K. E. Løgstrup, Fænomenologi og psykologi, in his Solidaritet og Kærlighed og andre essays - PDF

K. E. Løgstrup, Fænomenologi og psykologi, in his Solidaritet og Kærlighed og andre essays [Solidarity and Love and Other Essays] (Copenhagen: Gyldendal: 1987), pp Phenomenology and Psychology

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K. E. Løgstrup, Fænomenologi og psykologi, in his Solidaritet og Kærlighed og andre essays [Solidarity and Love and Other Essays] (Copenhagen: Gyldendal: 1987), pp Phenomenology and Psychology 1 [116] The meaning of the two words phenomenology and psychology is not fixed and unambiguous. The word phenomenology is not only the name of a philosophy, but is used also in the science of psychology. Jørgen Jørgensen divides the manifestations of consciousness into phenomenological, behavioural and physiological. The word psychology is also not only the name of a science, but one also talks of a philosophical psychology that differs from a science. Gilbert Ryle and Hans Lipps both do this. The meaning of the two words therefore overlaps, and this makes sense because the phenomena under investigation are mostly the same. Nevertheless, for clarity I will use the word psychology about the science only and the word phenomenology about philosophy only, as is also assumed by the title of the lectures. Philosophy is also many other things beside phenomenology. But in what follows, where I now and then briefly say philosophy, I only mean the philosophy that works in a phenomenological way. One more remark before I come to my subject: I do not adopt an historical approach; that is, I do not explain phenomenology starting with Husserl as a kind of extension of Kantian apriorism or Max Scheler s continued expansion of phenomenology into the area of the emotions, to end with its assimilation and continued existence in Heidegger s and Hans Lipp s existential philosophy. I immediately proceed to an attempt to explain the methodological differences between psychology and phenomenology. I. Psychology is science, phenomenology is philosophy. In the introduction to his work Die menschliche Natur [Human Nature] (Frankfurt am Main, 1941), Hans Lipps characterizes the difference between science and philosophy in the following way: a science begins by taking up certain points of view that open access into a [117] field of inquiry, and re- configuring it. Underlying any methodical working science some decisions are, as it were, secretly taken implicitly, through the points of view it adopt, which then delimit a region for the investigations. The points of views that are taken up in taking up the method are more or less hidden. In a sense the science is self- reliant, and the scientist absorbs the method and assumes its point of view. His approach to science is that of taking up a certain interest. 1 Lectures at Denmark s teacher high school for a course for seminarians, religion teachers and psychology teachers, 6-16 January 1969, originally published in K. E. Bugge and Reimer Jensen (eds), The Psychology of Religion: A Theological- Psychological Symposium (Copenhagen, 1970), pp By contrast, in philosophy one has not committed oneself to determinate points of view. This is not to say that philosophy can start with itself. It comes into existence by means of a knowledge, which the human being already has and which is not philosophy. That prior knowledge is highly various and takes all possible directions. It is too unsystematic to give rise to methodically structured inquiries, and philosophy therefore is the same. It precisely consists in bringing into the light of day the understanding of human nature and relations in the world that lie hidden in pre- philosophical knowledge. The philosophizing person is therefore not merely interested, but involved. It is one s own knowledge and one s own possibilities and one s own world, which one occupies oneself with in order to reveal one s own nature and the world s character. The philosopher has always already understood the world, his own life and his life with the other. He cannot come behind this understanding and its ground in human existence. The purpose is not to lay new ground. The philosophical description or analysis never goes beyond what can be directly exhibited. There is only explication. For it to be that, we must from the beginning know more than we can say. In understanding itself there must lie the possibility of explication. In explication, one works out and appropriates thematically what one has already understood unthematically. It happens this way in the special case of textual explication. In phenomenological philosophy, human existence is a text which we immediately understand and explicate, in that the explication moves within the understanding, that is already there beforehand. This is the implicit understanding, so to speak, covered up and covered over by the common understanding. But this is just why it [the implicit understanding]has a leading and guiding role within the common understanding. In its previously given, underlying understanding, human existence is understood ahead of itself, as Heidegger puts it. The ground is always already laid. So when one is seeking to find oneself in one s underlying [118] understanding through understanding and explicating it, it is one's own human existence one explicates. In philosophy man finds himself in the way he has already understood the world and his own life. Explication is the conscious articulation of that which is unconsciously understood. The philosophical explication of existence is no more without presuppositions than textual explication is. When one as interpreter appeals to 'what is in the text', it is one's own immediate prior understanding that one refers to. Science and philosophy turn their eyes in different directions. The scientific study of a field is an extension of our dealings with things and is therefore led by natural interests and passions. As one loses oneself in occupying oneself with things, one forgets oneself in scientific inquiry. By contrast philosophy does not accommodate an interest in matters at hand [saglig]. i It conveys no new knowledge. Philosophy cannot be taught as a discipline. Philosophy cannot count on natural passions. One finds oneself driven back to what previously led one in one s common understanding of the world and one s own existence. Philosophy is in a constant tension with any natural practice. It interrupts us in our externally directed preoccupations. A knowledge that was hidden from ourselves, 2 3 because our eyes were focused outwardly, is redeemed in philosophy. It appeals to what is implicitly understood, but what to begin with is necessarily and naturally enough overlooked. In order to prevent a misunderstanding, I should say that philosophical reflection does not consist in introspection. Philosophically one can only meet oneself in what one did not expect and which one was not tuned in to. 1 It is clear that in a particular and essential respect phenomenology is a continuation of transcendental philosophy. To take a single example as an illustration: In his analysis of fear, Heidegger says that it is not the case that one first finds a possible evil and one then is afraid of that, but rather it is first fear that discovers the possible evil. The threatening is feared for the sake of one s existence which therefore must already be an existence in fearfulness. The coming evil does not create the fear, but is only its occasion. Fearfulness s slumbering atmosphere of openness to [119] my situation in the world has already revealed it as a world from which something threatening can come. In other words, in his interpretation of fear Heidegger has transferred transcendental philosophy s talk of the self- transcendence of knowledge to the area of the moods. In general the implicit pre- given and guiding understanding of phenomenology corresponds to the a priori of transcendental philosophy. In transcendental philosophy this is the element that controls synthesis, within which objects and the relation between objects are posited, and which are given with the subject s subjectivity. In phenomenology those aspects under which things are taken and which constitute what they are, are expressions of man s self- understanding. Man is reality s principle a phenomenological formulation of transcendental philosophy s point of view (Die menschliche Natur, p. 67). Another thing is that existential philosophy s continuation of transcendental philosophy s point of view takes place under a critique of the guise of theoretical knowledge in which it first came forward. Put very briefly, the transcendence of human existence replaced the subject s transcendence. And the difference then is that while the transcendence of man s existence is a transcendence in entanglement with the world and with the existence of others, the subject s transcendence was unentangled and situationless. Which in turn means that the implicit understanding, that is of man s existence, is so manifold, so unmanageable, so impossible to systematize, as is our entanglement with the world and with the lives of others. Whereas thanks to the subject s unentanglement and transcendence, one could become prey to the illusion that one could make a system out of that which is given a priori. For Kant the elements that control the synthesis in which objects and the relations between objects are posited made up a complete system. 1 Hans Lipps, Untersuchungen zu einer hermeneutischen Logik [Investigations toward a Hermeneutic Logic] (Frankfurt, 1938), p. 62, pp ; Die menschliche Natur [Human nature] (Frankfurt, 1941), pp 4 Science brings in factual [saglige] and systematic points of view. Thanks to the characteristic features that are established in the system, and discovered in phenomena, it puts the phenomena into their determinate place in the system and its divisions, which in turn serve to determine them. Psychology s task is thus to analyse and classify the phenomena of consciousness in such a way that the greatest possible regularities can be formulated concerning them (Jørgen Jørgensen, Psykologi på biologisk grundlag (Psychology on a Biological Basis), Copenhagen 1946, p. 395). [120] A division, which plays a big role in the psychology of the emotions, and also because it is repeated in the physiology of the emotions and in this way connects psychology and physiology, is the division between raising and lowering. They are strictly quantitative terms, both in their mental as in their organic use. A raising, an excitation, means that there is a transition from less to more, your ideas become more numerous, associations faster, affectivity richer, motor responses more energetic, pulse beat stronger and faster, breathing quicker or deeper, secretion increases, etc. Lowering, or depression, means conversely a movement from more to less. It is not only because it connects the psychology of emotions with their physiology that this division is so significant, but also because it is so general. It does not just serve to divide the emotions into excited and depressive, but also often to distinguish between the emotion s active and passive forms. The form under which the emotion expresses itself in the raising of reactions is active; passive is the form under which it expresses itself in a lowering of them. It is the active form that one first and foremost thinks of when one defines what a feeling is, as this is also what one thinks of when one uses the word feeling in daily speech. If the raising exceeds a certain limit, it is no longer the case that physiologically and mentally it allows itself to follow the usual path, but creates disorder. The emotion can also depending on its degree proceed in an orderly or a disorderly way. The French psychologist Georges Dumas, whose elucidations I follow, maintains however that raising (excitation) and lowering (depression), are purely quantitative concepts and will not introduce a new concept for the raising that proceeds in a disorderly way (for example the agitation that is different from excitation). This of course does not exclude a differentiation between the raising and lowering of different modalities for example precisely in their orderly or disorderly way of proceeding in order to characterize one emotion in its difference from an other. 1 To see the scientific way of making divisions and its use of characteristic features in operation, and to fix its difference from the phenomenological explication of the understanding which is innate to the feelings, I take the [121] example of Dumas' study of the phenomenon of anger. 1 George Dumas, La vie affective [The affective life], Paris 1948, pp 5 Dumas characterizes anger psychologically as follows, where for the sake of simplicity I divide his definition into three elements: (1) anger occurs after a painful [pinlig] ii event that is experienced as painful (2) the angry person rebels rather than resigning and just complaining (3) the angry person has a more or less clear sense of superiority over the power he is the victim of. 1 After that Dumas begins to explain anger s lack of imagination. If anger rises, it pushes aside the selection of images and ideas that thought consists of, and finally ends up with monotonous repetition of the same phrases. The difficulty in thinking and explaining increases the anger yet further and may rise to failing muscle control. All intellectual, moral and social inhibitions disappear; all promises, all duty and all conventions are forgotten. Dumas aims to keep the feeling of anger apart from aggression, with which it is often associated. One can be angry without the intention to attack and threaten. Anger consists in an excessive discharge of rebellious and protesting mental emotion [sindsrørelser], which is anger s active form, which must not be confused with the aggressiveness to which it is often the prelude. Now, what is characteristic of Dumas s account? The first characteristic is the definition that anger comes on after a painful event; however true this may be, it is very summary, as it does not say anything more about what kind of painful event gives rise to it. Also other emotions, for instance distress and grief, can occur after painful events. As nothing more is said than that the event is painful, then the other elements of the definition become even more important. If we go to the second characteristic that anger is rebellion or revolt it might be asked whether it is anything other than a tautology in the form of a metaphor. In a literal understanding is not talk of revolt or rebellion only of figurative meaning? But what is rebellion or revolt in its figurative meaning other than a figurative expression for anger? [122] Anger is opposed to resignation and regret. That says something, but not very much. There is not enough kinship between anger and resignation and regret, and indeed there is reason to set them against each other. If the reason why anger is opposed to resignation and regret is that resignation and regret occurs after a painful event has occurred, then the characterization says nothing more than that all emotions that occur after the painful incident, which do not consist in resignation or regret, are anger. Or conversely if the opposition to resignation and regret that is meant to point to the revolt in anger, what can it be but the aggressive impulse which Dumas wanted to keep out of anger? 1 Psychologically anger arises after an event that is painful [pénible] and felt as such The subject revolts rather than resigning himself or lamenting, and as one cannot revolt or act against destiny or against power, the subject has the obscure or clear sense that he is superior to the force of which he is the victim. There is almost always in effect in this emotion a sense of superiority or at least a certain equality (p. 112) [Translated from the French of Løgstrup s quotation.] 6 The third moment in the psychological definition is not obvious. Firstly because it involves a doubtful piece of reasoning: Since one cannot rebel against fate nor human power which is sovereign, there belongs to anger a sense of superiority, or at least of a certain parity. Examination of the psychological definition shows that not a lot of work has gone into it. It is also fairly rudimentary. This does not concern Dumas. He does not come back to this. What interests him are the characteristic features that place anger in a division and systematization of the emotions, namely placing lack of imagination together with the increase in the number of other reactions, especially organic ones. The definition is really only needed to make the phenomenon unmistakable. Then it has has done its duty, and all interest can focus on the characteristic features which locate the phenomenon in the system. It does not seek for an explication. Another testament to the fact that the psychological definition is not very interesting for its own sake, is that it does not distinguish between anger and rage (anger and rage or fury iii ). What interests it is the difference between the ordered and disordered course that gives rise to the quantitative characteristic features of excitation and depression as two different modalities of the raising s course. The question does not arise how the difference between an ordered and disordered course relates itself to the difference between anger and rage. As an example of a phenomenological approach I take Hans Lipps s characterization of anger and rage in their mutual difference. The one affect is described in the light of the other to [123] let the difference stand out. Equally, the phrases in which the words appear in everyday language are used to characterize them. To direct one s anger at someone' is a standard phrase, a phrase that cannot be used with the word 'rage'. One takes one s rage out on someone. In a similar way, one says that the other was hit by one s anger, which one cannot say about rage. Anger, which will not ignore the fact that the other does not live up to what we can expect of him, is directed against the other and hits him. Because anger is directed against the other and hits him, one has one s grip on something in anger. That is why in anger even when you let it become powerful in yourself you are still in control of yourself. Unlike rage, in which one loses grip of oneself. In anger one shows oneself, one has enough control over oneself for this. In anger, one expresses oneself and as one wants to. Again unlike rage, which marks a person whether the raging person wants this or not and no matter how he wants it or not. He brandishes his arms about. His movements betray him. 1 1 One simply lets rage out on someone, but it is not directed at him. It does not hit like anger that interprets the other, which will no longer overlook the non- fulfillment of what one can expect from the other. In anger one seizes on something. During rage composure is lost, one lets oneself slip away, but one really puts oneself into anger. It grows powerful 7 Characteristic of the account is that none of the definitions are meant for being used to place the phenomena in a system. No characteristic features are sought after, no range of characteristics are selected which when combined are sufficient to enable the phenomenon not to be confused with other phenomena. By contrast a description is given of the two phenomena taking advantage of their mutual differences. It can only succeed if the phenomena are sufficiently related, as only then is it a demand on the description that it be flexible and well- fitting. If the phenomena are far enough from one another, the characteristics which lend themselves to the comparison become coarse and summary. Anger and rage are such related phenomena, that their comparison can allow the philosopher to give a [124] nuanced and precise depiction. They are so related that for the psychologist s purposes there is no difference between them. By contrast, between anger and resignation and regret there is not much kinship, so that their juxtaposition only gives rise to a coarse characterization. It was not an immediate sense of something akin between the
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