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Full Access At Play in the Field of Possibles

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At Play in the Field of Possibles

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This essay focuses on questions central to Husserl’s essential methodology, specifically his notion of ‘free-fantasy variation,’ which he regarded as his ‘fundamental methodological insight.’ At the heart of this ‘vital element of phenomenology’ is what he often terms ‘as-if experience’ thanks to which anything whatever (actual or possible) can be considered either for its own sake or as an example of something else. Further analysis explores the act of exemplification, the act of feigning (termed possibilizing) and the shifts of attention and orientation that ground free-fantasy variation. Exemplification and possibilizing are then examined in daily life to discern what makes the complex act of feigning at all possible. An examination of the phenomenon of upsets (of what is typically expected) brings the core sense of possibilizing to light. A focus on the dramatic force intrinsic to these experiences, and the essential place of reflective awareness inherent to them, makes apparent how the rudimentary sense of self begins to emerge, and there follows an analysis of this self-referentiality of possibilizing. The analysis then concludes with a brief examination of Husserl’s so-called ‘zig-zag’ method of constitutive phenomenology.

Affiliations: 1: Vanderbilt University

10.1163/156916210X503092
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This essay focuses on questions central to Husserl’s essential methodology, specifically his notion of ‘free-fantasy variation,’ which he regarded as his ‘fundamental methodological insight.’ At the heart of this ‘vital element of phenomenology’ is what he often terms ‘as-if experience’ thanks to which anything whatever (actual or possible) can be considered either for its own sake or as an example of something else. Further analysis explores the act of exemplification, the act of feigning (termed possibilizing) and the shifts of attention and orientation that ground free-fantasy variation. Exemplification and possibilizing are then examined in daily life to discern what makes the complex act of feigning at all possible. An examination of the phenomenon of upsets (of what is typically expected) brings the core sense of possibilizing to light. A focus on the dramatic force intrinsic to these experiences, and the essential place of reflective awareness inherent to them, makes apparent how the rudimentary sense of self begins to emerge, and there follows an analysis of this self-referentiality of possibilizing. The analysis then concludes with a brief examination of Husserl’s so-called ‘zig-zag’ method of constitutive phenomenology.

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/content/journals/10.1163/156916210x503092
2010-06-01
2016-12-05

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