Phenomenology of Life in a Dialogue Between Chinese and Occidental Philosophy

Springer Science & Business Media
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To introduce this collection of research studies, which stem from the pro grams conducted by The World Phenomenology Institute, we need say a few words about our aims and work. This will bring to light the significance of the present volume. The phenomenological philosophy is an unprejudiced study of experience in its entire range: experience being understood as yielding objects. Experi ence, moreover, is approached in a specific way, such a way that it legitima tizes itself naturally in immediate evidence. As such it offers a unique ground for philosophical inquiry. Its basic condition, however, is to legitimize its validity. In this way it allows a dialogue to unfold among various philosophies of different methodologies and persuasions, so that their basic assumptions and conceptions may be investigated in an objective fashion. That is, instead of comparing concepts, we may go below their differences to seek together what they are meant to grasp. We may in this way come to the things them selves, which are the common objective of all philosophy, or what the great Chinese philosopher Wang Yang Ming called "the investigation of things". It is in this spirit that the Institute's programs include a "cross-cultural" dialogue meant to bring about a profound communication among philosophers in their deepest concerns. Rising above artificial cultural confinements, such dialogues bring scholars, thinkers and human beings together toward a truly human community of minds. Our Institute unfolds one consistent academic program.
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About the author

Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka was born in Marianowo, Poland on February 28, 1923. She studied at the University of Krakow, the Sorbonne, and the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, where she received a Ph.D. in philosophy. She was the founder and president the World Institute for Advanced Phenomenological Research and Learning. She was the author of 14 books and the editor of Analecta Husserliana: The Yearbook of Phenomenological Research and Phenomenological Inquiry: A Review of Philosophical Ideas and Trends. She died on June 7, 2014 at the age of 91.

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Springer Science & Business Media
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Published on
Dec 6, 2012
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Philosophy / Eastern
Philosophy / General
Philosophy / Movements / Phenomenology
Science / Philosophy & Social Aspects
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Western thought is surging, on the rebound from centuries of a merely background interest. Life is presenting crucial challenges to the human mind in science, technology, culture and social existence; challenges which reach the core of existence, human destiny, and the very meaningfulness - the human significance of life itself. The compartementalized sciences fall short of responding to this challenge, and present day philosophy by and large renounced its vocation of carrying the torch of reason.
In this post-modern darkness, the Phenomenology of Life and of the Human Condition excavate and bring to light the Logos of Life in its entire harmonizing interplay. In the present collection, which continues the long and winding itinerary of our previous probings, we first uncover the new field of the ontopoiesis of life by means of the self-individualisation of life, the key to its labyrinth (Tymieniecka). A network of the ontopoietic itineraries manifest life in its innumerable perspectives: the constructive scanning (chronos and Kairos) are treated specifically by Eva Syristova, M. Bielawka, F. Bosio, and M.A. Cecilia. Individualising dynamisms of passions and the tying of the communal order by G. Bucher, R. Sweeney, A. Polis, A. Zvie Bar-On and others. The life-struggle for the light of the spirit by L. Sundararajan, I.R. Owen etc. The deep springs of mundaneity in human existence (moral sense, empathy, communication) by A. Luse, A. Ales Bello, J. Cibulka, J. Sivak, etc. The life of the spirit (historicity) by M. Sancipriano, M. Cekic, H. Rodríguez Piñeiro, S. Rinofner-Kreidl and others.
Antifragile is a standalone book in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s landmark Incerto series, an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision-making in a world we don’t understand. The other books in the series are Fooled by Randomness, The Black Swan, and The Bed of Procrustes.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the bestselling author of The Black Swan and one of the foremost thinkers of our time, reveals how to thrive in an uncertain world.
Just as human bones get stronger when subjected to stress and tension, and rumors or riots intensify when someone tries to repress them, many things in life benefit from stress, disorder, volatility, and turmoil. What Taleb has identified and calls “antifragile” is that category of things that not only gain from chaos but need it in order to survive and flourish. 
In The Black Swan, Taleb showed us that highly improbable and unpredictable events underlie almost everything about our world. In Antifragile, Taleb stands uncertainty on its head, making it desirable, even necessary, and proposes that things be built in an antifragile manner. The antifragile is beyond the resilient or robust. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better and better.
Furthermore, the antifragile is immune to prediction errors and protected from adverse events. Why is the city-state better than the nation-state, why is debt bad for you, and why is what we call “efficient” not efficient at all? Why do government responses and social policies protect the strong and hurt the weak? Why should you write your resignation letter before even starting on the job? How did the sinking of the Titanic save lives? The book spans innovation by trial and error, life decisions, politics, urban planning, war, personal finance, economic systems, and medicine. And throughout, in addition to the street wisdom of Fat Tony of Brooklyn, the voices and recipes of ancient wisdom, from Roman, Greek, Semitic, and medieval sources, are loud and clear.
Antifragile is a blueprint for living in a Black Swan world.
Erudite, witty, and iconoclastic, Taleb’s message is revolutionary: The antifragile, and only the antifragile, will make it.

Praise for Antifragile
“Ambitious and thought-provoking . . . highly entertaining.”—The Economist
“A bold book explaining how and why we should embrace uncertainty, randomness, and error . . . It may just change our lives.”—Newsweek
“Revelatory . . . [Taleb] pulls the reader along with the logic of a Socrates.”—Chicago Tribune
“Startling . . . richly crammed with insights, stories, fine phrases and intriguing asides . . . I will have to read it again. And again.”—Matt Ridley, The Wall Street Journal
“Trenchant and persuasive . . . Taleb’s insatiable polymathic curiosity knows no bounds. . . . You finish the book feeling braver and uplifted.”—New Statesman
“Antifragility isn’t just sound economic and political doctrine. It’s also the key to a good life.”—Fortune
“At once thought-provoking and brilliant.”—Los Angeles Times

From the Hardcover edition.
Winner of the International Lannan Literary Award for Nonfiction

Animal tracks, word magic, the speech of stones, the power of letters, and the taste of the wind all figure prominently in this intellectual tour de force that returns us to our senses and to the sensuous terrain that sustains us. This major work of ecological philosophy startles the senses out of habitual ways of perception.

For a thousand generations, human beings viewed themselves as part of the wider community of nature, and they carried on active relationships not only with other people with other animals, plants, and natural objects (including mountains, rivers, winds, and weather patters) that we have only lately come to think of as "inanimate." How, then, did humans come to sever their ancient reciprocity with the natural world? What will it take for us to recover a sustaining relation with the breathing earth? 

In The Spell of the Sensuous David Abram draws on sources as diverse as the philosophy of Merleau-Ponty, Balinese shamanism, Apache storytelling, and his own experience as an accomplished sleight-of-hand of magician to reveal the subtle dependence of human cognition on the natural environment. He explores the character of perception and excavates the sensual foundations of language, which--even at its most abstract--echoes the calls and cries of the earth. On every page of this lyrical work, Abram weaves his arguments with a passion, a precision, and an intellectual daring that recall such writers as Loren Eisleley, Annie Dillard, and Barry Lopez.
Transcendental phenomenology presumed to have overcome the classic mind-body dichotomy in terms of consciousness, yet, according to progress in scientific studies, the biological functions of the brain seem to appropriate significant functions attributed traditionally to consciousness. Should we indeed dissolve the specificity of human consciousness by explaining human experience in its multiple sense-giving modalities through the physiological functions of the brain? The present collection of studies addresses this crucial question challenging such "naturalizing" reductionism from multiple angles. In search for the roots of "The Specifically Human Experience" (Bombala), moving along the line of "Animality and Intellection"(Gosetti-Ferencei), "Naturalistic Attitude and Personalistic Attitude"(Villela-Petit), and numerous other perspectives, we arrive at a novel proposal to explain the scholar functional differentiation of conscious modalities. We reach their source in the ontopoietic thread conducting the Logos of Life in its stepwise "Evolutive Unfolding"(Carmen Cozma), and in "sentience" as its quintessential core of further irreducible continuity (Tymieniecka) dispelling dichotomies and reductionisms.

Papers by:
Grahame Lock, Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, Daniela Verducci, Ted Toadvine, Mary Trachsel, Martin Holt, Mary Jeanne Larrabee, Leszek Pyra, Bronislaw Bombala, Konrad Rokstad, Ilja Maso, Nancy Mardas, Jennifer Anna Gosetti-Ferencei, Maria Villela-Petit, Mara Stafecka, Carmen Cozma, Francesco Totaro, Andreas Brenner, Sinan Kadir Celik, Osvaldo Rossi, Maria Manuela Brinto Martins, Elga Freiberga, Klymet Selvi, J.C. Couciero-Bueno, Patricia Trutty-Coohill, Walter Lammi, Ljudmila Molodkina, Martin Nkafu Nkemnkia.

Krakow was the setting of the August 2008 conference on Phenomenology and Existentialism from which the papers in this and two succeeding volumes were drawn. Phenomenology and Existentialism had strikingly different inspirations and yet the two waves of thought became closely linked as both movements flourished in the mid-twentieth century. Time has given us greater perspective on that interaction. Piotr Mroz’s study in this first volume -- "What Does It Mean To Be an Existentialist Today?" -- shows the distance we have traveled. It was thought that a conference devoted to these movements and their interaction would now be especially valuable.

The hope was not disappointed. The studies here range from the predecessors of existentialism -- Kierkegaard (Kremer-Marietti), Nietzsche (Storm Torjussen), Wahl (Kremer-Marietti) -- to the work of its adherents -- Shestov (Gruca), Berdyaev (Stark), Unamuno (Tze-Wan Kwan), Blondel (Walkey, Mandolini), Blumenberg (Zowislo), and Heidegger and Mamardashvili (Stafecka). Existentialism’s congruence with Christian faith or with atheism is examined (Franke).

Among the Husserlian themes covered are Husserl’s apprehensions on essence and experience (Ortiz Hill), the place of questioning (Plotka), ethics and intentionality (Ferrarello); temporality and passivity (Shahid), and the lifeworld (Servan). Another study focuses on Husserlian progeny, namely, Dufrenne and Merleau-Ponty (Berman). Affinity between phenomenology and Tibetan Buddhism is also explored (Kurpiewski).

Studies focusing specifically on the interaction of phenomenology and existentialism are a comparison of Husserl and existentialists between the World Wars (Villela-Petit), on the intentional and the existential (Sivak), and on time consciousness in each line of thought (Rizzacasa).

Surging from the ontopoietic vital timing of life, human self-consciousness prompts the innermost desire to rise above its brute facts. Imaginatio creatrix inspires us to fabulate these facts into events and plots with personal significance attempting to delineate a life-course in life-stories within the ever-flowing stream – existence.

Seeking their deep motivations, causes and concatenations, we fabulate relatively stabilized networks of interconnecting meaning – history. But to understand the meaning and sense of these networks’ reconfigurations call for the purpose and telos of our endless undertaking; they remain always incomplete, carried onwards with the current of life, while fluctuating with personal experience in the play of memory.

Facts and life stories, subjective desires and propensities, the circumambient world in its historical moves, creative logos and mythos, personal freedom and inward stirrings thrown in an enigmatic interplay, prompt our imperative thirst for the meaning of this course, its purpose and its fulfillment – the sense of it all. To disentangle all this animates the passions of the literary genius.

The focus of this collection is to isolate the main arteries running through the intermingled forces prompting our quest to endow life with meaning.

Papers by: Jadwiga Smith, Lawrence Kimmel, Alira Ashvo-Munoz, William D. Melaney, Imafedia Okhamafe, Michel Dion, Franck Dalmas, Ludmila Molodkina, Victor Gerald Rivas, Rebecca M. Painter, Matti Itkonen, Raymond J. Wilson III, Christopher S. Schreiner, Bruce Ross, Bernadette Prochaska, Tsung-I Dow, Jerre Collins, Cezary Jozef Olbromski, Victor Kocay, Roberto Verolini.

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