Looking at John Perez Vargas, Johan Nieto Bravo and Juan Santamaria Rodriguez’s Essay (2020) “Hermeneutics and Phenomenology in… Social Sciences Research” (Part 12 of 18)

0040 To date, one reverie and three commentaries, listed in the first blog in this series, propose propositions that ought to be tested.

Vargas Perez, Nieto Bravo and Santamaria Rodriguez, in the article entitled, “Hermeneutics and Phenomenology in Human and Social Science Research”, provide material to test the arguments.

0041 Three tests have been considered.

0042 One, why is hermeneutics neglected in phenomenological inquiry?

The answer is that both hermeneutics and phenomenology are able to virtually situate natural (or “first-order”) science.  But, hermeneutics is disallowed on the basis of the rule of the positivist intellect, outlawing metaphysics.

0043 Two, what is the latent dilemma between hermeneutics and phenomenology?

The answer is that the situation-level normal context of Husserl’s project3b elbows out the normal context of hermeneutics3a.  Such is the logic of normal contexts.  The potential underlying Husserl’s paradigm3b is a return1b to the thing itself1a.  This return may be formulated as what the noumenon1a must be1b, (that is, the noumenon1b).

In contrast, the potential underlying hermeneutics3b is interpretation1b.

0044 Three, what is the subject matter of phenomenology?

The answer?

Phenomenological reduction2b elucidates a subjective being1bwhat the noumenon1a must be1b, capable of serving as an intersubjective being1b.  Intersubjective beings1b are curious creatures, since they simultaneously appeal to a suprasubjective perspective-level realm (a God’s eye view) and a consensus-driven content-level (a human’s eye view).  Thus, an intersubjective being1b may appear to be mind independent, despite its mind dependence.

Phenomenological reduction2b succeeds when its noumenon1b is regarded as mind independent and enters the slot for the noumenon1a, thereby creating novel conditions where phenomena1a can objectify their noumenon1a(1b).  A second-order social empirio-schematic inquiry2a follows.

0045 Once a social science takes off with a community of inquirers3a, the noumenon1a(1b) displays a life of its own.  A new Positivist judgment unfolds.  Husserl’s project is no longer capable of virtually situating this particular Positivist’s judgment.

How so?

Why is phenomenology3b needed when a noumenon1a(1b) [can be objectified as] its phenomena1a?

Figure 09

Looking at John Perez Vargas, Johan Nieto Bravo and Juan Santamaria Rodriguez’s Essay (2020) “Hermeneutics and Phenomenology in… Social Sciences Research” (Part 13 of 18)

0046 Test four.

Is there a role for hermeneutics in research in the social sciences?

0047 One opportunity is suggested at the end of the prior blog.

Let me go through a simple example.

I start with a mind-independent noumenon, named “methyl-salicylic acid”.  This chemical, when ingested, produces certain phenomena1a that may be observed and measured2a according to a pharmacological science2a.

0048 Here is a picture of the relevant hands-on natural science.

Figure 10

0049 This feature of modern living1a may be situated by Husserl’s project3b.

Figure 11

0050 The noumenon1b is “aspirin”.

Aspirin1b is a subjective being1b that is objectified by its phenomena1a.  The subjective becomes intersubjective, especially with the proper marketing.  This intersubjective being1b commands consensus, to the extent that it1b seems to be suprasubjective, that is, mind independent (in principle, rather than in instance).  Then, if the consensus permits, this noumenon1b overlays the originating noumenon1a, triggering the construction of a novel social science2a, investigating phenomena1a that objectify this noumenon1a(1b).

Figure 12

0051 The hypothetical journal, Innovations in Aspirin, publishes research articles2a examining a wide variety of topics concerning the uses (and abuses) of aspirin1a(1b).  Each article reports2a and models2a phenomena1a that objectify a novel social noumenon1a(1b).


Looking at John Perez Vargas, Johan Nieto Bravo and Juan Santamaria Rodriguez’s Essay (2020) “Hermeneutics and Phenomenology in… Social Sciences Research” (Part 14 of 18)

0052 Perez Vargas, Nieto Bravo and Santamaria Rodriguez argue that hermeneutics3b must play a role in the social sciences3a.  The authors provide three implicit forms2b that increase the potential for interpretation1b.  These forms constitute a hermeneutical reduction2b for novel social empirical sciences3a, such as the hypothetical discipline of aspirin studies2a.

0053 Here is a diagram.

Figure 13

Looking at John Perez Vargas, Johan Nieto Bravo and Juan Santamaria Rodriguez’s Essay (2020) “Hermeneutics and Phenomenology in… Social Sciences Research” (Part 15 of 18)

0054 The authors propose three implicit forms2b that increase the potential for interpretation1b of a content-level social science.  They present the forms according to their Latin names.

0055 One, subtilitas intelligendi is the form of understanding attributed to aspirin studies.

May I translate into English with the term, “subtle intelligence”?

Does aspirin1a relieve headaches1a?  Or is headache relief1a a phenomenon1a of the intersubjective being, aspirin1a(1b)?  Does intelligibility flow from the phenomena1a into the noumenon1a(1b) or the other way around?

0056 Two, subtilitas explancandi asks, “What models2a can be built by observations and measurements2a of the phenomena1a of aspirin1a(1b)?

The more convincing the models2a are and the more that the noumenon1a(1b) is objectified by its phenomena1a, the more suprasubjective (mind-independent from a God’s eye view) the intersubjective (consensus commanded from a human point of view) being appears.

0057 Three, subtilitas applicandi asks, “What type of results may accrue by applying2b or challenging2b the models2b?”

Of course, the simplest challenge for this example is the placebo.  What are effects of the ingestion of a pill flavored with citric acid and labeled as aspirin?  The placebo effect is the phenomenon of an internalized social mediation.

A more sophisticated challenge questions the meaning, presence and message that attends to the experience of a headache and its pharmacological… er… apparently magical… resolution by taking an aspirin.


Looking at John Perez Vargas, Johan Nieto Bravo and Juan Santamaria Rodriguez’s Essay (2020) “Hermeneutics and Phenomenology in… Social Sciences Research” (Part 16 of 18)

0058 Subtle intelligence, explanation and application2b virtually situate the content-level of hands-on social science3a.

These three forms, which may be labeled, “hermeneutical reduction2b“, acknowledge the conviction3a that the phenomenologically elucidated noumenon1a(1b) is objectified by its phenomena1a.

The problem is the word, “subtle”.

Hermeneutical reduction2b offends the attitude of the positivist intellect3a.  It2b offends the social science positivist intellect3a even more, because it highlights the initial metaphysical… or shall I say… alchemic substitution of a mind-dependent being for a mind-independent entity.  The noumenon1a(1b) of a social science is intersubjective.  Situation-level intersubjective beings1b appeal to both the perspectivec and contenta levels of a three-level interscope.

0059 Ah, alchemy is already in play in the social sciences.

Even before the articulation of phenomenology3b by Edmund Husserl (1859-1938 AD), phenomenological reduction2b is practiced by the nascent social sciences3a of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.  Even after Husserl3b proposes the methods of phenomenological reduction2b, most social scientists do not recognize it as foundational.


Husserl’s project3b disappears as soon as a social science2a is recognized as viable.  By the time a particular consensusregisters among social scientists in general, the particular noumenon1a(1b) already has a specialized community3a devoted to an empirio-schematic inquiry2a of its phenomena1a.  The originating phenomenological reduction2b has completed its task and no longer occupies the situation level.

0060 What does this imply?

Phenomenology3b situates the natural empirical sciences2a, where the noumenon1a is a mind-independent being.

Phenomenology3b elucidates noumena1a(b), whose phenomena1a are studied by novel and social sciences3a.  These noumena1b are intersubjective beings1b that are treated as if they are mind-independent beings1a.  As such, these noumena1a(1b) [can be objectified as] their phenomena1a.

0061 How can phenomenology3b be applied again to these second-order content-level hands-on sciences?

Can phenomenology3b virtually situate its own creation3a?


Looking at John Perez Vargas, Johan Nieto Bravo and Juan Santamaria Rodriguez’s Essay (2020) “Hermeneutics and Phenomenology in… Social Sciences Research” (Part 17 of 18)

0062 Can a situation-level hermeneutics3b apply to the social sciences3a in the same way that phenomenology3b virtually situates the natural sciences3a?

If John Jiaro Perez Vargas, Johan Andres Nieto Bravo and Juan Esteban Santamaria Rodriguez are correct, then hermeneutical methods2b may situate these social empirio-schematic judgments2a.

0063 Yet, it is unlikely that these social sciences2a will acquiesce to the potential of interpretation1b.

First, the rule of the positivist intellect3a remains, even though compromised by an originating phenomenological intervention.

Second, hermeneutical reduction2b interrogates the noumenon1a(1b)the intersubjective being1b that conditions the consensus3a that performs empirio-schematic inquiry2a, threatening to reveal the phenomenologically generated nature of what is taken to be mind independent1a(1b).


Looking at John Perez Vargas, Johan Nieto Bravo and Juan Santamaria Rodriguez’s Essay (2020) “Hermeneutics and Phenomenology in… Social Sciences Research” (Part 18 of 18)

0064 So concludes this examination of an article published by three enterprising faculty at the Universidad Santo Tomas, Columbia.  The full title of their article is, “Hermeneutics and Phenomenology in Human and Social Sciences Research”.  The article is found in Civilizar: Cienceas Sociales y Humanas (volume 20(38), 2020, 137 to 146, DOI: https//doi.org/10.22518/jour.ccsh./2020.1a10).  Again, I thank the authors for presenting in English.

0065 This article serves as a testing ground for arguments raised in prior reveries and commentaries on articles concerning phenomenology.

0066 The e-works, available at smashwords and other electronic e-book vendors, belong to the series, Phenomenology and the Positivist Intellect.  They are here listed, along with this examination, which appears in April 2022 in the blog at www.raziemah.com.

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”

Comments on Jack Reynolds’ Book (2018) “Phenomenology, Naturalism and Science”

Looking at John Perez Vargas, Johan Nieto Bravo and Juan Santamaria Rodriguez’s Essay (2020) “Hermeneutics and Phenomenology in… Social Sciences Research” (www.raziemah.com, April 2022 blog)

0067 Testing ground?

These commentaries contain particular category-based nested forms, interscopes and judgments, constructed from (or in reverie to) the essay and book under consideration.  These synthetic structures are abductions, constructed on Peircean frames.

So, what to do with a guess?

Test it.

0068 A full list of e-articles and blogs concerning the series, Phenomenology and the Positivist Intellect, is available on this blog for the date: May 3, 2022.


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 Jack Reynolds’ Book (2018) “Phenomenology, Naturalism and Science” (Part 2 of 3)

0007 There is something funny about the last blog.

Phenomenology3b virtually situates hands-on natural science3a by bracketing out the empirio-schematic judgment2a and asking phenomena, “What must the noumenon1a be1b?”

Visionary science2b virtually situates hands-on natural science3a by unfolding the empirio-schematic judgment2a into a situation-level nested form, where the normal context of disciplinary language3b brings the actuality of mathematical and mechanicals models2b into relation with the potential of observations and measurements1b.

0008 Phenomenology3b faces the delicate task of framing its identification of what the noumenon1a must be1b without using metaphysical terms.  Why?  The content-level normal context, the positivist intellect3a has a rule that says, “Metaphysics is not allowed.”

What else is not allowed?

Common sense.

0009 Visionary science3b says that the model2b is what the noumenon1a must be2b.  The goal is to replace the thing itself1a.

For example, a bird in flight1a flaps its wings1a.

The bird in flight is a noumenon, a thing itself1a.  The flapping-wings are phenomena1a, observable and measurable facets of the thing itself1a.  The idea2a that the flapping wings resist gravity models2a the resulting observations and measurements2a.  Plus, the idea2a must be properly configured according to the disciplinary language of physics2a.  Gravity is part of that model.

0010 The visionary scientist then boldy situates the above example as a facet of this grand law2b, the law of gravity2b, which determines laboratory observations of birds in flight1b, and therefore becomes the thing itself1a(2b).  Now, birds in flight1a are phenomena1a that objectify what the noumenon1a must be2b (that is, gravity2b.)

0011 The phenomenologist takes a completely different path, using phenomenological reduction2b to bracket out the empirio-schematic judgment2a in order to intuitively assess what the noumenon1a must be1b.  This is how Husserl returns to the noumenon1b.

Ideally (or I should say, “transcendentally”) phenomenological reduction2b regards phenomena1a, the observable and measurable facets1a of the thing itself1a, without science-work2a in mind at all (except for the positivist intellect3a saying, “No metaphysics.”).

0012 Try the exercise.  Imagine the flapping-wings business, not as a way to resist gravity, but as a way to use something in order to survive.  Oh, bracket out even that.  What do the flapping wings, the tucked in feet, and the determination of the bird say to me?  The bird in flight is embodied, enactive, enchanting and entertaining.  Now, fix the consciousness in order to identify what the noumenon1a must be1b.

Does the word, “sail”, come to mind.

Wings are to birds as sails are to boats?

0012 As soon as wings are sails, then the phenomenologist walks out of the room and the hands-on natural scientist says, “Hey, did you hear that?  What an excellent idea.  Let us model the phenomena of flapping wings as sails, instead of things that resist gravity.”

0013 Meanwhile, some visionary scientist stands at a podium, accepting an award for A Visionary Application of Science,from the Academy of Important and Tenured Figureheads, for his declaration that gravity is a noumenon1a(2b) and birds in flight are its phenomena1a.


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

0013 Comments on Jack Reynolds’ Book (2018) “Phenomenology, Naturalism and Science”, is available at smashwords and other e-book venues.

How do I find the work?

Search for Razie Mah and the series, Phenomenology and the Positivist Intellect.

Here are some lessons.

Visionary science virtually situates hands-on natural science.

Phenomenology virtually situates hands-on natural science.

Phenomenology and visionary science are at odds.

Phenomenology hinders visionary science from completing its self-anointed task.

There is something funny, dramatic, and wonderful about the insights that phenomenology offers.

The category-based nested form and the triadic structure of judgment allow the inquirer to explore Peircean implications of Jack Reynolds’ book.  What a tale these implications tell.