professor at the Graduate Faculty of the New School University; the University of Texas, Austin; Villanova; and Yale University. Dr Sokolowski is the author of many books, including Introduction to Phenomenology, Moral Action, The God of Faith and Reason, Presence and Absence, and Husserlian Meditations.

Robert Sokolowski has an academic affiliation as follows - Catholic University of America, Washington DC.

Robert Sokolowski has published or released items in the following series...
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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Consciousness & Thought
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > General
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > History & Surveys
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Movements > Phenomenology

Reviews - What do customers think about Introduction to Phenomenology?

The lifeworld awaits... no wait, we're in it already...  Feb 20, 2008
The phenomenological tradition, an oft used misnomer for "Continental Philosophy," diverges from Analytic philosophy in dramatic ways. One commentator stated, possibly disparagingly, that the Analytic side is all about problems while the Continental side is all about proper names. Regardless of that statement's veracity (both traditions seem equally addicted to eminent names), newcomers to phenomenology, or even to the Continental tradition altogether, will find the fibers of this book almost unsullied by proper names. In near defiance to the stereotype above, it seems populated with problems. For many of these it even suggests solutions. Though phenomenology comprises only part of the entire Continental lineage, it nonetheless played a massive role in that tradition's development. Heidegger and Sartre, names known everywhere, founded their thought in phenomenology and simultaneously expanded its influence and scope. Anyone desiring to understand either major figure's thought should ground themselves in the concepts, terminology, and approach of this introduction.

Human experience provides the basis for phenomenology. No matter how "elevated" the cognition, in phenomenology our shared human faculties provide the foundation. In stark contrast to Cartesian, Humean, and Hobbesian conceptions, phenomenology puts full trust in our sensory experiences. This idea gets emphasized and reemphasized throughout the book. Not only that, most concepts receive illumination through repetition and other literary devices. This elucidates the subject matter to an exponential degree as well as moistening up what could have been a very dry read. It proves that the experience of reading about experience can entertain.

Intentionality, the first chapter's subject, provides a good starting block for phenomenology. This concept connects our consciousness to the world. It essentially means that consciousness is consciousness "of" something. We're connected to the thing experienced, and our experiences make up a part of that thing's being. Our beings criss-cross and validate each other. The implications of this get discussed in great detail. Following this, the discussion explodes into phenomenology's three crucial structures: Parts and Wholes, Identity in Manifolds, and Presence in Absence. These three found the remaining discussions, from the Natural versus the Phenomenological Attitude, Categorial Intentionality, ego consciousness, and temporality, to the lifeworld, evidence, Eidetic Intuition, and intersubjectivity. Later chapters build on early ones. The whole edifice comes together in the final chapters. In true fashion, the parts found and construct the whole. Though not everything attains lucidity. The almost mystical notion of "Internal Time Consciousness" apparently requires more discussion than this book allows. Regardless, everything comes back to intentionality and the three basic structures.

Although the discussion evades proper names for the most part, an appendix provides a short history of the field from Husserl to the present. The book in general follows Husserlian terminology. Overall, the unorthodox approach taken here fits well with the subject matter. Phenomenology is something that people can actually perform. Some consider it a science. In places, the discussion even attempts to expand natural sciences to a new level based on human experience. It even suggests in one place that modern indeterminancy in science originates from science's disinterest in the variation of human experience. Obviously not everyone will find the arguments, or even phenomenology itself, convincing. But as a reaction to "mind in a box" epistemology it at least provides a refreshing new perspective. It also puts the human being in the world fully connected. We are reality, reality is us. Anyone who wants insight into one of Continental philosophy's most influential movements should read this book cover to cover and repeat.
a clear presentation of the basics  Dec 19, 2005
This is an excellent introduction to phenomenology. While the history of phenomenology is fascinating and rewards serious study, this book, unlike others, cuts through the differences between phenomenological thinkers to the 'meat and bones' of the approach and presents the basic methods of phenomenological analysis in a clear and penetrating fashion. I found it thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening. Anyone interested in philosophy would do well to sit down with this book for a few hours. It could very well change the way you look at the world and the way you approach philosophical problems (for the better!). Highly recommended.
What is phenomenology?  Sep 16, 2005
As Cal Schrag notes in a fantastic litte essay called "The Recovery of the Phenomenological Subject": "In 1945 Maurice Merleau-Ponty began the preface to his classic work Phenomenologie de la perception, with the observation that the reader might find it odd that the question What is phenomenology? still needs to be answered one-half a century after the first writings of Edmund Husserl. The fact however remains, wrote Mereleau-Ponty, that this question still awaits an answer. Some fifty years after the publication of Merleau-Ponty's seminal work on perception we are still asking the question What is phenomenology?"

I do not hesitate (well, maybe a little) to reply that reading this excellent book by Sokolowski will certainly put the beginner on the path to answering this difficult question. Perhaps it answers best What is Husserlian phenomenology? but what better place to begin the journey than at the beginning. This is certainly not a scholarly text. You will not find footnotes at the bottom of every page. You won't even get citations to Husserl's texts. And you certainly won't find anything like a ten-page analysis of the words "phenomenon" and "logos" as encountered at the outset of Heidegger's Being and Time. But it's not supposed to be a critical scholarly text, it is just what it says: an introduction to phenomenology.

I think this text will be especially beneficial to readers who are familiar with philosophy but who stand outside the continental tradition - e.g. analytic philosophers. Also, those who already understand Husserl (or think they do) will find this book a fantastic read as well. Don't think that just because it is an introduction that it is beneath you. I think you will be suprised (and perhaps encouraged) by the ability of Sokolowski to state so clearly an answer to the question What is phenomenology?
Phenomenal Introduction to Phenomenology  Aug 26, 2005
I came to this book hoping to find an overview of phenomenology that wouldn't tax my middle-aged brain with dense prose or obscure jargon. It met my expectations fully. The writing is clear and graceful; phenomenology is related to broader cultural concerns (such as the rise of mathematized science); and the narrative tackles simple issues (such as perception and memory) before moving on to tough ones (such as temporality and language). Throughout, the "natural attitude" (our experience of the world) is contrasted with the "phenomenological attitude" (our reflection on the natural attitude). The book has whet my appetite for sampling the phenomenology canon.

I gave the book only four stars because Sokolowski doesn't really engage with rival philosophical projects, especially analytic philosophy. To be fair, he does draw distinctions between phenomenology and analytical approaches to human experience; in particular, he rejects any suggestion that internal mental entities mediate our experience of the world. Unfortunately, he rarely grapples with analytic arguments in detail.

Maybe it's unfair to expect this in an introductory work. However, given phenomenology's minority status in academia, most readers will have an analytic background. Sokowlowski needed to show them, with explicit arguments, why phenomenology gives a superior account of our experience. He rarely rose to this challenge. But with that caveat, I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in modern philosophy.
The Meat-n-Potatoes of Phenomenology  Feb 2, 2004
Perhaps the most important philosophical movement in the 20th century, phenomenology is also one of the more abstruse and varied disciplines in philosophy. Indeed, it would be quite difficult to give a definitive description of what phenomenology is, as defined by the multifarious practitioners, and an onerous task of sifting through the thousands of pages of primary texts. Moreoever, as I can attest, encountering a phenomenological text for the first time is a daunting experience, like trying to navigate through a large city without a map or guide. While there are several good introductory texts on phenomenology in general (Moran's for example), and many texts discussing the many phenomenologists, Sokolowski has graciously and generously given us a very general and useful introduction to the basic structures of phenomenology as a method. To this extent, Sokolowski's book is strongly Husserlian and, in some aspects, echoes in simplistic terms his very good 1974 book, Husserlian Meditations. This, however, is not to be taken as a deficit. To the contrary, Husserl is the recognized father of phenomenology, and also a writer of terse and often impenetrable verse. Thus, it behooves anyone wishing to begin to study phenomenology to get the gist first before delving into the more difficult texts.

What Sokolowski has done for us is to simply explain phenomenology in much the same way one would explain their hobby or a good book they have read. That is to say that it is casual and clear, and very helpful and informative, without an excess of jargon or unnecessary info. However, Sokolowski does go through pains to clarify and define the terminology implcit in phenomenology, e.g., terms such as noetic, noema, parts, wholes, eidetic intuition, etc.

I cannot agree with one of the reviewers below, who claims that an introduction to phenomenology ought to be historical. For as much as phenomenology evolved since Husserl, it is indeed important to see it in such an historical context, however, when considering phenomenology simply as a method one does not need to know how it was transformed by Heidegger or Sartre. Further, I cannot help but feel comparison to Dermot Moran's sweeping and powerful Introduction to Phenomenology to be misguided; in either case the intentions are different. Besides, Sokolowski does mention the variations of phenomenology over the past century. All the same, the province of Sokolowski's book is an attempt to help us understand HOW TO DO PHENOMENOLOGY, as opposed to other aspects of phenomenolgy such as its history and context.


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