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[xmca] Incompatability between phenomenology and CHAT

David, I thought I should start a new post as I'm poaching one phrase from
your most recent post.  You attached Andy's commentary to Michael Roth in
the MCA article where Andy explores the significant  contrasts between the
traditions of phenomenology and scientific psychology. David, the phrase
you wrote,

 "shows and reinforces some of Andy's warnings about the incompatibility of
phenomenology with CHAT:  I re-read the article [and will read it many more

This is an excellent article that cautions us to carefully navigate
the shoals and rapids we traverse when we attempt translations between  the
Phenomenological tradition and the contrasting tradition of scientific
psychology. Andy critiques the weaknesses of introspective phenomenology
[Husserl and Heidegger] and the attempt by Vygotsky to draw a clear
distinction between the two traditions.  Scientific psychology posits
social *being* as the root model that determines a persons consciousness.
In contrast
Phenomenology posits being as dasein [being-there] or Hegel's determinate

Hegel adds further complexity [and possible confusion] to  our exploration
of these distinct traditions as he had another notion of *being* which he
confusingly called *pure thought*. Pure thought was not some subjective
introspective process in the head, but rather a whole FORMATION OF
CONSCIOUSNESS [usually interpreted nowadays as *project*]  Being, for
Hegel, had the same kind of referent as the other categories of his system,
i.e., whole FORMS OF LIFE, not somehing in the head.

This notion of *forms of consciousness* or *forms of life*  therefore has a
legitimate heritage in various traditions such as phenomenology and
scientific psychology.
In the spirit of this tradition I thought I would add another reflection on
*forms of consciousness* that emerges from Gadamer's engagement with both
Husserl and Heiddeger. My intent is to highlight the continuing historical
development of this notion of *forms of consciousness*
This entire line of reflection may have no place in scientific psychology,
but let's play along and see. I'm poaching David Hoy's translation of
Gadamer's ideas from his book "The Critical Circle"

Gadamer's philosophicalhermeneutical perspective is a dialogical approach
to the I-Thou relation. He approaches this relation as a historical process
of changing forms of consciousness . He is trying to understand the
historical ways the *I-Thou* relationship is brought into form and
articulates 3 distinct formations.
1st Form]

A person is classified  according to *type-ideas* about
other people.  The other person is subsumed under common psychological
generalizations in which past events are treated not as UNIQUE but as
merely representative of general and typical features of human
behavior. In this formation of  I-Thou relations the role of the classifier
is forgotten in the ACT
of classification, the classifier is taking his classification as
objectively true.

2nd form]

  In this form the I-Thou relation is more reflective and
recognizes that the I who classifies others would not appreciate finding
one's own self as
adequately described by such categories. The subjectivity of the other, in
this form of consciousness
is NOT captured by the categories. However, the other, in relation to I,
 remains RADICALLY
OTHER. This form of I-Thou consciousness has as a correlative experiencing
the distinct radical otherness of the past. This 2nd form of I-Thou
consciousnessGadamer labels
*historical consciousness*. It does not subsume the past under general
laws, as in the 1st form,  but recognizes the separate otherness of the
past epoch and treats the past as
historically UNIQUE. This form of consciousness describes much of the
inheritance from Romanticism in the 19th century.  Historical
conciousness FORGETS its own historical formation when understanding the
past and
assumes present knowledge is historically unconditioned and absolute.
The past is a closed matter [hermetically SEALED] and its uniqueness
confirmed. The present
has the last word over the past and generates the assumed objectivism of
historians forms of consciousness. This form is referred to as
methodological or theoretical hermeneutics.

3rd form]

This form of I-Thou relations within history has a different form of
hermeneutic experience. Unlike the 1st form it does not treat the other or
the past as an object classifiable into properties [1st form]
as  radically other [subjectivity or time] with values no longer shared
with the present. Hermeneutic consciousness lets the tradition [as a form
of consciousness] speak to the present and realizes this speaking is
telling the present something about itself. Gadamer calls this form the
*consciousness of standing within a still operant history* [awkward phrase
but no easy translation].
THIS consciousness [or self-consciousness] is most properly hermeneutical.
As expressed within I-Thou relationships it neither treats the other person
as an object or a means,
tries to master the Other by suspending his right to meaningful statement.

On the contrary,  this I-Thou relation is OPEN  and Gadamer says without
this OPENNESS there can be no real human contact. He writes,

"To BELONG together [Zueinandergehoren] is always at the same time to be
able to listen to the other [Auf-ein-ander-Horenkonnen]

Understanding for Gadamer is always a form of dialogue. Hermeneutical forms
of consciousness are language phenomenon within a cultural tradition or
form of life.
This approach or practice, when applied, avoids the necessity of finding a
*bridge* for the *gap* between past and present.  There is no need to posit
some third term such as psychological empathy to provide a common link
between closed off periods of time [or between two subjectivities]

THIS 3rd form of consciousness [the concretization of hermeneutical
consciousness]  is NOT THE OBJECT of hermeneutical understanding, but is
the language, the MEDIUM, the FORM in which the understanding occurs. This
form of consciousness IS to BE in a world [a form of life, a tradition]
[another notion of being]

Gadamer saw his project as a response, through dialogue, to answer the
questions Husserl and Heidegger put in play. Gadamer makes a *linguistic
turn* and turns away from traditional subject-object psychology. It may not
be the same turn as Vygotsky's scientific psychology, but it also is not
phenomenological introspection. Gadamer does not reduce dialogue to an
inner monologue. His project is not to JUSTIFY something already chosen,
decided upon, or evaluated, but to develop a practical wisdom [phronesis]
which, when applied, LEADS TOWARD and makes possible a decision, choice, or
Andy's article is an excellent example of applying Gadamer's approach. Andy
was exploring multiple ways of understanding *forms of consciousness*
within traditions. Scientific psychology may, as a tradition,  conclude
that all *forms of consciousness* in the end are phantoms and
illusions. [including hermeneutical consciousness]  To question or explore
these multiple *forms of consciousness* may be tilting at windmills.
However, I agree with Andy that we must maintain a dialogue with these
other traditions, if only to critique them and expose them as phantoms.

I continue to question if forms of consciousness are more than mere
phantoms, and if, as phenomena, they can be understood as developing within
effective history?

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