oa Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology - Teaching phenomenology by way of "second-person perspectivity" from my thirty years at the University of Dallas

Special issue 3
  • ISSN : 1445-7377



Phenomenology has remained a sheltering place for those who would seek to understand not only their own "first person" experiences but also the first person experiences of others. Recent publications by renowned scholars within the field have clarified and extended our possibilities of access to "first person" experience by means of perception (Lingis, 2007) and reflection (Zahavi, 2005). Teaching phenomenology remains a challenge, however, because one must find ways of communicating to the student how to embody it as a process rather than simply to learn about it as a content area. Another challenge issues from the fact that most writings on applied phenomenology emphasize individual subjectivity as the central focus, while offering only indirect access to the subjectivity of others (for example, by way of analyzing written descriptions provided by the individual under study). While one finds in the literature of psychotherapy plentiful elucidations of the "we-experience" within which therapists form impressions of their clients' experience, there is still need for a more thoughtful clarification of our rather special personal modes of access to the experience of others in everyday life. This paper will present "second person perspectivity" as a mode of resonating with the expressions of others and will describe class activities that can bring students closer to a lived understanding of what it means to be doing phenomenology in the face of the other.

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