How is phenomenology related to phenomenalism?

Phenomenological analytics and experimental methodology in psychology - the problem of mediation

Basic lecture at the 3rd International Congress of Critical Psychology, Marburg 1984. Documentation in: Karl-Heinz Braun / Klaus Holzkamp (eds.), Subjectivity as a problem of psychological methodology. 3rd International Congress of Critical Psychology Marburg 1984, Frankfurt / M. 1985, Campus, pp. 38-58. Download (PDF, 434 KB): cfg1985a

[Editor's note: The specification || 39 | etc. refers to the page breaks and numbers in the original source. The new page from the marking is displayed]

See also the other contributions to the congress:


Carl Friedrich Graumann

1. On the concept of phenomenological analysis

1.1. Phenomenology: word use and abuse

Surprises are usually happy or unpleasant. The surprise that sparked the invitation to give a lecture on phenomenological analysis at a congress for critical psychology was neither simply joyful, nor was it just unpleasant: it was riddled with skepticism from the start. By which I do not mean the skepticism that people harbor and even cultivate in some places about critical psychology. I mean the skepticism that strikes anyone who takes phenomenological analysis seriously whenever others talk about phenomenology. And by that I do not mean only, not even primarily, the opponents of a phenomenology.

The term phenomenology or phenomenological analysis, which has its own history, in the modern understanding alone a hundred years old, with the corresponding changes in meaning, has experienced so many misinterpretations, including stubborn, hardly eradicable ones that one involuntarily flinches when a "phenomenologist" says to one. I want to explain right from the start that the phenomenologists (anyway more "movement" than regular "school") have played their part, at least as far as the window to the court of human sciences is concerned. Of all the relationships that phenomenology maintains with the human sciences, the one with psychology is historically the oldest and thematically most intimate, but as far as living together is concerned, it remains the most unfortunate. There are several reasons why this is so; one will be mentioned here. || 39 |

I cannot go into all the misunderstandings of phenomenology that have strained the relationship with the human sciences; After all, Giorgi listed and criticized ten misidentifications in a 1983 article on phenomenological research. Some of these may be particularly characteristic of America and the long-standing domination of behaviorism. But apart from the fact that behaviorism is not that far away in our province either - certainly not the "cognitive", the "reversed" one - some of the misidentifications are also common in us, but above all informative for our topic , the problem of mediation. But I only want to single out the most important [prejudices], namely the [those] misidentifications that are supposed to serve to deny the phenomenological analysis of its “scientific nature” and thus keep it at a distance from which history, philology, Literature and art know - lovable, generally educated, and in places even entertaining cultural products, but which have no place in the strictly guarded territory of science.

There is, for example, the identification of phenomenological methods with “introspection”. Phenomenology, which one “knows”, deals with consciousness; the consciousness that one “knows” is within; ergo, the method of phenomenology is introspection, introspection. What here looks almost like a conclusion (albeit from the class of fallacies) becomes through the unspoken evaluation of introspection as a method for the final evaluation of the phenomenology treated synonymously.

Closely related to this is the equation of phenomenological and private, because internal "data", only turned from the methodical to the thematic. The psychologist (and not only him) almost takes for granted the metaphors of inside and outside, which he also naturally connects with the polarity of private and public. The psychologist striving for objectivity has always taken the side of the external and the public for reasons that are again methodological, but ultimately a scientific self-understanding (for the internal metaphor cf. [Ch.] Taylor 1964, 57).

Again, in a third widespread equation, the phenomenological is characterized and disqualified as the merely subjective (Giorgi, op. Cit., 134 ff.). It is true that phenomenological analysis is || 40 | primarily dedicated to the structures of subjectivity. But it is neither limited to this, nor is its approach itself “subjective” in the pejorative sense of the non-objective or not obliged to objectivity.

The generalization of this misidentification to the equation of phenomenological and anti-scientific shows that precisely the latter is meant by some critics, or better: opponents of the phenomenological approach. The “grain of truth” that could be found in all misidentifications and that, through one-sided exaggeration, led to the respective misunderstanding of phenomenology, is particularly small here. The phenomenological analysis, which in itself does not represent an antiposition, can best be brought into opposition to scientism (op. Cit., 140).

Ultimately, the creation of the word “phenomenological” itself has led to a misleading approach when the merely phenomenal is viewed as the object of this analysis; the phenomenal, however, is mere "appearance", not the underlying and often hidden "reality", or is a mere appearance that refers to an unknowable (physical or psychological) being. Phenomenology, here confused with phenomenalism, is a position of early positivism, which however, as a variety of subjective idealism, fell victim to realistic criticism.

Enough of the equations and confusions to which - I repeat this again - philosophers and scientists who called themselves “phenomenologists” have been involved. This is especially true for the representatives of two varieties, which, with some similarities, should be clearly distinguished from phenomenology: the existentialists and the humanists (cf. Graumann 1980).

With the references to what phenomenology and phenomenological method are not, it has not yet become clear what they are, or better than what I understand them. But perhaps it has become clear why it is so easy to be suspicious of being addressed as a “phenomenologist”. There is much to be said for not giving up the phenomenological orientation and the corresponding methodology, but rather the term “phenomenological”. But this is not the place. I was brought here with this stimulus word and will, now positively, take a position. This position is indebted to a number of phenomenological philosophers and human scientists. As a result of my critical examination of them and my appropriation of their thoughts in assimilation and || 41 | The following theses and concepts cannot always be clearly assigned to one of the intended authors, among whom I mention Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, Gurwitsch, Schütz, but also E. Straus, Buytendijk and Linschoten. And I want to take a position in the sense that I try to show what “phenomenological” means for me in the first place: Not a philosophical school or a psychological metatheory or even theory, but a methodological attitude to see, reflect and reflect on human science problems to ask questions accordingly. As a problem-centered attitude, it is not fixed and therefore not codified in the sense of a method canon. Their openness is their strength and weakness.

1.2. Phenomenological analysis as a structural analysis of the intentional person-environment interaction

Throughout all variations of phenomenological analyzes, the core assumption of the intentional person-environment relationship persists (in the sense of Herrmann's assumption about a research area, which is not available for himself (Herrmann 1974)). Intentionality denotes a basic characteristic of human consciousness (experience) and action (behavior), namely its being directed towards something that is meant to be independent of the respective directedness. This applies to the sensual and non-sensual modalities of consciousness as well as to the various other modes of behavior towards something (Graumann 1960; 1984).

While the concept of behavior always implies an intentional correlate (in contrast to the concept of behavior, whose paradigm was the unconditional reflex), there are mental states such as B. Moods about whose intentional character one can argue. I do not want to go into detail here on this controversy, which ranges from Husserl (1900/01; 1968) to Searle (1983); I also see the (perhaps unspecific, because generalized, and not necessarily conscious of the disgruntled and fearful) intentional correlate of the disconcerting and fearful world in the states of relief, disgruntlement and fear that Searle excludes, for example.

For my topic today I limit myself to the articulation of the core assumption of the continuous intentionality of subjective existence, regardless of whether it is conscious || 42 | or unconscious, intentional or unintentional modes of (Lewin’sch speaking) real or unreal behavior. Because each of these intentional states and acts is assigned a correlate (object) to which the intentional subject (the person) relates as something that exists independently of the respective state or act, intentionality is the designation for an active relationship, its relate , Called person and environment, must in principle be seen together: people, whether taken as individuals or groups, always related to their environment; Environments in the literal sense always around people and groups, existing for them. This principle, intentional bracketing of person and environment implies a first methodological postulate of phenomenological analysis. Their unity is not the individual for himself, in his “experience” and “behavior”, in this or that part of the world taken objectively for himself (“stimulus constellation”), but this intentional person-environment relation. In spite of all the necessary dissection, the relational character must not be "dissolved": Those who are interested in people (individuals, groups or classes of people) look for their environments in the phenomenological setting, and, conversely, environments are defined as person-, group- , class or species-specific correlates of the respective behavior are sought out and examined purely to the extent and within the limits as the corresponding subjects behave to it. In other words, intentional analysis always amounts to situation analysis, because the intentional subject is understood to be situated in principle. I'll come back to that. Before doing this, I want to point out two implications of the assumption of intentionality, which at the same time are intended to make clear the difference between phenomenological and subjectivistic and objectivistic orientations.

1. If, in the phenomenological understanding, behavior always means that I relate to something that I intend to be independent of this behavior, then the intentionality of the behavior has an objectifying function insofar as I rely on myself being one and the same thing in changing acts and catfish as one that remains identical, can come back to the same thing, can talk to others about it, come to an understanding and come to terms with the fact that something can happen to the thing, for example a thing of perception, etc. through the variety of its modes of appearance || 43 | I intentionally preserve the thing itself in its sense, also beyond its (for example physical) existence. All objectification achievements of philosophical reflection and above all of scientific research are based on this objectifying function of intentional behavior. On the other hand, the (noematic) identity of an object or state of affairs is only ever experienced as its meaning in the phenomenality of the shadows and aspects that correspond to the respective perspective of the person. There is no separate cognition or apprehension of sense; So, phenomenologically understood, meaning is neither something to be found in the inwardness of a subject nor in the nature of objects, but is constituted in the intentional confrontation between person and environment.

2. The second implication of the assumption of intentionality has already become clear. To the same extent as the subject-independent "objectivity" of the behavioral environment is preserved in the intentionality of the behavior, the potential meaningfulness is constituted in it. The environment appears primarily as "meaningful for" (in the modalities of the meaningful, meaningless, irrelevant, etc.), again for individuals as well as for social groups, categories, cultures. Behavior then basically means to behave towards something meaningful, [behavior] is the creation, maintenance or change of a meaningful relationship to real or ideal persons or objects.

Do I have to add that one of the meaning correlates of our behavior can be one's own person in one of its aspects? All determinations of intentionality fully apply to the (reflexive) “self-relation”.

At the beginning, I referred to the intentional person-environment relationship, in deviation from traditional phenomenological usage, as interaction. This term needs explanation; because intentionality can only be ascribed to human (and animal) consciousness and behavior, but not to the things in our environment. Nevertheless, these things affect us in “pure contingency”: the car suddenly stops, the knife cuts my finger, a family member gets sick and dies. In anger, pain and grief, we are (intentionally) affected by what is happening to us. Waldenfels (1980, 98 ff.) Used examples of experience to reflect the juxtaposition of intentionality and causality and thus the purity of the distinction from personalistic || 44 | and naturalistic attitudes, as carried out by Husserl (1952) in the interests of a phenomenology, are called into question. I only want to take up one aspect of this borderline question that is intended to enrich the understanding of intentionality. It is part of our experience of the world that things like people have a life of their own or an opaque independence and activity of their own, which, mostly unpredictably, invades us as a contingency of the factual. This meaningless remainder, which, when we encounter it, almost demands a subsequent giving of meaning, we classify as a possibility, even if it is a coincidence, in the horizon of all experience. This brings us to a further explication of the assumption of intentionality, which can clarify the character of phenomenological analysis as a structural analysis of situations.

1.3. Phenomenological analysis as structural analysis of situations

The intentional person-environment relation can already be seen as the constitutive element for a situation. The character of the situatedness also arises from the wider context. It is constituted by the fact that every single experience, every single practice, as Husserl (I, 1948, 25) put it, presupposes a world consciousness “in the mode of certainty of faith”, without its “passive given” a single one. Attention of the discerning or practical interest would not be possible. In this sense, there is no performance without previous experience, without a prerequisite. But every experience also has its horizon insofar as what is now showing itself to me in its identity has already shown itself so and so and refers to further possibilities of its experience. This is immediately evident in the perception of people and things, but applies to all cognition, whereby phenomenologically, the opposition between cognition and action is omitted because of the consistent intentional structure: It applies to pre-reflective action, planned action as well as habitualized behavior. The horizon of experience is therefore essentially the “scope of possibilities” (Husserl, op. Cit., 27) for further experience. The experience characterized as anticipatory can be confirmed on the “inner horizon” of the same object and the “outer horizon” of the other objects to which a subject is referred to in perspective. || 45 |

The phenomenologically understood behavior therefore includes equally essential behavioral possibilities, the intentional correlate of such behavior is horizontal, i.e. potentially open. The unseen belongs to the seen; the visible is constituted by the invisible, the sensual by the non-sensible, and generally the real by the possible. In this sense all experience is inductive; there is no last.

So the world out of and to which we relate is open as a space of possibility. At the same time, however, it is given to us as a matter of course. Starting from everyday practice, which phenomenological analysis takes, we encounter an abundance of things and facts that are taken for granted, as "natural", that is, not specifically thematized and emphasized for purposes of knowledge, from which the individual assumes "everyday" as something given . Husserl calls this "lifeworld" that of anonymous subjectivity (Husserl 1962, 114). The anything but "natural" or "objective" meaning or function of many of the things that are taken for granted in the lifeworld must be checked for their constitution in the phenomenological analysis and thus reified , objectified) anonymity should be emphasized. The lifeworld, for Husserl the “legal ground” of all science, is very detailed, especially in its social structure and degrees of reality, by Schütz (1971) and Schütz & Luckmann (1979/1984) and - I believe - for a social social psychology has been analyzed very fruitfully.

The lifeworld, for example in specific situations of work, leisure, learning, etc., remains thematically the starting point for phenomenological analytics.

I have to refuse to further develop the horizon structure of life-world situations that derives from the basic assumption of intentionality, but I would like to draw attention to some thematic implications that result from the structure outlined for the phenomenological structural analysis. Since this has already been presented elsewhere, references must suffice (Graumann 1960, 1984; Graumann & Metraux 1977; Graumann & Wintermantel 1984; Linschoten 1953).

1. The unabbreviated description of the situated subject must proceed from his corporeality. Not only because subjects have a place from where they perceive and act and perceive and treat their environment accordingly. According to the physical constitution, the meaning of things, events, states is represented differently, for example the healthy, the sick, the pregnant woman, the little one, the overweight, the physically handicapped, etc. Psychology with its Cartesian Body-soul separation has limited itself to mental states and "processes" and left the "somatic" to medicine. For the intentional person-world bracketing, however, the dichotomous separation of physis and psyche is questionable, the distinction is secondary. The determination of the phenomenological subject as body subject prepared by Scheler and carried out by Merleau-Ponty (Merleau-Ponty 1966; cf. Plügge 1967) not only draws attention to the lived body, which an otherwise spiritual subject “also” has and experiences immediately. In contrast to other subject-scientific conceptions, it prevents the “cognitive” or “reflexive” competence of the subject from being absolutized. Rather, in the continuity from the bodily “pre-predicative” experience to the reflected apprehension, there is a foundation assumption that not only allows phylogenetic hominization and historical humanization to be reconciled, but is also suitable for removing the barrier between the conceptualizations of conscious and unconscious mental life.

2. The correlate of the physicality of the phenomenological subject is the materiality and spatiality of the intentional environment (Taylor 1964), which appears to us as near or far, manageable, tangible, reachable on foot or by car, inaccessible, as fertile-sterile, edible- inedible, usable-unusable, but also as repulsive-ugly, tempting-beautiful, presented as a means and as an end, imposed or determined by us. It is these human qualities and valences of the material-spatial environment that show the nature and extent of our appropriation, but also alienation. Linschoten has to get the. to characterize the human quality of the intentional environment and to distinguish it from the scientifically conceived geography, in terms of "landscape" (Linschoten 1953).

As a correlate of my intentional states (of hope and fear, of love and hate), of my spiritual behavior (thinking, doubting, dreaming), the intentional environment “is” also the spiritual world, dream world, fantasy landscape, penetrating, overlapping, and transcending my perceptual world .

3. The interaction of the real with the possible, resolved in the horizon structure, brings out the temporality of experience, more generally the historicity of being situated. Not only one's own experience is the basis for every further one and allows further ones to be anticipated. Other persons like things themselves “have” their story in the identity that persists through all modes of appearance. Their story is not mine, but as they get older they become part of my story. As Schapp (1976 b) put it, people are “entangled” in the stories of others.

For him, who has developed from a phenomenology of perception (Schapp 1910 / 1976a) to a philosophy of history (Schapp 1975), in which everything, man and thing, can primarily and only be experienced in stories, “world and history, we are entangled in, together ”(1975, 143). But experienceable here means, can only mean, experienceable and interpretable. Nobody can rise above this historical world; but that means. also, do not skip the shadow of language (cf. Welter, i. Dr.). History and language cannot be separated. This brings us to a final thematization of intentionally understood situations, to their fundamental sociality.

4. Our story - strictly speaking, “my” story does not exist (Schapp 1975, 180) - not only always includes the others from the start, with whom we are in communication, as far as we think, theirs, that is, ours Speaking language. Our horizon of experience is opened, expanded, and limited by the horizon of our fellow human beings. Right from the start, every person has - as Husserl (1962, 369) put it - “fellow humanity” and thus a share in the “human horizon”. This is part of it, and language interprets it. "Mankind is conscious of the direct and indirect linguistic community" (ibid.). Everything that can be found in the “we horizon” of a language community and can be addressed is “there”, exists, can in principle be experienced, available. World for all presupposes people in their general language (Husserl, op. Cit., 370). But what is not or is not so, as language suggests, can also be pronounced. Language itself not only functions as a medium and organon, but also becomes an intentional correlate that can superimpose the noemata of intuition and immediate experience, creating a kind of second reality (cf. Husserl's “Seduction of Language”, op. Cit., 372).

I named the intentionality criterion of sociality, communicative personal situation, last, because the first-mentioned criteria go into it. But it || 48 | There is a reciprocal condition: we experience the corporeality of intentional subjects first in others or through others in us; We inhabit the intentional environment with others and have learned to appropriate it through work, language and art. What Merleau-Ponty (1976) in particular, in his phenomenological structural analysis of behavior, calls the “dialectic” of the “human order” is characterized by the interplay of the above-mentioned interdependent structural elements, but crucially by those based on the horizon structure of situations Ability to "negate and surpass" all structures, social or cultural structures that limit and restrict us once they have been created (loc. Cit., 202). Only then does human freedom to behave become clear and from the Animal behavior, bound by trigger conditions, becomes clear to the horizon structure corresponding to this freedom, that is, openness of intentional environments, which in principle transcends the relative boundness of animal environments.

So much for the development of the concept of intentionality, with the help of which the approaches to a phenomenology of behavior as a person-environment-interaction should be sketched.

2. On the phenomenological method

Even if concepts and topics of phenomenological analysis have been explicitly mentioned so far, methodological requirements and certainly also prohibitions should have become recognizable. In order to get closer to the problem of mediating between phenomenological analysis and experimental methodology, I want to preface some functions of the phenomenological working method, which I believe are completely different from those of the experimental procedure, but are not in contradiction to it.

2.1. The critical function

It is clear to me that, especially in the context of a congress for critical psychology, the term “critical” can evoke a similar skepticism towards me with || 49 | "Phenomenological". So what does phenomenologically "critical" mean? No more, but also no less than the thorough awareness and examination of one's own requirements and assumptions. The aim of this critical examination is not the “lack of presuppositions”, but rather the awareness of presuppositions, naturally paired with the willingness to draw methodological conclusions from this awareness if necessary.

I know that this methodological postulate sounds problem-free for some research colleagues (especially for those doing research), because they believe that they will always do this anyway. They have and know their theory or their model and, according to Duncker, do problem analysis, goal analysis and means analysis, generate their hypothesis from this, carefully choose their design, know exactly which data type allows which test method, and look for the optimal one (or several) and at the end give a “cautious” discussion - everything lege artis; publication in the specialist journal is fairly certain.

Others - and I think a growing number of specialist colleagues - know that the six or eight procedural steps that I just meant are just as many traps, or that the pitfalls in the relationships between the steps, for example between theory and method, stuck. For them the above methodological postulate is anything but harmless; it is downright obstructive to research. In fact, it is not easy to become aware of the presuppositions going into a problem because we are all too often ignorant of the assumptions, or if so, then not of their possible ideological function. Hans Linschoten, who was convinced of the effectiveness of the "silent assumptions", once joked that you needed a little psychoanalysis to get to it. But the clarification of the scientific prerequisites does not have to go as far as research into motives, as far as the psychologization of science as an action. However, what has been demanded again and again for the phenomenological working method, also by scientists, since Husserl, is the reflection on the theory, the terminology, and the choice of access and method, as well as their relationships with one another. Here, reflection means above all recognizing the implications. Robert MacLeod (1947) saw in the “phenomenological approach to social psychology” essentially the critical elucidation of “implicit assumptions” such as eg. B. the organicistic prejudice, the geneticistic, the sociologism, logicism, reductionism, relativism. || 50 |

Anyone listing the implicit assumptions of those who call themselves cognitive or cognitivists today would be on a no less colorful (and depressing) list. But, even without psychoanalysis, one can ask back behind the isms and, as Billig did in 1982, also for today's most popular social-psychological theories and theorets, work out the ideological origin or function of the continuous individualism, which was only possible significantly because of this that he himself uncovered the ideological function of the concept of ideology, which historically repeatedly broke through. It is clear to me that the often relish revealing latent assumptions of others is a widespread game. In contrast, the phenomenological return to the “misleading” of research is called for by the researcher himself, that is, as an effort to self-criticize. This includes, as Giorgi (1970) in particular attempted, the express inclusion of one's own approach in the problem.

Finally - and this is of particular importance in the context of our topic - the clarification of the requirements of one's own method is a prerequisite for the decision when and within which limits the phenomenological methods may be combined with other methods.

The fact that criticism is directed against ways of thinking and concepts that have become cherished is also a direct contribution to the second function of phenomenological analysis, the descriptive one, which is always regarded as particularly important.

2.2. The descriptive function

The detailed explication of the intentionality of behavior should serve to make it clear that phenomenological description is something essentially different from the usual observation and description of behavior. The fact that we always relate to something in a certain sense, or more pointedly: relate to the sense of something (where I subsume meaning, value, purpose, function under meaning for the sake of simplicity), has several methodological implications for the type of observation as well as that of the description . || 51 |

[2.2.1.] Observation

The observation cannot be a purely external one. for which the behavior and its object are already fully constituted or even - as in the case of the use of a theoretically deduced system of categories - are predetermined. Rather, the phenomenological observation is directed towards the (meaning) constitution itself. how it takes place in the concrete act of behavior. The objectively (“geographically”) identical object is not always treated or “interpreted” in the same way by the same subject. That this is sometimes due to the way a thing is treated. manifest = becomes observable, sometimes only becomes clear through additional communicative reassurance in the acting person. is known; but there are well-known ones. because psychologically well-informed reasons there are a multitude of situations where observation is insufficient, questioning is not possible or does not make sense. Here the psychologist resorts, if he can, to the experimental manipulation of the conditions or, if he can not, alternatively or temporarily to the correlation of objectively fixed characteristics; Both in the scientific understanding extensions or variants of systematic observation.

For the orientation on the intentionality or meaningfulness of the behavior, neither would be an alternative (whether a complement remains to be discussed). As with the question of whether an observable behavior is a certain action, the phenomenological orientation requires the interpretation, the verification of which can be tried in various ways, but which in principle remains open.

The closest possible connection to observation (intuition) remains a basic requirement of phenomenological research. which is based on the view that what we commonly call "observation" and what we call "interpretation" are inseparable in the concrete implementation, but can (tends to) be clarified by examining the assumptions.

The awareness of not being able to achieve ultimate certainty about the (subject) appropriateness of an interpretation, which as a rule prevents the scientist striving for objectivity and certainty from asking "questions of meaning" at all, must lead the phenomenological worker to it, in the mutual Control of perception and reflection to approximate this appropriateness. || 52 |

Perception and reflection (this only as a note) are probably accepted as the basis of scientific methodology, they play no role as methods; they are not taught. The connection of the critical with the descriptive function has also led to a methodical attitude in the phenomenologically oriented human sciences that can be called the “ethnological” or “ethnographic”: thus observing and treating modes of action and situations, especially those of everyday familiarity describe how an ethnologist must do it who comes into very first contact with a foreign culture, i.e. without prior scientific knowledge of religion, custom, mode of production or social structure.Of course, this is only possible (and within limits) through a technique of the epoch, i.e. the conscious “bracketing” of the theories and beliefs that are valid as valid about the respective facts. Such an “anthropological attitude” would, for example, bring new insights into social psychology; There are already approaches to an anthropology of knowledge and science (Mendelsohn & Elkana 1981); an ethnologically trained observer attending this congress would have to come to a different description with the help of the technology of the epoché than an observer who was trained as an observer and who, as an observer, always knows what a congress “is”.

[2.2.2.] Description

Observation, we say in science, is used for description; because only this, if at all, enters the corpus of science. The phenomenologist tends to see it the other way round when he sees intuition as the ultimate legal basis of all knowledge. In principle, this raises the problem of the relationship between perception and language, which has gained in importance in the further development of phenomenology up to the present day and has not been fully discussed. I cannot go into this problem and thus the phenomenology of language, the linguistic nature of our world experience, but for the methodological intention of this article I can draw attention to some implications of Husserl's demand for true terminology.

“Faithful” here means true to the phenomenon, and that means trying to linguistically as adequately as possible the way something appears to someone and has meaning for them so as not to (and this again corresponds to the critical function) to cover up precisely what one wants to bring to light with common, but perhaps unreflected meanings of everyday words or technical expressions. The adequacy of a description does not find its justification in the agreement with scientific (theoretical) constructs. From a phenomenological point of view, scientific terms must be able to identify themselves in relation to linguistically adequately interpreted experience and be legitimized by it; Incidentally, a basic phenomenological understanding of empiricism.

For the human and linguistic sciences, this results in a very important consequence, which A. Schütz in particular, who is probably the most important mediator between phenomenology and social sciences, has made explicit. When developing the structure of intentional situations, it was to be noted that our original world experience has always been, that is, from an early age and has always been, linguistically mediated and thus interpreted in language, which we share with others (to an extent that can be empirically tested) share. As Schütz (1971; cf. Schütz & Luckmann 1979/1984) has shown in detail, the lifeworld language "contains" not only the names of people, things and facts of our narrower and wider, real and ideal environment, but also the norms and Rules for our dealings with others, others and ourselves, in short: the “available knowledge”. To the extent that the social scientist, interested in this knowledge, the norms and rules, arrives at corresponding scientific constructions, such constructions are secondary to those already valid in the lifeworld. As constructions of constructions, their foundation relationship (which natural science does not know) is to be shown. In this respect, in contrast to natural science, “special methodological procedures” are required: procedures that ultimately ensure the reconstruction of the meaning that actions and situations have for those on whose behavior and works social science research is directed: those in their social identity on theirs intentional environment-related subjects. || 54 |

3. Phenomenological and experimental analytics: possibilities and limits of mediation

I treated the phenomenological analysis with the sketching of the critical and the descriptive function very selectively, on the one hand out of the interest of human science, on the other hand with regard to my given topic. That is why I would like to conclude by addressing the problem of mediation from the point of view of the critical-descriptive performance of phenomenological analysis.

We know the benevolent dictum: “Phenomenology for description is good (but expensive because it is time-consuming), but science has to explain, so it cannot stop at description. The analysis of conditions is more important than description. ”Little can be said against this; but a couple of questions are in order. Sure, describing is not explaining. But to what extent are they two different things? It becomes two things when description is purified into scientific description in which only objects and movements appear as pure and intersubjectively observable. Everything that looks like interpretation is thrown out. In its place, after the description, comes the causal analysis (e.g. of the experiment). The trouble is, the language doesn't play along; it is primarily not the language of observation, but rather colloquial language. Whenever someone describes how to use the new computer, the construction of an air pump or the way to the train station, they have explained everything I need for my everyday activities, but also for my everyday curiosity about how something works.

But what about the “psychic”? When someone says that he is now hungry, he describes how he feels, or explains something that descriptively should be called “stomach contraction” or something similar, or is it not rather the stomach contraction that explains what the layman can do Calls "hunger"? The question seems to be posed incorrectly because it plays with the blending of two types of discourse. The sentence of my interlocutor, “I'm hungry now”, is neither a description nor an explanation, but the expression of the intention “I'm going to eat now”, which, depending on the situation, implies the question “Are you going with me?”. As a conversation partner, I not only “understand” this intention, but now also why the other had become restless, looked at the clock, etc., i.e. the meaning of this behavior (cf. Graumann & Wintermantel 1984).

If one leaves the meaning of the behavior and thus its basic comprehensibility (which the behavior concept excluded) and accepts the behavior understood in this way in situations as a topic and the reconstruction of the meaning structure of situational behavior as a methodical task of psychology (and not only in sociology, anthropology, ethnomethodology, etc.), then there is no need to contrast description and explanation for phenomenological analysis. The explanation lies in the intentional description.

It has now been customary to speak of “understanding” here and to reserve the concept of explanation for causal analysis. If we accept, quite unreflectively, that understanding the meaning and explanation of causation actually form the dichotomy common in the history of science, then it is worthwhile for the psychologist to seriously investigate the question of how many so-called psychological problems can be solved once we have understood for what reasons (however actual reasons) people act like this and not otherwise, if we can reconstruct how they see their situation and act accordingly or give up. It is undisputed that these problems are of a different kind than that of determining the thresholds of difference, the intelligence quotient and the causes of the “tunnel effect”, and I do not claim to translate one problem type into the other. But I should like to consider whether the number and significance of the first problems are not greater than what the specialist literature suggests - and thus also the field of possible phenomenological working methods.

Despite its brevity, the presentation of the intentional analysis should have made it clear that it is not permissible to mix phenomenological descriptions and (natural) scientific explanations of causation. However, this only means that scientific constructs are illegitimate in the execution of intentional description, but not that phenomenological analysis and experimental analysis of conditions are incommensurable.

They are not, if only because a phenomenological description of experimental analysis not only normally precedes it, but the experimental question as one that is narrower than the phenomenological one can certainly be derived from it. But this is only possible and legitimate if the principle of the first method is not called into question by the subsequent method.

As is well known, despite the great difference, there is no fundamental dissent between statistical and experimental procedures. The first promises contingent relationships, the second, more specific, cause-and-effect relationships. Correlative relationships can be of a causal nature; but the procedure does not allow any statement about it. Both procedures can provide connections that can be interpreted as contexts of meaning; neither of the two methods allows a statement about it. Because the structures or connections that the phenomenological analysis makes visible have their legitimation in the explicitly made subjectivity of the examined, from which the other procedures refrain in favor of objective "characteristics". But that alone would not result in incompatibility. For the subjects of the phenomenological analysis are just as objectively there and approachable as their intentional environments are there, and not only for them, but in principle also for the others with whom they are in communication in a (linguistic) community. Therefore, according to the principle of reciprocity of perspectives elaborated by Schütz (1971), we who recognize others by characteristics and classify (and discriminate) according to characteristics also apply to ourselves as members of this or that recognizable by characteristics Learning to understand the group. The fact that these characteristics can also be counted and measured as objective, but also feasible (manipulable) within limits, is part of the everyday “stock of knowledge”. Showing this in the analysis of pure experience does not go beyond the phenomenological framework of discourse.

The step from the explication of meaning to the experimental analysis is possible within certain limits and is necessary in many cases. The phenomenological description reveals the purely intentional structure within which something or someone has a certain meaning (e.g. a "valence") for subjects to be described more precisely. If, for example, what - evasive of the phenomenological description - has a “curiosity” arousing “curiosity” in children of a certain age, is brought into a situation in which the children show what is called phenomenological curiosity, while safeguarding this valence and the possibility is provided that they can behave differently towards this as well as other things, an objection of incommensurability is not possible either against the control or against a systematic variation of the "valences" or the scope of the behavioral possibilities. It must be raised when a physical manipulation takes the place of systematic || 57 | Variation of meaning is set and the intentional behavior towards it is shortened and falsified, interpreted as a "reaction" that can only be observed from outside, that is, the effect of an ultimately physical cause.

I conclude that the problem of mediating between phenomenological and experimental-statistical methods is reduced to that of reconciling scientific intentions. Not a process as such, quasi as hardware, but the intention in which I use it and interpret the results obtained with it, decides on the compatibility, although I admit that there are processes that are pure objectivations of the phenomenology of opposing intentions ( e.g. deception scenarios, but not the experimental conditions embedded in them). In short: there is no justification between processes that ignore the intentionality of behavior, which is indestructible, or attempt to override it methodically, and phenomenological analysis. In contrast, the critical and descriptive performance of the phenomenological analysis is compatible with all procedures that at least allow the subject's interpretation of the situation, including the research situation, to be reconstructed. Today there are more approaches in this direction than references to a phenomenological origin or orientation. But names should be less important than the scientific self-image that stands behind them and which often enough first has to be reconstructed "intentionally analytically".


Cheap, M. (1982): Ideology and social psychology. Oxford: Blackwell.

Giorgi, A. (1970): Psychology as a human science. New York: Harper & Row.

- (1983): Concerning the possibility of phenomenological psychological research. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 14, 129-169.

Graumann, C.F. (1960): Foundations of a phenomenology and psychology of perspectivity. Berlin: de Gruyter.

- (1980): Psychology: humanistic or human? In. U. Völker (ed.), Humanistic Psychology. Weinheim: Beltz, 39-5157

- (1984): Consciousness and Behavior. In: H. Lenk (ed.), Theories of Action - Interdisciplinary. Volume III / 2. Munich: Fink, 547-573.

-, Metraux, A. (1977): The phenomenological orientation in psychology. In: K.A. Schneewind (ed.), Scientific Theory Foundations of Psychology. Munich: Reinhardt, 27-53.

-, Wintermantel, M. (1984): Understanding language as understanding of situations. In: J. Engelkamp (ed.), Psychological Aspects of Understanding. Berlin / Heidelberg: Springer, 205-229.

Gurwitsch, A. (1966): Studies in phenomenology and psychology. Evanston, 111 .: North western University Press.

Herrmann, T. (1976): Psychology and its research programs. Göttingen: Hogrefe.

Husserl, E. (1900/01; 1968): Logical Investigations. Tübingen: Niemeyer.

- (1948): Experience and Judgment. Harnburg: Claassen &. Goverts.

- (1952): Ideas for a pure phenomenology and phenomenological philosophy. 2nd book (Husserliana IV). The Hague: Nijhoff.

- (1962): The Crisis of the European Sciences and the Transcendental Phenomenology (Husserliana VI). 2nd edition The Hague: Nijhoff.

Linschoten, J. (1953): Naaword. In: Persoon en wereId. Bijdragen tot de phenomenological psychology. Utrecht: Bijleveld, 224-253.

MacLeod, R.B. (1947): The phenomenological approach to social psychology. Psychological Review 54, 191-210.

Mendelsohn, E. &. Elkana, Y. (eds.) (1981): Sciences and cultures: Anthropological and historical studies of sciences. Dordrecht: Reidel.

Merleau-Ponty, M. (1966): Phenomenology of Perception. Berlin: de Gruyter.

- (1976): The structure of behavior. Berlin: de Gruyter.

Plügge, H. (1967): Man and his body. Munich: Niemeyer.

Ritsert, J. (Ed.) (1975): Reasons and causes of social action. Frankfurt: Campus.

Schapp, W. (1975): Philosophy of History. Wiesbaden: Heymann.

- (1910; 1976a): Contributions to the phenomenology of perception. Wiesbaden: Heymann.

- (1976b): Entangled in Stories - On the being of people and things. 2nd edition Wiesbaden: Heymann.

Schütz, A. (1971): Collected essays I: The problem of social reality. The Hague: Nijhoff.

-, Luckmann, Th. (1979/1984): Structures of the lifeworld. 2 vols. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.

Searle, J.R. (1983): Intentionality. An essay in the philosophy of mind. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Taylor, Ch. (1964): The explanation of behavior. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

- (1975): Explanation and Interpretation in the Human Sciences. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.

Waldenfels, B. (1980): The scope of behavior. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.

Welter, R. (i.Dr :): The concept of the lifeworld - theories of the pre-theoretical world of experience. Munich: Fink.

This entry was posted in Online Publications and tagged Graumann, Carl Friedrich. Add the permalink to your favorites.