Monday, June 23, 2008


Transcendental phenomenology was born as a reaction against the 19th Century Psychologism. However, this fact did not prevent the phenomenologists from continuing the questioning of their relationship with psychology. Thus Edmund Husserl designated phenomenology as a "descriptive psychology" in Logical Investigations, 1901, published one year after Prolegomena to Pure Logic which laid the logical premises of this separation. The Husserlian project recognized itself therefore as being the rightful follower of psychology and, more precisely, that of Brentano, without, however, being taken for a simple "experimental science", as it was the case with the leading contemporary psychology. Once this filiation established, one would not be surprised to notice that, in the 1925 lectures, Husserl openly assumes the possibility of a phenomenological psychology, understood as a path to the domain of transcendental immanence. On the other hand, immediate consequences of certain investigations made by Husserl and Heidegger were going to confirm the phenomenological genuineness of some important topics of reflection, which previously seemed to belong exclusively to psychology and psychiatry. In this context of thematic and methodological turmoil, thinkers as Ludwig Binswanger or Medard Boss, Emmanuel Lévinas or Michel Henry, were able to articulate a new understanding of psychiatric practice and of its therapies. Simultaneously, the phenomenological interest for the work of another free listener to Brentano's lectures - namely Freud, the founder of the psychoanalysis -, was going to change profoundly the initial architectonic of transcendental phenomenology. It is in this respect that Maurice Merleau-Ponty, otherwise a close friend to Lacan, was going to propose the rejection of the pure ego of consciousness and of its continuous flow in favor of a "phenomenological unconsciousness": a modification and, afterwards, a sort of "architectonic reduction" that will inspire some important contemporary research (such the one of Henri Maldiney or, more recently, Marc Richir) situated halfway between phenomenology, psychiatry and psychoanalysis. It is against the background of this rich history of cultural exchange, that we intend to question the relation between psychology and phenomenology. We suggest several basic lines of investigation: 1. The affinities between phenomenology and psychology. What makes the connection between the phenomenological discipline and psychology? Why is studying the life of psyche so important to phenomenology if phenomenology only wants to set itself apart from it? Conversely, what are main teachings that psychology can draw from the phenomenological analyses? How can the phenomenological analyses relate to the recent psychological, psychiatric or psychoanalytic practices? 2. The differences between phenomenology and psychology. What separates the phenomenological projects from the psychological ones? Are there fundamental reasons of dissent? How important is the phenomenological criticism regarding the general conception of the nature of psychology? And, inversely, which would be the impact of the psychoanalytic criticism, for example, on classical phenomenology? Can one restrict the theoretical and practical interest of phenomenology to a simple transcendental analytics of the pure self-consciousness? 3. Phenomenology and psychology today. Which are the repercussions of the evolution of the two disciplines on the former debate opened by Husserl? Does the Husserlian criticism still apply to the new developments of psychological research, notably on the cognitive sciences? How can one integrate the new suggestions to "naturalize" the domain of embodied consciousness? Does this orientation concern simultaneously psychology and phenomenology in a rediscovered solidarity, or does it rather mark their final separation? The deadline for submitting articles is: 01.05.2009. Further information is here:

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