Looking at Jack Reynolds’ Book (2018) “Phenomenology, Naturalism and Science” (Part 1 of 3)

0001 Jack Reynolds, Professor in Arts and Education at Deakin University, publishes a book with the subtitle, “A Hybrid and Heretical Proposal”.  The book concerns two views that seem to resist hybridization: phenomenology and naturalism.  Why?  Does each regard the other as heretical?

Plus, where does that leave science?


0002 Razie Mah examines Reynolds’ book in Comments on Jack Reynolds’ Book (2018) “Phenomenology, Naturalism and Science”, available at smashwords and other e-book vendors.  The commentary is part of a series, “Phenomenology and the Positivist Intellect”.

0003 Phenomenology has an awkward relationship with science.  It situates hands-on natural science.  Yet, it competes for that role with visionary science.

Visionary science takes what is most precious to practicing scientists, the empirio-schematic judgment, and unfolds it into a situation-level nested form.  

Phenomenology competes with and excludes visionary science.

0004 Consequently, phenomenologists and visionary scientists despise one another.

Both work to situate hands-on natural science, represented as a content-level nested form.

Each offers its own situation-level nested form.

0005 Perhaps, this is why Reynolds’ proposal directs attention away from the point of contention.

Hands-on science is naturalism.  Hands-on science may be portrayed as the unfolding of the Positivist’s judgment into the content-level of an interscope.

Phenomenology and visionary science situate first-order natural science in very different ways.

0006 Phenomenology wants to consider phenomena in order to elucidate what the thing itself must be.

Visionary science wants to take an established scientific model and coronate it as what the thing itself must be.


Looking at Richard Colledge’s Essay (2021) “Thomism and Contemporary Phenomenological Reduction” (Part 1 of 7)

0001 Phenomenology situates science.

Three commentaries flesh out the above statement.

All are available at smashwords.

Just search for key words, in addition to the commentator, Razie Mah.

0002 These e-works are:

Reverie on Mark Spencer’s Essay (2021) “The Many Phenomenological Reductions”

Comments on Joseph Trabbic’s Essay (2021) “Jean-Luc Marion and … First Philosophy”

Comments on Richard Colledge’s Essay (2021) “Thomism and Contemporary Phenomenology”

0003 The originating articles are published in the American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly.

None mention science.

0004 Two questions arise.

First, why are Catholic philosophers interested in phenomenology?

Second, why do none of these originating essays mention science?


Looking at Richard Colledge’s Essay (2021) “Thomism and Contemporary Phenomenological Reduction” (Part 2 of 7)

0005 Why are Catholic philosophers interested in phenomenology?

In Reverie on Mark Spencer’s Essay (2021) “The Many Phenomenological Reductions”, one incentive is proposed.

0006 The positivist intellect has a rule.  No metaphysics is allowed.

Catholic anti-reductionism is metaphysical.

Phenomenology is not.

Consequently, the phenomenologist is tolerated in our scientific Age of Ideas, but the Thomist is not.

0007 So, the Christian realist has an incentive to speak through the mouthpiece of phenomenology.


Looking at Richard Colledge’s Essay (2021) “Thomism and Contemporary Phenomenological Reduction” (Part 3 of 7)

0008 Why are Catholic philosophers interested in phenomenology?

In Comments on Joseph Trabbic’s Essay (2021) “Jean Luc Marion and … First Philosophy”, a second incentive is proposed.

0009 If phenomenology situates science, then what puts phenomenology into perspective?

0010 In 1995, the French Catholic phenomenologist, Jean-Luc Marion, comes very close to naming that “what”.  “What” coincides with the givenness of things themselves.

0011 Marion’s identification of givenness offers an opportunity for Catholic philosophers.  But, the concerns of the positivist intellect remain.  The positivist intellect rules out metaphysics.

As far as science is concerned, givenness is irrelevant.

0012 But, there is a twist.

The naming of givenness illuminates the potential underlying phenomenological reduction.

The noumenon1athe thing itself1a, is a mind-independent being.

The noumenon1bwhat the thing itself1a must be1b, is a mind-dependent being, that one can take to be mind-independent.

0013 Does that reflect the awkward nature of givenness?

One can give, with no expectation for return.

Can one take, with no expectation of reciprocity?

Can the gift be given, even when the giver and the recipient are nowhere to be found?


Looking at Richard Colledge’s Essay (2021) “Thomism and Contemporary Phenomenological Reduction” (Part 4 of 7)

0014 Why are Catholic philosophers interested in phenomenology?

In Comments on Richard Colledge’s Essay (2021) “Thomism and Contemporary Phenomenology”, a third incentive is proposed.

0015 Colledge reads a 2006 book by German phenomenologist, Gunter Figal, entitled Objectivity, The Hermeneutical and the Philosophical

Colledge wonders, “Is this a phenomenological realist open to Christian anti-reductionism?”

Can we talk?

0016 Figal admits that the thing itself1a should be mind-independent.  If this is the case, then metaphysics should be allowed.  Aren’t the mathematical and mechanical models of the empirio-schematic judgment mind-dependent beings?  Don’t mind-dependent beings transcend (while entangling) physics?  Doesn’t that fit the definition of metaphysics.

Well, yes, this becomes apparent when phenomenology reveals what the thing itself1a must be1b and then a novel empirical science2a arises to investigate its1a(1b) phenomena1a.


Looking at Richard Colledge’s Essay (2021) “Thomism and Contemporary Phenomenological Reduction” (Part 5 of 7)

0017 Why do Catholic philosophers (who are curious about phenomenology) not mention science?

This is a very good question, since Aristotle’s and the Positivist’s judgments are structurally similar.

Well, they are different, because the three elements of judgment are imbued with different categories.

0018 The similar structures, along with different categorical assignments, benefit phenomenology.  Phenomenology can sneak Aristotelian metaphysical constructs into the laboratory by reifying hylomorphes into what the thing itself1a must be1b.  Phenomenology appropriates illicit metaphysical constructs then cleans them of metaphysical terminology.

0019 For example, in terms of physics, a one Euro coin may be reduced to its constituent metal and minted shape.  To me, this looks like matter and form.

At the same time, in terms of phenomenological reduction2b, a one Euro coin1a is money1b.  Money1b is what the Euro coin itself1a must be.

0020 What happens when what the thing itself1a must be1b is not the thing itself1a?

Is phenomenological reduction at work?

0021 If the one Euro coin as money is a mind-independent (formerly mind-dependent) being, then novel laws of “physics” apply.  The coin1a(1b) now exhibits the phenomena of value1a and fiat currency1a.

The novel “social” science of modern economics investigates the phenomena1a that objectify this noumenon1a(1b).


Looking at Richard Colledge’s Essay (2021) “Thomism and Contemporary Phenomenological Reduction” (Part 6 of 7)

0022 Okay, so far in this sequence of blogs, I have discussed three incentives for why Catholic philosophers may be interested in phenomenology.  I have also raised a question concerning why these philosophers do not mention science.

0023 The answer to the latter question is located in the relation within the Positivist’s judgment.  A positivist intellect (relation, thirdness) brings an empirio-schematic judgment (what ought to be, secondness) into relation with observations and measurements (what is, firstness).  The positivist intellect has a rule.  Metaphysics is not allowed.

0024 What is the result?

Catholic anti-reductionists are excluded from discourse… er, polite scientific society in this modern Age of Ideas.

The positivist intellect says, “No.”

So, why even try?

Why not discourse with the ones who might want to talk, the phenomenologists?

0025 Do I see Gunter Figal heading to the exit?

Professor Figal is interested in objectivity, not givenness.


Looking at Richard Colledge’s Essay (2021) “Thomism and Contemporary Phenomenological Reduction” (Part 7 of 7)

0026 Are Catholic philosophers so alienated from science that they are willing to talk through the mouthpiece of phenomenology?

Are there other ways to enter into discourse in this modern Age of Ideas?

Why does the hylomorphic structure of reality constantly get co-opted in the pursuit of science?

Are phenomenologists implicated?

0027 Doctor Figal imagines a gap3c, whose interpretive polarity1c sparks the exteriorization2c of what the thing itself1amust be1b, thereby generating a noumenon1b(1a) that can be objectified as its phenomena1a, according to “social” scientific discipline2a.  He labels the operation, “objectivity2c“.

Is objectivity metaphysical?

Or, does it sound like “electricity”?

0028 Colledge is fascinated.  What marvelous transformations occur in the laboratory of Professor Figal.  Metaphysics alchemically mutates into the stuff of physics.

0029 Comments on Richard Colledge’s Essay (2021) “Thomism and Contemporary Phenomenology” offers value to the originating essay.  Not only is science brought into the picture, but the re-vision is rooted in Comments on Jacques Maritain’s Book (1935) Natural Philosophy.  Colledge has more than he knows.

003 It is wonderful to see striking similarities between Marion’s naming of givenness2c and Figal’s enumeration of objectivity2c.

Peirce’s categories offer ways to diagram that vision.


Looking at Joseph Trabbic’s Essay (2021) “Jean Luc-Marion and … First Philosophy” (Part 1 of 5)

0001 Joseph Trabbic’s essay appears in the American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly (volume 95(3), pages 389-409).  This is the second article on phenomenology to attract attention.  The full title is “Jean Luc-Marion and the Phenomenologie de la Donation as First Philosophy”.

Jean-Luc Marion is a French phenomenologist who attempts to put Husserl’s paradigm into perspective.  His book is published 25 years ago.  It still confounds readers.

Trabbic performs admirably in trying to decipher both the French language and the book.

0002 There is a lot to unpack, especially since science is not mentioned at all.

I wonder what Husserl is up to when he calls for a return to the noumenon?

Perhaps, scientists focus so much on phenomena that they neglect the thing itself.

0003 This is the lesson formulated in Reverie on Mark Spencer’s Essay (2021) “The Many Phenomenology Reductions”(available for purchase at smashwords).  Spencer also publishes in the American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly.  The full title of Spencer’s article is “The Many Phenomenological Reductions and Catholic Metaphysical Anti-Reductionism”.

Spencer mentions Jean-Luc Marion, along with many other phenomenologists.

It is like going through an old jewelry box.

Jean-Luc Marion sparkles.

0004 Comments on Joseph Trabbic’s Essay (2021) “Jean Luc Marion and … First Philosophy” (also available at smashwords) builds upon this reverie.

Why does Jean-Luc Marion catch the eye?


Looking at Joseph Trabbic’s Essay (2021) “Jean Luc-Marion and … First Philosophy” (Part 2 of 5)

0006 Trabbic’s approach to Jean Luc-Marion’s masterwork, The Phenomenology of Givenness, is curious.

Trabbic precisely executes a style that is rarely used in contemporary works.

He asks us to recognize a possibility (that seems to be impossible).

0007 First, the reader must recognize that there are phenomena, rather than nothing.  Things themselves are simply given.

Second, the reader must recognize that givenness implies a gift with no giver and no recipient.

0008 Trabbic’s construction leads the reader up the staircase of one and down the staircase of two.

The literary structure is beautiful to behold.