Lecture tag: Phenomenology

Session 2: Gadamer’s Hermeneutics: Bias, Understanding, and Expanding Horizons

Gadamer saw culture, religion, and art as ‘living texts’ that integrate our life experience into a meaningful worldview that allows us to think, act, and create. But no worldview is ever static or finished; in ‘understanding’ we use bias (that of ourselves and others) as the raw material from which a new worldview is created. In this respect Gadamer shares much with Aristotelian and later Vitalist thinkers. But Gadamer also affirms that texts can act poetically as ‘angels’, as he puts it in his studies of Rilke and Paul Celan, gesturing toward the transcendence of that which cannot be encompassed in human thought.

Session 4: Gadamer’s Globalism: Culture, Difference and Pluralism

In the later years of his career, at a retreat exploring religion on the Island of Capri with Derrida and other post-Heideggerian thinkers, Gadamer who insisted that attention to non-Western religions was essential for any steps forward. He encouraged cross–cultural scholars to see themselves as creatively opening up ever-expanding horizons of understanding within their own tradition, and gradually building a new global horizon. Seen in this light, the rich cultural plurality of modern globalism affords us the opportunity to continue a history-long process of growth.

Readings in Phenomenology: Session Eight (MT 14)

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on Theology and Religious Studies. The reading group seeks to engage with some of the fundamental concepts of phenomenology that underlie much work in Theology and the Phenomenology of Religion. This term we will be reading Paul Ricoeur Oneself as Another (trans Kathleen Blamey, University of Chicago Press, 1992). Week 1 we will discuss Chapter one, ‘Person and Identifying Reference, a Semantic Approach.’

Readings in Phenomenology: Session Seven (MT 14)

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on Theology and Religious Studies. The reading group seeks to engage with some of the fundamental concepts of phenomenology that underlie much work in Theology and the Phenomenology of Religion. This term we will be reading Paul Ricoeur Oneself as Another (trans Kathleen Blamey, University of Chicago Press, 1992). Week 1 we will discuss Chapter one, ‘Person and Identifying Reference, a Semantic Approach.’

Aesthetics of Ecstasy: A Phenomenology of Emotional Expansion in Caitanya Vaiṣṇava Religious Experience (MT 14)

In my lecture I will argue that expansiveness of emotions is not only the necessary condition for Caitanya Vaiṣṇava religious experience, but also a specific mode of givenness of the emotional dimension of experience. Such contention is grounded in my fieldwork on the International Society for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness (ISKCON), a Western ‘religious transplant’ (Bryant & Ekstrand 2004) of Bengal or Caitanya Vaiṣṇavism, a religion with theistic, devotional theology based on the ancient Indian theory of aesthetic experience known as the rasa theory. Based on the analysis of narratives of religious experience (from the scripture and interviews) I will show how tradition’s ‘embodied aesthetics’ (Holdrege 2013) of emotional expansion can be described through aesthetic values of control, intimacy and play.

Following Alexander Baumgarten, philosophers studying aesthetics of everyday life (Mandoki 2007, Saito 2008), and some anthropologists (Coote 1994, Morphy 1992), aesthetics is understood as ‘valued formal qualities of perception’  enabled by human capacity for qualitative evaluation. In lieu of such reasoning, aesthetic values are seen as ‘habits of attention’ (James 1984; Throop 2008), or ‘culturally appropriate ways’ (Throop 2008) of  and for  experiences, ‘that lend specific styles, configurations, and felt qualities to local experiences’ (Desjarlais 1994).

In this somewhat Schelerian view on emotional embodiment as ‘felt values’, Caitanya Vaiṣṇava religious experience emerges as a gradual and repetitive unfolding in which appearance of emotional ‘bodiliness,’ belonging to the three distinct categories of aesthetic values, feeds back into the just past one, amplifying the emotional intensity of the experience. In other words, acts of consciousness, recurrently entangling emotions and  feelings that conform to aesthetic values operating in a given cultural domain, become intensified or ‘refined’ (Higgins 2008) through the expansion of coherence in the flow of such ‘emplaced’ (Pink 2009) field of consciousness. Therefore, in terms of phenomenological reduction, a deeper insight into this religious tradition that deifies religious emotions brings to the foreground a very important, but often neglected feature of emotions and feelings – extended, periodic and expansive structure of their temporality.

Dr Hrvoje Čargonja is teaching assistant and postdoctoral student at Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, University of Zagreb, Croatia, where he obtained his PhD degree. He also holds a MSc degree in molecular biology awarded by Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb. His doctoral thesis was a research on the International Society for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness with special focus on the topic of religious experience. He conducted his fieldwork in Croatia and India and was awarded several scholarships for a three year research stay at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies where he worked under the supervision of Professor Gavin Flood. His special research interests include: anthropology of religion, phenomenology of religious experience in Caitanya Vaiṣṇavism, cultural phenomenology.

Readings in Phenomenology: Session Six (MT 14)

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on Theology and Religious Studies. The reading group seeks to engage with some of the fundamental concepts of phenomenology that underlie much work in Theology and the Phenomenology of Religion. This term we will be reading Paul Ricoeur Oneself as Another (trans Kathleen Blamey, University of Chicago Press, 1992). Week 1 we will discuss Chapter one, ‘Person and Identifying Reference, a Semantic Approach.’

Readings in Phenomenology: Session Five (MT 14)

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on Theology and Religious Studies. The reading group seeks to engage with some of the fundamental concepts of phenomenology that underlie much work in Theology and the Phenomenology of Religion. This term we will be reading Paul Ricoeur Oneself as Another (trans Kathleen Blamey, University of Chicago Press, 1992). Week 1 we will discuss Chapter one, ‘Person and Identifying Reference, a Semantic Approach.’

Readings in Phenomenology: Session Four (MT 14)

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on Theology and Religious Studies. The reading group seeks to engage with some of the fundamental concepts of phenomenology that underlie much work in Theology and the Phenomenology of Religion. This term we will be reading Paul Ricoeur Oneself as Another (trans Kathleen Blamey, University of Chicago Press, 1992). Week 1 we will discuss Chapter one, ‘Person and Identifying Reference, a Semantic Approach.’

Readings in Phenomenology: Session Three (MT 14)

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on Theology and Religious Studies. The reading group seeks to engage with some of the fundamental concepts of phenomenology that underlie much work in Theology and the Phenomenology of Religion. This term we will be reading Paul Ricoeur Oneself as Another (trans Kathleen Blamey, University of Chicago Press, 1992). Week 1 we will discuss Chapter one, ‘Person and Identifying Reference, a Semantic Approach.’

Readings in Phenomenology and Religion (Session Eight) (HT 14)

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on Theology and Religious Studies. This reading group seeks to engage with developments in Phenomenology as they pertain to theology and religion. It is a continuation of the reading project begun several years ago. The overall concern is a reconceptualisation of phenomenology in the wake of both deconstruction and cognitivsm. This reconceptualisation has been inspired partly by the publication of the English translation of Heidegger’s Phenomenology of the Religious Life a few years ago, which reflected the philosopher’s earlier views. A second inspiration is the imperative for the academy to engage with other civilizations and the apparent proximity of some Indian philosophical thinking to Phenomenology. The overall theme of this reading group will be human practices. The particular texts that we read are fluid but we will begin with Peter Sloterdijk’s Your Must Change Your Life (Du musst dein Leben ändern) (2009).