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International Studies in Phenomenology and Philosophy

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Principles of structural phenomenology

a basic outline and commentary

Simone Aurora, Patrick Flack

pp. 151-169

Structural phenomenology is both a general theory of experience and a scientific method, whose contours and potentially considerable explanatory power have been fundamentally obscured by its complex historical genesis. Barring a few partial or indirect attempts (Holenstein 1976, Piana 1996, Coquet 2007, Groupe µ 2015), no explicit analysis and certainly no synthetic account of its core tenets have been provided. Indeed, structural phenomenology has generally not been framed as a coherent tradition, theory or model in its own right. At best, the term seems to refer only to the indefinite conceptual space where structuralism and phenomenology have on occasion intersected. Because the works of Edmund Husserl, the Gestalt psychologists, Roman Jakobson, Maurice Merleau-Ponty or Jacques Derrida all provide, to varying extents, strong examples of productive convergences or intersections between these two traditions, it is nonetheless quite clear that explorations of structural-phenomenological ideas constituted not a fleeting episode, but a persistent undercurrent in 20th Century European intellectual history. As we hope to clarify here, moreover, it is possible not only to isolate a number of defining ideas in this existing nexus of exchanges between phenomenological and structuralist approaches, but also to distill these ideas into a set of consistent principles that can provide a first outline of the theoretical scope of structural phenomenology.

Publication details

DOI: 10.19079/actas.2018.s1.151

Online since: 18th April 2018

Full citation:

Aurora, S. , Flack, P. (2018). Principles of structural phenomenology: a basic outline and commentary. Acta Structuralica 1, pp. 151-169.

Principles of structural phenomenology Aurora Simone;Flack Patrick; Archiving of XML in sdvig press database Open Commons August 2, 2019, 3:24 pm

1Structural phenomenology is both a general theory of experience and a scientific method, whose contours and potentially considerable explanatory power have been obscured by its complex historical genesis. Barring a few partial or indirect attempts (e.g. Holenstein 1976, Piana 1996, Coquet 2007, Groupe µ 2015), no direct analysis and certainly no synthetic account of its core tenets have of yet been provided. Indeed, structural phenomenology has never been framed explicitly as a coherent tradition, theory or model in its own right. Rather, the term seems to refer only to the indefinite conceptual space where structuralism and phenomenology have on occasion intersected. Given that Edmund Husserl, Gestalt psychology, Roman Jakobson, Maurice Merleau-Ponty or Jacques Derrida all provide examples of productive conver­gences or intersections between these two traditions, it is nonetheless clear that what one might want to call « structural-phenomenological thought » constituted not a fleeting or marginal episode in 20th Century intellectual history, but a persistent undercurrent. As we hope to make clear, moreover, it is possible not only to identify a number of common ideas in the nexus of exchanges between phenomenological and structuralist approaches, but also to distill these ideas into a set of consistent principles that in turn provide an outline of structural phenomenology as a coherent theory and method.

Footnotes

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