Interesting question. As you probably know the later
Stein studied Aristotle and Aquinas and thus was confronted directly with
realist philosophers. One of her final works 'Finite and Eternal Being'
tries to bring insights brought from phenomenology and
Aristotelian-Scholastic thinking together and it seems you are aiming to
bring together the phenomenological reduction and the natural attitude - or
at least find the bridge between the two.
There is an interesting
work of Stein's where she compares Husserl's thinking to Aquinas', which can
be found in 'Knowledge and Faith' trans. Walter Redmond, (ICS, 2000) written
in 1929 for Husserl's 70th birthday. In this work Stein compares her
learning of Aquinas with Husserl, it's from pp.1-63 and is in two columns,
one with Husserl's view, the other with Thomas and how their philosophical
positions might 'fit' or not 'fit'.
Stein says that 'phenomenology
could not succeed on [the] course [that Husserl wished to take it] - and
this was the constant objection that his own students raised against its
Founder - in winning back from the realm of immanence 'that' objectivity
from which he had after all set out and insuring which was the point: a
truth and reality free from any relatedness to the subject' (Knowledge
and Faith, p. 32, column b). This was the position of the
Goettigen school of which Stein was a follower and which did not follow
Husserl towards Transcendental Idealism.
So the early
phenomenological realists would still hold that the object or other subject
existed in reality and that phenomenology was an aid to scientifically
analyzing that reality. Husserl saw phenomenology as a 'rigorous science'
which was to be devoid of presuppositions and which aimed to ground the
other sciences. So, when the client comes into the office and you chat with
them I presume this would be in the natural attitude, but then as you go
into therapy, then the reduction might be of benefit, when you realize that
the client is effecting you by causing 'sadness' within, here empathy as
Stein defines it is occurring. If the client cries and you forget your 'I',
then perhaps this is sympathy or contagion rather than empathy. Stein
considers contagion in 'On Empathy'.
But perhaps the hermeneutical
developments in phenomenology which come later offer the therapist more
flexibility in their use of phenomenology. But I think that it is good to
keep these in mind while reading the texts of Stein, to see how the two
disciplines can relate, perhaps by reading her descriptive analysis of
psychological states of her own and others some deeper correlations can be
found between the two disciplines.
For me it is the epistemological
aspects of phenomenology which are of primary interest, the way it as a
method aims to ground all other forms of knowing without presuppositions (if
that is possible), and the way that Stein is aiming to use the method to
define acts of empathy, memory, perception, and the disciplines of
psychology and its subject matter.
On 23 Jul 2010, at
02:00, Philip Brownell wrote:
On Jul 22, 2010, at 7:35 PM, Haydn
So it is as if the observer was lifting the
hammer by merely watching
the other person lift the hammer (the action is
mirrored), but the
action is specific to each individual's mind.
this information tend to do so from outside the
reduction, but surely
when they think about 'empathy' and what empathy
'is', the best way to
do that is to use the method of phenomenology -
to get to its
(empathy's) essence, to describe it in such a
way, that it cannot be
but that which it is described to be by
I think a person operates within his or her world.
Would Edith's horizon find room for naturalism? For a
phenomenal process within the natural attitude? Or would she have rather
automatically gone to finding answers within the reduction? If some people
think she was beginning to leave it (toward the end of On Empathy, as you
say), then perhaps she was.
I know that my interest in phenomenology comes
from the need to account for human experience and the way people think,
feel, and behave. When I am with a client, I am most assuredly
locked down to the lived body and the life world of things as given.
I am curious if you can see a reduction in what a therapist might
do, one who accepts the client as he or she is, as