oa Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology - Thinking at the edge : where theory and practice meet to create fresh understandings

Volume 6 Number sed-1
  • ISSN : 1445-7377



This paper focuses on the use of concretely felt experience in phenomenological methodology and theory construction. Using the example of a stepwise process of theory making called Thinking at the Edge (Gendlin, 2004), the author shows how experience functions in the creation of a new theory on the self-as-becoming. In the process, he attempts to demonstrate how the ongoing work relating to creating a new theory of self is germane to phenomenology. <br>The paper draws on the major philosophical work of Eugene Gendlin (1962 & 2004) in his development of "The Philosophy of the Implicit" (POI), and the two distinct practices, Focusing (1982) and Thinking at the Edge (2004), which grew out of it. This philosophy forms the theoretical basis upon which the assertion is made that experience that is directly referred to can be utilized as the core of a method in the explication of theory. Two challenges facing phenomenological researchers and theorists who desire to utilize felt experience in their work are addressed, namely (1) the fact that the intimately felt aspect underlying the creation of new ideas is basically hidden from the view of others and is thus not verifiable in the usual way, and (2) the lack of a larger public language for articulating the process and progress that follows concretely from felt experience. It is argued that Thinking at the Edge provides scientists or specialists in any field, including phenomenologists, with a means whereby they can explicitly use felt experience in their work. It also opens the way for fresh theoretical language, of a kind characterized by reflexivity of felt experience, within the broader public language of the various fields, in the process specifically demonstrating how theory instances and exceeds itself.

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