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The Importance of Securing the Psychologically Impalpable: The Vicissitudes of the Perception of Expressiveness*

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image of Journal of Phenomenological Psychology

Historically, when psychology broke away from a philosophical mode of scholarship it strove to become a natural science. This meant that it largely imitated the concepts and practices of the natural sciences which included the use of abstract terms to designate many of its phenomena with the consequence that psychology is often more abstract and generic than it ought to be. Husserl has emphasized the role of the life-world as the ultimate basis of all knowledge and a serious consideration of its role implies that psychology’s manner of labeling its phenomena should be less abstract and closer to the way the phenomena are experienced in the lifeworld. If so, this means that psychology’s primary data should be physiognomies or the expressive characteristics intrinsic to objects and situations. However, the complexities involved in the perception of physiognomies create difficulties for the practice of science. It is suggested that certain Husserlian phenomenological contributions concerning categorial modes of experiencing could be helpful in meeting scientific criteria.

Affiliations: 1: Saybrook University


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