Depraz N. (2019) The Surprise of the Other: What about Radical Asymmetry, Surprise, Passivity and Emotions in Inter-Subjective First Encounters? Constructivist Foundations 14(2): 187–189. https://cepa.info/5771
Open peer commentary on the article “Meeting You for the First Time: Descriptive Categories of an Intersubjective Experience” by Magali Ollagnier-Beldame & Christophe Coupé. Abstract: I argue that when focusing on first encounters (as the target article does), the unique pristine character of such encounters should be dealt with. In particular, it would be necessary to include as main components surprise, emotions and passivity. Another issue addresses intersubjectivity: While the article considers shared reciprocity as a main invariant feature of intersubjectivity, many phenomenologists have stressed the structural asymmetry of the relation between oneself and the other: am I not the only one who is able to experience (perceive, know) the other? Finally, since the very technique of micro-phenomenological explicitation interviews is based on a clear asymmetry between the interviewer and the interviewee, one may ask to what extent the model of intersubjectivity presented in the article can be representative of first encounters.
Depraz N. (2021) Micro-phenomenological explicitation interviews and biographical narrative interviews: A combined perspective in light of the experiential analysis of chronic diseases. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences Online first. https://cepa.info/7292
Excerpt: The singularity of micro-phenomenological explicitation as an interview technique consists of referring to a “specific” moment that corresponds to a unique situation, experienced at a given place and time. The mode of access to this hic and nunc moment is also specific: it is not a voluntary remembrance but a process of “evocation” (the french term is “évocation”) which appeals to our unvoluntary concrete organic memory. By “contacting” this moment again, we are led to “relive” it by restoring all of the concrete flesh of our feeling. This singular moment is initially unrecognized, that is to say, pre-reflective or immediately unavailable. We must immerse ourselves again in this lived situation in order for the palpable flesh of this moment to return and so that, as an interviewed subject, we can find features of this moment that we thought we did not know. Some of its aspects then appear to us as new, fresh, and unprecedented, under the open and indirect guidance of the interviewer. Footnote
Depraz N. (2021) On Becoming Metaphysical: A Relevant Challenge for Neurophenomenology? Constructivist Foundations 16(2): 159–161. https://cepa.info/6946
Open peer commentary on the article “The Tangled Dialectic of Body and Consciousness: A Metaphysical Counterpart of Radical Neurophenomenology” by Michel Bitbol. Abstract: I question Bitbol’s challenge about proposing a metaphysical counterpart to neurophenomenology. For this I rely on Varela’s unambiguous critique of metaphysics and question the author’s own hybridized understanding of metaphysics, which contrasts with a smooth experiential phenomenological metaphysics. I finally ask about the absence of “explicitation” as a phenomenological concept and as an interview method and about its legitimate replacement by explanation even in the renewed suggested meaning.
Depraz N. (2021) The Lived Experience of Being Fragile: On Becoming more “Living” During the Pandemic. Constructivist Foundations 16(3): 245–253. https://cepa.info/7149
Context: The topic of my article, fragility, is a theme that has been little broached in philosophy and phenomenology, except by Ricœur, in the fifties, and recently Chrétien. I aim to bring it into light, anew, with a micro-phenomenological approach. Problem: How does fragility, far from referring to a weak living being, makes us feel more alive, and how does the pandemic time we are going through intensify our feeling of being “living? Method: I chose to use a first-person method related to micro-phenomenology, self-explicitation. As a writing method, it fits the time of loneliness in which we were immersed in lockdown better. I produced two small self-explicitations referring to two salient moments of awareness of my fragility. They reveal a contrasted feeling of fragility, negative/positive, an existential loneliness leading to a time regained, a huge difficulty to breathe awakening an imminent death feeling and then an amplified breathing. Results: Not only is fragility not a weakening of my being, but it results in my being more alive. Moreover, the article shows that fragility is not a mere state: it entails a peculiar micro-dynamics made of two phases, negative/positive. Implications: This contribution offers a first insight into the dynamics of lived fragilization from a micro-phenomenological viewpoint. It needs to be developed further with other self-explicitations and interviews. Another challenge is to compare the philosophical results with the micro-phenomenological ones. Constructivist content: This article links to the constructivist perspective founded by Vermersch. It puts to the fore the first-person self-explicitation method as a precious tool to uncover limit experiences of loneliness and imminent dying, sometimes hard to broach during an interview.
Open peer commentary on the article “Meeting You for the First Time: Descriptive Categories of an Intersubjective Experience” by Magali Ollagnier-Beldame & Christophe Coupé. Abstract: While being in total agreement with the bottom-up method used in the target article, I address three issues: the first concerns the intersubjective situation of the explicitation interview itself; the second aims to put the results in the perspective of the traditional phenomenological approaches of intersubjectivity; and the last one considers the analysis of the material, and questions the general categories that emerge from this process.
Høffding S. & Martiny K. M. (2016) Framing a phenomenological interview: What, why, and how. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 15: 539–564. https://cepa.info/4346
Research in phenomenology has benefitted from using exceptional cases from pathology and expertise. But exactly how are we to generate and apply knowledge from such cases to the phenomenological domain? As researchers of cerebral palsy and musical absorption, we together answer the how question by pointing to the resource of the qualitative interview. Using the qualitative interview is a direct response to Varela’s call for better pragmatics in the methodology of phenomenology and cognitive science and Gallagher’s suggestion for phenomenology to develop its methodology and outsource its tasks. We agree with their proposals, but want to develop them further by discussing and proposing a general framework that can integrate research paradigms of the well-established disciplines of phenomenological philosophy and qualitative science. We give this the working title, a “phenomenological interview”. First we describe the what of the interview, that is the nature of the interview in which one encounters another subject and generates knowledge of a given experience together with this other subject. In the second part, we qualify why it is worthwhile making the time-consuming effort to engage in a phenomenological interview. In the third and fourth parts, we in general terms discuss how to conduct the interview and the subsequent phenomenological analysis, by discussing the pragmatics of Vermersch’s and Petitmengin’s “Explicitation Interview”.
This article summarily presents the explicitation interview with some examples of interviews. In the first part, referring to three excerpts from protocols, we consider some of the techniques used to guide a subject into an introspective posture. We show how these techniques create conditions conducive to access to pre-reflective knowledge, knowledge stemming from a moment of action experienced by the subject, of which the subject has no knowledge in the mode of reflective consciousness. Some of this knowledge is in fact surprising both for the interviewer and for the interviewee. The experience or the expertise of the subject interviewed is invariably increased as a result. In the second part, we provide a brief insight into the fields of application of the explicitation interview, with reference to three case studies, which are presented in a vivid and detailed way (in the fields of sport, health and training, and artistic creation) We conclude with a very brief panorama of the various known fields of application of the explicitation interview.
Context: There is little research currently on first encounters with a first-person epistemology and empirical evidence. Problem: We want to provide an answer to the question: “What is the lived experience of being with others for the first time?” Method: We rely on a first-person epistemology and a second-person method, namely the explicitation interview, a technique of guided retrospective introspection. We analyze a corpus of 24 interviews conducted after planned first encounters. We identify generic descriptive categories of subjects’ lived experience. Results: We propose a typology of the micro-moments that constitute people’s intersubjective experiences during first encounters. We identify five descriptive categories of these experiences: act, mode of intersubjectivity, sense of agency, experiential modality, and content in terms of involved persons. Implications: This article highlights what a careful investigation of subjective experience can bring to the understanding of intersubjectivity. It shows in particular how an applied phenomenology can complement and revisit less empirical philosophical approaches. It can be useful to scholars conducting third-person studies on first encounters. This study is a first step toward investigating more spontaneous encounters, occurring for instance in everyday situations or in less usual settings. We are currently analyzing interviews on first encounters between health practitioners and their clients, which will offer practical advice to both sides. Constructivist content: Constructivist approaches argue that “reality” is actively brought forth by the subject rather than passively acquired. Questioning the separation between the objective world and subjective experience, they examine how people build their own reality through their perceptions, through their experience of the world, and through their interactions with others. Our study focuses on first encounters “from within,” listening to subjects’ accounts of their lived experience. We aim to defend and promote the experiential perspective in the field of cognitive science. We therefore follow Francisco Varela, Evan Thompson and Eleanor Rosch, for whom the “concern is to open a space of possibilities in which the circulation between cognitive science and human experience can be fully appreciated and to foster the transformative possibilities of human experience in a scientific culture.”
Can the “first person” point of view help in an assessment of the relevance of the theory of enaction, theory in which the inside and the outside, the knower and the known, the mind and the world, determine each other? On the basis of an exploration of the dynamic micro-structure of lived experience, we suggest some means of tackling this question.
My comments on this pioneering book by Russ Hurlburt and Eric Schwitzgebel do not focus on the descriptions of experiences that it includes, but on the very process of description, which seems to me insufficiently highlighted, described and called into question. First I will rely on a few indications given by Melanie herself, the subject interviewed by the authors, to highlight an essential difficulty which the authors only touch upon: the not immediately recognized character of lived experience. Then I will look for clues about what Melanie does to come into contact with her experience and recognize it. These clues – completed by elements of description of this act collected through explicitation interviews – provide criteria enabling a more precise evaluation of what the authors do to guide Melanie in the real-ization of this act, and therefore the accuracy of Melanie’s descrip-tions. I will defend the idea that the description of the very process of becoming aware and describing is an essential condition for the understanding, refinement, teaching, and evaluation of introspection methods, as well as for the reproducibility of their results.