Phenomenology in Psychology and Psychiatry: A Historical by Herbert Spiegelberg

By Herbert Spiegelberg

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44 / G ENE R A LOR lEN TAT ION on Gestaltpsychologie 23 contains a special chapter on "The Phenomenological Method," in which he goes so far as to say that "comprehension of contemporary psychology necessitates an understanding of the phenomenological method" (p. 24; Eng. , p. " To be sure, Ewald Hering is nlentioned as its first practitioner. "A philosopher, Husserl (1901-1902), made a systematic use of it and expanded its application,"-the date being a clear reference to the Husserl of the Logische Untersuchungen rather than to the pure phenomenologist of his later writings.

Among the French philosophers Marcel was the first to do original phenomenology. However, his ultimate concern was clearly not psychology but "metaphysics," and more specifically the "ontological mystery" of Being and man's participation in it. Among the forms of this participation are such existential acts as commitment, hope, and faith. The primary focus for this "mystery," our own body, is experienced in different ways. Such "situations" give rise to Marcel's diary-style reflections, which often throw new and striking light on psychological phenomena.

For his ontology asserted a pervasive ''law'' according to which reality has a stratified structure. Its higher strata are supported by lower strata, which form their necessary condition; yet the higher strata remain autonomous in their novelty with regard to the lower ones. 10 Hartmann even asserted that this fundamental ''law of categories" was confirmed by the "phenomena,n apparently in the sense of his own phenomenology (IV, 14-17). Now Hartmann himself applied this law merely to the relation between the psychic (seelisch) phenomena and the spiritual (geistig) phenomena which rested upon them.

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