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From a Phenomenology of the Subject to a Phenomenology of the Event: Reconstructing the Ontological Basis for a Phenomenological Psychology

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Abstract In this paper I make the argument that being phenomenologically faithful to human experience means broadening the scope of the phenomenological method to not only include subjective experiences. Instead of reducing the psychological study of phenomena to the subject who ‘has’ an experience and who makes sense of this experience according to his or her own goal-directed plans, I will introduce the idea of starting our research from an understanding of an experience that is more original than the subject who ‘has’ it, since it both happens to this subject and transforms this subject in the process of happening to it. This understanding of experience, which is based in part on insights from the later Heidegger and the work of Jean-Luc Marion, takes the phenomenological reduction beyond what this or that experience meant to a particular subject (a psychological reduction) and looks instead at how this particular subject came into being as part of an experiential event that allowed it to become the subject that it is. I will call this new phenomenology a ‘phenomenology of the event’ and will seek to develop the implications of situating the study of psychological phenomena within such a paradigm.

Affiliations: 1: University of Houston


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