oa Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology - Conscience of a conservative psychologist : return of the mysteriously illusive psyche

Special issue 3
  • ISSN : 1445-7377



Weary of the mainstream's claim that only it is scientific, and its dismissal of phenomenology as "conjecture", this paper is an effort to return to the origins of the study of the fascinating and frustrating old psyche. To conserve (a) its most fundamental approach, (b) most empirical method, and (c) most lived psychological content, the author urges students to ask first the persistent - since the Greeks - and necessary philosophical questions (ontological, epistemological, ethical, and so forth). He proceeds from there to show that phenomenology can (a) resurrect the psyche and its neglected meanings both experienced and expressed in action, (b) rescue behaviour from the Procrustean bed of "the scientific method" and resuscitate it as lived, (c) expose the myth of objective consciousness, and (d) reaffirm that freedom makes the psyche not less but more available to science by letting human reality show itself. Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Emmanuel Levinas have inspired over forty years of classroom rebellion and conservation of a psychology of incarnate humankind. These philosophers have provoked an alternative understanding of the characteristics of science (empirical, objective, reductive, and so forth). Finally, this paper reasserts a moral science with attention to the "psychology for the Other" over a "psychology for the self" with the paradoxical content: we can sabotage ourselves with self-interested power and discover ourselves in the service of the weakness of others. The call to responsibility is the most fundamental characteristic of the psyche.

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