21st Oct 2018: The Art of Argumentation: Philosophy, Reason and the Universe; The Mind and the World Part II – Phenomenology by Tina Röck

Come along to the St John’s Church Hall (Princes St, Edinburgh, EH2 4BJ) at 2.30pm and take part in discussion about philosophy. It is a friendly and informal gathering to discuss topics with food in good company. It is entirely free and open to everyone


What is Phenomenology

Meeting on 21st of October:

In the first part of this meeting, we will develop those critical thinking skills and chat about Schopenhauer’s The art always being right. (see link provided) We will discuss the rhetorical third to fifth trick Schopenhauer presents (generalisation, concealment and false premises), and talk about whether we have had them used on us and what to do when someone uses one of these tricks in a discussion.

The general context of our question: The mind and the world, part II

This is second meeting about this philosophical topic. But it will be a stand-alone, so feel free to come along, even if you missed the last talk.

  • Think about it. How do you know that anything you think you experience is actually real?
  • How do we know that we don’t live in a computer simulation (think Matrix) or in a really elaborate dream from which we just do not wake?
  • How do you know you are not dreaming right now?
  • And if something just exists in your mind, or in your dream, does that mean it is less real – even though it appears absolutely real to you?

All of these questions circle the relation between mind and world, and there are many ways philosophers have attempted to investigate this relation.

  • They did, for example, ask, what is consciousness and how does it relate to the world?
  • Or, how do the mind and the body interact?
  • Is everything structured and distorted by our minds?
  • What is the difference between the mind and the physical brain?
  • If our mind depends on the physical interactions in the brain, are our thoughts then determined by causal interaction?

On the 21st of October, we specifically be looking at one set of answers given to these questions, namely the ones provided by the phenomenologists Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger

Part II: Experiencing the world. Phenomenology as an answer to the question of how we get to know the world

While many philosophers from Descartes onward asked how it was even possible to know anything about the world out there, if all we have is our private and personal experience of it, phenomenologists attack this issue from a different perspective. From the point of view of phenomenology, it does not make any sense to think that there is a truly real and objective world out there that we have no access to. This was a quite revolutionary shift in the way philosophy engaged with the world that has had a lasting influence on the development of western philosophy in the 20th and 21st century.
This week we will discuss Husserl’s and Heidegger’s approaches to experience and appearance. Both these philosophers argue that there is more to appearance and experience than being a merely subjective phenomenon.
For a very simple introduction watch this:

YouTube player

For some further information you might want to look at this video:

YouTube player


But be aware, this second video is very complex, we will go through the issues together piece by piece during the meeting, but it might be nice for you to have a look at it before we engage with the material together.

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