In his Interpreted World Ernesto Spinelli reduces E. Husserl‘s phenomenological study of the human experience to a three-step method. Step 1: the epoché where the enquirer is required to set aside his initial biases and prejudices of things, suspend his expectations and assumptions or bracket those temporarily and as much as possible so that he can focus his attention on the primary data of his experience. Step 2: the rule of description only; the essence of this rule is ‘Describe, don’t explain’. Step 3: Horizontalisation. For Spinelli ‘having stuck to an immediate experience which we seek to describe, this rule further urges us to avoid placing any initial hierarchies of significance or importance upon the items of our descriptions and instead to treat each initially as having equal value of significance’ (Spinelli, 17 etc.).
Spinelli’s Interpreted World is a useful synthesis to understand what phenomenology generally does. It may be seen as a Phenomenology for Dummies in its intended practicality. Read as an introduction to phenomenology Spinelli’s book allows novice readers to get to grips with Husserl’s method of scientific research. Phenomenology spawned a new era in philosophy and in thinking in general; for this reason alone it cannot be put aside by anyone serious about the human sciences. Phenomenology, alongside psychoanalysis, is at the core of philosophical movements including post-modernism and in this sense alone is crucial to the work of psychotherapy. Merleau-Ponty will be relying on phenomenology to describe human perception. Spinelli’s allows the reader to understand how to adopt a so-called phenomenological approach to human existence; it throws even theorising into question. The idea of the subject is a question, with its effects of opening-up, will later be taken up by M. Heidegger in his Being and Time. In the clinic with analysands the (Lacanian) analyst will decide upon a similar work of ‘questionning and opening things up’, that is, diagnosis permitting.
Spinelli’s Interpreted World was of great help in my qualitative research here
On online lectures about phenomenology, see here
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- Paperback: 252 pages
- Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd; Second edition (16 Feb. 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 141290305X
- ISBN-13: 978-1412903059