Date: Thursday, January 19th, 2017
Time: 4:30pm - 6:00pm
Location: Berger Gallery (207 College Hall), Duquesne University
Title: Phenomenology as a Way of Life
Presenter: Dr. Jeffrey McCurry, Director of the Simon Silverman Phenomenology Center at Duquesne University
Philosophy as a way of life, not just a theoretical or cognitive discourse, has been receiving renewed attention over recent decades, through the work of thinkers like Foucault, Hadot, and Nehamas. I want to ask whether phenomenology, in thinkers like Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, and Sartre, can also be fruitfully viewed as a philosophy of life. That is, is there something about phenomenology as a kind of discourse that is itself therapeutic, i.e. an agent of existential change? Phenomenology can come to be seen as therapeutic, as a way of life meant not only to describe and clarify the essence of our experience but also to transform our experience, when it is put into conversation with two other discourses roughly contemporary with it in the culture of modernism: the discourse of Freud's psychoanalysis, and the discourses and artifacts of modernist fine art in figures like Joyce, Woolf, Picasso, and Schoenberg. Phenomenology comes to light as a modernist, existential, therapeutic project that is part of the broader project of cultural modernism.
Dr. Jeffrey McCurry is the Director of the Simon Silverman Phenomenology Center at Duquesne University, where he is also an Affiliated Faculty Member of the Department of Philosophy. He has published and presented in the U.S. and internationally on phenomenology of religion, modernism, psychoanalysis, the philosophy and religion of Augustine, and the literature of Joyce, Woolf, and Sebald. He is currently working on a book entitled Phenomenology as a Way of Life: Psychoanalysis, the Fine Arts, and Philosophy in the Culture of Modernism.