The Oxford Handbook of Phenomenologies and Organization Studies 0192865757, 9780192865755

Phenomenological approaches to Management and Organization Studies offer a means to problematize 'appearances'

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The Oxford Handbook of Phenomenologies and Organization Studies
 0192865757, 9780192865755

Table of contents :
Cover Page
Half Title
Title Page
List of Figures and Tables
List of Contributors
Introduction—Phenomenologies and Organization Studies: Organizing Through and Beyond Appearances
1. Tracing Phenomenological Sensibilities in Continental and Post-​Continental Philosophies
2. Husserl: Reason and Emotions in Philosophy
3. Heidegger, Organization, and Care
4. Gaston Bachelard and the Phenomenology of the Imagination
5. From Phenomenology to a Metaphysics of History: The Unfinished Odyssey of Merleau-​Ponty
6. Phenomenology and the Multidimensionality of the Body
7. The Self in the World: The Hermeneutic Phenomenology of Paul Ricoeur
8. Phenomenology and the Political Philosophy of Hannah Arendt
9. Experience as an Excess of Givenness: The Post-​Metaphysical Phenomenology of Jean-​Luc Marion
10. Extending and Discontinuing Phenomenology with Michel Henry
11. Foucault and Phenomenology, a Tense and Complex Relationship: From Anti-​Phenomenology to Post-​Phenomenology
12. On the Way to Experience with the Phenomenological Venture of Management and Organization: A Literature Review
13. ‘In the Future, as Robots Become More Widespread’: A Phenomenological Approach to Imaginary Technologies in Healthcare Organizations
14. Max Scheler’s Phenomenology of Personalism and Paradox: Implications for Leadership Relations
15. At the Crossroad of Phenomenology and Feminist New Materialism: A Diffractive Reading of Embodiment
16. Bachelard’s Backdoor to Happy Business School Phenomenology
17. Exploring the Role of Bodies and Gestures in Management with Merleau-​Ponty
18. Queering Organizational Appearances through Reclaiming the Erotic
19. Animal Ontologies: Phenomenological Insights for Posthumanist Research
20. ‘How about a Hug?’: Aesthetic of Organizational Experience and Phenomenologies
21. Is the Phenomenal Difference of the Entrepreneurial Event Opening on Its Repetition?
22. The Process of Depth: Temporality as Organization in Cinematographic Experience
23. Organization as Autopoietic ‘Understanding’?: Whitehead, Merleau-​Ponty, and the Speculative Promise of a Process Phenomenology for MOS
24. What Silence Does: An Arendtian Analysis of Quaker Meeting Practices
25. Tuning into Things: Sensing the Role of Place in an Emerging Alternative Urban Community
26. Embodied Perception and the Schemed World: Merleau-​Ponty and John Dewey
27. Enframing and Transformation: Serequeberhan’s African Phenomenological Approach
28. Phenomenology in Japan: A Brief History with a Focus on Its Reception in Applied Areas
29. Organ-​izing Embodied Practices of Common(-​ing) and Enfleshed Con-​vivialities: Perspectives on the Tragicomedy of the Commons
30. It’s All Method: Schmitz and Neo-​Phenomenology
31. Squatters and the Willing Suspension of Disbelief: Tales from the Occupied Theatre
32. Listening to the Sounds of the Algorithm: Some Remarks on Phenomenology and the Social Studies of Finance
33. Producing the Organizational Space: Buddhist Temples as Co-​Working Spaces
34. Organizing Research Excellence: A Pheno-​Ethnomethodological Approach to Studying Organizational Identity at Research Centres in the Global South
35. Between Being and Becoming: Appearances and Subjectivities of Organizing
Afterword: Why and How Phenomenology Matters to Organizational Research
Postscript: An Anthropologist Lands in Phenomenology

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T h e Ox f o r d H a n d b o o k o f


The Oxford Handbook of




Great Clarendon Street, Oxford, OX2 6DP, United Kingdom Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Oxford is a registered trade mark of Oxford University Press in the UK and in certain other countries © Oxford University Press 2023 The moral rights of the authors have been asserted First Edition published in 2023 Impression: 1 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of Oxford University Press, or as expressly permitted by law, by licence or under terms agreed with the appropriate reprographics rights organization. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside the scope of the above should be sent to the Rights Department, Oxford University Press, at the address above You must not circulate this work in any other form and you must impose this same condition on any acquirer Published in the United States of America by Oxford University Press 198 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, United States of America British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Data available Library of Congress Control Number: 2022940758 ISBN 978–​0–​19–​286575–​5 DOI: 10.1093/​oxfordhb/​9780192865755.001.0001 Printed and bound in the UK by TJ Books Limited Links to third party websites are provided by Oxford in good faith and for information only. Oxford disclaims any responsibility for the materials contained in any third party website referenced in this work.

Preface Hartmut Rosa

At first glance, it would appear that Management and Organization Studies (MOS) are the least likely places to attract the attention of phenomenologists—​or, vice versa, to profit from and thrive on phenomenological accounts. In short, it would appear that these two fields of study are mutually deaf to each other; if not straightforwardly incompatible, then at least incommensurable. The reason for this is that in the social sciences as well in the humanities, there are, generally speaking, two paradigmatic ways of looking at processes, institutions, and events: One is from the outside, from a third person perspective, i.e. from a perspective in which the observer stands apart from what is observed and remains, as much as possible, unaffected by what she observes. The other is from the inside, from a first person perspective. Here, the observer takes the impressions, affections, and intentions that connect her with the observed phenomena precisely as the starting point for social or philosophical analysis. This analysis, then, of course needs to be intersubjectively and dialogically discussed and validated. This latter approach is called ‘phenomenology’, and as this book makes very clear from its title as well as from its contents, there are many different versions of construing and pursuing such an approach, which is why the editors aptly speak of ‘phenomenologies’ in the plural. Now, the main thrust of MOS generally follows a third person perspective approach, frequently modelled on the natural sciences, trying to produce and analyse models and data that can stand the test of hard sciences. Yet, if we try to really understand what is going on in organizational life, in managerial action, and in the fabrication, change, and devolution of institutions, we quickly realize that we cannot simply do away with the embodied inside, with the first person perspective. Organizations would be ‘dead structures’, devoid of any action without the acting subjects as centres of experience: It is their motivational energy—​it is their hopes and fears, aspirations and inclinations, perceptions and affections—​that ultimately serves as the motor and fuel of institutional life. Hence, we need some sort of hermeneutical or phenomenological reconstruction of these hopes and fears, attractions and repulsions if we want to fully capture the inner logics of organizations; not just of how they work, but also of where, when, and how they fail to work properly.

vi   Preface Alas, as every sociologist will be quick to point out: it would be completely wrong to rely on the inside, on agents’ intentional, motivational, and affective stance and states alone, because we know by now pretty well that these states and stances are strongly influenced, shaped, and moulded by organizational rules, routines, and processes, by institutionalized expectations and temporalities, etc. Hence, what is needed is a form of ‘perspectival dualism’ (to borrow a term from Nancy Fraser1) that allows us to go about organizations from both sides simultaneously. In this way, we can gain valid insights into the multiple, embodied, and material as well as cognitional and intellectual forms in which the inside and the outside shape, mould, and transform each other. Such insights are all the more called for in times of heightened social acceleration and progressive digitalization, when steady organizational transformation has become an institutionalized requirement. It is important to note here that this dualism is perspectival, it does not contradict the phenomenological insight, stressed by the editors in their introduction to this volume, that the strict separation between an inside and an outside world is itself highly questionable. Quite the contrary, it is only when we realize that both perspectives ultimately need to be integrated into one account of ‘the world’, or of social life, that we become capable of reconstructing the myriad ways in which what is perceived as the inside and the outside resonate with and thus mutually co-​constitute each other. By consequence, what is dearly needed in Management and Organizational Studies are approaches that put phenomenologies to work within and for the analysis of organizational life and formation. The most difficult challenge thereby is the task to transform philosophical ideas and concepts into workable instruments to actually embark on empirical analyses; the task to develop something akin to an empirical phenomenological methodology for the social sciences. This Handbook does not claim to be a unified textbook for such empirical research. But it opens up a most impressive and most inspiring multiplicity of routes to get there; it provides ample evidence for the enormous fertility of phenomenological approaches to MOS, and for the power of phenomenological approaches to gain new insights into the ‘inner’ logics of organizational life. The book makes it beautifully clear that phenomenology as a method is not about taking subjective experience as rock bottom evidence, but as contextual evidence the validity of which can be assessed by detracting the ‘merely subjective’ from the more generalizable elements of such experience. Thus in the end, after reading through the multifaceted texts assembled here, it turns out that there could hardly be a more suitable field to explore the need and the possibility of connecting the two perspectives, the inside and the outside of social life, than the study of Management and Organization.

1  Fraser coins the term for a quite different context, i.e. in the debate with Axel Honneth where she seeks to combine the claim for redistribution with the struggle for recognition (Nancy Fraser and Axel Honneth, Redistribution of Recognition? A Political-​Philosophical Exchange, London: Verso 2004, pp. 63−6).


List of Figures and Tables  List of Contributors  Introduction—Phenomenologies and Organization Studies: Organizing Through and Beyond Appearances  François-​Xavier de Vaujany, Jeremy Aroles, and Mar Pérezts

xiii xv 1

PA RT I   P H E N OM E N OL O G I E S A N D B E YON D : OR IG I N S , E X T E N SION S , A N D DI S C ON T I N U I T I E S 1. Tracing Phenomenological Sensibilities in Continental and Post-​Continental Philosophies  Jean-​Baptiste Fournier


2. Husserl: Reason and Emotions in Philosophy  Elen Riot


3. Heidegger, Organization, and Care  Robin Holt


4. Gaston Bachelard and the Phenomenology of the Imagination  Michèle Charbonneau


5. From Phenomenology to a Metaphysics of History: The Unfinished Odyssey of Merleau-​Ponty  François-​Xavier de Vaujany 6. Phenomenology and the Multidimensionality of the Body  Erol Čopelj and Jack Reynolds

97 123

viii   Contents

7. The Self in the World: The Hermeneutic Phenomenology of Paul Ricoeur  Paul Savage and Henrika Franck 8. Phenomenology and the Political Philosophy of Hannah Arendt  Lucie Chartouny 9. Experience as an Excess of Givenness: The Post-​Metaphysical Phenomenology of Jean-​Luc Marion  Sara Mandray 10. Extending and Discontinuing Phenomenology with Michel Henry  Eric Faÿ and Ghislain Deslandes 11. Foucault and Phenomenology, a Tense and Complex Relationship: From Anti-​Phenomenology to Post-​Phenomenology  Aurélie Leclercq-​Vandelannoitte

146 161

180 194


PA RT I I   T H E E X P E R I E N C E OF ORG A N I Z I N G : E M B ODI M E N T, ROB OT S , A N D A F F E C T S I N A DIG I TA L WOR L D 12. On the Way to Experience with the Phenomenological Venture of Management and Organization: A Literature Review  Leo Bancou, François-​Xavier de Vaujany, Mar Pérezts, and Jeremy Aroles


13. ‘In the Future, as Robots Become More Widespread’: A Phenomenological Approach to Imaginary Technologies in Healthcare Organizations  Jaana Parviainen and Anne Koski


14. Max Scheler’s Phenomenology of Personalism and Paradox: Implications for Leadership Relations  Leah Tomkins


15. At the Crossroad of Phenomenology and Feminist New Materialism: A Diffractive Reading of Embodiment  310 Silvia Gherardi 16. Bachelard’s Backdoor to Happy Business School Phenomenology  Pierre Guillet de Monthoux, Matilda Dahl, and Jenny Helin


Contents   ix

17. Exploring the Role of Bodies and Gestures in Management with Merleau-​Ponty  Albane Grandazzi


18. Queering Organizational Appearances through Reclaiming the Erotic  Mar Pérezts and Emmanouela Mandalaki


19. Animal Ontologies: Phenomenological Insights for Posthumanist Research  Géraldine Paring


20. ‘How about a Hug?’: Aesthetic of Organizational Experience and Phenomenologies  Antonio Strati


PA RT I I I   E V E N T S A N D ORG A N I Z I N G : AC C E L E R AT ION , DI SRU P T ION S , A N D DE C E N T R I N G OF M A NAG E M E N T 21. Is the Phenomenal Difference of the Entrepreneurial Event Opening on Its Repetition?  Xavier Deroy


22. The Process of Depth: Temporality as Organization in Cinematographic Experience  François-​Xavier de Vaujany


23. Organization as Autopoietic ‘Understanding’?: Whitehead, Merleau-​Ponty, and the Speculative Promise of a Process Phenomenology for MOS  Andrew Kirkpatrick


24. What Silence Does: An Arendtian Analysis of Quaker Meeting Practices  Lucas Introna, Donncha Kavanagh, and Martin Brigham


25. Tuning into Things: Sensing the Role of Place in an Emerging Alternative Urban Community  Boukje Cnossen


26. Embodied Perception and the Schemed World: Merleau-​Ponty and John Dewey  Sun Ning


x   Contents

27. Enframing and Transformation: Serequeberhan’s African Phenomenological Approach  Abraham Olivier


28. Phenomenology in Japan: A Brief History with a Focus on Its Reception in Applied Areas  Genki Uemura


PA RT I V   TO G E T H E R N E S S , M E M ORY, A N D I N ST RUM E N T S : A L G OR I T H M S , G E ST U R E S , A N D M A RG I NA L I T Y I N ORG A N I Z I N G 29. Organ-​izing Embodied Practices of Common(-​ing) and Enfleshed Con-​vivialities: Perspectives on the Tragicomedy of the Commons  Wendelin Küpers 30. It’s All Method: Schmitz and Neo-​Phenomenology  Lydia Jørgensen

575 602

31. Squatters and the Willing Suspension of Disbelief: Tales from the Occupied Theatre  Mickael Peiro


32. Listening to the Sounds of the Algorithm: Some Remarks on Phenomenology and the Social Studies of Finance  Marc Lenglet


33. Producing the Organizational Space: Buddhist Temples as Co-​Working Spaces  Tadashi Uda


34. Organizing Research Excellence: A Pheno-​Ethnomethodological Approach to Studying Organizational Identity at Research Centres in the Global South  Juan Felipe Espinosa-​Cristia and Nicolás Trujillo-​Osorio


PA RT V   C ON C LU SION 35. Between Being and Becoming: Appearances and Subjectivities of Organizing  699 François-​Xavier de Vaujany, Jeremy Aroles, and Mar Pérezts

Contents   xi

Afterword: Why and How Phenomenology Matters to Organizational Research  Haridimos Tsoukas Postscript: An Anthropologist Lands in Phenomenology  Tim Ingold Index 

707 719 725

Figures and Tables Figures I.1 Five trends in the history of continental philosophy


I.2 From pre-​phenomenologies to ante-​phenomenologies and beyond


I.3 Overall logic of our edited book


3.1 William Holman Hunt, The Awakening Conscience (1853)


12.1 Research articles with ‘phenomenology’ published each year in first circle of MOS journals


12.2 Research articles with ‘phenomenology’ published each year in second circle of MOS journals


12.3 Network mapping of ‘phenomenology’ related scholars (citations) in first circle of MOS journals


12.4 Network mapping of ‘phenomenology’ related scholars (citations) in second circle of MOS journals


20.1 Antonio Strati, Homage to Giorgio de Chirico: The Metaphysical Embrace (2021) 397 24.1 Quaker Meeting House in Epping


Tables I.1 Authors and Concepts Selected in This Handbook


I.2 Structure of This Handbook


7.1 The mimetic cycle


12.1 Number of articles per phenomenologist (mentions) in first circle of MOS journals


12.2 Number of articles per phenomenologist (mentions) in second circle of MOS journals


xiv   Figures and Tables 21.1 Non-​orthodox phenomenological approaches of the event


22.1 Three features of depth in The Name of the Rose 457 22.A Interviews with Jean-​Jacques Annaud about The Name of the Rose 459 31.1 Data collection and number of participations



Jeremy Aroles Senior Lecturer in Organisation Studies at the University of York Management School, York, UK Leo Bancou  PhD Candidate at DRM, Université Paris Dauphine-​PSL, Paris, France Martin Brigham  Senior Lecturer in Organization Studies at Lancaster University, UK Michèle Charbonneau Professor at ENAP (École nationale d’administration publique), Quebec, Canada Lucie Chartouny PhD Candidate at DRM, Université Paris Dauphine-​ PSL, Paris, France Boukje Cnossen Professor of Entrepreneurship, Organization, and Culture at the Institute of Management and Organization at Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany Erol Čopelj  Independent Researcher, Australia Matilda Dahl  Associate Professor at the Department of Business Studies, Uppsala University, Visby, Sweden Pierre Guillet de Monthoux  Professor at the Stockholm School of Economics (SSE) and the Copenhagen Business School (CBS), Stockholm, Sweden Xavier Deroy  Professor of Strategy & Organization Studies, NEOMA Business School, Rouen, France Ghislain Deslandes Professor at ESCP Business School, Department of Law, Economics and Humanities, France François-​Xavier de Vaujany  Professor in Management and Organization Studies at DRM, Université Paris Dauphine-​PSL, Paris, France Juan Felipe Espinosa-​Cristia Professor at Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María, Chile Eric Faÿ  Emeritus Professor at Emlyon Business School, Ecully, France Jean-​Baptiste Fournier Associate Professor of Philosophy, Sorbonne University, Paris, France

xvi   Contributors Henrika Franck  Dean at Arcada UAS; Affiliated Professor, Åbo Akademi University, Finland Silvia Gherardi  Senior Professor, Sociology department, Università di Trento, Italy Albane Grandazzi  Assistant Professor of Organization Studies at Grenoble Ecole de Management (GEM), Grenoble, France Jenny Helin Associate Professor at the Department of Business Studies, Uppsala University, Visby, Sweden Robin Holt  Professor of Organization Studies at the Copenhagen Business School (CBS), Denmark Tim Ingold Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK Lucas Introna Distinguished Professor of Organisation, Technology, and Ethics, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK Lydia Jørgensen Postdoc at Department of Sociology and Cultural Organization, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany; and Lecturer the Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy, Copenhagen Business School (CBS) Copenhagen, Denmark Donncha Kavanagh  Full Professor of Information & Organisation, UCD College of Business, University College Dublin, Ireland Andrew Kirkpatrick  Academic Tutor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia Anne Koski  Political Scientist and Senior Research Fellow at Tampere University, the Faculty of Social Sciences, Finland Wendelin Küpers  Professor of Leadership and Organization Studies, Karlshochschule International University, Karlsruhe, Germany & ARTEM & ICN Business School Nancy, France Aurélie Leclercq-​Vandelannoitte CNRS (LEM UMR CNRS 9221), IESEG of Management, University of Lille, France Marc Lenglet Associate Professor, Strategy and Entrepreneurship Department, NEOMA Business School, France Emmanouela Mandalaki  Associate Reims, France






Sara Mandray  PhD Candidate at ESCP Business School, Paris, France Sun Ning Associate Professor of School of Philosophy, Fudan University, Shanghai, China

Contributors   xvii Abraham Olivier  Professor of Philosophy at the Department of Philosophy, University of Fort Hare and Visiting Professor at the Department of Philosophy, Bayreuth University Géraldine Paring  Associate Professor, Paris School of Business, Paris, France Jaana Parviainen  Associate Professor, Senior Researcher, Faculty of Social Sciences, Tampere University, Finland Mickael Peiro  Assistant Castres, France




Sabatier—​ LGCO,


Mar Pérezts  Professor of Philosophy and Organization at Emlyon Business School & OCE Research Center, Ecully, France Jack Reynolds  Professor of Philosophy, Deakin University, Australia Elen Riot Associate Professor in Strategy and Entrepreneurship, Université de Reims, France Hartmut Rosa  Professor of Sociology at Friedrich-​Schiller Universität, Institut für Soziologie Paul Savage  University Teacher, Aalto University, Finland, and Affiliated Researcher, Arcada University of Applied Sciences, Finland Antonio Strati  Senior Professor, University of Trento, Italy, and Chercheur Associé, i3-​ CRG, CNRS, École Polytechnique, Institut Polytechnique de Paris Leah Tomkins  Writer and Consultant on Leadership and Organisational Change Nicolás Trujillo-​Osorio Post-​doc Researcher and Lecturer at Universidad Alberto Hurtado. Lecturer at Universidad Adolfo Ibañez (Chile) Haridimos Tsoukas  Distinguished Research Environment Professor of Organization Behavior, Warwick Business School, UK Tadashi Uda  Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at Faculty of Economics and Business, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan Genki Uemura Associate Professor, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Okayama University, Japan


Phenomenol o g i e s a nd Organiz ation St u di e s Organizing Through and Beyond Appearances François-​X avier de Vaujany, Jeremy Aroles, and Mar Pérezts

I.1  Why Phenomenologies and Why Now? . . . something concealed comes into unconcealment. (Heidegger, 1977a: 11) In every phase of metaphysics there has been visible at any particular time a portion of a way that the destining of Being prepares as a path for itself . . . (Heidegger, 1977b: 54)

The exploration of phenomenologies in the context of Management and Organization Studies (MOS) inevitably raises several questions. Indeed, many scholars would argue that, as a topic, phenomenology is rather old hat and that we are venturing on a well-​ trodden path. However, as the variety of contributions in this volume will exemplify, there are yet many ways in which phenomenological approaches can help us revivify MOS debates. By offering a means to problematize ‘appearances’ and ‘what is appearing’ in our field, phenomenological approaches may allow us to ‘see’ things in a different light, to uncover what is invisible, concealed, or hidden from our consideration by our theoretical or ideological assumptions and habits (Alvesson and Sandberg, 2011). However, it seems only fair to first humbly lend an ear to the many arguments that put phenomenology (we stress the singular form here, as its varieties and complexities are often simplistically lumped together) in the dock. We’ve thus heard that phenomenology

2    De Vaujany, Aroles, and Pérezts is ‘too humanistic’ and that ‘we need posthuman views now’. We were told that it is not ‘processual enough’, that it ‘makes materiality either a mystery or a starting point’. We were also advised that it is too focused on the issue of ‘consciousness and intentionality’, and that it is therefore too ‘dualist and Cartesian’. Not uncommon was also the remark that phenomenology is ‘distinct from pragmatism, postmodernism and process studies’, that it ‘came before or incidentally on the way to more relevant metaphysics or ontologies’. Such occasions are key instances in which the philosophical attitude of phenomenology can be put to practice. In our discussions on phenomenology, we also met numerous scholars stressing the ante-​phenomenological stance of some leading contemporary philosophers such as Cobb, Deleuze, Foucault, or Latour. Phenomenology would be ‘out of the scope of speculative realism and the kind of metaphysics we need now’. Other colleagues also stressed the absence of instruments, techniques, governance, and management at large in phenomenological discussions. The list could probably continue but, in short, phenomenology would be outdated, something worth archiving in the museum of old ideas. In light of these numerous critiques and this hesitancy, asking what phenomenology has to say about contemporary issues at stake in MOS seems like a daring, yet important, endeavour, and not only within some closed specialized circles. To open up the debate, let us consider for a moment Figure I.1. This figure shows the surprising vitality of phenomenology, and even a kind of second life from the 1990s onwards. This corresponds to a period of major ruptures from technical (birth and diffusion of Internet), geopolitical (end of a bipolar world), economic (mutation of our economic crises), and societal (connected society) worldviews. Of course, these trends need to be interpreted cautiously, since Ngram viewer focuses on a corpus of books (and here on the English-​speaking community only). Yet, it is an interesting first sign on our way to showing that phenomenologies are not exactly disappearing, but faithful to their etymology—​from the Greek word phainomenon (φαινόμενον): of that which appears—​continue to be a relevant path to study the things

0.000650% 0.000600% 0.000550% 0.000500% 0.000450% 0.000400% 0.000350% 0.000300% 0.000250% 0.000200% 0.000150%

0.000100% 0.000050% 0.000000% 1800


Phenomonology Postmodernism Progmatism Process philosophy 1820










Figure I.1  Five trends in the history of continental philosophy (Ngram viewer)

Phenomenologies and Organization Studies    3 and events that appear to us (Zahavi, 2018a). But what is this ‘us’, and what are these ‘things’ and ‘events’? Most phenomenological, and even post-​ phenomenological, approaches make of that point a question of transparency (1) and reversibility (2). First, these appearances are a transparency in the sense that we are just in the world, inside it, and inside what we do. The world is immanent and immediate (instead of mediated by something), just like our actions and our place in this world. This is what Henry calls ipseity, the ontological passivity whereby life is received, leading to the immanence of our self-​affection, which hasn’t been ‘perverted by the eye’ (Henry, [1963] 2011: 800) and other objectification practices or devices. Put differently, our own presence in what we do is unquestioned, and it is precisely its ‘invisibility’ that allows us to become intelligible to ourselves and to others (Marion, 2012). It is Heidegger’s ([1927] 1962: 79−90) famous Dasein or Merleau-​Ponty’s ([1945] 2013: part 3) être au monde, which also stress this immediateness or obviousness of our being in the present. Imagine for a moment when, sometimes, something goes wrong. Our smartphone takes a minute longer to respond than we expected. A friend behaves erratically. A person in the underground is aggressive and breaks social conventions. Such unexpected events, however small or insignificant, make something inside of us snap and we are suddenly ‘awakened’. At this point, the world recovers all of its overwhelming texture and density. This ‘us’ as well as all the events outside us are distinctively and agentively present. We feel precisely where we are, what we can and cannot do. Our corporeal capabilities are thus revealed in the tensions, affects, and all the movements of the situation that are received by our ontological passivity as a transparency. Second, an appearance can also be a reversibility. As suggested by Husserl ([1912] 1989, [1913] 1989) and extended by Merleau-​Ponty ([1945] 2013: 251−89, 1964), reversibility is a way to stress the importance of experience at large beyond the ‘us’ and the ‘events’. Common sense often views perception as the relationship (and isomorphism) between someone perceiving and something perceived as distinct. However, most phenomenological and post-​phenomenological approaches (we will clarify this distinction very soon) radically question this divide. Following Husserl’s depiction of two hands grasping one another, Merleau-​Ponty ([1961] 1964) emphasizes that, phenomenologically, it is not possible to distinguish which hand is touching the other. There is a ‘functional unity’ in the experience of touching; both hands reversibly touch one another. The world, as an appearance, is in-​between; it is relational (Letiche, 2006). This questions the very distinction between a world inside and a world outside. The world is as much inside ‘us’ as it is outside ‘us’. I feel the brightness of the screen or the plastic tactility of the keyboard in front of me. I am inhabited by their possibilities (except, again, until something unexpected happens and disrupts the flow of events and perception). In turn, the keyboard is covered by all my intentionalities, all the events my presence could trigger. I am even materially in the keyboard, which becomes almost a cyborg extension of myself when my thoughts are pouring frantically onto it to be put into writing. The position, a few inches away from my chair, is that of my body typing. The keyboard, the screen, and the chair follow the imprint of my past physical presence out there, ‘melting me’ with the world.

4    De Vaujany, Aroles, and Pérezts Of course, consciousness as an embodied instance always involved in the ‘network of my intentionalities’ (Merleau-​Ponty, [1945] 2013) is an important aspect of appearances, of how things, events, and selves jointly come into presence for a subjectivity settled by events themselves. Yet, most phenomenologies also open a space and time for instruments (Simondon, 1958), flesh (Henry, [1965] 1975; Lakoff & Johnson, 1999), what is produced in-​between events (Merleau-​Ponty, 1964), narratives (Ricoeur, 1983, 1984, 1985), and what is happening far beyond and below consciousness. Consciousness itself, as part of the potential events of the world, is much more settled by events than it is productive of them. Most phenomenologies are thus far from Cartesianism (at least the way it is often thought of) and surprisingly are even close to a form of posthumanism (if humanism is understood as the idea of a pre-​defined individual or set of agentic and rational individuals giving a perceptual centre to the world, being the main and ultimate sensors of it). Most of all, phenomenologies are not about pure contemplations of the world, introspections, or solipsism. Commenting on Henry and ‘intersubjectivity in the first person’, Jean (2011: 58) argues that ‘what others say, express and do [ . . . ] is [ . . . ] “co-​ born in me,” in such a way that I become “contemporaneous” with them’. This goes for both human and non-​human ‘others’ that enter into resonance with me and allow for the very possibility of my own subjectivity. Experience is very often relationally interwoven with agentivity, collective activity and affectivity, and even politics (see also Merleau-​ Ponty, [1945] 2013, 1955, 1964, on these issues). Reversibility feeds itself through being in the world and acting in/​through/​with it. But where do these ideas and in particular the two key dimensions stressed here (transparency and reversibility) come from? What is the genesis of phenomenology? Can we think of it as a homogeneous continent or is it instead a scattered or even invisible archipelago? How does it relate to other philosophies, ontologies, or metaphysics, and how? This is what we will explore in the next section of this introduction.

I.2  Scouting the Phenomenological Archipelago Explaining the genesis of phenomenology is a difficult and perilous exercise. On the way to appearances, most phenomenologists explored and discussed ontological and metaphysical issues. In the vocabulary of our field of MOS, we can say that they discussed organizing processes in and beyond appearances. Following Ricoeur (1975), it is thus tempting to distinguish a core ‘phenomenological moment’, mainly embodied by Husserl ([1912] 1989, [1913] 1963) and Heidegger ([1927] 1962), followed by numerous ‘heresies’, some of which have constituted or fed alternative philosophical movements. Another equally tempting possibility is, following Zahavi (2018a), to start the story much earlier, with Greek philosophy and later in the thought of the18th and 19th centuries (which have also partly fed the phenomenological moment).

Phenomenologies and Organization Studies    5 For the sake of clarity, and attempting to articulate and integrate the classifications proposed by Ricoeur (1975), Henry (1991), Schrift, (2010), McCumber (2014), Zahavi (2018a), and Renaudie (2020), we could distinguish five main historical streams that are related positively or negatively to phenomenology:

•​ Pre-​phenomenologies •​ A phenomenological moment (sometimes related to what is called ‘pure’, ‘classical’ or ‘orthodox’ phenomenology) •​ Post-​phenomenologies •​ Ante-​phenomenologies •​ Non-​ phenomenologies (with some points of intersection or friction with phenomenologies) Pre-​phenomenologies date back to pre-​Socratic and Socratic thoughts (Landmann, 1941; Hansen, 2012; Kontos, 2018) and pursued until the 18th and 19th centuries’ post-​ Cartesian thoughts (Zahavi, 2018a), and to some extent bear Spinozian influences. Issues of experience, subjectivity, soul-​body relationships, and history were then central. The term ‘phenomenology’ first appeared in an (unpublished) essay of Christoph Friedrich Oetinger in 1736. It was entitled Philosophie der Alten. Phenomenology is defined here as the divine science of relations, i.e. relations between things of the surface of the visible world, and not between things and their hidden causes. However, it is with Lambert ([1764] 2002) that phenomenology appeared fully as a philosophical stream with its specific language. Lambert’s thought was about ‘obviousness’ in everyday experience. Lambert explained (p. 33) that ‘the concept of appearance is derived, for the word itself and its first origin, from the eye and from vision, and has been then extended to other senses and to vision, and in this way, it became both more general and more equivocal’. Interestingly, Lambert’s thought is combined with or alert to ontological issues. He thus explains: ‘if a change occurs in appearances, then a change also happens in reality. But it remains indeterminate if it happens in the object, in the meanings, or in the relationship between both of them. Nonetheless, the change occurring in appearances shows what is relative in a real change’ (p. 33). Activity and passivity of the mind (two important dimensions of the upcoming phenomenological moment and post-​phenomenological streams) are part of his thought (p. 100). Interestingly, Lambert also stressed the importance of resemblance in the process of appearance: commonly, we look more willingly and almost always at things from the side that offers most resemblances, even with regards to things that are not usually tied to emotion and, often, without being aware of it, we derived from the content of our emotions the metaphors from which these things are labelled. (p. 103)

In a world on its way to enlightenment, modernization, bureaucracy, rationality, linear progress, and increasing technicization, phenomenology, as a vocabulary and a

6    De Vaujany, Aroles, and Pérezts new logic, (re)affirms the importance of history, genealogy, subjectivity, experience, and aesthetics. Oetinger ([1776] 1979), Lambert ([1764] 2002), Kant (1781),1 Hegel ([1807] 2012),2 and Nietzsche ([1887] 1985)3 are very important pre-​phenomenological thinkers. They paved the way to the ‘return to things themselves’, to presence and a coming into presence, to modes of existence, historicity, embodiment, relationships between appearance and ontology, topics that will all be foundational for the phenomenological moment. Reason and rationalism are part of the story. Descartes (1637, [1641] 1979) is often the counterpoint. History is a question of dialectics, forces, thesis, and anti-​thesis. Marxism grows in this context as well, with a focus on praxis, dialectics, and real forces against an abstract progressive force at stake in history. Importantly, the key moment happened with Husserl ([1912] 1989, [1913] 1963) and Heidegger ([1927] 1962). Husserl, with his work on ideas, logics, and his later more ontological discussions, settled the debate. What matters is coming back to things themselves, how they come to appear to us. The idea is to understand the tree not as it is substantially, its a priori matter or immediate physical mechanisms. Rather, it is more about how it comes to be a tree in our (everyday life) experience. This is rooted in a method Husserl named ‘eidetic reduction’, or epoché, i.e. the process through which we focus on a phenomenon, we try to suspend our more general experience and beliefs in order to understand how this thing comes to mean something. Another key aspect of this ‘seminal’, ‘orthodox’, and also sometimes called ‘pure’ phenomenology (Zahavi, 2018a) is the issue of intentionality, which is strongly inspired by Brentano’s work ([1874] 1911/​1973). For Husserl, consciousness is a key dimension of our experience of the world. Yet, contrary to some Cartesian interpretations, it is not a pre-​ existing, pre-​defined instance expecting the presence of the world and objects of the world. Our consciousness is plural and grounded in our activities and directions in and for activities. More precisely, it is interwoven with ‘intentionalities’, i.e. our projections in and towards the world. A consciousness is always a consciousness of something. It is transitive. The keyboard in front of me is part of the intentional process of writing this introductory chapter. Through this projected event in the flow of my activities, consciousness happens. It flows as part of the process of typing, which is not a chaotic one. It flows from a teleology, which is consciousness itself. Activity as such is also primordial. In a way, it precedes consciousness. As shown by Merleau-​Ponty ([1966] 1996), we often act first, and give a meaning and explicit teleology to our actions after the first course of our activities. We often act in a meaningful way, and to do so, we put aside many meaningful events from our field of activity and focus of attention. Likewise, Husserl introduces a key notion, which Merleau-​ Ponty ([1945] 2013, 1964) extended and refined: reversibility (see Part I). Our perceptions, agentic 1 See

Mohanty (1996) and Rockmore (2011). Kant is a very important step in the emergence of phenomenology. 2  See Lauer (1974). 3  See for instance Poellner (2006) and Geniusas et al. (2013) for an exploration of the relationships between phenomenology and Nietzsche.

Phenomenologies and Organization Studies    7 capabilities upon the world, the shapes, forms, and movements inhabiting the world are ‘inside’ us. Likewise, the external world is covered by our intentionalities, past activities, tactilities. We are unable, in the flow of experience, to distinguish one hand touching the other without being touched in return (Merleau-​Ponty borrowed this example to draw radical ontological implications; see Merleau-​Ponty, 1964). Still part of the phenomenological moment, Heidegger (as a former student of Husserl) further explored experience and being in the world. For Heidegger ([1927] 1962), what matters from a phenomenological point of view is transparency. We are in the world, invisible for ourselves, just in the flow of our activities. Beyond any intentional and conscious issues, what matters is this flow, this becoming going through without seeing or sensing us. We are just here. We are a Dasein (Heidegger, [1927] 1962). The world is ready at hand. The world becomes sensible only in processes of breakdowns, when something goes wrong. To understand this process, Heidegger ([1927] 1962) invented a fully temporal new vocabulary, likely to grasp the dimensions of the transparency, facticity, and sociality of our experience(s). Most of all, for Heidegger, the underlying process, before any consciousness, is time itself. We are temporalities. Heidegger supplements Husserl in a way by coming closer to our ordinary experience of the world. In his later works, he also dealt with techniques, ethics, and broader ontological issues, the relationship between appearances and the world beyond appearances, between being and beings (as part of an appropriative ‘Beyng’4), the interlacing between experience and events. Interestingly, both Husserl and Heidegger will feed numerous traditions in Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, and Europe at large—​a genealogy discussed in the first chapter of this volume. Their approach to life and existence and their vision of episteme were a powerful way to explore a world deeply in crisis. Europe had gone through two World Wars, major economic and technological transformations, deep spiritual and religious upturns, and several institutional crises. The existential layers of Husserl’s and Heidegger’s thoughts were a way to think both of the how and of the why in a period during which the why was highly problematic (and maybe still is). During, and just after, the works of these founding figures, numerous phenomenologies and post-​phenomenologies blossomed. German traditions of the 1920s interested in ‘being-​with’ were largely fed by Husserl’s contributions in their attempts to explore intersubjectivity, sociality, and community (see Zahavi, 2018b). This is the case with Scheler, Walther, Gurwitsch, and Schmitz, for instance. Hermeneutic traditions exploring issues of narratives and times extended the phenomenology of Husserl and Heidegger and tried to overcome their apories (see Ricoeur, 1983, 1984, 1985). The political philosophy of Arendt (1954, 1972) questioned totalitarism, the crisis of culture, and our contemporary approaches of democracy. Existentialist thoughts of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, in particular Sartre, de Beauvoir, and Merleau-​Ponty, also drew largely on the ‘phenomenological moment’ to understand the contingency


See Heidegger (1938) or de Vaujany (2022).

8    De Vaujany, Aroles, and Pérezts of our lives. Henry’s insights were triggered by his experience of resistance in the maquis during the Nazi German occupation in France during World War II and following Husserl (1970) warned against the risk of what he called ‘barbarism’ following the crisis of objectively rooted science and knowledge. Yet, as stressed by Ricoeur (1975), very quickly, ‘pure’, ‘orthodox’ phenomenologies would be used as points of departure more than final destinations. Heretics of Husserl proliferated. Eidetic reduction is both used and criticized as an interesting impossibility paving the way to something else. Intentionality is questioned and transformed into networks of intentionalities grounded into activities (Merleau-​ Ponty, [1945] 2013). Increasingly, the idea of consciousness itself (a key tenet of the phenomenological moment) is debated. The thesis of Husserl on logics and ideas is discussed and questioned. Embodiment, intercorporeity, emotions and affects are introduced in the discussion. Subjectivity, experience, existence, consciousness, and instruments become the consequence of events. Subjectivity is no longer a power ‘exerted’ by pre-​ defined subjects. Subjectivation itself is a process. It happens (or not) in the process of becoming. It needs a will, a form of courage to find a way as a resistance (Revel, 2015). This is what we call here ‘post-​phenomenologies’, i.e. a stream of philosophies in conversation with the phenomenological moment, centrally or accessorily, both continuing and discontinuing it, using some key phenomenological constructs as points of return and even sometimes, points of regeneration. Sartre, de Beauvoir, Merleau-​Ponty (the early one probably more than the later one), Levinas, Derrida (2012), Henry (1991), or Marion (2018) (among many others) can be put into perspective with these traditions.5 Henry (to whom we devote Chapter 10) and Marion (Chapter 9) later became the central actors of a ‘new phenomenology’ (‘nouvelle phénoménologie’). Simondon’s phenomenology of techniques and their modes of existence questioned the presence of techniques as mere objects already there, waiting to be ‘instrumented’ (Simondon, 1958). More recently, Schmitz ([1966] 1987, [1969] 1988, 2000, 2012) offered a phenomenology of atmosph and quasi-​objects. With him emerged a ‘neo-​phenology’ (different from the French ‘New phenomenology’; see Chapter 30). Numerous other traditions also emerged outside of the Western ‘centre’ of phenomenological thinking, e.g. in South and Latin America, in Africa, or in Asia (see Schrift, 2010; Zahavi, 2018a; and Renaudie 2020; as well as Chapters 27, 28, and 33, for instance),6 provoking heated discussions around the reception of ‘pure’ phenomenological thought while also developing parallel conceptions with both striking similarities and divergences that, once brought to the table, can lead to most interesting discussions on common themes.

5  Very often, their early works clearly stick to the phenomenological moment, while their later works both continue and discontinue it in various ways. 6  In the book he edited in 1956 about philosophers from antiquity to the 20th century, Merleau-​ Ponty devoted a full section to ‘the East and philosophy’ (‘L’Orient et la philosophie’) with ‘Two Indian philosophers: Buddha and NammaLvar’ (pp. 51−70) and ‘Two Chinese philosophers: Siun tseu and Tchouang tseu’ (pp. 82−101).

Phenomenologies and Organization Studies    9 Of course, post-​phenomenologies also intersect or overlap with the Frankfurt School, from Adorno to Habermas. Habermas for instance has extensively drawn on Husserl’s notion of lived experience (see Ion, 2015). His view of emancipation, communication, and systems is deeply grounded into phenomenological logics. More recently, the third critical school, represented by Hartmut Rosa, also follows phenomenological as much as post-​Marxist logics. Rosa’s recent exploration of resonance is extensively conceptualized and documented from Merleau-​Ponty’s work about reversibility, embodiment, and flesh. Rosa’s (2019) vision of experience is thus largely intertwined with Merleau-​Ponty’s ([1945] 2013, 1964) view of perception, perceptive faith, and late sensible ontology. Even the political (chiasmatic) vision of domination and emancipation (not at all in line with Marxist doxa of dialectics) is also coherent with the political writings of Merleau-​Ponty. Interestingly, sometimes in a very responsive and hostile way, other traditions also emerged. Those are the ones we propose to label ante-​phenomenologies. Foucault,7 Deleuze, and maybe in a less straightforward way Derrida (who remains in another way a post-​phenomenologist) will go in other directions, fed by structuralism, process philosophy, and Asian philosophies. On the way to ante-​phenomenology, a key dimension probably separated most projects: subjectivity. While Foucault keeps a space for subjectivity and subjectivation in his late works, Deleuze clearly focuses on an asubjective or pre-​subjective metaphysics (Revel, 2015). ‘Phenomenology’ or phenomenologies,8 when they are mentioned, are often very important counterpoints, philosophies put at a short distance from humanism and Cartesianism. Nonetheless, they remain essential material in the conversation built by Deleuze with other thoughts and traditions.9 This is at least the most common view amongst these three philosophers and their legacy. For Foucault, recent historiographies stress a stronger paradoxical complicity with phenomenology than ‘appearance’ would show. A recent special issue of Etudes Philosophiques (see Depraz, 2013; Le Blanc, 2013; Sabot, 2013; and Chapter 11) thus sheds light on the presence of Husserlian thoughts from the very first text of Foucault to the last. In particular, the idea of an archaeology of knowledge appears linked to the presence of archaeology in Husserl’s writings. Likewise, the vision of corporeity and embodiment in Foucault and Foucauldian studies appears both in continuity and discontinuity with some phenomenologies and post-​phenomenologies. Most of all, Foucault’s late work about ‘subjectivity’ and ‘attitude’ shows unexpected continuities

7  In Chapter 11 of this book, we will qualify this statement for the last (ethical) Foucault who came back to a more post-​phenomenological posture. 8  Most of the time, implicitly or explicitly, Husserlian phenomenology. 9  Paradoxically, Husserl is explicitly present in his elaboration of ‘aberrant movements’. For instance, in the second opus of the work with Guattari, the two authors explain: ‘Husserl mentions a proto-​ geometry dealing with fuzzy morphogenetic essences, that is to say errant or nomads. These essences could be distinguished from sensible things, but also ideal, royal or imperial essences’ (Deleuze and Guattari, 1980: 454). Deleuze was also in a complex relationship with Merleau-​Ponty, in particular the late one. His own topological vision is thus fed both constructively and critically by the topology elaborated by Merleau-​Ponty, e.g. his conceptualization of depth and folds (see Chapter 22 of this Handbook).

10    De Vaujany, Aroles, and Pérezts with phenomenology, in particular the work of Merleau-​Ponty (Revel, 2015; de Vaujany, 2021; see also Chapters 5 and 11).10 Likewise, Deleuze’s work, although (again) explicitly against and beyond any phenomenological project, clearly makes more sense as a discontinuity from it (which paradoxically requires a good knowledge of phenomenologies to grasp its full potential). This is epitomized by Deleuze’s (1983) work on cinema (see also Chapters 21 and 22). Repeatedly (although often in the form of quick mentions in the full text and more detailed remarks in footnotes), Deleuze positions his vision of movement-​images and time-​images with the early phenomenology of cinema of Merleau-​Ponty (1945), Laffay (1964),11 or, more generally, phenomenologies of cinema. Sometimes, there are even some continuities or possible continuities (e.g. with Scheler) that are stressed. Deleuze thus explains: There is here a reconciliation [rapprochement] to offer. Phenomenology, first with Max Scheler, has offered the notion of material and affective a priori. Then Mikel Dufrenne has given to this notion an extension and a status detailed in a series of books [ . . . ], by problematizing the relationship of those a priori with history and with art piece: in what sense are there aesthetic a priori, in which sense are they created, as such a new sentiment in society or such a nuance of color for a painter? Phenomenology [La phénoménologie] and Peirce never met.12 It seems nonetheless that the primeity of Peirce and the material and affective a priori of Scheler and Dufrene coincides in many ways. (Deleuze, 1983: 140)

Beyond that, many unexpected continuities could also be stressed between Deleuzian philosophy and post-​phenomenologies, in particular Deleuze and Merleau-​Ponty (see Lawlor, 1998, and Reynolds and Roffe’s (2006) fascinating analysis which cannot be detailed here). Non-​phenomenologies, in particular North-​American philosophies, cover the non-​ continental philosophies that aimed to offer experiential philosophies, ontologies, and metaphysics with some interesting commonalities with continental phenomenologies. So-​called American philosophy (which would be more relevantly called US philosophy) is particularly grounded into transcendentalism (Emerson, [1837] 1982;13 Thoreau, [1854] 2006) and its exploration of self-​reliance, non-​conformity, and nature or ordinary life at large (see Porte and Morris, 1999; Myerson, 2000; Misak, 2008). These traditions were partly reactive to continental philosophy of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, their modernity or romanticism. Emerson’s [1837] 1982 intellectual declaration of independence has opened the way to a description of ordinary life, ordinary aesthetics, and the 10  After 1976, subjectivity becomes a major point of disagreement between Foucault and Deleuze (Revel, 2015). 11  With the wisdom of hindsight, a reference that appears as central in his approach and criticism of a phenomenology of cinema. 12  We will come back very soon to this issue which is not fully exact. 13  See Porte and Morris (1999) and Myerson (2000).

Phenomenologies and Organization Studies    11 spirituality of ordinary man in front of or outside nature. This happened in contrast with and in reaction to European romanticism, stressing the importance of sublime, exceptional, and heroic transcendence. A couple of decades later, this pre-​civil war thought opened the way to Pragmatism, its consequentialist aim projecting and unifying plurality in experimentations ahead (Misak, 2008). Pragmatism has very interesting intersections, crossed conversations, and common roots with late-​19th-​and early-​20th-​ century phenomenology. William James was in conversation with Edmund Husserl, and part of his experiential thought and psychology shares very interesting common points with Husserl’s (who was himself an attentive reader of James).14 Likewise, part of Charles Sanders Peirce’s semiotics and pragmatism is largely interwoven with phenomenology (Spiegelberg, 1956; Houser, 2010). Indeed, Peirce (1955) built what he called his own ‘phenomenology’ (see Rosensohn, 1974), which is sometimes forgotten in MOS historiographies of pragmatism. His approach to signs was nonetheless more autonomous, world-​making, than Husserl’s views, which explains the role played by Peirce (1955) in Deleuze’s theory of cinema. Likewise, Dewey’s experimentalist pragmatism also includes numerous phenomenological dimensions (see Chandler, 1977; as well as Chapter 26). More generally, process philosophy, as elaborated, e.g. by Bergson ([1889] 2013, [1896] 2004), Alexander (1920), and Whitehead (1929), also incorporated the kind of subjectivism that is typical of some subjectivist views of the phenomenological moment (see Lango, 2008, Stenner, 2008, on this very important issue). Consciousness was a key topic in the early work of Bergson ([1889] 2013, [1896] 2004). Experience has a space or, rather, a temporality among events. Prehension, ingression, and the actual events described by Whitehead (1929) are not incompatible with the sensible and resonant events described in phenomenologies and post-​phenomenologies such as those of Merleau-​Ponty ([1945] 2013, 1964, 1995), which have been partly fed by process thinking.15 The time inside of consciousness and temporalities, the becoming and duration inhabiting phenomenological debates share strong commonalities with process metaphysics. Nonetheless, Whitehead’s (1929) metaphysical project probably systematizes the reflexion further, giving a relevance to events and fields of events beyond or below the ‘fields of presence’ or ‘phenomenal fields’ (see, e.g. Merleau-​Ponty, [1945] 2013) that are the primary object of interest to orthodox phenomenologies. In addition, Whitehead’s philosophy is in conversation with the evolutionist debates of his time (Darwin published his book about the origins of species in 1859), a topic which is not covered by most publications we relate here to the phenomenological moment.16

14  To have an idea of the reality and complexity of this relationship, one thought often extending the other, but also sometimes circumventing it or despising it, see Tavuzzi (1979); Spiegelberg (1981); and Geniusas (2011). 15  See Chapter 22 of this Handbook. 16  Some post-​phenomenological publications will come back to the issue of nature and evolutionism, e.g. Merleau-​Ponty (1995) and his lectures at the College de France about Nature.

12    De Vaujany, Aroles, and Pérezts To sum up, it is thus tempting to see phenomenology either as a very important epiphenomenon within process metaphysics, an ontology (in the end, close to a phenomenological metaphysics) stressing the chiasms between flesh and events or experience and events, or more radically to see in each of them different process thoughts paving the way to different kinds of posthumanism and allowing or not a space to subjectivation or allowing different spaces for subjectivation (see Revel, 2015; or Chapters 7, 10, and 12 in this Handbook). To explore these complex issues in the relationships between phenomenologies, post-​phenomenologies, and process philosophy that we have only touched upon here, we invite our reader to consult Gratton (2014), Sparrow (2014), Whitehead (2015), and Girardi (2017). In continuation of this analysis, the divide between the transcendentalism attributed to some phenomenologies and the speculative realism attributed to process philosophy is increasingly questioned and put into perspective historically. What constitutes a key point of dissention are the views of times and temporality that result from each philosophy. In the coming years, the conversations nurtured by other traditions and cultural contexts, in particular Asian philosophies that have strongly influenced both phenomenologies and process philosophies (and vice versa), could provide a way to reduce their differences. Both ante-​and non-​phenomenologies (and some post-​phenomenologies) share a common point: they explore life in experience but also beyond experience. They understand time as a process, but they are also interested in pure events, events not necessarily grounded or productive of a sensibility or a subjectivity.17 Our world is a huge, incommensurable becoming interlacing all events, far beyond phenomenological intercorporeity. This is probably the main difference between phenomenologies and post-​ phenomenologies. Not the stress on subjectivity of the latter in contrast to the former (both emphasize subjectivity and objectivity). Not the focus on individuality versus collectivity or holism. Both stress individuality and collectivity. Not the concern for immaterial processes for the latter and processes of materiality or materialization for the former. Both stress sensibility, embodiment, and materiality as consequences. Both try to overcome usual Cartesian categories. Importantly, the main divergence could be more in the ultimate scope of our world, what they would call nature as a temporal phenomenon. The infinity of the latter responds to the finitude of the former. For phenomenology, sensibility, emotions, affects, and/​or perception need to form part of the story at some point. In light of such discussions, two things appear quite clearly to us, pushing us to outline the contours of this volume: First, that discussions about and around the relevance of phenomenological thinking, concepts, authors—​for, with, or against them—​are far from settled; second, that scouting the phenomenological ‘archipelago’ is both a daunting and fascinating task. In order to address this second issue, proposing a mapping seems like a natural next step, in order to see more clearly how the discussed authors, streams of thoughts, and philosophers appear to be (dis)connected. Figure I.2,


Non-​phenomenologies and ante-​phenomenologies are often pre-​subjective or asubjective.

Phenomenologies and Organization Studies    13 NonWestern James Philisophies Emerson Alexander

NonWestern Philisophies Other phenomenlogies and non-phenomenologies Dewey




Thoreau Peirce Pre-phenomenologies (18th-19th centuries)

Post-Phenomenologies (Mid 20th-21st centuries)

Phenomenological moment (Late 19th-Mid 20th)

Heidegger I

Kant Hegel Nietzche

Heidegger II


MerleauPonty I


Husserl I


Latour II



Arendt Levinas de Beauvoir Simondon MerieauRicoeur Ponty II Henry Ante-phenomenologies

NonWestern Philosophies


Derrida Deleuze

Latour I

Figure I.2  From pre-​phenomenologies to ante-​phenomenologies and beyond

inspired by the historiography and analysis of Ricoeur (1975), Benoist (2001), Misak (2008), McCumber (2014), Schrift, (2010), Zahavi (2018b), and Renaudie (2020), as well as by the process of this edited Handbook, allows us to visualize this variety and its fruitful points of tension. Figure I.2 is not meant as a static mapping. Each of the ‘islands’, composed of one or several authors, or part of an author’s work, is broadly located in order to situate their thinking in relative proximity to or distance from others. They are not exhaustive and neither is their position fixed; rather, they constitute opportunities for discussion in the chapters of this volume. This volume will attempt to cover all these islands within the phenomenological archipelago, the intersections, the lines, this depth, chiasms, claimed or attributed legacies inside the debates, and the flow of the debates about what phenomenologies are or are not, make visible or not, conceptualize or not, the agencies they foster or not. However, the metaphor of the archipelago can be seen as misleading in that it could convey a sense of motionless, static reification. As will be shown through the variety of the contributions in this volume, phenomenology is also and remains most of all a movement. A movement paradoxically overcoming itself continuously through its outgrowths (excroissances), heresies, external appropriations, and numerous intersections with other fields, which often are as much ‘in’ as they are ‘out’ of it. Phenomenology is nothing but diversity. It cannot be other than contradictory, as life and events are themselves, recalling that the key aspiration of orthodox phenomenology is to go deeper into life and eventfulness itself. Interestingly, phenomenology is indeed a ‘place’ to which many 20th-​century and contemporary thinkers come back in order to refine, position, and generalize their own thought. In a certain sense, it is a very paradoxical Sisyphus rock, that while we

14    De Vaujany, Aroles, and Pérezts seem to be pushing endlessly up the steep slope of thought, and it keeps coming back again and again, through the back door or the window, yet, in a sort of haunting yet profoundly stimulating manner, it seems less of a Greek curse than representative of a horizon line pushing back the boundaries in new directions with every new step. To give just one example, Latour’s (2005) work is perhaps the epitome of this trend; his Actor-​Network-​Theory is highly postmodern, posthuman; the network of translation incorporates its spokespersons, assembles its allies, and empowers various key actants. But he was always in dialogue with phenomenological questions, for instance about the body (Latour, 2004) and more recently, in (re)stressing modes of existence (Latour, 2012) and downward verticality (Latour, 2020), he has given a depth to his argument, making it both more terrestrial, material, and existential.18 The focus on the description of our attachments, our locality in the world, the affects we invest have mainly post-​phenomenological tones. The regular coming back to Husserlian constructs in Foucault’s thought, from the archaeology to the genealogy and the ethics period, the embodied dimensions in Butler, Agamben, or Habermas, the affective turn in Deleuze and Guattari: all these turns and returns are regenerated, positioned, and singularized by the Sisyphus rock of phenomenology (in particular seminal concepts and debates of the ‘phenomenological moment’). It is pushed behind, thrown ahead, but it keeps coming back in the debates as soon as issues of embodiment, emotions, affects, sensibility, existence, meaning, temporality are at stake in one way or another. This begs the question: Who will definitively rid us of this conceptual curse? But, maybe more interestingly, would that necessarily be a good thing?

I.3  Towards the Project of This Book: The Realized and Potential Contributions of Phenomenologies in the Exploration of Contemporary Management and Organizing For this edited book, our Ariadne’s thread is the history and genesis of the phenomenological stream in its full diversity. We thus include an in-​depth presentation of


Latour is a very interesting touchstone for this argument. The (other . . .) Latour (of Figure I.2) is the one not claiming any phenomenological legacies, even if his symmetric ontology, his description of modes of existence, or his approach to techne shares many commonalities and continuities with the late Heidegger or Simondon’s (1958) phenomenology of instruments; even if his approach to Gaia and depth shares very strong commonalities with Merleau-​Ponty (1995) and his lectures about Nature; even if the existential layer he recently added in his conceptualization of crisis and Anthropocene borrows much from the late Heidegger.

Phenomenologies and Organization Studies    15 Table I.1 Authors and Concepts Selected in This Handbook Pre-​Phenomenologies Phenomenologies


Authors directly covered in the chapters

Hegel, Kant

Husserl, Heidegger (before and after Kehre)

Ahmed, Arendt, Bachelard, Sartre, Merleau-​Ponty (early and late), Ricoeur, Henry, Marion, Foucault, Schmitz, Young

Authors indirectly presented

Aristotle, Descartes, Nietzsche, Spinoza

Brentano, Stumpf, Scheler, Stein

Derrida, de Beauvoir, Levinas, Patockas, Simondon, Jonas, Zahavi, Rosa


History, categories, dialectic, reason, Cartesianism, cogito

Epoché, eidetic reduction, intentionality, consciousness, reversibility, Dasein, care, historicality, being-​ in-​the-​world, time, temporality, Ereignis, appropriative event, abyssal ground

Imagination, poetic ontology, topology, existence, contingency, corporeal schema, reversibility, presence, intercorporeity, flesh, depth, time, temporality space, donation, instruments, modes of existence, affects, emotions, acceleration, resonance

key philosophers related to pre-​ phenomenologies, phenomenologies, and post-​ phenomenologies (see Table I.1). For obvious reasons, we did not detail anti-​or non-​ phenomenologies. Nonetheless, in view of the presence of process and pragmatist philosophies in MOS, we gave a significant space in our project for cross-​comparisons, cross-​histories, and cross-​fertilizations between these perspectives. Several chapters are thus opportunities for systematic comparisons between philosophers, e.g. Heidegger and Whitehead, Merleau-​ Ponty and Dewey, and the implications of their écarts for MOS. This book is most of all a process. Inspired by the proliferation of prior works on the intersections between phenomenological insights and MOS questions (e.g. Introna, Ilharco, and Faÿ, 2008; Holt and Sandberg, 2011; and a myriad of articles and chapters; see Chapter 12 for a literature review) we felt that the maturity of discussions and the times called for an overarching volume dedicated to bringing together these multifaceted debates, to explore their intersections, tensions, and horizons. The process involved identifying a variety of phenomenological debates and topics as they appear or could appear in the MOS literature. Discussions between editors, conversations with and between contributors, and a more systematic literature review19 resulted in the mapping structuring this book (see Figure I.3). It consists of five building blocks, detailed next. 19 The

opening chapter of Part II (Chapter 12) is devoted to a detailed presentation of the phenomenological literature in MOS.

16    De Vaujany, Aroles, and Pérezts Key philosophers Key concepts

Research methods MOS scientific knowledge


Key debates Robots Organizational aesthetics Embodiment Artificial Intelligence

Organizational memory Togetherness Community


Atmosphere Collective activity Instruments

Mind-body Digitality PART II: INSIDE THE Perception EXPERIENCE OF Body at work ORGANIZING Emotions Organizing Gesture Affects Animality Managerial Intuition



Leadership Coworking


Organizational practices



Events Temporality


Institution Organizing Remote work

Figure I.3  Overall logic of our edited book Note: topics in red are empirical topics related to management and organizing today.

The first block of this Handbook ‘Phenomenologies and Beyond: Origins, Extensions, and Discontinuities’ will present systematically authors and concepts related to pre-​ phenomenologies, phenomenologies, and post-​phenomenologies. The second building block will delve into ‘The Experience of Organizing: Embodiment, Robots, and Affects in a Digital World’ through Chapters 12 to 20. In particular, through the pre-​phenomenologies and phenomenologies presented in the first block, this section of the Handbook will explore major issues of embodiment/​disembodiment, automation, body at work, instincts, and intuitions that seem to be at stake in contemporary MOS debates. Here, we will project key seminal concepts of pre-​phenomenologies and phenomenologies (e.g. perception, intentionality, embodiment, consciousness, mind-​ body relationship, affects, animality, aesthetics). The third building block, ‘Events and Organizing: Acceleration, Disruptions, and Decentering of Management’ will present Chapters 21 to 28 to explore events and organizing, and to zoom out from contemporary management and organizing concerns. Issues of time, temporalities, eventfulness, depth, openness, passivities, institutions, connectivity, remote work, distributed and decentered modes of organizing, leadership, silence, and collaboration will be analysed. This section will also allow for a cross-​ conversation with pragmatism and process studies which also have much to say on the topics detailed here (see also Chapter 12). This part will also be an opportunity to explore how post-​phenomenologies are often posthumanist in many ways (exactly like most ante-​phenomenologies and non-​phenomenologies also explored in this edited book). The fourth and last topical block of this book discusses ‘Togetherness, Memory, and Instruments: Algorithms, Gestures, and Marginality in Organizing’. In Chapters 29 to 34,

Phenomenologies and Organization Studies    17 it will focus on the more political issues explored in particular by post-​phenomenologies and non-​ continental phenomenologies (which will have a very important space and role here). Experience is always political. Society, togetherness, plurality, and the Anthropocene are at stake in all experiences of the world. We will cover here issues of organizational memory, organizational memorialization, managerial instruments, scientific instruments, atmosphere, returns to communities, models of collective activity, algorithms and their role in society. (See Table I.2.) In the final block of the volume, a concluding chapter from the editors will summarize some of the main take-​aways from this volume in terms of both theorizing and illustrating how phenomenologies, as a conceptual frame, can revamp MOS scholarship in the exploration of issues and concerns pertaining to management, organizations, and organizing. We shall also recognize the necessary limitations of our endeavour, each constituting potential paths for further developing our phenomenological adventure in MOS. In the end, there remains much unchartered territory within phenomenologies and post-​phenomenologies. These also constitute a crossroad or a crossing point for many streams of research in our field, implicitly or explicitly, visibly or invisibly. Understanding this heritage or imprint is important for scholars and students interested in coming closer to the lived experience of our world of work and management. Most of all, while deeply engaging in phenomenological and post-​phenomenological thought, our aim with this volume is also to stress the context and limitations of each stream of research, literature, and concepts, to elaborate a detailed, critical, reflexive, historical narrative about phenomenologies, their key concepts, and how they can relate to debates in MOS. To conclude, leaving the reader in the hands of eminent scholars who we are proud to have been able to rally for this project, we would like to thank participants of the various Dauphine Phenomenology Workshop who have supported this project to widen discussion around phenomenology in MOS. We would like to thank in particular Karen Dale, Gibson Burrell, Dan Zahavi, Jérôme Mélancon, Anne Simon, Julien De Sanctis, Richard Kearney, Matt Statler, and Otto Scharmer for all the very helpful conversations we had around the topics of this book. Our deepest gratitude also goes to Hartmut Rosa and Hari Tsoukas for respectively contributing with an engaging Foreword and Afterword, and to Tim Ingold, whom we thank for bringing this volume to a close, but never a closure, with his Postscript. We would also like to thank each of the colleagues and friends that have supported this project from inception to fruition for providing insightful comments and remarks and for accompanying us on this journey. It is our deepest hope that the contributions of this edited volume might continue to trigger debates and conversations in our field. Paradoxically, while us three have engaged with phenomenological concepts and literature at some point, none of us would define ourselves as phenomenologists. Jeremy would emphasize his attachment to process philosophy, in particular that of Deleuze. Mar would recall how the awe of embodied existence was one of the reasons that drove her to study philosophy in the first place, and that this sense of embodied

Chapters and Authors

Perspectival Dualism: Why Phenomenology and Organization Studies Are Unlikely Bedfellows Who Make a Perfect Match (Hartmut Rosa)

Chapter 1: Tracing Phenomenological Sensibilities in Continental and Post-​Continental Philosophies (Jean-​Baptiste Fournier) Chapter 2: Husserl: Reason and Emotion in Philosophy (Elen Riot) Chapter 3: Heidegger, Organization, and Care (Robin Holt) Chapter 4: Gaston Bachelard and the Phenomenology of Imagination (Michèle Charbonneau) Chapter 5: From Phenomenology to a Metaphysics of History: The Unfinished Odyssey of Merleau-​Ponty (François-​Xavier de Vaujany) Chapter 6: Phenomenology and the Multidimensionality of the Body (Erol Copelj and Jack Reynolds) Chapter 7: The Self in the World: The Hermeneutic Phenomenology of Paul Ricoeur (Paul Savage and Henrika Franck) Chapter 8: Phenomenology and the Political Philosophy of Hannah Arendt (Lucie Chartouny) Chapter 9: Experience as an Excess of Givenness: The Post-​Metaphysical Phenomenology of Jean-​Luc Marion (Sara Mandray) Chapter 10: Extending and Discontinuing Phenomenology with Michel Henry (Eric Faÿ and Ghislain Deslandes) Chapter 11: Foucault and Phenomenology, a Tense and Complex Relation: From Anti-​Phenomenology to Post-​Phenomenology (Aurélie Leclercq-​Vandelannoitte)

Chapter 12: On the Way to Experienc with the Phenomenological Venture of Management and Organization: A Literature Review (Leo Bancou, François-​Xavier de Vaujany, Mar Pérezts, and Jeremy Aroles) Chapter 13: ‘In the Future, as Robots Become More Widespread’: A Phenomenological Approach to Imaginary Technologies in Healthcare Organisations (Jaana Parviainen and Anne Koski) Chapter 14: Max Scheler’s Phenomenology of Personalism and Paradox: Implications of Leadership Relations (Leah Tomkins) Chapter 15: At the Crossroad of Phenomenology and Feminist New Materialism: A Diffractive Reading of Embodiment (Silvia Gherardi) Chapter 16: Bachelard’s Backdoor to Happy Business School Phenomenology (Pierre Guillet de Monthoux, Matilda Dahl, and Jenny Helin) Chapter 17: Exploring the Role of Bodies and Gestures in Management with Merleau-​Ponty (Albane Grandazzi) Chapter 18: Queering Organizational Appearances Through Reclaiming the Erotic (Mar Pérezts and Emmanouela Mandalaki) Chapter 19: Animal Ontologies: Phenomenological Insights for Posthumanist Research (Géraldine Paring) Chapter 20: ‘How About a Hug?’ Aesthetic of Organizational Experience and Phenomenologies (Antonio Strati)

Titles of Parts


Part I Phenomenologies and Beyond: Origins, Extensions, and Discontinuities

Part II The Experience of Organizing: Embodiment, Robots, and Affects in a Digital World

Table I.2 Structure of This Handbook

Chapter 21: Is the Phenomenal Difference of the Entrepreneurial Event Opening on its Repetition? (Xavier Deroy) Chapter 22: The Process of Depth: Temporality as Organization in Cinematographic Experience (François-​Xavier de Vaujany) Chapter 23: Organization as Autopoietic ‘Understanding’? Whitehead, Merleau-​Ponty, and the Speculative Promise of a Process Phenomenology for MOS (Andrew Kirkpatrick) Chapter 24: What Silence Does: An Arendtian Analysis of Quaker Meeting Practices (Lucas Introna, Donncha Kavanagh, and Martin Brigham) Chapter 25: Tuning into Things: Sensing the Role of Place in an Emerging Alternative Urban Community (Boukje Cnossen) Chapter 26: Embodied Perception and the Schemed World: Merleau-​Ponty and John Dewey (Sun Ning) Chapter 27: Enframing and Transformation: Serequeberhan’s African Phenomenological Approach (Abraham Olivier) Chapter 28: Phenomenology in Japan: A Brief History with Focus on the Reception in Applied Areas (Genki Uemura)

Chapter 29: Organ-​ising Embodied Practices of Common(-​ing) and Enfleshed Con-​Vivialities: Perspectives on the Tragicomedy of the Commons (Wendelin Küpers) Chapter 30: It’s all Method: Schmitz and Neo-​Phenomenology (Lydia Jørgensen) Chapter 31: Squatters and the Willing Suspension of Disbelief: Tales from the Occupied Theatre (Mickael Peiro) Chapter 32: Listening to the Sounds of the Algorithm: Some Remarks on Phenomenology and the Social Studies of Finance (Marc Lenglet) Chapter 33: Producing the Organizational Space: Buddhist Temples as Co-​working Spaces (Tadashi Uda) Chapter 34: Organizing Research Excellence: A Pheno-​Ethnomethodological Approach to Study Organizational Identity at Research Centres in the Global South (Juan Felipe Espinosa-​Cristian and Nicolás Trujillo-​Osorio)

Chapter 35: Between Being and Becoming: Appearances and Subjectivities or Organizing (François-​Xavier de Vaujany, Jeremy Aroles, and Mar Pérezts)

Why and How Phenomenology Matters to Organizational Research (Haridimos Tsoukas)

An Anthropologist Lands in Phenomenology (Tim Ingold)

Part III Events and Organizing: Acceleration, Disruptions, and Decentering of Management

Part IV Togetherness, Memory, and Instruments: Algorithms, Gestures, and Marginality in Organizing

Part V Conclusion



20    De Vaujany, Aroles, and Pérezts wonderment has kept popping up in the various organizational realities that she studies. François-​Xavier would stress his interest in contributing to a ‘metaphysics of history’ (something he sees as interweaving process philosophy and hermeneutic philosophy). Hence, our objective with this volume is neither to blindly defend nor to document phenomenology’s relevance for MOS. Instead, what we would like to do here is to critically engage with phenomenologies in their diversity and contemporaneity. In doing so, we depart from the idea that phenomenology is a closed ‘school of thought’, and that as such it would be a minor or downward trend. Rather, we argue that, in a way, phenomenologies are an unchartered archipelago whose presence could be made much more visible in the context of MOS (as much as in the broader context of the Humanities and Social Sciences), and that this visibilization could bring about more than meets the eye. In order to do so, we have included a series of chapters by a variety of authors who were willing to navigate these troubled and unchartered waters with us, and we are extremely grateful to each of them for their inspiring contributions. We believe this volume responds to a renewed interest, in the field of MOS, for conceptual approaches that allow a capturing of the experiential and lived realities of organizational life. It is our desire that this volume should reflect the spirit of openness and reflexivity with which we set out to write it, and that each of the individual contributions should partake in the mapping of this rich field with its endless possibilities.

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P H E N OM E N OL O G I E S A N D B E YON D Origins, Extensions, and Discontinuities

Chapter 1

Traci ng Phenom enol o g i c a l Sensibilit i e s i n C ontinenta l a nd P ost-​C onti ne nta l Phil osoph i e s Jean-​B aptiste Fournier

1.1  Introduction: The Notion of Phenomenon ‘Phenomenology’ is quite an ambiguous word. First, it refers to the radical method invented by Edmund Husserl in 1900−1, but, in a much wider sense, it is the name given to any attempt to describe one’s inner experience as opposed to the outer world—​that is to say: the phenomena as opposed to the ‘things in themselves’. In order to perceive the specificity of phenomenology as a philosophical movement and method, one has to begin by clarifying the latter meaning of the word and ask what it means to describe phenomena. A phainomenon, in ancient Greek, is ‘what appears’ (phainesthai); as such the term can potentially be misleading, since it can be used to refer to something with an appearance that misrepresents what the thing actually is (i.e. ‘what seems’); or it can be used to refer to something real that appears to (‘i.e. comes into being before’) us, and that it has to appear to us in order to be real for us. This ambiguity can be found even in the concept of phenomenon developed by Kant in his Critique of Pure Reason. Kant distinguishes between, on the one hand, the ‘things in themselves’, i.e. the things as they

28   Jean-Baptiste Fournier are independently of how we might perceive them, and, on the other hand, the ‘things as we perceive them’ and which constitute the only world we can actually perceive (Kant, [1781] 2012). In principle, it is impossible for someone to perceive a thing in itself, since this would be outside of our perception. Thus, the phenomenon is at the same time the only reality we have got and an ‘unreal’ or ideal reality, since one cannot know whether or not our subjective way of perceiving things has altered or transformed them from how they are in objective reality. We live in a world of phenomena, but we cannot know for sure that this world is not a mere world of appearances and actually be ‘false’. Yet, what would ‘true’ or ‘false’ mean outside the realm of phenomena if this realm is the only world for us? Kant’s argument is that our thought and the concepts by which we try to grasp something real (the ‘categories’) can be fully satisfied, even if they can only grasp a world of phenomena. Moreover, in this world, there is a place for the difference between ‘mere appearances’ that are misleading and can be corrected by further experiences, and ‘true’ phenomena which can be fully known and experienced. In Kant’s sense, the study of these phenomena (what we could call ‘phenomenology’) is nothing less than the study of the world—​the only knowable world for us. Yet, Kant believed that one could guarantee, once and for all, that our concepts are fit for providing knowledge of phenomena. The renouncing of our capacity to have knowledge of things in themselves was thought to secure us this knowledge of the world understood as a world of phenomena. But having demonstrated (as Kant does it in the Critique of Pure Reason) that our mind can grasp phenomena does not mean that we have established the legitimacy of all of our concepts. For instance, the fact that space is a pure form to our sensibility guarantees the possibility of geometry, but it does not actually show which system of axioms should fit the space thus constructed. In a stricter sense, then, phenomenology as a study must clarify the relation between our concepts (the ‘logos’) and reality (understood as phenomena). In doing so, one has to acknowledge that constructing our concepts of phenomena can only be achieved progressively: the description of phenomena, the patient elaboration of their stratifications, the constant investigation into the pertinence of our concepts in order to produce a knowledge of them are necessary steps towards establishing the validity of science. This is the broadest but most essential sense of phenomenology, and it pertains to very different philosophical movements to the phenomenology of the Husserlian sense: to show the pertinence of each and every concept by a progressive construction of their grasp on our experience of the world—​that is to say, not of the world ‘in itself ’, but of the world as we perceive it. This definition, first outlined by the French philosopher Jocelyn Benoist (Benoist, 2001) even applies to the work of philosophers such as Rudolf Carnap who, in a way, could be seen as an anti-​phenomenologist. In the Logical Structure of the World (Carnap, [1928] 1967), Carnap argues that every concept used by empirical sciences could be ‘reduced’ to simpler concepts and eventually, by recurrence of this process, to the most basic concepts: those describing our immediate lived experience. In other words, one can elaborate a progressive construction of

Tracing Phenomenological Sensibilities    29 the concepts of science on the basis of phenomena, and the task of logics would be to achieve this phenomenological foundation of science.

1.2  Husserl’s Concept of Phenomenology The philosophical movement created by Husserl in his Logical Investitations ([1901] 1973) and to which he gave the name ‘phenomenology’ is just such a progressive construction of the grasp of our knowledge on phenomena, but the term here requires further elucidation. In order to understand what phenomenology is, in this new sense, we should begin by explaining the concept of ‘epoché’. In the introduction to the second volume of his Logical Investations, Husserl claims that philosophy should go ‘back to the thing itself ’ (‘ad res ipsas!’; Husserl, [1901] 1973). This phrase could be misunderstood, as one could think that Husserl is rejecting the study of phenomena in order to go back to Kant’s ‘things in themselves’. On the contrary, the ‘thing itself ’ is the phenomenon itself. But what are phenomena themselves? Moreover, assuming that we should “return to them” supposes that we had lost them or that we were situated in a position where we would not be surrounded by such things? Is there something outside the “thing itself ” and what does it mean to go back to it? We can understand this movement in two different senses, but eventually they come to the same thing. (1) First, in the logical context of the Logical Investigations, one has to seek truth in phenomena as opposed to the ‘mere words’ (Husserl, [1901] 1973) on which we are usually focused. As Heidegger will later magisterially show us, our words carry a very heavy metaphysical charge that we unconsciously take for granted, so that a scientific construction based on a study of words or concepts (as Carnap’s) will necessarily become trapped in a loop: instead of helping us to find the right concepts to express what one actually finds in a given reality, such a method would only lead us more deeply in the misunderstandings that our intrinsically language produces. In order to avoid this loop, one has to depart from analytical methods focused on words and go back to what is actually being examined itself in its purest form. (2) Then, going back to the thing itself means getting rid of the theoretical constructions elaborated by the empirical sciences. For instance, if one is to give a proper account of what ‘life’ means, one must not rely on the results of biology any more than on a cultural or religious belief. One must go back to the thing itself, i.e. the actual lived experience of life—​in other terms: the phenomenon of life. And in fact, going over the results of science and going over the ‘mere’ words comes to the same thing, as the words we use are filled with the combined heritage of our scientific knowledge as well as our metaphysical and cultural beliefs.

30   Jean-Baptiste Fournier To return to the thing in itself, one has to apply the method of phenomenological epoché and set aside everything we believe we understand about a field of objects in order to be able to see these objects as they actually appear and not through a conceptual scheme (Husserl, [1913] 1982: §32, p. 60). Applying phenomenology to a field of knowledge, as we try to do it in this book, must then first mean: put into brackets everything that we think we know about this domain and turn back to our actual experience of the objects concerned. Instead of trying to apply our concepts to them, one has to patiently describe them as they are (subjectively, even if this subjectivity is in a constant correlation to objectivity) in order to give a new meaning to our concepts or ‘fulfil’ them with an actual, meaningful sense, based on real experience. The notion of fulfilment is a key concept in Husserl’s phenomenology since it has both a descriptive and a methodological value. In the Logical Investigations, Husserl shows that both our understanding of language and our perception of spatial objects obey the same law: something is first only meant or aimed at (the intention), and then it is fulfilled by the actual donation of the object. For instance, when I say ‘London’, I aim at something which I do not yet perceive and the meaning of this word will be (partially) fulfilled by the actual experiences that I will have when I walk in London or when I see it from above. And if we forget the word ‘London’ and turn to the perception itself, if we then ask how this object, the city of London, is actually perceived, we must acknowledge that it is never fully perceived: one sees an aspect, a perspective, a certain presentation of the object (Husserl calls it an ‘adumbration’ (Abschattung)), but through this aspect, it is the city itself which appears; it is the object of an intention which every experience that one is going to have of it is going to fulfil. Thus, an object such as a city and in fact any spatial object is characterized by the fact that it is never fully given: one always intends more than is given and the further course of experience fulfils the first void intention. This structure of intention/​fulfilment can be applied to more complex theoretical processes and even providing the principles of a new method of scientific research. How indeed could concepts such as ‘employee’, ‘manager’, ‘enterprise’, etc., receive a deeper meaning independent of the beliefs and theorizations that we inherit from the different sciences that are supposed to elaborate them? One cannot simply choose an employee or a manager and describe them, since one would inevitably produce a merely subjective or particular description and be incapable of reaching any objective or universal concept. At the same time, however, nothing other than this individual employee or manager is actually available to us. This is why, in order to “fulfil” scientific concepts, one must apply the method of eidetic variation. This method can be understood as the radicalization of a very simple and obvious scientific method which consists in accumulating the descriptions of individual objects in order to construct a general concept of these objects based on what is found to be common to them all. But the method we are discussing is in fact quite different. First, instead of accumulating experiences of many objects of the same type (which presupposes that we somehow know in advance that they are objects of the same

Tracing Phenomenological Sensibilities    31 type, as if we already possessed the very concept we want to elaborate), this method is based on imagination. One must take the individual object and make it vary in as many directions as possible until one reaches something that cannot be varied further, the invariant—​and this gives us the structure or the ‘essence’ of the object. For instance, in order to give a proper account of the concept of ‘human’, one cannot just take 1,000 humans and take away from them everything that they do not have in common, since it would mean (1) that the concept thus reached would be limited to the number of cases taken into account; (2) that in order to select the panel of human beings, one had to presuppose some features that, according to a certain usage of the word ‘human’, were supposed to pertain to human beings. Thus, if we are to stick to the principle of phenomenological epoché, we have to set aside any such concept and turn ourselves to what is actually given: the actual human that I, for instance, am; or the individual employee or manager that is present, here, in front of me, in person. The main features of the essence of a human being or of an employee or a manager are exemplified in every human being, or employee, or manager, so that it is useless to try and multiply the examples, since everything is already here, in sight. Thus, one must only describe the individual object that is actually given and make it vary, not in a finite way such as in the classical method of accumulation, but infinitely. This journey to the limit allows us to see the essence of the object in the individual object itself; but, unlike the general concept attained by the elimination of everything particular in the accumulation of examples, the essence thus obtained is much richer, since it is founded on the full individuality of the described object. This is the paradoxical discovery of phenomenology: the real essence of an object, the one that can give a deeper sense or really fulfil its concept, is to be found in the most specific or individual features of objects as they are given in our lived experience. Thus, in order for instance to understand what a manager is, or what a certain behaviour is, one must not multiply the examples or try to get rid of their individuality, by means of statistics or general theories; one must instead go ever deeper into the description of that individual instance of the examined concept in order to fulfil it with a general (since it is obtained by eidetic variation) yet rich (as it is founded on the description of a concrete experience) sense. All these methodical principles (returning to the thing itself, phenomenological epoché, and eidetic variation) aim at providing a meaningful fulfilment to scientific concepts, but they rely on a founding principle which Husserl calls the ‘principle of all principles’, and which he expresses in his Ideas Pertaining to Pure Phenomenology: No conceivable theory can make us err with respect to the principle of all principles: that every originary presentive intuition is a legitimizing source of cognition, that everything originarily (so to speak, in its ‘personal’ actuality) offered to us in ‘intuition’ is to be accepted simply as what it is presented as being, but also only within the limits in which it is presented there. (Husserl, [1913] 1982: §24, pp. 43−4)

32   Jean-Baptiste Fournier Yet, this principle can be rendered even more precise than we have thus far put it: Husserl does not just say that one must only take for granted what is actually given in a ‘presentive intuition’ and accept it as it appears or ‘as what it is presented as being’, but he refers to an originary intuition. What does it mean for something to be given originarily? At first sight, one could say that it only means ‘actually’ or ‘really’ given, which, in a sense, is true. But in the field of phenomenology, the originarity refers to a certain type or sphere of experiences that leads us back to the phenomena. In order to understand it, one has to consider that what we usually consider as actually given (the world, the objects that we encounter in it, the other subjects who live in it . . .) is not originarily given: it is a construction elaborated by our consciousness on the basis of its lived experiences. For instance, as Husserl argues in a famous passage of the Ideas, when I see a table, the table is never really given to me: what I actually perceive is an adumbration of the table, an aspect of it, but my lived experience of this aspect is structured by the intention of the whole object. The phenomenon of the table has two sides: what appears to me is the table as a fully constituted object, but if I turn back to my actual lived experience, I can see that what is originarily given is a certain perspective experience of it plus the act of aiming at or intending the whole table as an ideal object (which means, an object which could only be fulfilled by an infinite number of experiences). Thus, the world appears as a construction that we take for granted (because we need to!) in our ‘natural attitude’, but which finds its origin in the sphere of pure phenomena, pure lived experiences, which is nothing other than our consciousness. This leads us to the most specific feature of phenomenology as a method that can be applied to any empirical science: one must not consider things as they appear objectively, as this objectivity is in fact a mere construction; instead, one must only describe things as they appear to the agents who actually live them, since it is in their experience that these things or processes will find their true originary sense. Thus, phenomenology is nothing less than a new way to perceive things or processes and it offers a complete change of perspective. Yet, it would be a mistake to understand this method as a subjective one, whose interest would be the subject and its lived experiences as opposed to the objects themselves. On the contrary, the main interest of Husserl’s phenomenology is the object or thing itself. Many scholars such as Jocelyn Benoist, Claude Romano, and Dominique Pradelle have argued that Husserl accomplished an ‘anti-​Copernician revolution’, i.e. the reverse of Kant’s Copernician revolution. Indeed, Kant argued that the form of an object depended on the subjective form of our representation, which is the subjective form of our sensibility—​space and time—​and of our understanding—​the categories such as causality, quantity, etc. Against Kant’s view, Husserl argues that the fact that objects are constituted by one’s consciousness does not imply that their structures are only subjective: on the contrary, the object, as ‘transcendental guide’ (Husserl, [1913] 1982: §131, p. 313), ‘motivates’ the constitution, i.e. it indicates how the perception of the object must be pursued in order for its undetermined aspects to be fully determined. Kant said that the fact that this table appears in space is only true to us; Husserl answers that the spatial structure of the table only depends on the essence of spatial objects and dictates the way any perceiving subject

Tracing Phenomenological Sensibilities    33 can perceive it, so that ‘even God, if he perceived it, would perceive it by adumbrations’ (Husserl, [1913] 1982: §150, p. 351). Thus, the aim of phenomenology is not to describe the structures of consciousness in a psychological way; it is, through the description of these subjective structures, to give an account of the objective structures of the world. The best way to describe a domain of objects is to describe the types of acts that we are compelled to accomplish in order to fully perceive that object. We only have access to an object through its constitution in our consciousness, so we have to follow its constitution in order to understand it. Yet, describing the acts implied in the constitution of objects does not only inform us of the essence of these objects but also of their articulation to each other and, thus, of the layers of the world itself. In his Ideas II, Husserl gives an overview of the main domains of objects—​spatial schemes, natural things, animalia, and spiritual objects—​each of which is correlated to a different science which determines its relevant methodology and type of discursivity. For instance, a careful description of the difference between mathematical idealities such as geometrical figures and, for instance, a tree should make us realize that the method of idealization, which is relevant in the case of the mathematical objects, would be irrelevant in the description of the tree. In order to be rigorous scientifically, natural sciences have to acknowledge the fact that they cannot reach the same exactness as mathematics—​not because they are weaker or less advanced, but because their objects are not and will never be ideal objects and cannot be treated as such. In other words, the elucidation of the ontological type of a given object may teach us the relevant methods that could be used to give a rigorous account of it. Yet, the elucidation of the ontological type of the object actually depends on the description of the acts through which the object is constituted. Therefore, the deepest foundation of a science lies in the description of these acts. For instance, a proper foundation in human sciences should begin by determining how, as a human being, something may be constituted in our consciousness. In his Cartesian Meditations, Husserl gave an account of the constitution of the other egos. The constitution of the other as an alter ego is rooted in the experience that I have of a certain relation between my mind and my body, not as a mere material body (Körper) but as a living and animated body (Leib). When I observe that, in the world around me, certain bodies share some similarities with my own (i.e. physical resemblances or similar behaviours), I transfer onto them the same structures that I experience in my own body—​and, in particular, a relation to a mind. Even though the other’s mind is never given to me in person, its ‘appresentation’ in the other’s body is sufficient to give me access to an intersubjective world, i.e. a world in which I am never alone but always in a certain relationship with other human beings—​a world about which we can talk, in which we can build a society, give value to things, and in which each individual has to construct their own identity and distinguish themselves from the others. This human and intersubjective world is not only the background (or horizon) and the field of every human sciences, but it is also the object on which phenomenologists after Husserl will focus.

34   Jean-Baptiste Fournier Martin Heidegger, for instance, who was Husserl’s student and assistant, refuses to take Husserl’s egological point of view and prefers to start his phenomenological account of what he calls ‘Dasein’ by a description of the intersubjective world in which we are always and already in relation with others.

1.3  Heidegger and Phenomenology On a certain point of view, Heidegger goes even further than Husserl on what the latter called the ‘radicality’ of phenomenology (e.g. Husserl, [1929] 1960). The term Dasein is a typical example of this attempt. According to Heidegger, all the concepts that we generally use to describe the type of beings that we are (‘human’, ‘subject’, ‘ego’, ‘consciousness’, etc.) are in fact misleading, since they carry a very heavy metaphysical burden. For instance, the term ‘human’ is the result of a philosophical tradition which, through Humanism and Enlightenment, gave us a very particular universal concept of humanity. The simple fact that we use this concept forces us to implicitly admit certain theses which, on the contrary, should at least be examined and possibly even rejected, for instance, in the very specific relation between human beings and animals that it conveys. This is why Heidegger never uses traditional concepts but instead creates an entirely new philosophical vocabulary. Instead of speaking of ‘human beings’, we have to use a neutral term such as Dasein which, in German, only means ‘existence’, since the only obvious fact pertaining to us is that we exist—​i.e. we exist in a certain way, which should yet stay undetermined since it is the thematic object of phenomenology and not something that we might presuppose. With Heidegger, phenomenology becomes the ‘analysis of existence’ or Daseinsanalyse: in order to hold to phenomena as they actually appear to us, one has to stop considering individual objects or subjects and to turn one’s sight towards the global phenomenon of the world—​i.e. the existential fact that the Dasein has a world and that he or she is always in a certain relation to the world. More precisely: there is no such thing as an individual Dasein on the one hand and a world on the other, which could then, another time, be linked to one another; on the contrary, the relation itself comes first, and its terms (the Dasein and the world) are nothing but abstract ‘moments’ that can be separated by analysis but which are not actually given in the experience of having a world, which is the first and more significant fact of our existence. Everything we do, everything we perceive, reveals a certain way to have a world or to be in the world, that is to say a ‘possibility’ of the Dasein. Moreover, we always see objects as connected to the world and to our existence in the world. For instance, when I see a nail, I also implicitly see the ‘complex of objects’ in which the nail has its place (the hammer, the wall, the picture) and I always see the existential context in which this complex of objects takes place: the decoration of the house, which refers to the possibility of existence that we call ‘living somewhere’ or ‘inhabiting’, and which defines a certain way to be in the world.

Tracing Phenomenological Sensibilities    35 Heidegger’s Daseinsanalyse eventually leads to a founding structure of existence in the world, which he calls ‘preoccupation’, ‘care’, or ‘concern’ (Sorge): if we stay with the phenomenon of our existence, we can see that we are always preoccupied by something. We use things in order to build or make something with them, we are preoccupied by the other Dasein’s feelings or we want something from them, etc. In other words, to exist in the world always means to be preoccupied by something in the world. But Heidegger’s analysis goes even deeper into the phenomenon of existence, since he tries to describe an even lower structure of existence: that of anguish or anxiety. We, as Dasein, are essentially anxious: we instinctively feel that our existence is an infinite field of possibilities and that nothing ahead is determined for us. Our liberty implies a sense of nothingness as its counterpart: we can choose whatever we want and we feel that our loneliness is absolute. This is why as Dasein we need a world: we need to forget this loneliness and to give ourselves away to the world, to others, to anything but ourselves. We need to be preoccupied in order to forget that we are anxious. In describing this structure, Heidegger seems to go beyond the limits of phenomenology as he tackles a level of self-​experience that we could consider to be not entirely a given but merely reconstituted. But what exactly are the limits of phenomena—​and thus, of phenomenology?

1.4  Orthodoxy and Heresies The complexity of this question comes from a difficulty which has to be underlined at the very beginning of this book. As we have already seen, ‘phenomenology’ refers, on the one hand, to the very general assumption that one has to describe things as they appear to us, and, on the other hand, to the very specific method invented by Husserl in order to fulfil this assumption. ‘Phenomenology’ could be described as a very wide field or ‘cloud’ of philosophical theories assuming that one must keep to an examination of phenomena, at the centre of which we can place Husserl’s mature phenomenology. Thus, generally speaking, phenomenologists insist on distinguishing their method from that of Husserl, thus placing themselves in the field by means of a specific link they have constructed between their views and Husserl’s. In this respect, the history of phenomenology is nothing more than a history of complements or divergences (even heresies) from Husserl’s orthodoxy to which one has to consent in order to fulfil Husserl’s ‘Principle of all principles’ and to give a full and faithful description of phenomena. By means of showing fidelity to what they interpret as Husserl’s programme individual phenomenologists justify themselves as a phenomenologist. Thus, the main streams within phenomenology can be distinguished from one another by to the aspect of Husserl’s programme that they choose to emphasize. For instance, French phenomenologists such as Maurice Merleau-​Ponty or Michel Henry insist on the importance of the body. Merleau-​Ponty’s phenomenology begins with the study of perception as opposed to sensations, the latter not being the atomistic

36   Jean-Baptiste Fournier elements of a construct but, on the contrary, obtained by abstraction from perception itself (Merleau-​Ponty, [1945] 2012). But what is essential in perception is the fact that it is always founded on the perceiving body of the subject. The body is not just a material object, a ‘corpus’, it is the actual source of consciousness. Against Descartes, Merleau-​ Ponty refuses the distinction between body and soul, since perception is conditional on the body itself. Intentionality is founded on the primordial opening of the body to the world, on the fact that our flesh is in a bodily, even carnal, pre-​categorial relation to the world. Even if he criticizes certain aspects of Husserl’s philosophy, Merleau-​Ponty extends his own insight on the distinction between the live body as subject (Leib) and the material body as object (Körper), and the deep relation that our body always has with the life-​world (Lebenswelt). Other phenomenologists criticize Husserl’s transcendental turn, such as Adolf Reinach, but here again, they only do so while maintaining fidelity to Husserl’s early works, and more specifically to the metaphysical neutrality which he used to claim before his 1905−7 works. For instance, Reinach refuses to consider that our lived experience is always intentional, arguing that intentionality must only be used to describe certain acts of consciousness. More recently, philosophers inspired by analytic philosophy or trying to fill the gap between phenomenology and analytic philosophy have gone even further in exploring the ‘limits of intentionality’ (Benoist, 2005). For instance, Jocelyn Benoist considers that intentionality can be very useful to explain certain kinds of phenomena and a certain use of language, but that it is an error to generalize this concept, and in particular to apply it systematically to perception (Benoist, 2013). Indeed, Benoist considers that perception is a way to face reality itself, without the mediation of the intentional object. His realism implies a strong criticism, not of phenomenology as such, but of the fact that the mere description of phenomena which Husserl initially wanted to accomplish lost its purity because of his attempt to generalize on the model of intention/​fulfilment. On the other side, philosophers such as Alexander Schnell consider that transcendental phenomenology, which Husserl had thematized since 1913, must only be deepened. Against the new realism of Quentin Meillassoux, who criticizes what he calls ‘correlationism’ (i.e. the idea that what is given is not the thing itself but a relation in which thing and subject are given together and correlated to one another (see Meillassoux, 2006), Schnell argues that we can always go deeper into correlationism. He says that once we have reached beyond the relation of object to subject to the relation between noema and noesis (the object in the sense through which I intend it and the act of intention), we can go even further into the tissue of phenomena and reach a level in which the temporality of consciousness gives birth to intentionality itself (Schnell, 2020). Here, again, he is following in the path opened by Husserl in his Phenomenology of Internal Time-​Consciousness (Husserl, [1905] 1990). Many contemporary philosophers have chosen not to focus on general problems of method as Husserl very often did, but rather to give phenomenological descriptions of more specific objects or to describe the structures of particular fields of objects related to different regional sciences. For instance, Jean-​Toussaint Desanti and Dominique Pradelle have developed a phenomenology of mathematical idealities in which they show the pertinence of Husserl’s insights, for instance his theory of categorial intuition

Tracing Phenomenological Sensibilities    37 or his stratification of logic in Formal and Transcendental Logic. However, if they underline the necessity of intentionality in order to give an account of the constitution of mathematical objects, they both criticize Husserl’s use of the model of perception in order describe these objects (Pradelle, 2021). Many phenomenologists have thus explored the domains of psychoanalysis, the phenomenology of possibility, of attention, of society, politics, art, etc. There are many other approaches within phenomenology, but one of the most important features of its development since Husserl has been in its capacity to take any object area and to cautiously describe it in such a way that at least some of its essential features might appear. Husserl’s work was born of a very rich scientific culture and he never neglected the importance of actual scientific work, but he was convinced that in order for a science to reach its full meaning and to raise itself to self-​consciousness, it had to take into account the subjective processes within which the object of its field is constituted. Thus, phenomenology may never want to challenge science, but it can give a proper foundation to any scientific discourse. The phenomenological attitude cannot replace the natural approach with which a science must be developed, but it can reveal the proper sense of a field of objects—​the sense that our consciousness actually gives to it.

References Benoist, J. (2001). L’Aufbau comme phénoménologie. In S. Laugier (ed.), Carnap et la construction logique du monde. Paris: Vrin. Benoist, J. (2005). Les limites de l’intentionalité. Paris: Vrin. Carnap, R. ([1928] 1967). The Logical structure of the world. Trans. R. A. George. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. Heidegger, M. ([1927] 1996). Being and Time, J. Stambaugh, trans. Albany: State University of New York Press. Husserl, E. ([1901] 1973). Logical Investigations. Findlay, J. N., trans. London: Routledge. Husserl, E. ([1905] 1990). On the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time (1893–​ 1917). Brough, J.B., trans. Dordrecht: Kluwer. Husserl, E. ([1913] 1982). Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and to a Phenomenological Philosophy –​First Book: General Introduction to a Pure Phenomenology. Kersten, F., trans. The Hague: Nijhoff. Husserl, E. ([1929] 1960). Cartesian meditations, Cairns, D., trans. Dordrecht: Kluwer. Kant, I. ([1781] 2012). Critique of pure reason. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Meillassoux, Q. (2006). Après la finitude: Essai sur la nécessité de la contingence. Paris: Seuil. Merleau-​ Ponty, ([1945] 2012). M. Phenomenology of Perception. D. A. Landes, trans. New York: Routledge. Pradelle, D. (2012). Par-​delà la revolution copernicienne: sujet transcendantal et facultés chez Kant et Husserl. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. Pradelle, D. (2021). Intuition et idéalités: phénoménologie des objets mathématiques. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. Romano, C. (2010). Au Coeur de la raison: la phénoménologie. Paris: Gallimard.

Chapter 2

Husse rl Reason and Emotions in Philosophy Elen Riot

2.1  Introduction Did Husserl, who is often considered the father of the phenomenology school in philosophy, believe his work was completed when he left his last book, The Crisis of Science, unfinished? His followers had a more relaxed and open view of the task of phenomenology: ‘The unfinished nature of phenomenology and the inchoative style in which it proceeds are not the sign of failure, they were inevitable because phenomenology’s task was to reveal the mystery of the world and the mystery of reason’ (Merleau-​Ponty, [1945] 2012: 21–​2, lxxxv). Husserl clearly believed he had to finish the hard work of building phenomenology. Whereas many of his books show the transformations of his ideas and his form of open-​mindedness in building a scientific method for philosophy as a universal science, at the end of his life Husserl clearly thought the future of humanity was in jeopardy. In his last work, he sadly deplored the lack of a unifying science to help in sharing the same meanings. He believed European sciences to be in a state of deep crisis. Reading Husserl’s work today is an interesting way to ponder this issue. This chapter is only a short introduction to the works of Edmund Husserl.1 We first present Husserl’s interest in a science of sciences and the obstacles to building such foundation. We believe this lack is also of concern to organization studies today. Therefore, the second part, developing Husserl’s method for seeking knowledge, could still serve as an epistemic inspiration today. Finally, we identify three important, interrelated questions in organization studies that Husserl’s philosophy may help answer which

1  For further reading, the reader can discover Husserl via his most famous texts in his (1999) and with the help of some of his key commentators (Bachelard, 1990; Zahavi, 2017). The use of the Husserl Dictionary (Moran and Cohen, 2012) may also prove fruitful as Husserl has a rich vocabulary of his own.

Reason and Emotions in Philosophy    39 relate to scepticism, grand challenges in the world of climate change, and the role of emotions and sensations in the realm of knowledge and science.

2.2  Husserl’s Transformation as a Philosopher Edmund Husserl thought scientists used naïve concepts with few of them questioning their crude, naturalist assumptions. As a consequence, he argued that there was a growing gap between this form of technical knowledge and what Husserl called ‘the world of life’. He suggested that this simplistic view in scientific techniques meant segmented, instrumental approaches to the world were imposed to transform it, influencing people’s minds and representations in return. Husserl looked for a solution in a recent science, psychology, resolving to create a new science of all sciences, phenomenology. Convincing his audience to adopt this new science became a daunting task for Husserl that he continued to the end of his life.

2.2.1 Husserl’s Interest for Logic and Psychology The critique of science came from no philistine. Husserl was well versed in the sciences and in mathematics, having initially studied astronomy (Moran and Cohen, 2012: 5). He became interested in the formulation of concepts and at first believed that psychology might offer a common ground for all sciences in relation to formulating a philosophy of mind (Zahavi, 2017). Under the influence of his teacher, Brentano (Fisette, 2018), he found logic too narrow and too dry. He soon discovered psychology was also positivist in its approach of interiority and consciousness, also separating it from the world of life. It simply aped natural sciences by applying their method to another ‘object’: the mind. Its developments, as a fairly recent science, did not offer norms and values that could provide a common ground to all disciplines. Husserl kept insisting it was important to get away from the dominant dualistic and naturalistic assumptions of his time (Husserl, 1981: §51). By arguing that science and knowledge must be related to life itself, Husserl referred to the notion of ‘life-​world’ (Lebenswelt), the world as it was experienced in everyday life, including ‘spiritually’ or culturally, that is, in social activities. Husserl also promoted an authentic rationality that makes the mind operations absolute. In choosing ‘phenomenology’ as the name for his philosophy, he was influenced by Hegel’s view of the mind in his Phenomenology of Spirit: ‘As a consciousness forced back into itself, it will take the inward turn and convert itself into true self-​sufficiency’ (Hegel, [1807] 2018: §193). He thereby orchestrates a form of self-​repossession. However, Husserl changed his mind several times on how to reach this goal.

40   Elen Riot Suzanne Bachelard notes that initially Husserl ‘thought it possible to remedy the insufficiencies of traditional logic by turning to psychology’ (Bachelard, 1990: xxi) as the study of mind. She remarks that, a few years later, reversing his views, in his Logical Investigations ([1913] 2012) ‘Husserl does try to reconcile the new orientation of his investigations with the anti-​psychologic thesis of the Prolegomena’ (Bachelard, 1990: xxvi). He then forcefully insisted phenomenological descriptions are not at all psychological descriptions: The necessity of such psychological founding of pure logic, namely a strictly descriptive one, cannot divert us from seeing the mutual independence of the two sciences, logic and psychology. For pure description is a mere preliminary to theory; it is not theory itself. [ . . . ] we do well to speak of phenomenology rather than of descriptive psychology. (Husserl, 1900, in Bachelard, 1990: xxvi)

In later works, looking for an alternative to psychology as a common ground for all sciences, he even suggested expanding the realm of logic to other spheres of knowledge, not just language. By this stage he had begun crafting his own terms, now the specific, easily recognizable vocabulary of phenomenologists (English, 2009). This approach involved the application of transcendental logic or logical theory, which is grounded in transcendental phenomenology, specifically in a theory of intentionality. Whereas formal logic focused on the formal structure of expressions in a language, relations of inference or consequence that depend on form alone, transcendental logic addresses the sense or meaning of expressions in the language, specifically where these meanings are drawn from the contents of intentional acts of consciousness. Husserl insisted on the mobility and intentionality of the human mind in its relation to the world as part of the world of life, with no move outside its realm. In Husserl’s philosophy, intentionality (Intentionalität) means the directedness of consciousness towards an object. Any act of consciousness is a consciousness of something, and in that sense, it is intentional. It is individual as ‘each cogito, each conscious process, we may say “means” something or other and bears in itself, in this manner peculiar to the meant, its particular cogitatum’ (Husserl, [1929] 1977: §14, pp. 31−2). Husserl decided to invent a new science that would insist on phenomena and intentionality.

2.2.2 Philosophy and the Need for Universal Knowledge Common to All Sciences Husserl was keenly aware that if no common ground existed between the sciences they would lean towards naturalism, namely positivist views based on unquestioned ‘facts’ observed in nature. He mourned ‘[p]‌hilosophy as a serious, rigorous science and even

Reason and Emotions in Philosophy    41 apodictically rigorous, this dream is over [der Traum ist ausgeträum]’ ([1935] 2008: §73, appendix xxviii). He believed this was not born of disillusionment due to a lack of faith, but that it formed the drama of his age, as the relation between science and religion claimed by Medieval philosophy was gone, leaving Europeans with ‘A dominant conviction. A powerful flood, overflowing and submerging European humanity: that of religious disbelief and that of philosophy in renial of its scientificity’ ([1935] 2008: §73). He wrote: ‘Merely fact-​minded sciences make merely fact-​minded people [Bloße Tatsachenwissenschaften machen bloße Tatsachenmenschen]’ (Husserl, [1935] 1981: §6) so to him ‘the faith [Glauben] of the possibility of philosophy as a task [Aufgabe], that is, in the possibility of universal knowledge [universale Erkenntnis], is something we cannot let go’ (§6). This involves a struggle between positivism (or naturalism) and phenomenology. This, then, represented a self-​imposed task and mission for Husserl which he saw as his vocation. He sought to awaken his own and thereby all of our passion of responsibility as ‘functionaries of mankind’, so that we may—​indeed, should—​‘inquire back into what was originally and always sought in philosophy’ (Husserl, [1935] 1981; §7). He adopted Aristotle’s vision of philosophy as the ‘science of Being as being, taken universally not in one of its parts’ (1924: K, 3, in Steel, 1924), deploring the fact that in past centuries, after the Enlightenment, so many sophisticated philosophical systems only offered divergent positions, debating within themselves with no concern for science. Why this urge to go back to Plato and Aristotle to defend a view of philosophy as a science and ‘science’ in the radical meaning of the term, as rigorous science? Some researchers hypothesized that Husserl was responding to a direct political danger in his last works. For instance, De Gandt (2004) insists that in The Crisis, Husserl was protesting against the racist, determinist biologism of peoples by Nazi theorists and their philosophical fellow supporters, among whom could be found some of Husserl’s own students. Husserl was undoubtedly interested in the collective psychology of social groups, peoples, nations, and he regularly exchanged with sociologists like Lévi-​Bruhl in France (Moran, 2012). His concept of ‘intersubjectivity’ that leads to objective knowledge based on social exchanges is inspired by Lévy-​Bruhl’s concept of ‘participation’ (Husserl [1935] 2008) and it later became central to anthropology (Duranti, 2012). In his view, philosophical work on the transmission of problems as a science is different from history, especially the history of great minds, with moral lessons (weeltanschaungphilosophie). In Philosophy as a Rigorous Science ([1911] 2002), Husserl claims both naturalism (that naturalizes all its objects) and moral history (that moralizes everything) are the opposite of philosophy. They are ideological; their concepts are both naïve and rigid. To Husserl, the contrast is sharp between their claims and their achievements because they fail to engage in controversies that would lead to a progress in knowledge, as is the case of science. This view that the history of mentalities shows transient ages in the transmission of ideas and modes of representations is an issue developed at the same time by scholars in the cultural dimensions in literature (Auerbach ([1946] 2013); the visual arts (Baxandall, [1972] 1988); everyday life (Bloch,

42   Elen Riot [1931] 1972); and the trades (Polanyi, 1944). The problem for the sciences was that is was set apart from many problems of knowledge and action in general, and Husserl made that point very clear. Still, scientific knowledge combined with experience may offer a way to reach a form of repossession of self with others in the world of life.

2.2.3 The Age of the Crisis and the Historical Turn Die Krisis der europäischen Wissenschaften und die transzendentale Phänomenologie (The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology) (1936; also subtitled An Introduction to Phenomenological Philosophy) offers us an introduction to Phenomenology of a totally different kind than in all of Husserl’s previous writings. In Die Krisis, Husserl’s work takes a new turn. He insists on a parallel between a crisis in sciences and a crisis in life. The first chapter of the book is entitled: ‘The Crisis in Sciences as an Expression of the Radical Crisis in Life in European Humanity’. Indeed, Husserl wrote The Crisis in a difficult period of his own life too (Van Breda, 1959; Moran, 2012). In Nazi Germany, life in general was becoming more and more difficult for him as a Jew by birth. Life as a scholar exposed him to vexatious measures. He was required to leave Freiburg University although he was at that time one of its prominent thinkers. He lost his emeritus status through the actions of the new rector, his former assistant Martin Heidegger, as well as those of the Nazi State. His philosophical work had become a source of danger to the State, and his transmission of it was in jeopardy. Nonetheless, he continued to work hard in seeking to diagnose the causes for this crisis of European thought and to suggest solutions. In 1935, Husserl gave two very important lecture series: one in Vienna in May on ‘Philosophy in the Crisis of European Humanity’; and the other in Prague in November on ‘The Crisis of European Sciences and Psychology’. It was at the end of this year that his teaching licence was withdrawn. Nonetheless, using his two last lectures, he put together The Crisis, and succeeded in sending two parts of the manuscript off to Prague to be published. Deprived of all his academic contacts and left alone by virtually all his student-​disciples, Edmund Husserl died on 27 April 1938 at the age of 79. The context in which he wrote was never directly mentioned in The Crisis as Husserl set himself ambitious theoretical goals dealing with gnoseology (the theory of knowledge) and metaphysics (after Aristotle) and he never varied from that goal. He briefly mentions at the close of the text that ‘[a]‌lready in the early ages of philosophy, persecution sets in’ ([1935] 1981: §73). The fact that to the very end of his last opus (the most famous one today), Husserl stoically remained focused on the issue of science and the role of reason in directing our intentionality possibly explains respect he inspires to this day. Desanti (1976: 46) points out that, for Husserl in his last (unfinished) work, positivist science was his main focus because he saw it as incapable of solving its state of crisis, its paradoxes, and its unintelligibility due to its simplistic assumptions. ‘A priori sciences begin to offer a radical clarification of the meaning and origin of such concepts as: world,

Reason and Emotions in Philosophy    43 nature, space, time, animal being, man, soul, organism, social community, culture, etc.’ (Desanti, 1976: 248). Only this total a priori science could provide the foundation for authentic empirical science. To lay the foundations for this a priori science, Husserl has less a doctrine and more a method to offer, alternating between a reduction of essences and the constitution of a science of both ‘life word as universum and intuition’ (Husserl, [1935] 1981: §34) and as ‘the interpretation of the data of sensible intuition’ (Husserl, [1935] 1981: §45). This involves ‘self-​reflections about our own present philosophical situation, in the hope that [in this way] we can finally take possession of the meaning, method, and beginning of philosophy’ (Husserl, [1935] 1981: §354). For Husserl, reflexivity begins with a moment of suspension of existing, ingrained beliefs.

2.3  Husserl’s Method As Husserl believed in the rational pursuit of true knowledge, he suggests adopting a method of investigation rather than defining any a priori objects of truth. Although he claimed the heritage of metaphysics since Plato and Aristotle, he preferred to work on singularities in order only later to reach universal truths. He wrote that ‘every single process of consciousness has its own history, i.e., its temporal genesis’ (Husserl, [1929] 1978: 316). He further argued that ‘this [true knowledge of the world itself] is precisely what has been lost through a science which is given as a tradition and which has become a techne, insofar as this interest played a determining role at all in its primal establishment’ (Husserl, [1935] 1981: §57). The method consists in a period of suspension of and then a period of constitution of judgement. Whereas some dimensions, such as sensations and perceptions, are wholly included in this reflexive process, others, such as time, remain outside.

2.3.1 Following Descartes’s Way, Husserl’s Suspension of Knowledge Husserl shared Descartes’s belief as revealed in his Discourse on Method: the power to judge and distinguish true from false, good sense or reason, is naturally equal in all people (Descartes, [1637] 2020). He disagreed with Descartes on the radicality of his doubt whereby he rejects the existence of the world as being (possibly) a mere illusion. Husserl said he found this artificial, arguing: As a natural man, can I ask seriously and transcendentally how I get outside my island of consciousness and how what presents itself in my consciousness as a subjective evidence-​process can acquire Objective significance? When I apperceive myself as a natural man, I have already apperceived the spatial world and construed

44   Elen Riot myself as in space, where I already have an Outside Me. Therefore, the validity of world-​apperception has already been presupposed, has already entered into the sense assumed in asking the question whereas the answer alone ought to show the Tightness of accepting anything as Objectively valid. Manifestly the conscious execution of phenomenological reduction is needed, in order to attain that Ego and conscious life by which transcendental questions, as questions about the possibility of transcendent knowledge, can be asked.’ (Husserl, [1929] 1977: §41, p. 83)

Desanti (1976: 109) argues that Husserl invented the science of phenomena to avoid Descartes’s dualism. As Husserl himself specified, in the introduction of his book, Ideas ([1913] 2013), his science had been newly invented: ‘the science of the phenomena’, pure phenomenology, ‘is remote from natural thinking and therefore only in our days presses toward development’ ([1913] 2013: 27). To develop his approach, Husserl suggested no radical doubt on the reality of the world but just a temporary suspension all judgements and to reconsider the world anew. The term ‘epoché’ is borrowed from the ancient Greek. It means a stop, a suspension. Husserl uses it as a form of ‘bracketing’. The term describes a methodic process of setting aside all-​natural attitudes to the objective world, stretching the links that tie us to the world in lived experience. This corresponds to a phenomenological reduction that allows the intuition of essences and the understanding of the ego activities that constitute meaning. The phenomenological epoché differs from the Cartesian doubt in that it never questions the existence of the outside world. It is simply bracketed so that consciousness can discover the nature of its intentional relation to the world.

2.3.2 No Dualism between Mind and World: The Constitution of Knowledge After this suspension, a different picture of the world of life and the world of essences appeared in relation to pure consciousness. A new constitution of knowledge could take place. Transcendental idealism refers to Husserl’s doctrine that all objects are in principle objects of possible consciousness, capable in principle of being intended through some appropriate meanings or noemata, and in that way relative to consciousness. That view is quite different from previous use of the word ‘transcendental’, which meant it as an inaccessible ideal, or dimensions of space and time that could only be experienced in a subjective way. Husserl insisted that different orders of knowledge and truth coexist but that no dimension of the world of life is outside scientific reach. For instance, some sciences are more descriptive whereas others are prescriptive and normative: ‘if scientifically rational nature is a world of bodies in itself, then the world-​in-​itself must, in a sense unknown before, be a peculiarly split world, split into nature-​in-​itself [Natur an sich] and a mode of being [Seinart] which is different from this: that which exists psychically [das

Reason and Emotions in Philosophy    45 psychisch Seiende]’ (Husserl, [1935] 1981: §61). Yet they all contain two dimensions. Noema is the ideal content of an act of consciousness, with a noematic sense embodying the way the object is intended (an object ‘X’ and its predicates) and the thetic character of the act (perceiving, imagining, or judging, etc). Noesis is the real content of an act of consciousness, in which the ideal content or noema occurs or is realized. As an act of consciousness, it is the act’s intending or presenting of an object in a certain way, something that occurs in time, as does the act itself. What counts is their articulation in senses (Sinne) as ideal particulars: noemata and noematic Sinne are not universals, not properties of acts, but ideal particulars. [ . . . ] noematic Sinne [ . . . ] are complex structures of senses organized in various syntactic patterns [ . . . ]. For Husserl, it is by investigating the complexities of these sense structures that we uncover the complexities in the ways objects are presented to consciousness. (MacIntyre, 1987: 53)

In his analysis, Husserl tried to tie sense to content and meaning to act: if noemata are ideal contents, then a noema is not an object apprehended or otherwise intended in the act whose content it is. ( . . . ) it is not like the object grasped by the hand, but like the structure of the hand which is necessary for its grasping whatever it does. (MacIntyre, 1987: 535)

This leaves great emphasis on sensations and perceptions as they are the lived experience within (or, rather, by) which consciousness and intentionality exist. Intentionality gives the direction. The participation of the ego in the world only varies in modes of attentional consciousness, according to contrasted degrees of activity and passivity.

2.3.3 Perceptions and Sensations at the Heart of Reason In all perceptions, Husserl identified an intention. In his Logical Investigations ([1913] 2012) Husserl identified the perception of something (an inkpot, in his example) as ‘undergoing a certain sequence of experiences of the class of sensations, sensuously unified in a peculiar serial pattern, and informed by a certain act-​character or “interpretation” which endows it with an objective sense’. This act-​character is responsible for the fact that an object, the inkpot for instance, is perceptually apparent to us. Knowing is a slow process as each impression is specific and original: Meaning is related to varied acts of meaning, just as Redness in specie is to the slips of paper which lie here, and which all ‘have’ the same redness. Each slip has, in addition to other constitutive properties (extension, form, etc.), its own individual redness,

46   Elen Riot i.e. its instance of this color-​species, though this neither exists in the slip not anywhere else in the whole world, and particularly not ‘in our thought’ in so far as this latter is part of the domain of real being, the sphere of temporality. (Husserl [1913] 2012: §32, p. 330)

Husserl distinguishes between sensations (hyletic data) and objective sense-​perceptible qualities by using the example of shape and colour constancy, taking the example of a table (rectangular and brown) the appearance of which remains stable in time. The complex of the contents of sensation is quite varied, and yet the corresponding perceptions, by their very essence, pass themselves off as perceptions of the same object. Conversely, the same complex of contents of sensations can be the basis of diverse perceptions, perceptions of diverse objects, as every mannequin proves. (Husserl, [1907] 1997: 39)

Once the objects of intention have remained long enough in consciousness and have been thought through, abstracting single facts relating to essences, a form of knowledge emerges: What the intention means but presents only in more or less inauthentic and inadequate matter, the fulfilment—​the act attaching itself to an intention and offering it ‘fullness’ in the synthesis of fulfillment—​sets itself directly before us, or at least more directly than the intention does. In fulfillment our experience is represented by the words: ‘this is the thing itself ’. (Husserl, [1913] 2012, §8, 694)

This intentional process may be seen as the work of a single consciousness, focusing on its own objects. Yet other dimensions in Husserl’s view of the world of life show that this is not the case. This intentional quest for sense is not isolated from other spheres of life.

2.3.4 No Absolute Moral Duty above Knowledge In referring to the quest of knowledge as the intuition of essences, Husserl uses the ‘pure I’ (ego) (reines Ich), the subject of an act of consciousness, the enduring subject of the experiences in the unified stream of consciousness. This presents the subject in abstraction from his or her body in nature, and his or her role in culture is restricted to the aspect (part or moment) of him-​or herself as playing the role of being subject of consciousness. Yet this subject is also part of society and subject to making choices. To Husserl, intentional choices are based on the conscious quest for knowledge of the pure I. Desanti (1976: 148−9) points out that time and the other are the only remaining kernels resisting eidetic reduction.

Reason and Emotions in Philosophy    47 Husserl finds the ‘wonder’ of time-​consciousness corresponds to ‘the most difficult of all phenomenological problems’ (Hua X, 276, Husserl [1929] 1977), but also ‘perhaps the most important in the whole of phenomenology’ (Hua X, 334, Husserl [1929] 1977). Time explains the continuity of consciousness and intentionality. Time unifies the ego and the world of life and it also bridges all the different moments between perceptions. In his Cartesian Meditations (Husserl, [1929] 1977: Fourth meditation, §37), Husserl mentions time as: this most universal form, which belongs to all particular forms of concrete subjective processes [ . . . ] is the form of a motivation, connecting all and governing within each single process in particular. We can call it a formal regularity pertaining to a universal genesis, which is such that past, present, and future become unitarily constituted over and over again in a certain noetic/​noematic formal structure of flowing modes of givenness.

Yet it is still a problem to unify time itself: ‘Time is fixed and yet time flows. In the flow of time, in the continuous sinking down into the past, a non-​flowing, absolutely fixed, identical, objective time becomes constituted. This is the problem’ ([1917] 1991: 286). Perhaps what unifies time for a subject is his or her intention. For Husserl, intentionality is not a relation between a subject and empirical facts of the objective environment but rather a directedness that is inherent to consciousness itself. Spatial objects only appear for embodied subjects; in any experience, the body is the zero point (Zahavi, 1994: 65). The body’s kinesthesis assembles a plurality of appearances and so its position in time and space matters. It is also key to transcendental intersubjectivity (Zahavi, 1994: 73) as ‘the transcendence of the world is constituted by its intersubjective experienceability’ (p. 74). Beyond intersubjective experience, philosophy as a scientific endeavour involves others and collective work: ‘Accordingly, phenomenology demands that the phenomenologist foreswear the ideal of a philosophic system and yet as a humble worker in community with others, live for a perennial philosophy’, Husserl wrote in 1927 in his article on phenomenology for the Encyclopedia Britannica. Husserl believed a true philosophical attitude was to ground one’s reactions in scientific knowledge and reasoning. For instance, Husserl and Heidegger’s quarrel was based on divergent views on the role of philosophy in relation to scientific truth and reason. Between 1919 and 1923, Martin Heidegger was working as Husserl’s assistant, an important time that ended in deep disappointment for both men. When Heidegger presented Husserl his copy of ‘Sein und Zeit’ in 1926, Husserl invited him to cooperate in his article on Phenomenology for the Encyclopedia Britannica, but the cooperation stalled and then failed altogether. Conflicts involving ethical issues arose because Husserl did not find Heidegger’s work rigorous enough: a major failing for a scientist, and one equated with and characterizing moral failure. Husserl makes no real differentiation between the various types of reasoning on a given issue.

48   Elen Riot In this regard, Pradelle (2018) points out the differences between Kant and Husserl in terms of norms, principles, and values. Whereas Kant considered ethical laws (based on practical reason) to be a priori and superior to other forms of knowledge based on theoretical reason (sciences), Husserl insisted on the same reasoning taking place in all matters, arguing that the same discernment is necessary. Husserl only opposed blindness and foresight. When the farsighted recognizes an ethical norm in both spheres concerned by eidetic reduction, that of pure intuition of essences and that of sensible representations, and engages in a constitution of norms from the bottom up, the blind fails to distinguish just instinct from the keenness of analysis and assessment. To Pradelle (2012: 20), the main problem then lay in the constitution of a material scale of values and goodness, pleasures and feelings. Contrary to Kant whose philosophy avoids any form of tension in defining freedom, Husserl (1974) points at a duality between reason and sensibility (Pradelle 2012: 27). As a consequence, he argues, freedom is the result of this constant tension in intention, with phenomenology acting as a method of emancipation via the repossession of self. Freedom depends on a hierarchy of norms (Engel, 1989) one is capable of setting for oneself in accordance with others and in relation to truth.

2.4  Husserl’ Relevance Today for Organization Studies Possibly because his work is mostly concerned with the role of pure consciousness and knowledge, Husserl is seldom mentioned in organization studies compared with more popular figures in phenomenology such as Heidegger, Merleau-​Ponty, Schütz, or Henry. We believe four contemporary issues can revive Husserl’s ideas and give them an opportunity to contribute to organization studies. The first issue is that of knowledge and scepticism. The second deals with grand challenges. Two last issues are more specific to phenomenology and its interest in time perception, on the one hand, and in emotions-​ sensations on the other.

2.4.1 A Defence of Reason against Sceptics To Pascal Engel (2012: 34), one of the greatest challenges of rationalism is to maintain its principles of reason, its epistemic and ethical values within a universe of natural facts. What is the ontology and epistemology of these norms, what is their relation to values, and how do we have access to them? The sceptic paradox is looming: a norm is, by definition, ideal so that it does not always correspond to natural facts. Yet it does not either correspond to ideal facts. Besides, if its normative content is overly idealized, no being will take it as a norm.

Reason and Emotions in Philosophy    49 In Husserl’s philosophy, the normative is not independent from its natural basis, contrary to what Platonism argues. It covariates with it. Yet the problem of how norms are shared remains unclear, especially in the constitution of a hierarchy of norms (Engel, 2020). Desanti is satisfied with the fact that: ‘Before us, a system of phenomenological disciplines which fundamental ground no longer is the axiom “ego cogito” is replaced by a full, complete and universal self-​awareness’ (1976: 251). Yet both Engel (2020) and Parfit & Broome (1997) before him insist that senses, thoughts, and meaning are objective only insofar as they are the products of intentional acts of consciousness but there is no shared language for this. They find Husserl’s approach to knowledge idealism as his noema reflects a solipsistic view contrary to that of logicians like Brentano and Meinong who had taught him philosophy. We find this is not the case and that Husserl’s approach can fruitfully contrast power oriented and pragmatic visions of collective problems in organization studies. For instance, in the case of grand challenges (Gray & Purdy, 2018) when one must be able to share knowledge and act, so far in organization studies most authors insist on the need to conduct collective investigations and reach a consensus. Husserl’s vision of reason is neither empirical nor constructionist, it may even seem idealist in light of pragmatic methods such as an inquiry. This social process is triggered by the existence of a practical problem. It involves doubt and requires imagination, creativity, and social interaction. It equally utilizes reasoning and narration. It presents itself as a temporary compromise, always tentative and fallible. When the inquiry ends, the participants agree on whether the outcome is intelligible and actionable, this point of view may change. In turn, that change may show a need for new inquiry cycles (Lorino, 2018). It is still possible to find a common ground against scepticism in theories inspired by Hume and Kant as well as in pragmaticism. But other approaches to grand challenges tend to insist solely on the power and discourse dimension (Van Bommel & Spicer, 2011), downplaying the role of reason and knowledge. Although it may be argued contrariwise in critiques of this rational approach, like Foucault’s (Heidenreich, 2013), that somehow shared the same vocabulary, we believe a clear difference exists in their view of reason. One stems from scepticism, the epistemological doctrine that we cannot know such-​and-​such for certain; and, at an extreme, holding that we can never know anything with absolute certainty. The other fights scepticism by referring to the norms of reason. Whereas concerns were voiced in organization studies about the manipulation of public opinion and the disregard for facts in social media (Christensen, Kärreman, & Rasche, 2019), less interest, so far, has been paid to fake sciences and scepticism in theory and research. A disregard for factual truths and the role of reason is not a problem that scientists and scholars can solve in others if they do not feel any need for philosophical questions and scientific debates. Following Husserl (2002), we believe more insight into these recent (and ancient) phenomena would be needed in respect of scientific understanding before we can properly act upon the problem and make choices.

50   Elen Riot

2.4.2 Our Second Nature in the Age of Climate Change One of the problems raised about Husserl’s internalist view of knowledge is his idealism and a form of solipsism (Parfit & Broome, 1997). He argues that senses, thoughts, and meaning are the products of intentional acts of consciousness. While this view allows for full individual responsibility about one’s beliefs and the constitution of a hierarchy of norms, this leaves outside the external world and the need for a common language to express its nature. Husserl also insists on hyletic data but, as defended by externalists, causal relations only depend on what our senses perceive of the world (Dutant & Engel, 2005: 21). Husserl’s answer would be to suggest that equal attention be paid to perceptions from the outside world and from our own senses that perceive them: ‘So much by way of a general characterization of the noetic-​noematic themes which must be treated with systematic thoroughness in the phenomenology of attention’ (Husserl, [1983] 1991: 226). To Husserl, attention is subjected to intentionality. Eidetic intentionality means going from the individual and concrete objects of senses to abstractions (eidos in Greek means the shape, i.e. the abstract structure of the thing). So, attention is not a mental activity intensifying some sensations and psychic states via the sensory inputs of stimuli. It is a mandatory condition to gain and share knowledge. In this respect, Husserl shares Descartes’ and Malebranche’s rationalist conception of attention as being the fundamental condition of our freedom as knowing subjects. In organization studies, many authors insisted on the issue of attention in relation to the media and firms’ public relations efforts to influence their audience (Ocasio, Laamanen, & Vaara, 2018), often pointing at its limits due to actors’ strategies and contradictory intentions (Den Hond et al., 2014). Attention is presented as a game in the media to defend corporate actors’ image in the face of new information that may impair their reputation. Little is said about the state of doubt and the lack of knowledge about such major events as climate change whereas this lack of scientific knowledge of the world of life (using Husserl’s expression) may well explain, today as in past ages, key actors’ equivocations. Taken in this alternative way, the issue of what should be the focus of public attention involves dealing with collective choices with the classic terms of a problem of preferences. What is the price of future prospects and the value of future generations’ lives compared to the present (Broome, 2012)? Many problems remain unsolved, not by lack of ethical standards but because of the naturalistic view of sciences, which fails to challenge their naïve assumptions, and by a lack of interest in scientific knowledge.

2.4.3 Time and Collective Memories Husserl mentions norms as being the result of the phenomenological process of investigation for the ego. The ego and its consciousness exists and persists in time despite the indexical nature of sensations; namely, ‘I’ and ‘here’ can be used with reference to different contexts. Therefore, Husserl clearly identified ways to capture both the fleeting nature of sensations and the constant dimensions of consciousness in time:

Reason and Emotions in Philosophy    51 in Husserl’s view [ . . . ] perceptual experience [ . . . ] displays a phenomenological deep-​or micro-​structure constituted by time-​consciousness [ . . . ]. This merely seemingly unconscious structure is essentially indexical in character and consists, at a given time, of both retentions, i.e., acts of immediate memory of what has been perceived ‘just a moment ago’, original impressions, i.e., acts of awareness of what is perceived ‘right now’, and protentions, i.e., immediate anticipations of what will be perceived ‘in a moment’. It is by such momentary structures of retentions, original impressions and protentions that moments of time are continuously constituted (and reconstituted) as past, present and future, respectively, so that it looks to the experiencing subject as if time were permanently flowing off. (Beyer, 2020)

A recent stream of research has suggested paying more attention to time relations and collective memories in organizations (Wadhwani et al., 2018; Wadhwani, Suddaby, Morhiorst and Popp, 2013 ). This neo-​institutionalist approach pays attention to the role of ‘history as organizing’ and insists on the ‘uses of the past in organization studies’. That means the role of the past is constructed and predominantly power-​bound and instrumental. We believe time dimensions can also be analysed as collective operations of knowledge that demand an understanding of complex mechanisms of perception and interpretation especially as they involve norms for present and future perspectives. To this end, Husserl’s approach to time may be translated with profit to the domain of organization studies, as time is also a collective property constituted through historical time (the ground norm) and turned towards future possible orientations (the horizon). We see how he makes practical use of past philosophies to build his own. The ground norm (Grundnorm) is the norm or principle that defines what counts as a value in a given domain of values (for example, moral values or aesthetic values). The horizon (Horizont) is the range of possibilities left open for an object of consciousness, for example possible properties of the back side of an object as one sees it and possible relations of the object to other objects. Besides, considering the horizon of an act of consciousness means allowing that the object of consciousness also has possible properties and relations beyond those explicitly presented in the act as long as those properties are compatible with the content or noematic sense of the act. This leads to the various roles of imagination in relation to sensations and emotions, a subject that is at the centre of Husserl’s philosophy and what he leaves us with today.

2.4.4 More on Emotions and Sensations As we have seen, Husserl pays a great deal of attention to sensations and perceptions. This keen interest was recently included in a multidisciplinary approach combining Husserl’s philosophy ‘hyle’ (immanence of mind) with Eastern thought and psychotherapy to define the protocols of cognitivist experimentations (Depraz, Varela, & Vermetsch, 2003) as part of a ‘pragmatic approach’ of ‘awareness’. We believe that approach tends to downplay the issue of intentionality, and the role of strategic judgement in relation to

52   Elen Riot intuition, emotions, and sensations. In the realm of organization studies, Holt (2018), among others, investigated the aesthetic dimension of choice and its influence on reasoning. We believe more research could fruitfully be developed in that area especially as far as imagination is concerned. As we pointed out in the first part of this chapter, Husserl contrasted ‘philosophy as a rigorous science’ with the moral sciences and history. However, the latter cannot be completely discarded and forgotten as they inform some of our most immediate sensations. Knowing how to articulate them comprehensively remains an unfinished task. In his uncompleted book, The Visible and the Invisible, Merleau-​Ponty complements Husserl’s view of sensations in the latter’s also unfinished book, The Crisis of European Sciences by adding time and cultural representations as layers of meaning that inform our current sensations: The color is yet another variant in another dimension of variation, that of its relations with the surroundings: this red is what it is only by connecting up from its place with other reds about it, with which it forms a constellation, or with other colors it dominates or that dominate it, that it attracts or that attracts it, that it repels or that repel it. In short, it is a certain node in the woof of the simultaneous and the successive. It is a concretion of visibility, it is not an atom. The red dress a fortiori holds with all its fibers onto the fabric of the visible, and thereby onto a fabric of invisible being. A punctuation in the field of red things, which includes the tiles of roof tops, the flags of gatekeepers and of the Revolution, certain terrains near Aix or in Madagascar, it is also a punctuation in the field of red garments, which includes, along with the dresses of women, robes of professors, bishops, and advocate generals, and also in the field of adornments and that of uniforms. And its red literally is not the same as it appears in one constellation or in the other, as the pure essence of the Revolution of 1917 precipitates in it, or that of the eternal feminine, or that of the public prosecutor, or that of the gypsies dressed like hussars who reigned twenty-​five years ago over an inn on the Champs-​Elysées. A certain red is also a fossil drawn up from the depths of imaginary worlds. If we took all these participations into account, we would recognize that a naked color, and in general a visible, is not a chunk of absolutely hard, indivisible being, offered all naked to a vision which could be only total or null, but is rather a sort of straits between exterior horizons and interior horizons ever gaping open, something that comes to touch lightly and makes diverse regions of the colored or visible world resound at the distances, a certain differentiation, an ephemeral modulation of this world—​less a color or a thing, therefore, than a difference between things and colors, a momentary crystallization of colored being or of visibility. Between the alleged colors and visibles, we would find anew the tissue that lines them, sustains them, nourishes them, and which for its part is not a thing, but a possibility, a latency, and a flesh of things. (Merleau-​Ponty, 1968: 23)

In his comment on this quote and after insisting on Husserl’s influence on Merleau-​ Ponty, Georges Didi-​Huberman (2021: 372) argues for the need to go even further

Reason and Emotions in Philosophy    53 towards a consideration of the mutability of all things, referring to such notions as atmosphere and intensity of desire in politics. As we said before, Husserl’s views on perceptions, sensations, and imagination have already gained importance for phenomenologists after him. So, taking another direction, we suggest considering this red color and its many occurrences that Merleau-​Ponty mentions, by going back to Husserl’s views on reason and emotions. It is not clear if we are or are not in the ‘crisis of European sciences’ that Husserl warned us about, but it is certainly true that some work still needs to be done to reach and speak to the flesh of things in a way that relates to both reason and sensations.

2.5  Conclusion Husserl’s work remains quite unknown in organization studies even if his ideas may prove a source of inspiration, especially in his efforts to build a bridge between self and the world and between reason, sensations, and emotions. However, many of the authors Husserl inspired insisted on focusing on existentialism and emotions, paying less attention to the role of reason. However, we believe the role of reason is so central to Husserl’s philosophy that it is impossible to understand his phenomenology without mentioning it. It makes his heritage especially inspiring and essential today. The idea of building a hierarchy of norms based on pure experience as a form of scientific knowledge of both personal and universal dimensions is especially interesting at a time when many authors are now satisfied with opposing Aristotle’s phronesis (practical reason) and scientific knowledge, insisting they belong to distinct spheres of knowledge (Flyvbjerg, Landman, & Schram, 2012; Lohmar and Yamagushi, 2010). Husserl referred to Aristotle’s work on knowledge, science, and action. His notion of intentionality is enlightening as it never distinguishes a priori between types of knowledge of the world of perceptions. We agree with this view that given the current challenges we are facing, it might not be possible to isolate scientific knowledge, pragmatic skills, and ethical dilemmas. At present, more should be said about Husserl’s interest in sensations and emotions, and how the body, the tangible ego, can convey meaning to help us comprehend and rationalize the world rather than simply as providing a source of noise for the mind. The Crisis insists on including the contributions of philosophers throughout history, from the time of Plato and Aristotle to the present age of philosophy. He insists that many skilled scientists ignore this tradition while others squander its heritage. His demonstration that reason as a source of universal knowledge is key in peaceful and troubled times alike is impressive and inspiring. It is therefore our hope that this message will be heard today and in future ages.

54   Elen Riot

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Chapter 3

He idegger, Org a ni z at i on, and Ca re Robin Holt

3.1  Making Organization Present Heidegger’s abiding interest was the nature of being. Being was not to be conflated with what materially exists as the stuff or substance of the world. Nor was it what appeared to a rarefied, ghostly consciousness or mind. Heidegger was interested in the metaphysical condition of being that was, nevertheless, experienced in the appearances (phenomena) of everyday, human lives (Erlebnis). His work is grounded in this phenomenological reduction of existence. When set against the phenomenologists’ concern with getting behind the filter of theories and instrumental relations in order to understand the thing in itself, Heidegger’s own presence is a disturbing one insofar as a thing in itself can be nothing more than how it ordinarily appears in day-​to-​day comings and goings. He argued that beyond this everyday setting there was no being. Being was tithed to human apprehension; what is and what appears were twins. The apprehension of being required the human senses, and most notably language, but it extended beyond them. Being was only being to the extent that it not only appeared through bodily touch, sight, and so on, but did so in meaningful ways. Hence, under the aegis of Heidegger’s phenomenology, being is a rich soup of materiality, sensory perception, affect, embodiment, collective activities, traditions, and thought, none of which could be sensibly separated out from the other. The nature of being was one of indebtedness to the human lives in which it was continually being taken up and disclosed. The way being discloses itself is in the significance it has for human beings. Heidegger’s phenomenology is adamant that meaning and things are inseparable. It is not as if behind appearance we get to the real thing, the essence: meaning goes all the way through, it is the breath by which being is animated and becomes that which ‘is’ rather than ‘is not’. A thing can be there, open to perception, but it is mute, dead unless it is encountered as a site of possible recognition, attraction, or disturbance. It is only when it is encountered by our body and grammar, when it is

58   Robin Holt gathered in significance and becomes a thing of interest, open to understanding, that it appears. What appears is always already steeped in the array of meanings by which it appears as something. Human beings—​Dasein —​are themselves coursing with meaning, it runs in our veins, as it is only in humans that the questionability of being (the relation to being that is established most explicitly by people like phenomenologists, for whom questioning being becomes a professional practice) is itself a condition of being: it is only with human beings that the state of being arises as a question. The world can have objective presence outside of human existence, but the question of being can only occur to humans as well as through humans, hence it is inescapably a phenomenological question: what appears is given clearance to emerge in the questionability that arises naturally in Dasein and which makes meaningfulness and being possible (Sheehan, 2014). Human existence exhibits an essential concrete reflexivity: ‘I must not only live, but make sense of life, not just of the being of entities at large, but also of my own being.’ Dasein therefore has the character of ‘mineness’ (Jemeinigkeit), the question of being is mine (Heidegger [1927] 2010: 42; see also Reedy & Learmonth, 2011; Golub, 2014: 200−1). What is most distinct in Heidegger’s phenomenology is its quiet insistence that, in Dasein, being and meaning share the same ontological condition: ‘The meaning of being can never be contrasted with beings or with being as the supporting “ground” of beings, for “ground” is only accessible as meaning, even if that meaning itself is an abyss [Abgrund] of meaninglessness’ (Heidegger, [1927] 2010: 152). Outside of Dasein there is what Heidegger calls unmeaning, what is ontologically raw, but when things intrude upon Dasein, as events of nature can do when they break and destroy human lives, even then what appears are things that are a ‘this’ or ‘that’ and so already move within an established understanding of being: our facticity is already and always organized in structures of meaningfulness. If meaning, being, and Dasein are all inmates of the same ontological order, so too is organization. Organization, from organ, meaning tool, makes its appearance immediately insofar as things, to the extent they are significant, are being made intelligible and so present in relation to the concerns of Dasein. This ‘making present’ of things can be experienced in: the habituated use of things (these are relations that typically go unnoticed because they accepted and established); in the assembling and dis-​assembling things as a means to the experimental realization of other things (these are relations of explicit inquiry into how things might appear differently, and so an augmentation of the world); and in the presentation of things as objects of knowledgeable (these are conceptual and patterned relations encapsulated in theories, theses, etc.). Under the impress of organization not only do things appear meaningfully through the clearing provided in Dasein, they do so always in relation to other things. All manner of things are being brought into relational comparison: a shell, a star pattern, the spiralling layers of a Christian hell or the family tree of Russian tsars. Each of these apparently distinct things carries a distinction only in relation to how they appear under the plenum of organized concern and in whose light they are being brought into mutual relief. They appear having already been placed –​in the sea, or against the night sky, in an afterlife, or in mortal, family relations. The being of a shell, star, hell or tsar is wrapped

Heidegger, Organization, and Care    59 up in how each might service human desire, how they might constrain human excesses, how they might enhance human powers, and how they might exemplify human ideals, and organization sediments and distributes these relations in its multiple forms as: routines, hierarchies, networks, platforms, chains, boundaries, limits, suspensions, recesses, contracts, procedures, classifications, and lists. For example, one tsar appears after another in unquestionable patterns of hierarchical in-​breeding; sinners are declined in a declining and spiralling intensity of hellish sinfulness; stars are read in patterns that determine human destinies from birth; and shells are read as natural expressions of mathematically ideal number sequences that enumerate on the nature of fixed truth. And these are just some of many changing ways the things called shells, stars, hell, or tsars can and do appear, always exhibiting already agreed upon spatial positions and temporal rhythms. Organization is always and already there, and whatever appears does so having already been thrown into an organized condition, it is a thing whose structures, awareness, and movement are already settled, and from these settlements into objectivity things cannot move all that easily and remain intact. What appears, then, in everyday life, is not an array of things-​in-​themselves that are then brought together in organization, but already organized objects whose appearance is more or less unruly, more or less compatible to the prevailing norms and grounds by which they are deemed to be of service, to be amenable to experiment, and to be part of the known world. Organization is not an encumbrance, it is not a structuring condition behind which the real or authentic nature of things-​in-​themselves appear. Rather, organization mediates appearance, insofar as what appears meaningfully in perception already belongs to the world, as do the senses and affects by which perception itself is experienced, along with the cognitive patterns by which these perceptions become sedimented in habits and memories. Understanding what it is for tsar ascend to power, and to foretell this by reading the stars, for example, cannot be reduced to an array of physiological capacities, cognitive patterns or particle forces, nor can it be expanded into general conditions such as social convention, evolutionary fitness or laws of motion and gravity. It is not as if ‘ascending’ is coded into each human or celestial body as a basic capacity which then receives subtle refinements according to prevailing social and physical codes or spatial atmospheres. The innate cognitive and physical structure of ‘ascent’ is alive with acquired cultural representations. The organizational setting of any upward movement is teaming with suggestive and richly woven expression in which humans are all steeped from the get go—​there is no pattern of steady acquisition of the skill of ‘ascending’. Rather it is generated and regenerated in immediate, historical, performative events in which there is a coming together of neuronal connection, musculature, ostensive reasoning, sociality, history, which, when gathered together, goes by the name of existence in an open totality. Against this claim for organization as a priori, how then to understand the appearance of Dasein itself? If it is nothing outside of organization is it thereby nothing but organization? No, because the space open to being Dasein cannot be fully settled into relations of use value, of experimental inquiry, or known social and material facts. It belongs to all these organized conditions, but it is also present as that which is making itself present in its exposure, and so it is continually coming back to the question of its being the kind

60   Robin Holt of being that sustains itself in throwing itself open to appearance. It is not, then, something just ‘there’, but continually being pulled out of itself to then stand ‘there’ as nothing more than unfolding possibility (ex-​sistere), a stretching in which Dasein is alive to its being the space for instantiations of meaning that are held fast in everyday life as use, as experiment, and as truth or fact (Heidegger, [1927] 2010: 375; Sheenan, 2014). Dasein occupies the privilege of interrogating being, an association that removes it from ontology and connects it to an ontic condition of dissimulating being through itself, a condition that then questions and so provokes ontology, it excites and disturbs what is there by the simple fact of being the being in which what ‘is’ finds its space as that which is being made present in its gathering to itself a history, a time that is its own time. Yet this ontic awareness of the bodily presence of perceived things—​the intentional isolation of subject and thing upon which Edmund Husserl fixates—​is itself, for Heidegger, ontological in that to be intentional requires an already existing grammatical architecture of prepositions (‘for’, ‘in order to’, alongside, etc.) whose meaningfulness is jointed to what is already organized as an immediately given world of tools and concepts (Kisiel, 1985). The self is aware of itself as a ‘you’, it listens in, as well as listening into the possibilities offered up as it is addressed through organization; ‘[H]‌igher than actuality stands possibility. We can understand phenomenology solely by seizing upon it as a possibility ([1927] 2010: 38).’ The phenomenological advance being made by Heidegger is to admit the ontological presence of expressive conditions (given organizational form) by which norms and grounds are continually sedimented in human life, and yet to find in this facticity moments of distance from this organized setting. And he does so without appealing to an inner life-​world of purely intentional consciousness. Dasein is distinct by virtue of its being a being that is continually making its own being present by holding itself open to being incomplete. Dasein understands itself not as an intentional being that is simply there, but as a being whose ‘being there’ is worked at by making itself present, and in making itself present the world also appears ‘[I]‌f no Dasein exists, no world is “there” either’ (Heidegger, [1927] 2010: 365). In appearing to itself Dasein is not a shedding of, or opposition to, organization, but a taking in of what is being organized towards itself, such that no matter how dominant and dominating the organization is of the norms and grounds—​no matter how intense and all-​consuming the demand is to put the world into the service of human utility, no matter how busy the experimenters are in augmenting the world through experiment, and no matter how zealous the stewards of truth—​ Dasein retains to itself the responsibility of making these present in the very facticity of its own immediate presence as a space for holding open to the possibility of meaning (McNeill 1999: 116). It is a strangely elusive condition in which the question and questioned are held in an intimacy that requires a language that, though it is already there, nevertheless ‘houses’ being by holding itself open to what is not (yet) there (Krell, 2016). Heidegger describes this condition of Dasein as being in relations of care (Sorge). Dasein cannot escape the already organized condition of meaning: it encounters and is addressed by a world that is already, historically, organized. Things appear in relation to its needs, its questions, its

Heidegger, Organization, and Care    61 claims, and what is closest to it are the things with which it has most frequently and persistently considered its needs, claims, and questions: the friends and family, the cherished talismans, the worn-​down implements, the steadying values. Yet these closest relations to things might be better understood as those of concern rather than care. Dasein is forever coping with the world in which it is inevitably performing or accomplishing (Besorgen) organized life (Heidegger, [1927] 2010: 191). And in being open towards being it is also directed towards something of itself, and it is this self-​relation that is care proper, as opposed to concern, for it is a self-​governed relation to its own being. Just what being-​in-​itself is, however, outside of what appears already organized as what is functional, experimental, or truthful, is a moot point. Was it being itself, as opposed to the being of things, that becomes subject to care? In talking of Dasein as a space for the holding open of being to disclose itself, Heidegger tempts himself into a mytho-​poetic metaphysics in which humans, who he likens to shepherds, become conduits of Being (with a capital ‘B’) that is finding its way by coursing through the expressive appearance of Dasein. Understood as a conduit of Being Heidegger’s Dasein loses touch with ethics (from ethos, a concern for developing one’s character in relation to both immediate appearance and maturing endurance), in favour of ontology (Golub, 2014: 242; McNeill, 2006). Through care Dasein becomes a questioning force in relation to Being, aware of how to practically act in the company of its ilk who are also struggling to experientially own what is own-​most to them (see also Sheenhan, 2014). But at times Heidegger wants to push the metaphysics further, beyond appearances by referring to an ahistorical condition of awaiting the arrival of Being. It is as if Dasein were to willingly cede itself to occupation by Being, and if this yielding is done collectively it all too easily becomes a dominating program of destiny politics such as the National Socialism for which Heidegger became an unapologetic and fervent advocate. It is in refusing Heidegger’s turn toward ahistorical Being, and remaining with the more prosaic phenomenology of ethical self-​awareness, that I wish to take up the condition of care in relation to organization. Care remains a fecund relation through which Dasein negotiates the conditioning norms and ground through which its own appearance is being continually organized. It cannot oppose or escape organization other than through the adoption of refinements, or alternatives, that are themselves always organized; each struggle to wrest itself distant from its already organized condition opens up a new condition, each distinction creates yet another world in which it appears as a ‘this’ or ‘that’. Nor can Dasein give itself over to something behind being, and to the extent Heidegger invokes Being he is at risk of falling foul of his own phenomenology which eschews the urge to find an ahistorical reality as that which lies fixedly underneath or behind things. Dasein persists as itself only in the continual effort of allowing space for the opening up of distinctions in meaning, in which effort there arises the dawning of a being that is, in an effortful way, continually being organized. That it does so haphazardly, with an enduring sense of uncertainty and even lostness, is testament to how, ethically speaking, Dasein has first to appear clothed, and then undress as it were, becoming exposed as its being slips outside of the already organized present, becoming present as a conscious force, whilst still being organized. In this distinction-​making it

62   Robin Holt continues as a force that prevails upon what it is becoming distinct from: its presence is vying with the present as a place of disturbance, not settlement, and it is here that consciousness becomes a conscience, for it is here that what appear as the organized norms and grounds of everyday life become questionable: are they open to the possibility of being otherwise? It cannot make the open itself present for the open is what presupposes Dasein in its appropriation of the open space of being, including its own questioning. It is one such event of Dasein making itself present as both itself and the open that I want to concentrate on. It is depicted in William Holman Hunt’s The Awakening Conscience, painted around 1853 (Figure 3.1). The painting is a small object depicting an extra-​ordinary appearance embodied in the act of a woman rising from a man’s lap. Painted as an exemplar work of the Pre-​Raphaelite Brotherhood, an art movement of which Hunt was a devout member, it is an image steeped in hyper-​real, detailed symbolism. It is a painting designed deliberately to picture the norms and grounds being made present in countless human lives: a world of routines and moral principles that are questionable, indeed objectionable, and which ought, according to Hunt, to be organized differently. The rise of the woman is a rent in the settled forms of organization that can be read into the painting. Only this painting carries a back story that complicates Hunt’s message, and which gives the conscience of its title a far more troubled, uncanny, and so, in Heidegger’s terms, caring quality.

3.2  The Awakening Conscience The man in Hunt’s picture is more a type than a person: a wealthy, establishment figure whose entitled position requires he keep a mistress whom he houses alongside gaudy drapes and furnishings, one object amongst others. We the viewers are told the woman is his mistress by her loose hair, the suggestive lack of a corset, and her left hand: it is the wedding finger that is bare, whilst all the others are adorned with rings purchased, perhaps in the snatched moments of their stage-​managed trysts. The man slouches in a chair, a large moustache decorating a face that will, into old age, refuse the lineaments of wisdom. It is a face flushed with a sense of attainment won on the back of others’ struggles and for which it has offered, in return, the taut smile that is proper to those schooled, from childhood, in how to treat the inferior classes. The room is furnished in the heavy, empire taste that had stamped mid-​19th-​century Britain with a seal of self-​ satisfied certainty. Raw materials have been transformed into household objects through exploitative relations of production. Wood, having been cut from distant forests in the colonies, has become an overpolished and underused occasional table and piano; cotton picked by slaves has become ornate drapery; wool woven on steam powered looms tended by orphans has become a carpet; and arsenic-​based, blue dye mixed by artisans inured to their poisonous fate has become block printed wallpaper. As a furnished backdrop all appears as it should appear.

Heidegger, Organization, and Care    63

Figure 3.1  William Holman Hunt, The Awakening Conscience (1853) (Presented by Sir Colin and Lady Anderson through the Friends of the Tate Gallery, 1976. Photo Tate)

Except, that is, the woman herself. Hunt is painting a moment of rupture. As she raises herself upwards the slight but distinct gap between her and the man is a splitting of the scene that is no less violent and decisive than would be a slash in the canvas. At least, it appears, that is Hunt’s intention. The textual backdrop that attests to Hunt’s motivation to paint the image is the proverb: ‘As he that taketh away a garment in cold weather, so is he that singeth songs to an heavy heart’. The man is such a singer. He has only recently

64   Robin Holt arrived, having carelessly fallen into the soft furnishings, and has been playing the piano just as carelessly, with a still-​gloved hand, more mannequin than human, picking out the notes of a popular tune: Thomas Moore’s Oft in the Stilly Night, set to music by John Stevenson in 1818. As he plays, rather than listen, simpering, she has started to rise, as though the song has prompted something in her, her heart absorbs the affect, growing heavy, and she begins to push away her shawl. It is a song of memory and loss, in whose second refrain a sense of profound loneliness takes hold: When I remember all The friends, so link’d together That I’ve seen around me fall Like leaves in wintry weather; I feel like one Who treads alone Some banquet-​hall deserted Whose lights have fled Whose garlands dead And all but she departed! Thus, in the stilly night Ere slumber’s chains have bound me Sad memory brings the light Of other days around me

This atmosphere of loss in the scene is further intensified for the viewer if they look at the discarded score on the floor: Edward Lear’s setting of Alfred Tennyson’s poem ‘Tears, Idle Tears’, which the poet described as a poem of passion for the past whilst abiding with the transience of the present Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns The earliest pipe of half-​awaken’d birds To dying ears, when unto dying eyes The casement slowly grows a glimmering square; So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.

The bottom right of the canvas finds a glimmering square of intruding sunlight, lighting up an unfinished tapestry, its open edges spilling down over broken threads of worsted littering the floor like the small thoughts she would have hastily discarded in order to then collect herself on hearing him come to the door. Is this light diminishing or growing? The awakening is signifying the abrupt affects of memory that have drifted unbidden into her consciousness and body, the songs have become reminders of a past when things were different, and certainly better and differently constrained than they are now in this her present predicament. She is pulled upwards, there is an intimation

Heidegger, Organization, and Care    65 that she is quitting the room, its bourgeois intimacies are giving way to a far deeper more profound intimacy with her own past self. As if to accentuate and catalyse the effect of this remembered self, she looks out through a large window onto the bright, natural world of a garden, one untrammelled by the frail finery and engrained sinfulness of her kept life. Both the song and the sun are putting her into obligation towards her own life, she is awakening. Holman Hunt has a particular form of Christian awakening in mind. Recalling the proverb that promoted the painting: once felt, the heaviness of heart is then to be lifted by turning upwards towards the love of god, responding to the calling of a higher love that emblazons nature with light, but which, hitherto, has only intruded into the house as a mirrored reflection in which she too is framed. The event is paused, she is surrounded by floral warnings: anemones as unrequited love, marigolds as sorrow, whilst outside the white dahlias are turning away, symbols of perseverance, honesty, and commitment. On the wallpaper birds are pecking at grain and grapes whilst cupid sleeps below, and beneath the table, skulking, a malevolent cat toys with a small, brown bird. Though apparently mute, every object is screaming at her, exhorting her to correct the wrongs into which she has fallen and might still remain fallen (see Prettejohn 2005: 113). John Ruskin (1904: 335) wrote of the picture: Nothing is more notable than the way in which even the most trivial objects force themselves upon the attention of a mind which has been fevered by violent and distressful excitement. They thrust themselves forward with a ghastly and unendurable distinctness, as if they would compel the sufferer to count, or measure, or learn them by heart. Even to the mere spectator a strange interest exalts the accessories of a scene in which he bears witness to human sorrow. There is not a single object in all that room—​common, modern, vulgar (in the vulgar sense, as it maybe), but it becomes tragical, if rightly read.

She is, god willing, though with a still small voice, relinquishing the clutches of her lover, and giving herself over to self-​care, which in Hunt’s patrician schema is to have the form of a care for her soul. The song, momentarily, has put her in touch with a more innocent past, it has jolted her from the space into which she has found herself thrown as casually as the discarded glove on the carpet, there is a glimpse of an opening, a window held ajar, another fate, she only has to keep rising. Yet it is just as likely she will sit back down, the moment of separation will pass, the sun recede, and the undulating fragility of her position resume is regular yaw. The time is five minutes to 12 o’clock, close to noontide, mid-​ way through the day, the time of decision is as brief as the pencil of sunlight caught in the glass cloche that covers the ornate gilt work of the clock. Might she abandon the scanty, material security of a drawing room and the clutches of an uncaring and abusive relationship doomed to end with her impoverishment? Might she? Isn’t it better just to hang on a while longer, after all, the cat hasn’t struck and killed the bird just yet, and might not do so, and her current state of boredom peppered with distraction is surely better than destitution. Yet the music has kindled something, and the sunlight through the window

66   Robin Holt speaks not only of the past but of a possible future; things might be becoming that much better. Hunt’s image of awakening is grounded, as with all good painting, in a concern for real-​world appearances. The detail combined with a rich tapestry of symbolism serves to distil and intensify the viewers’ awareness of the social conditions in which many such women were forced to live. Ruskin was profoundly moved by his encounter with Hunt’s image in which the most meagre of things contained the most elevated of truths (Prettejohn, 2005: 113). Ruskin (1904: 335) has nothing but praise for Hunt’s super-​ empiricism in which an obsession with the unity of concentrated detail and moral teaching found its apotheosis in ‘the very hem of the poor girl’s dress, at which the painter has laboured so closely, thread by thread, has story in it, if we think how soon its pure whiteness may be soiled with dust and rain, her out-​cast feet failing in the street’. And Hunt’s obsession was not limited to the painting itself. He had rented rooms specifically for the purpose of its composition, and the model was one Annie Miller, who he had ‘found’ working the streets of Chelsea, taken in, and tended. He had paid for clothes, board, and lessons in elocution and deportment, subjecting Miller to a course of Bildung that George Bernard Shaw was later to title Pygmalion, and to which the painting served as a narrative centrepiece no less detailed than the ornamentation it depicted. Indeed, Hunt went so far as envisage marriage to Miller, though of course only once she had reached an appropriate threshold of civility. Though Miller was supposed to appreciate and then fall in love with her benefactor and his righteous offer of loving, she demurred, and instead took herself to other painters in the Pre-​Raphaelite brotherhood, making a beeline for its more rakish members like Rossetti and Boyce, the ones that Hunt had insisted she should not see. Hunt became cool, thwarted, annoyed, whilst Miller pushed herself into the far less certain and constrained settings of a continual self-​reliance, modelling freely, and animated by the irony of being encouraged to swap one state of helplessness and organizational confinement for another. Her hem might get dirty, but it was to be, as far as was possible, a gathering of dirt immanent to her own being; unbeknown to himself, Hunt had painted Miller’s awakening conscience.

3.3  The Three Vectors of Care: Future, Past, and Present Miller’s awakening conscience is not, contra Hunt and Ruskin, one of spiritual salvation, but a struggle to refuse its limits, and in the moment of this struggle, in this distancing from the lap of convention, she appears as a self that is making itself present in its own time; it is being (sein) that is there (da) (McNeill 1999: 72). Like her character, Miller is also poised between states of care, but here the alternatives are not between different, already organized states symbolized in Hunt’s painting as a mirrored threshold between

Heidegger, Organization, and Care    67 two apparently feminine spaces: the interior and the garden. Rather it is a holding up of oneself between organization and an awareness of being organized. The character Miller is modelling is, in her awakening, sitting astride different organizational states, whereas Miller herself, in partaking of and yet experiencing ways of resisting Hunt’s project, is becoming aware of what it is to appear and to be alongside the multiplicity of norms and grounds held in the organizational forms that envelop ordinary human life: bar work, prostitution, domestication, belief, patriarchy, art, modelling, marriage. Without its own time, Miller has found her ‘self ’ being continually enlisted in others’ designs. In the moment of its own time, her ‘self ’ has a self-​organized place, that, now it has appeared, cannot be ignored or overlooked, it has its own duration, presence that, for Heidegger, bears the weight of three related temporal aspects: futural projection, past memory, and a recurring nowness.

3.3.1  Future That Dasein shows care means encountering possibilities which place it in obligation towards its continuous becoming, life is of interest (inter-​esse). Performing life is Dasein’s essential concern, about which it is concerned, even anxious, for the struggle is always accompanied by the possibility of failure. It is this obligation that affords Dasein its temporal location: its stretching out or projecting towards actual possibilities and away from unrealized or thwarted ones (Rouse, 2007). For Miller to be present as an artist’s model, for example, is to adopt one mimetic pose after another at an artist’s behest, she is acting for the sake of becoming a model, a striving to which she is continually becoming attuned, just as Hunt is acting for the sake of being an artist. They are both playing out assigned roles in the norms and grounds that make up the practice of painting, and of Western art, that emerge in Europe after the Renaissance, but which, in Hunt’s case, is avowedly pre-​Raphael in style. For Hunt, the fragility of Miller’s awakening lies in its being poised between projections of moral elevation or decrepitude. When set against his patrician and patriarchal norms and grounds, she appears as a being who ought willingly to subjectify herself to an improving regime of moral and social development; she was to acquire taste. This was a project involving time understood as a chronological ordering of occurrence structured in moments of before or after that enable a future projection of picture to take hold of the present: the improved-​upon Miller. It is in the nature of futural these time sequences to carry an inherent regularity, either in a scansioned sense, as with clocks or calendars, or more organically, as in processes of maturity or decay. Under the direction of Hunt, Miller can mature into an independence that might then warrant his further and more fervent interest. Further forms of organizing come in the prevailing orders of knowledge, power, and control that sustain the project, such as the cause and effect explanations and warrants upon which Hunt relies to prove the decency and cogency of his understanding of Miller’s predicament, and the economic wherewithal at his disposal to execute the project which he generated through increasingly successful

68   Robin Holt experiments in the mechanical reproduction of his paintings. Hunt’s concern is to control the present as a scene of deficit when set against a better future that he, with Miller and others, can bring about (Holman Hunt, 1969). But to confine the nature of the event of Miller’s awakening to such organized sequences would be to deprive it of what Heidegger called its ecstatic presence (Gegenwart). Miller’s event of awakening, the one depicted in Hunt’s picture, but not at all the one he intended to depict, is another form of making present in which organizational form itself loosens, and instead it is Dasein itself revealing to itself how, in such ordinary activity as posing as an artist’s model, it is Dasein committing to such activity, and not already organized histories, power, and knowledge. Though not free from time structures, or economic dependency, Miller’s refusal is an experience of Dasein being able to stand askance from the organizational forms that are continually connecting subjects to objectivities in various modes of appearance. Whereas for figures like Kant this standing aside was an intellectual and judgemental capacity to consider these allegiances of organization critically, Heidegger finds such intellectualism too rigid. The standing askance experienced by Dasein is more felt, immediate, and uncertain. It is Dasein’s acting for the sake of possible ways of being as it twists and comports itself towards futural possibility (Heidegger [1927] 2010: 145, 185). This is not a ‘conscious’, or deliberate review of what is available to it: it is not as if Miller has a distinct sense of a specific destiny fed by operational plans for its realization. In contrast, both Hunt and Ruskin seem to display more of this means-​end fervour by stipulating a future in time towards which their projects reach. Rather, in rising, Miller indicates an awareness of projecting towards possibilities in the very present of holding open the space for possibility as she rises (there is not an after being envisaged here). She is holding herself open by not being on the lap, and so to being itself. Heidegger ([1927]2010 145, 199) finds this futural appearance of care throwing up possibilities as possibilities, and, as such, letting Dasein be in its becoming outside of the familiar use of things (Heidegger [1927] 2010: 145).

3.3.2  Past As well as Dasein’s futural aspect, care is also conveyed through Dasein’s being held in an affective state of attunement (Befindlichkeit) stemming from its existential prior immersion, and finding its way, in the world. In Besorgen (concerned, practical accomplishing), Dasein makes use of its environment with which it gets things done, utilizing, taking possession of, safekeeping, and forfeiting equipment in the service of that towards which it acts (the first aspect of projection). It is both a being set against an already organized array of significance and an acquisition of familiarity and skill in acting This involves familiarity with the objects of its environment, being afforded by Dasein’s curiosity; its circumspective looking around and gaining acquaintance with the objects with which it is to cope (Kisiel & Sheehan, 2007: 159), and which are already

Heidegger, Organization, and Care    69 there, given by history, and into whose company it has withdrawn in readiness. There is a naturalness to the plight of both Miller and the character she takes on in Hunt’s painting, it is not untimely that they should find themselves in this particular position of having their interests assumed away from them, in having others manage what ought be of concern to them, in having their lives used up by others and others’ projects. This circumspective thrownness (Geworfenheit) into the world closes off the world. Dasein is already situated within the world and oriented towards definite ways for it to be (Rouse, 2007). The possibilities faced are thus not endless but are the outcome of an ongoing accommodation to what is afforded by circumstances in which the world is already encountered in the character of significance; anticipatorily grasped in this or that way (Kisiel & Sheehan, 2007: 159). In these concerned (Besorgt; see also solicitous (Fürsorgen)) dealings with the world, the entities with which Dasein concerns itself are typically encountered as things ready-​to-​hand (Zuhanden), organized in dedication to projected ends of engagement. Whether and how things are being made present in these dealings is subject to Dasein’s thrownness (second aspect) which then opens up Dasein’s horizon of possibilities (first aspect), thus delimiting its actual possibilities (Heidegger [1927] 2010: 199). Yet this definiteness and readiness is not totalizing. Ruptures occur, and they may begin with a few piano chords in whose plangent sadness Dasein can experience a welling up of feeling in which it is enveloped with a stalling intensity. The ordinariness of things is no longer agreed upon, it becomes a condition of disturbance that can be threatening, intensely joyous, or a sublime admixture of the two, or it can be a more gradual misting over of the definitions and distinctions that were, hitherto, so clear. Dasein no longer knows its way about, yet strangely, the loss can also open Dasein’s horizon of possibilities, as in Moore’s poem ‘in the stilly night | Ere slumber’s chains have bound me | Sad memory brings the light’. The piano, the lover, the drapery are no longer held ready to hand in the slumbering routine of Miller’s character; the woman is waking up and as she rises the world around her—​the atmosphere of objects, sounds, and values bearing the weight of prevailing organizational forms—​breaks into shards that obtrude and obstruct: the room and its air of false domesticity becomes oppressive, and is no longer silently and inevitably at work in the world. And for Miller herself the rupture is even more open, for unlike her character whose destiny is being scripted by Hunt and spiritually enlightened commentators like Ruskin, Miller refuses to tolerate the prospect of a new refuge into which she might unquestioningly fall. Whilst she abides by organizational forms (she cannot decide to absent herself from thrown projection), she is not subservient to them (she generates a voice for her own self by inviting authority into spaces that it cannot possibly control). She is making apparent the temporal (social and historically contingent) nature of the organizational forms into which she and Hunt have fallen. These are the forms carrying norms and grounds whose locality and place have limits. Miller’s refusal reveals these limits by embodying them, rather than invoking an abstract opposition to them. Miller’s refusal is an experiential one that encounters her own self as the only authoritative ground and source of care towards herself.

70   Robin Holt

3.3.3  Present It is in this holding open we approach the third aspect of care most clearly: the recurring present suspended in between the to-​and-​fro structure of Dasein’s projected future and thrown past. The condition of being present is taken up in Heidegger’s discussion of fallenness (Verfallenheit). Verfallenheit refers to Dasein’s absorption in, and fascination with, the world and its average everydayness (Carman, 2000: 19). In a fallen state, Dasein typically acts in accord with organizational forms. It is aware of what counts, the prevailing forms of ‘being’: roles, affordances, hopes, limits. Heidegger characterizes this habituated presence of being-​with-​others as ‘the they’ (or das Man). Das Man refers to the unspecific generality at work in the public world where Dasein is nothing in itself, but always and already a known thing: an office holder, a gender, a biological unit with a specific life span, all of which are categories that others also occupy; under das Man ‘everyone is the other, and no one is himself [sic]’ (Heidegger [1927] 2010: 126, 175). Every Dasein belongs to, and entrenches the power of, the others, even the way they withdraw from the great mass of thinking is the way ‘they’ withdraw, the feeling of shock is the way ‘they’ are shocked ([1927] 2010: 127). The fallenness of das Man characterizes Dasein’s lostness in the everyday public world. With Dasein’s lostness in das Man, its closest possibilities for being (tasks, rules, standards, etc.) have already been decided upon (Heidegger [1927] 2010: 268). Dasein inherits a fallen sociality which ensnares it into an already organized world in which disturbances to received opinion are ipso facto deplorable (Reedy & Learmonth, 2011). This fallenness permeates the (self-​)understanding into which Dasein already finds itself thrown (Mulhall, 1996: 106). Typically, the distinctive possibilities of Dasein are levelled down and accommodated to the averageness of ‘the they’ that is held fast in common sense (Dasein is encouraged to act appropriately), common values (Dasein is tempted to fall in with established belief systems), and common truths (Dasein refuses to acknowledge the worldly nature of truth).1 The possibilities open to Dasein are at the whim of others. ‘In its being’ says Heidegger ([1927] 2010: 127), 1  This

averageness need not, however, be limited to a surface-​level consensus. To take a current example, an algorithmically mediated and accelerated form of das Man comes in the form of recommender systems used to prompt users of social media and streaming services. Wendy Chun (2016) notes how the recommendations work on a principle of homophily in which like are gathered with like. To make the system useful, however (to be able to recommend other or further choices on the basis of an already executed choice), recommendations have to be nuanced. For example, grouping together those liking sunshine or opposing poverty is too general. The system tries to spot amplified deviations from the common denominator, and to group those deviating similarly—​they agree in their controversy. The system tries to identify those who are equally passionate in their likely or incipient deviance from the norm, and who are, because of their being emotionally charged, in an impressionable state. The system aims to create a passionate community whose commitments then become entrenched as a new gathering of cultural interests: predictability is steeped in controversy. The nature of these neighbourhoods of passionate connectivity is not readily contained using the established categories of isolating cultural groups (income levels, race, gender, education)—​these long-​established attributes of identity and neighbourhood have an uneasy relation.

Heidegger, Organization, and Care    71 the they is essentially concerned with averageness. Thus, the they maintains itself factically in the averageness of what belongs to it, what it does and does not consider valid, and what it grants or denies success. This averageness, which prescribes what can and may be ventured, watches over every exception which thrusts itself to the fore.

There is, however, as both Carman (2000: 21) and Golub (2014) argue, a constant discordant shimmer between the particularity of Dasein’s thrown-​ projection and the generality of the discursive terms with which it must express and communicate its understandings of its presence. Its mineness can become exhausted by or indifferent to the prevailing chatter of das Man, it falls out of place, there is an atmospheric loosening of purpose stained by mood. For Heidegger it is from within the experience of directionless moods such as anxiety that the daily grammatical churn of das Man stutters. The habituated ways in which ‘mineness’ is being organized break down: their form (norms and routines) crumbles, Dasein is being unhoused, the world loses the routine significance it once had, whether as an array of ready-​to-​hand tool-​like things invisibly arranged in the countless projects in which humans take part, or as a scene of theoretically understood, present-​at-​hand objects set in explicitly categorized causal relations (Heidegger, [1927] 2010: 186). There is no discernible and directed opposition to the current organizational state; the mood is not one of anger or fear, which have objects in sight, and which carry a chain of problem-​solving, instrumental reasoning in their wake (Tomkins & Simpson, 2015). This unsettling is not a condition of opposition, but one where Dasein no longer makes itself present in and amid the established weight of organizational form, it is a state of profound indifference towards the normative calling of the everyday world (Golub, 2014: 227−8). Anxiety removes Dasein from the net of in-​order-​ to scenes of significance by which organization takes form. Without the prospect of projection, without the refuge of attunement, and without the distractions of idle chatter, Dasein is chipping away at the pre-​formed block within which it has been cast, it is being stripped back to the innocent, naked state of its being open as a scene of possibility. Yet Dasein is without recourse to the possibilities to which it has hitherto been enjoined, and unable to supply its own norms and grounds from within, for norms and grounds are not immanent to subjectivity, but to the world (Heidegger, [1927] 2010: 187−8). Dasein finds itself aware that ordinarily: ‘[T]‌o expect something possible is always to understand and “have” it with regard to whether and when and how it will really be objectively present’ Heidegger, [1927] 2010: 262). But now, in a mood of anxiety, this ‘having’ appears fragile, laughable even, and not at all desirable or even objectively possible.

3.4  The Call of Conscience Along and across the three aspects of care, Dasein is attentive to the norms and grounds gathered in organizational form, and yet in such attentiveness comes to release itself

72   Robin Holt from their ministrations; its care is freed from a condition of sympathy for a cause or other persons (Elley Brown & Pringle, 2021). It is both organized and unorganized, notably in moody atmospheres of anxiety under whose pall organization loses practical and normative force: it continues as such, but gives no shelter. In mood, things do not take us in in quite the same way. They no longer carry instrumental power, they lack what the biologist Gibson calls affordance—​the tapestry no longer elicits concentration, the piano no longer prompts laughter, the cat no longer waits to be stroked. Such things remain proximate but forsake us; being and being-​organized dishevel. In being held in suspense by things, suspended from them, comes a dormant possibility of doing this or doing that, being able to or not able to. Once stripped of their readiness-​to-​hand, things are not equipment (Zeug). Listlessness gives way to pointlessness, and in the moment where we realize that, though anxious, we are still living, still going on (poter esse), there arises the inevitability of possibility, as Dasein becomes aware of the appearance of things still existing, alongside as it were, without as yet defined use-​value. And she rises, she pulls away, lurching and striving into the open where she becomes use-​less, no longer herself an object for enjoyment. Giorgio Agamben (2004: 47) defines this passage from utility to uselessness to openness using Heidegger’s: language of letting go and lying fallow, like a field lying in wait for the plants of the soil, for the fresh air, and for the sun (Geviert) to creep into the bottom corner. The emphasis here is on a facticity of birth, a natality, and that it is this condition of birth, of starting anew, that attains a pre-​eminence in the present, rather than understanding the present as that which is given, assured, habituated (Holt & Zundel, 2023: III). Here Dasein summons itself to itself as potential (as fallow, rather than as something already organized in das Man), and thereby suspends or defers or pauses before its possibilities for doing this or that, and turns towards itself as that which makes possibility possible, but not as an alternative, self-​willing source of its own norms and grounds; in care for itself it remains outside of itself (ek-​stasis) and so unhomed (Heidegger, [1927] 2010: 274-​276). So how then is it possible for the likes of Miller to publicly warrant or persuade others of the correctness, or appropriateness, of her rupture? Moreover, in what ways can her experience be called upon as her own, as an event that is own-​most to her, given it was brought about by the haphazard and idle rendering of a memorable tune? If it is only through the affective disturbance of mood that an ethical awakening is possible, this appears a flimsy setting in which to presage the possible transformation of the norms and grounds by which humans are organized. Mood is unruly, it cannot be disciplined or induced, so in which ways might Dasein then prepare itself, if at all, given it too lacks an inner form or telos by which it might rule itself? The answer comes in how the call to conscience is being made, her refusal being her own calling. Like Hunt, Heidegger is also interested in conscience, but for him, rather than its being a source of accusatorial stricture, conscience has the more enigmatic role of being the caller and the called upon at one and the same time. The enigma is something all of us feel phenomenologically, as we listen to ourselves: given that the call of conscience so often dawns in an unregulated, disorganized way, and even against the

Heidegger, Organization, and Care    73 will of the one being called upon, is it Dasein that makes the call, or is it more the case that it is the call of the potentiality of being itself working itself through Dasein? There is no resolution here, it remains foggy, all one can say, phenomenologically, is that ‘the calls comes from me, and yet over me’ (Heidegger [1927] 2010: 275). Dasein is being called upon as a being that exists in its facticity: it is not a ghostly self-​projection, but a being thrown into existence, and yet in the phenomenal event of encountering itself in its own time Dasein does not experience itself as that which does the calling. Rather, as Heidegger ([1927] 2010: 275) hints it is the potentiality of being that calls, and it comes without being planned or being prepared for, yet phenomenologically speaking it remains undoubtedly this being, this Dasein, that grounds the possibility of the calling (McNeill, 2006: 59). The potentiality is not of Miller’s own making (it is not a self 'acting’ upon itself) but of the world’s: it is in being open to herself as a world, and in being open to the temporal horizon of the world, which is not the world of das Man, that Miller awakens her conscience. It is in the nature of conscience to call Dasein away from the guided and controlling expressions of solicitude and concern that make up the majoritarian aspects of care. In calling Dasein away from the norms and grounds settled in organizational form, however, conscience offers no alternative home, leaving Dasein unhomed from the dominant understandings of das Man and from the already attained conditions of immediate self-​awareness that are spilling away into history (McNeill, 2006: 62). In conscience an uncanniness pursues Dasein, a feeling that threatens its self-​forgetful lostness (Heidegger, [1927] 2010: 277). The threat is felt in moods like anxiety, but it is in the dawning of conscience that the mood transforms into care. Typically care arises from having to owe something to someone, as in debt, and from being responsible for a person or state if affairs, and hence in calculating and caring for things. Heidegger calls these relations those of concern and solicitude, and not care proper. Ruskin and Hunt have concern for the plight of women forced into prostitution because of economic hardship. Along with other members of the Pre-​Raphaelite Brotherhood for whom the ‘lost woman’ was a recurring theme (Nochlin, 1978), the narrative is one of lost innocence, sinfulness, and possible redemption. The image shimmers with warnings: Miller’s character is as likely to end in the gutter as she is the lap of god, despite the chivalrous intentions of the painter who is casting himself in the role of knight errant. Yet none of this is care, for it is bound to prevailing and multiple interests. Care proper (Sorge) is what Miller experiences when rising and sensing that she is lagging behind her potentiality, she is becoming a ground that has as yet to be, she has taken over the condition of being the ground of projection without however bearing the weight of having chosen to be a this or that. Being in an originary state of potential (her immediate future advances in excess of attempts to determine its actuality, or the grounds for such actuality (McNeill, 2006: 64)); she is as yet not indebted to others, she does not owe them, nor is she responsible for them, nor they for her. Being [seiend] a self, Dasein, as self, is the thrown being. Not through itself, but released to itself from the ground in order to be as the ground. Dasein is not itself the

74   Robin Holt ground of its being, because the ground first arises from its own project, but as a self, it is the being [Sein] of its ground. (Heidegger, [1927] 2010: 285)

Being the ground of its own being, Dasein is care insofar as its primal relation is to its own being: ‘[I]‌ts content is not founded in the substantiality of a substance, but in the “self-​constancy” [Selbständigkeit] of the existing self whose being was conceived as care’ (Heidegger, [1927] 2010: 303). This care is expressed in the call of conscience, in witnessing what the painter Marlene Dumas calls the image as burden, made vulnerable and exposed by being in the frame. The frame is built from dwelling, a structure of self-​encounter for which Dasein assumes responsibility in holding itself open against the increasingly uniform forces of das Man, whether these be the individualizing forces of industrialism or the counter veiling spiritualism of Hunt and Ruskin. The call of conscience is, first, a calling itself back from the grounding fault line between the organized forms of presence in which it ordinarily projects itself. This first calling back reveals that, in its thrown projection, Dasein is a being that is essentially always grounded both outside of itself, and in organization: ‘in the fateful repetition of possibilities that have-​been, Dasein brings itself back “immediately”, that is, temporally and ecstatically, to what has already been before it’ ([1927] 2010: 391). Dasein acts and thinks by virtue of being thrown, from which setting all projection and attunement take their cue, such that even in the burdensome event if its holding onto an image of itself, das Man is always lingering, a stain as much as a distraction, a reminder of the finite nature of freedom. (Heidegger, [1927] 2010: 194). There is no ahistorical, asocial ground to its own grounding, and to make this apparent is the demand Dasein must place upon itself as what is most own-​most to it: its care comes in acknowledging the groundlessness of all grounds. Organization is everywhere. The second call of conscience is a calling away from the feeling of uncanniness that ensues from the first appearance of calling back. This second call is a calling away to then call forth a readiness to be summoned by the potentiality of being, to be prepared to be called away from its lostness in the calls already organized as accepted norms and grounds, and instead to be the null ground of a null project: to simply be nothing, and so be open for what is to come (Heidegger; [1927] 2010: 288−9). In the hands of her awakening conscience, Miller’s life is no longer just a business, it is no longer just being calculated and regulated, it is no longer lost to ‘the they’, it is also, indeed becoming more so, an unorganized life being experienced as she rises up and so relinquishes the support of that to which she has hitherto been withdrawn. She is rising into ambiguity in experiencing the potentiality of being, but only by factually existing in this possibility, by then creating a distinction as she rises to which she then submits as a freeing up that has its own fateful trajectory into organization. The mood accompanying this understanding could be one of anxiety, she lacks the idea or goal or history that legitimates her move, and so she has to rise unaided, yet it is a mood for which she has a readiness, her conscience calls it forth, it is not unbidden. And in creating the distinction the norms and grounds that have found themselves being organized—​in patriarchal hierarchies, in the routines of bourgeois taste, in the rhythms of domestic visitation, in the collectively

Heidegger, Organization, and Care    75 mediated memory held in the distribution of popular tunes—​are disturbed, and forced to recalibrate themselves, and what co-​occurs with this recalibration is an awareness that it is possibility she both inherits and chooses in the present.

3.5  Temporality It is being both uncanny and open that conscience forms the call upon Dasein to care for itself outside of the limitation that befalls other ethical structures that rely upon ‘an outside setting’ to secure legitimacy and authority. Care is without measure. As Von Foerster (2003) remarked, only questions that are undecidable can give rise to a condition of care, outside of which there are answers already contained within the organized framework of the decision-​making apparatus to which appeal can be made. Rather than assume projection, attunement, and ‘falling in’ have anything complete about them, the end towards which care is oriented is a being that is ahead of itself which is given presence in the not yet (Heidegger, [1927] 2010: 298, 317). Miller exemplifies this intimacy between care and the temporality of ‘there being’ experienced in immediate event and the developing of a self. She is rising in a state of resolve, anticipating what is to come, without at all understanding what it might be. She has been lost in habits and ideas of ‘the self ’ being presented to her in the organizational forms prevailing in the world into which she has found herself thrown. Phenomenologically, what appears already takes the form of norms and grounds carrying organizational form. For Hunt and Ruskin these forms are abusive and sinful, and they read the pose of the woman Miller is modelling as one who is held poised between the abyss and salvation. She can sit back down and be consigned to a dissolute life and early death, or she can continue awakening into a condition of spiritual enlightenment. Hunt is not resorting to easy binaries here. It remains a sustained and complex study using both narrative symbolism and technical mimetic power to embody a predicament for which he, as a radical artist, has a profound concern. The man and woman occupy distinct social strata that constrain their movements: forbidding natural expressions of affection, but permitting abusive, transactional ones. In presenting it Hunt was daring the salon-​going public to confront their hypocrisy. He was part of a painting movement dedicated to the recovery of the forms of spiritual and sexual affection that, somewhat ideally, they found embodied in pre-​Renaissance life. In this they were all inspired by Ruskin, and in Hunt Ruskin found a technically gifted and intensely thoughtful companion in arms. Ruskin read the awakening as a riposte to the rationalization bedevilling human experience: women like Miller’s character, and Miller herself, have been consigned to roles whose moral and economic precarity is enabled by a laissez faire atmosphere of uncaring, unfeeling common experience. Ruskin felt the sole concern of the modern order is the organization of trading relations to more efficiently satisfy distinct individual interests. Hence an awakening conscience is not simply a turn to God, but a restoration of medieval sensibility: a union of collective sensibility held fast by mutual love.

76   Robin Holt Yet Ruskin’s aspiration remains Miller’s confinement: the staging of her awakening is a falling from one organized state to another; the entanglement persists, and conscience, if it exists at all, does so only fleetingly, in the moment of fleeing from the exposure of having risen. Miller herself, however, refuses to flee. The event of rising is a dispersal of the fugitive acts of self-​concealing more typical to instrumental forms of care. Miller’s act is a difficult act of resolve that understands the facticity of Dasein, is open to the anxiety that attends this understanding, and yet which is also, potentially, joyous in its being freed from the idling and busying diversions that bedevil and so conceal the fact that what is most own-​most to us is also what is farthest from us and must be wrested from within us by moving away from that which we are. Her rising up does violence to the tranquility and ordinariness that otherwise confines us to already organized conditions (Heidegger, [1927] 2010: 309−11). Phenomenologically, this experience is thoroughly existential—​i.e. it is existence that is calling itself ahead of itself, it is stretched into being beyond itself. The call contains no supporting vision of the future, it invokes no historical warrant, and it has shed the prevailing agreements of habit: it is not being taken care of by anything save itself, it is alone, with only the not-​yet, the null, the open for company. This care can take an ironic form. Charles Baudelaire’s (1986) flaneur, for example, is a reaction to the fleeting emptiness of ‘the they’; the flaneur participates in the anonymity and impermanence of das Man, whilst attempting to give form to the fleeting and contingent nature of urban living: ‘For the perfect flaneur, for the passionate spectator, it is an immense job to set up house in the middle of the multitude, amid the ebb and flow of movement, in the midst of the fugitive and the infinite’. Yet with Miller, care takes a form whose compulsion is more urgently felt than Baudelaire’s, there is a resolve about her. Indeed there has to be. The free-​ranging irony of a flaneur occupies the public space of a city in which men—​but less so, women—​ are free to roam. If the likes of Miller took to the streets they would be as likely to be arrested for solicitation as they would lauded for poetizing (Wolff, 2000). Miller’s care is a letting go (Gelassenheit) of the concern for propriety, slipping away from the qualities of good and evil to which she is being enjoined by Pre-​Raphaelite brothers, and in doing so she reveals what remains steadfast as a resolve to make rather than just occupy distinctions, a resolve that is held fast in the anticipation of projections that have, as yet, a null character: they are void. Being void they are points of resistance to prevailing organizational divisions. She withdraws into the company of her own haunting which calls her: ‘Remember me!’ (Krell, 2016). The certitude of her present is not the present of assurances, of being there, but a present that is exposed to the facticity of her own being which is given expression in, a cutting away and opening up. The experience of rising up from a lap is a stretching of an ek-​sistence (a being that does not coincide with itself, that is outside of outside) instantiated in beginning again. In that emptiness or nullity of setting forth elsewhere (ek-​stasis), her resolve needs nothing more than its own sense of certainty that it is being known to itself beyond the entangled forms of objective presence that, hitherto, have organized her life (Heidegger, [1927] 2010: 298). In the

Heidegger, Organization, and Care    77 present facticity of the event of her rising up from the lap she is orienting herself towards herself in a relation of resolute anticipation that is, momentarily, beyond organization (Heidegger, [1927] 2010: 326). It is this flickering call of conscience, and this alone, that is making present the event of her rising up in a time appropriate to it, and which is made present without its being at all settled into what can be organized as being present.

References Agamben, Giorgio. (2004). The open: Man and animal, trans. Kevin Attell. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Baudelaire, Charles. (1986). The painter of modern life and other essays. New York: Da Capo Press. Carman, Taylor. (2000). ‘Must we be inauthentic?’. In M. Wrathall & J. Malpas (eds.), Heidegger, authenticity and modernity. Essays in honor of Hubert Dreyfus (pp. 13–​28). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Chun, Wendy Hui Kyong. (2016). Updating to remain the same: Habitual new media. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Elley-​Brown, M. J., & Pringle, J. K. (2021). Sorge, Heideggerian ethic of care: Creating more caring organizations. Journal of Business Ethics, 168, 23–​35. Golub, Sacha. (2014). Heidegger on concepts, freedom and normativity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Heidegger, Martin. ([1927] 2010). Being and time, trans. Joan Stambaugh. New York: SUNY. Holman Hunt, Diana. (1969). My grandfather, his wives and loves. London: Hamilton. Holt, R. & Zundel, M. (2023). The Poverty of Strategy. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press. Kisiel, Theodore. (1985). On the way to Being and Time. Introduction to the translation of Heidegger’s ‘Prolegomena zur Geschichte des Zeitbegriffs’. Research in Phenomenology, 15, 193–​219. Kisiel, Theodore, & Sheehan, Thomas. (eds.) (2007). Becoming Heidegger: On the trail of his early occasional writings, 1910−1927. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press. Krell, David Farell. (2016). History, natality, ecstasy: Derrida’s first seminar on Heidegger, 1964–​1965. Research in Phenomenology, 46, 3–​34. McNeill, William. (1999). The glance of the eye: Heidegger, Aristotle, and the ends of theory. New York: State University of New York Press. McNeill, William. (2006). The time of life. Heidegger and ethos. New York: SUNY. Mulhall, Stephen. (1996). Routledge philosophy guidebook to Heidegger and Being and Time. London: Routledge. Nochlin, Linda. (1978). Lost and found: Once more the fallen woman. The Art Bulletin, 60(1), 139–​153. Prettejohn, Elizabeth. (2005). Beauty and art. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Reedy, P., & Learmonth, Mark. (2011). Death and organization: Heidegger’s thought on death and life in organizations. Organization Studies, 32(1), 117–​131. Rouse, Joseph. (2007). Heidegger’s philosophy of science. In H. L. Dreyfus & M. Wrathall (eds.), Blackwell companions to philosophy: A companion to Heidegger (pp. 173–​ 189). Oxford: Blackwell.

78   Robin Holt Ruskin, John. (1904). Lectures on architecture, painting, etc., 1844−1854: Collected works. (Vol. 12), ed. E. T. Cook & A. Wedderburn. London: George Allen. Sheehan, Thomas. (2014). What, after all, was Heidegger all about? Continental Philosophy Review, 47: 249–​274. Tomkins, Leah, & Simpson, P. (2015). Caring leadership: A Heideggerian perspective. Organization Studies, 36(8), 1013–​1031. Von Foerster, Heinz. (2003). Understanding. New York: Springer. Wolff, Janet. (2000). The feminine in modern art: Benjamin, Simmel and the gender of modernity. Theory Culture & Society, 17(6), 33–​53.

Chapter 4

Gaston Bache l a rd a nd t he Phenomenol o g y of the Im aginat i on Michèle Charbonneau

4.1  Introduction now that my herbarium of commented images extends beyond two thousand pages, I would like to be able to rewrite all my books. It seems to me that I would be better able to express the reverberation of spoken images in the depths of the speaking soul, and better describe the relationship between new images and those with deep roots in the human psyche. I would perhaps grasp the moments when words, today as always, creates humanity. Even in associating images, in grouping together similar images, I would know how to maintain the privileges of the incomparable. [ . . . ] Poetry is language freed from oneself. (1988: 29)

With these words, written in the twilight of his life, Gaston Bachelard expressed the problem to which his study of the imagination had led him and which had progressively put him on the path towards phenomenology. For Bachelard, the phenomenological method might allow him to ‘reach the origin of the joy of speaking’ (1988: 29) by studying the ‘reverberation’ of images on the human psyche, along with their innumerable variations, images that speak to the materiality of the world (its houses, trees, caverns, volcanoes, lakes, etc.). With these words, he placed language squarely at the cornerstone of the imagination, and imagination itself as the basis of any human relationship to the world. This chapter will seek to understand the manner in which Bachelard employed phenomenology to perfect his study of the poetic imagination, and to determine the contribution this could make to Management and Organizational Studies (MOS). One

80   Michèle Charbonneau difficulty should be considered. As noticed by Wunenburger (2014: 117–​8), although Bachelard eventually found the method he was seeking in phenomenology, he nonetheless intertwined in his philosophy notions and questions originating from a diversity of fields, including ontology and psychoanalysis, in addition to phenomenology. Given the complexity of Bachelard’s work and the numerous disciplinary influences to be found therein, this chapter will concentrate specifically on his own conception of the phenomenological method, starting with the writing of his poetics, when he fully embraced it. After having traced Gaston Bachelard’s biography and provided an overview of his work, the following pages will summarize the main components of his conception of the imagination, before presenting his phenomenological method. This will be followed by a discussion of its uniqueness, which will allow us to glimpse the renewal that Bachelard’s phenomenology brings to the study of organizational and workplace creativity, organizational poetics, issues related to the transformation of the material environment of organizations (including ecological issues), methods for exploring the imagination within organizations and research activities, as well as management education.

4.2  A Philosopher of Science and Poetry A great number of descriptors have been used in retracing the life of Gaston Bachelard. He has been called a ‘one of a kind professor’ (Dagognet, 1965: 4), who ‘welcomed all with heartwarming good humour’ (Ramnoux, 1965: 29); a ‘mischievous’ philosopher and a ‘polemecist’ (Dagognet, 1965: 4); an ardent defender of freedom (Parinaud, 1996: 236–​7); a constant reader, often sought after (Margolin, 1974: 5–​29), but seeking solitude (Parinaud, 1996: 237); and a ‘courageous’ man, very attached to Champagne, his native land (Dagognet, 1965: 2–​3). Gaston Bachelard was born on 27 June 1884 in Bar-​sur-​Aube.1 His father was a cobbler and his mother had a tobacco and newspaper shop. From a modest background, he benefited from a compulsory secular training programme (Wavelet, 2019: 36). At the end of his secondary studies, in 1902, he worked as a college tutor before joining the Postes et Télégraphes as a clerk the following year. From 1905 to 1907, he served in the military as a telegraph rider, before returning to Postes et Télégraphes. While working as a clerk, he obtained two scholarships and received certificates and degrees in mathematics and physics (Parinaud, 1996: 57). In 1913, after applying unsuccessfully to the École supérieure de télégraphie in order to eventually work as an engineer at the Postes, he obtained leave to prepare himself for the next competition and to pursue his studies. However, he was called to the field of battle before he could enter the competition. 1 

Most of the biographical data in this section can be found in the following works: Margolin (1974); Parinaud (1996); Bontems (2010); and Wavelet (2019).

Bachelard and Phenomenology of Imagination    81 During his period of military service, from 2 August 1914 to 16 March 1919, Bachelard spent three years in the trenches. He also took an officer training course which qualified him as a second lieutenant, allowing him to better support his spouse, whom he had married just before leaving for combat and who had fallen ill shortly afterwards (Parinaud, 1996: 58). In 1918, he received a Military Cross and a citation for having ‘established and without respite re-​established for two days and three nights the telephone lines which were constantly cut off by enemy fire, giving his sappers a fine example of calm, tenacity, and energy’ (Registre matricule militaire, 2015, quoted in Wavelet, 2019: 117). On his return, he was appointed teacher at the college of Bar-​sur-​ Aube and began work on 1 October 1919. While teaching physics and chemistry, among other subjects, he undertook university studies in philosophy. He obtained a degree in November 1920, an agrégation in 1922, and, in 1927, a doctorate. According to Parinaud (1996: 39–​40), his experience as a science teacher served as a laboratory of sorts for the philosophical theses he would later develop. This period was marked by the birth of his daughter Suzanne in October 1919, and by the death of his wife the following June. In 1925, after the death of his parents, who had been supporting him in his role as a father, he found himself solely responsible for his daughter’s welfare (Parinaud, 1996: 60). Despite these personal losses, on 23 May 1927, he submitted two theses in the philosophy of science to the Sorbonne which earned him, on the eve of his 44th birthday, the title of Docteur ès lettres along with the mention très honorable (Bontems, 2010: 13). His principal thesis, published in months that followed under the title ‘Essai sur la connaissance approchée’, was awarded a prize (Gagey, 1969: 24). In 1930, he left Collège de Bar-​sur-​Aube to join the Faculty of Letters of the Université de Dijon as professor of philosophy, and there he remained for the next ten years. Bachelard developed his epistemological reflections principally by drawing upon contemporary theories of physics, chemistry, and mathematics. In his view, knowledge advances through ‘rupture’ rather than in a ‘continuous’ fashion ([1928] 1969: ch. XV). Forging the concept of phénoménotechnique to underscore the ‘construction’ of scientific ‘phenomena’ (1931−2: 61), he deepened the complex connections intertwining theory and experience in order to go beyond ideas of rationalism and realism to describe scientific activity ([1934] 2020: 26). The theory of relativity and quantum mechanics, among other modern theories, marked, in his view, the emergence of a ‘new scientific spirit’ which, without condemning Cartesianism (p. 150), rejects ‘the immediate nature of Cartesian evidence’ (p. 151). Bachelard was also interested in ‘epistemological obstacles’ ([1938] 1970: 13), which notably led him to delve deeper into the links between images and scientific knowledge by showing, for example, how the metaphor of the sponge had held back the comprehension of certain phenomena related to air and electricity (pp. 73–​8). Scientific rationality was only possible, he claimed, through a rigorous ‘dialectical’ approach which allows for ‘contradiction’ and ‘discussion’ inasmuch as any constructive exchange is dependent upon ‘rules’ and ‘evidence’ ([1940] 2005: 134–​5). During this period, Bachelard also reflected on the metaphysics of time. In direct opposition to Henri Bergson, he proposed ([1932] 1994: 15–​6) that time be conceived as a

82   Michèle Charbonneau series of ‘instants’, rather than as a ‘single continuous phenomenon.’ He also contends that these instants are connected through ‘rhythms’ which ‘construct duration’ by continuously ‘starting over’ ([1936] 2013: viii–​ix). Bachelard became a key figure in French philosophy during the interwar period (Bontems 2010: 178–​81). In 1940, at age 56, he was appointed as chair in history and philosophy of science at the Sorbonne, and was named director of the Institut d’histoire des sciences et des techniques. By the time he moved to Paris, Bachelard had already published two books on the philosophy of imagination. According to Gagey (1969: 57), his friendship with Gaston Roupnel, a historian of the French peasantry whom he had met at the Université de Dijon, marked a decisive step in his path towards the study of the imagination. The poetry and lyricism of Roupnel, it seems, awakened Bachelard’s awareness of his own subjectivity and of the poetic reverie (Gagey, 1969: 74–​8). Bachelard also revealed that the teaching of philosophy did not fully satisfy him, and that he was considering the idea of turning to the imagination when a student remarked that his ‘universe’ was ‘pasteurized’ (Bachelard cited in Gagey, 1969: 61). In La psychanalyse du feu, published in 1938, Bachelard proposed to study images not as obstacles to scientific knowledge, but rather in their own right ([1938] 1985: 14). He wished to deepen, through an objectifying approach of the images of fire, the ‘subjective convictions’ of fire in order to enable science to resist them (pp. 16–​8). In analysing the Isidore Ducasse’s Chants de Maldoror the following year, he attempted to study animal images used in the expression of aggression (1939: ch. 1, §I) in order to better resist them in life (1939: conc., §IV; Mansuy, 1965: 30). In Paris, where he associated with a number of artists and literary figures, including the proponents of Surrealism (Margolin, 1974: 16–​7), Bachelard completed his study of the images of the four elements by publishing L’eau et les rêves (1942), L’air et les songes (1943), La terre et les rêveries de volonté (1948), and La terre et les rêveries de repos (1948). According to Wavelet (2019: 184), poetry offered Bachelard a ‘refuge’ during the German occupation. For Jean Lescure, a poet and friend of Bachelard, his courses ‘excited’ (échauffaient) the students during this difficult period (Parinaud, 1996: 236). In his first two works on the imagination, Bachelard had adopted a psychoanalytical method which returned to certain ideas developed by Sigmund Freud and Carl G. Jung. However, in his subsequent work, he chose to distance himself from psychoanalysis ([1942] 2011: 13), notably due to the symbolic reduction of images it entails ([1957] 2020: 81); and he progressively shifted towards phenomenology. Plunging back into epistemology after having completed his study of the elements, Bachelard continued his work on the relationship between reason and scientific experience by deepening ‘applied rationalism’ and ‘rational materialism’ ([1953] 1963: 4; Dagognet, 1965: 28). He retired in 1954, having reached the age limit for teaching at the Sorbonne, but continued his work for a year as an honorary professor. Honours followed: welcomed to the Académie des sciences morales et politiques in 1955, he received the Legion of Honour in 1960 and the Grand prix national des lettres in 1961. He continued to develop his philosophy of imagination by aligning it from then on with phenomenology, publishing La poétique de l’espace (1957), La poétique de la rêverie

Bachelard and Phenomenology of Imagination    83 (1960), and La Flamme d’une chandelle (1961). When Bachelard died in Paris on 16 October 1962, at the age of 78, he left behind an unfinished book which his daughter Suzanne, herself a philosopher of science who had lived with him until his final days, published in 1988 under the title Fragments d’une poétique du feu. Bachelard’s work contains two main areas of inquiry, one in epistemology, the other relating to poetic imagination. Common questions, including phenomenological reflections, cut across them both. Nonetheless, it is important, according to Bachelard, to ‘separate’ rationalism (epistemology) from poetic reverie (imagination) in order to return to each its function ([1953] 1963: 18–​9). This separation may be done ‘by accepting a double life’ which can serve as a ‘twofold basis for a complete anthropology’ (p. 19). For a number of his readers, the importance he gives to this double life and the links that it establishes between reason and imagination represent one of Bachelard’s key philosophical contributions (Wunenburger, 2014: 33–​6).

4.3  Bachelard’s Conception of the Imagination Bachelard undertook the study of the imagination by focusing on poetic images of materiality primarily found in literary works. To grasp the meaning he gave to his phenomenological method, fully adopted in his two poetics, it is important to understand it in relation to his conception of the imagination. Bachelard was interested in imagination understood as a ‘creative’ faculty ([1943] 2010: 7) which creates ‘novelty’ (p. 6) by transforming ‘primary images’ (p. 280), that is to say those images ‘which stir in us something primitive’ ([1957] 2020: 155). For him, imagination precedes perception ([1948] 2007: 65). An image will ‘engage’ the subject, and can bear the mark of ‘sensations’, but also that of ‘a more profound affectivity’ of the subject ([1948] 2010: 10) which it may then ‘amplify or muffle’ ([1942] 2011: 218). Daydreaming about flowers calls up ‘[n]‌ot simply sensitive images, colours and perfumes’ but also ‘subtleties of sentiments, the warmth of memories, the temptations of offerings, all these things that can flourish in the human soul’ ([1960] 2016: 135). The study of images, consequently, allows for access to ‘values’ ([1948] 2010: 10) and to an experience of the world ‘with all the subjectivity of the imagination’ ([1957] 2020: 50). Imagination is ‘dynamic’ ([1943] 2010: 8). It serves less to ‘form images’ than to ‘transform them’ (p. 5). As Bachelard himself points out, he could have studied the creative imagination by observing, for example, children imagining while playing in their games ([1960] 2016: 2). But he preferred to do so by studying ‘poetic images’ ([1957] 2020: 27). The poetic image has several features. First, it ‘emerges’ in one’s consciousness without having been ‘pushed’ there (p. 28). The creative act has no ‘past’ (p. 29), so that the condition for expressing a poetic image is that of ‘not knowing’ (p. 46). What then makes the poetic image possible is ‘language’ (p. 36): ‘The imagination, within us, speaks, our

84   Michèle Charbonneau dreams speak, our thoughts speak’ ([1943] 2010: 324). Through poetic expression, language evolves (p. 325, [1957] 2020: 305). Although nothing causes the poetic image to come into being, it can ‘reverberate’ ([1957] 2020: 28). Bachelard borrows the notion of ‘reverberation’ from the phenomenological psychologist Eugène Minkowski in order to underscore the image’s ‘sonority of being’ (p. 28). The reverberation of an image, which calls to the ‘deepening of our existence’ (p. 34–​5), is distinct from its ‘resonances’, understood as ‘sentimental repercussions, reminders of our past’ (p. 35). Even if he favours reverberation over resonance, ‘depth’ over ‘exuberance’, Bachelard contends that one must follow both ‘axes of phenomenological analysis’, since they influence each other mutually (p. 35). With the notion of reverberation, Bachelard also attempts to underscore the ‘communion by brief, isolated and active acts’ (p. 29) that an image can establish between a poet and a reader. For him, the images are ‘communicable’ (p. 29). When an image reverberates within us, it constitutes a ‘new being of our language’ (p. 36). The fact that a reader who knows nothing of a poet is able to react to an image bears witness to the ‘transsubjectivity’ of poetic images (p. 30). Thus, the reverberation which Bachelard explores in his study of poetic images is an experience of ‘intersubjectivity’ (p. 36). The possibility for an image to reverberate without preparation allows us to think that it has a ‘poetic meaning’ independent of its ‘psychological’ or ‘psychoanalytical’ meaning (p. 42). The task of the phenomenological method, therefore, is to capture this poetic meaning. To take a classic example from the author, if the image of a child bringing a blotting paper to an ink stain can be read as ‘a need to smudge’, another way of reading it is to see it as the dream of a child ‘drying up the Red Sea’ ([1948] 2007: 77). A second example stems from the meditation on these words by Paul Verlaine: ‘The sky is above the roof | So blue, so calm’ (Verlaine quoted in Bachelard, [1960] 2016: 9). Bachelard suggests that a psychological way of reading these verses would be to stress that Verlaine wrote them in prison. Another, more phenomenological way would be to dream with the poet, which Bachelard does here: ‘A sky from another time extends over the city of stone. And in my memory musical stanzas that Reynaldo Hahn wrote for Verlaine’s poems are singing’ (p. 9). For Bachelard, the phenomenological method appears as the only one that enables us to grasp the subjectivity and transsubjectivity of the image ([1957] 2020: 30). The phenomenology of the imagination consists, for him, in ‘a study of the phenomenology of the poetic image when the image emerges in the consciousness as a direct product of the heart, of the soul, of the human being understood in his or her present situation’ (p. 29). The image, a product of the consciousness, rather than an ‘object’ or an ‘object’s substitute’ (p. 31), is to be studied with a focus on ‘intentionality’ ([1960] 2016: 4). Nevertheless, the phenomenological stance cannot be ‘passive’; it requires us to ‘participate in the creating imagination’ (p. 4). ‘Plunged’ in our reverie, we are in ‘a world without exterior’ (p. 144) where the ‘duality of subject and object is [ . . . ] constantly active in its reversals’ ([1957] 2020: 31). The images of the house ‘are in us as much as we are in them’ (p. 52).

Bachelard and Phenomenology of Imagination    85 According to Wunenburger (2014: 30–​2), for Bachelard, the power of a poetic image stems from three sources: its roots in unconscious forces, the experiences of the body, and the materiality of the world. Even if the poetic image has no ‘causes’, it can awaken an ‘archetype’ which will have a profound reverberation ([1957] 2020: 28). For instance, the archetype of ‘returning to one’s mother’ contributes to the dream-​like power of images of returning to a cavern ([1948] 2010: 225). In contrast, a house without a cellar, itself an archetype, can have no profound reverberations (p. 120). Bachelard borrows freely from Jung’s notion of archetype (Thiboutot & Martinez, 1999: 6) and defines it as a ‘driving force’ and as ‘an image that has its roots in the most remote unconscious, an image which comes from a life which is not our personal life’ ([1948] 2010: 294). Similarly, the poetic image is enriched by the experiences of the human organism, without, however, being determined by it. The reveries nourished by the physiological needs of the child, as well as by the senses of touch, taste, hearing, and smell, are more powerful than those nourished by the sense of sight ([1942] 2011: 16, 173, 216–​8, [1960] 2016: 118–​23). For Bachelard, the rhythms of the body, in particular those experienced at work, also induce a dream-​like dynamism (Wunenburger, 2014: 32). The imagination also draws its dynamism from the materiality of the world. For Bachelard, reverie can focus on an ‘object’ ([1960] 2016: 132). However, the imagination takes its impulse from the ‘elements’ (fire, water, air, and earth) more so than from objects ([1957] 2020: 52). The imagination can be ‘formal’, ‘material’, or ‘dynamic’: consequently, one may see the form of an object, penetrate its substance, or experience its movement ([1943] 2010: 13–​5). The material imagination and the dynamic imagination have, however, a dream-​like power greater than that of the formal imagination (pp. 13–​5). In particular, the movement of ‘verticality’, which is a reminder of the vertical posture of human beings, has a particular value: it captures ‘all the subtle and contained emotions, all the hopes, all the fears, and all the moral forces that entails a future’ (pp. 16–​7). For Bachelard, reveries can be ‘extraverted’ or ‘introverted’, or the result of an ambivalent tension between the two ([1948] 2010: 9). Dreams of power and extraversion, ‘activist’ reveries, such as daydreaming of swimming in turbulent water, have a major dream-​like significance, the dreamer having to be ‘offensive’ in order to respond to the ‘provocation’ of the ‘resistant’ matter ([1942] 2011: 181–​2). However, the images with the most dream-​like power are those which play on an ‘ambivalence’ (p. 19). The dream-​like power of the four elements stems moreover from their capacity to prompt, at the same time, both ‘desire and fear’, ‘good and evil’ (p. 19). Air, for instance, can be an image both of falling and ascension ([1943] 2010: 117). This is also what gives power to those images which create a dynamic relation or a ‘dialectic’ between two poles—​shown-​hidden, soft-​ hard, miniature-​immense, high-​low, etc. For Bachelard, there can be countless dialectics playing out between two poles ([1948] 2010: 19–​36, [1957] 2020: 298). For example, some can unite or reverse poles. The image of ‘hot moisture’ ambivalently joins water and fire ([1942] 2011: 117). Cyrano de Bergerac’s apple, which contains a universe illuminated by a seed, inverts miniature and immensity as well as the values of the fruit and the germ ([1957] 2020: 222–​3).

86   Michèle Charbonneau Based on his conception of time as a succession of instants, Bachelard conceives of the poetic image as ‘the most fleeting product of awareness’ (p. 31). It elicits ‘wonderment’ in the dreamer ([1960] 2016: 3). Due to the dialectics at play, the ‘vertical’ poetic instant is ‘complex: it moves, it proves—​it invites, it consoles—​it is astonishing and familiar’ ([1939] 1994: 104). In tracking the dialectics present in the image and in alternating the meaning of tensions deployed within it, it is also possible to alternate the rhythms and to practice what Bachelard refers to as ‘rhythmanalysis’ ([1936] 2013: x–​xi). For example, while reflecting on the image of water that ‘rumbles’ ([1948] 2010: 100), Bachelard wonders whether it is a ‘rumbling gentleness’ or an ‘affectionate anger’ (p. 101). The alternation between these two rhythms makes it possible to rhythmanalyse the narrative (p. 101). Bachelard interprets poetic images to appreciate them and to praise their benefits (1988: 35): the imagination ‘awakens’ the ‘senses’ ([1960] 2016: 6), ‘invigorates’ ([1957] 2020: 39), and ‘raises awareness’ (p. 112). Both poetry and poetic reverie are ‘joyful’ activities ([1960] 2016: 3, 11) that enable us to probe human psychology (1988: 31). The imagination has a ‘positive function’ consisting in creating the ‘irreal’ ([1957] 2020: 48). It ‘opens up to the future’ and empowers us to ‘predict’ (p. 48). It enables us to ‘live what has not been lived’ (p. 43) and to throw ourselves into action ([1942] 2011: 88). The daydream also ‘helps us to inhabit the world’ ([1960] 2016: 20). Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘star-​isle’ ‘gives to water the meaning of the farthest homeland, of a celestial homeland’ ([1942] 2011: 61). The imagination of the house, in particular, has a significant function in inhabiting the world: ‘Our soul is a dwelling. And in remembering “houses” and “rooms”, we learn to “dwell” in ourselves’ ([1957] 2020: 52).

4.4  The Phenomenological Study of Poetic Images In the course of his work, Bachelard developed a method for reading poetic images. It is, for him, a phenomenological method, although he appropriates it freely (Wunenburger, 2014: 118), just as he did with notions borrowed from psychoanalysis. With the phenomenological method, Bachelard aims to study ‘the very being, the very dynamism’ ([1957] 2020: 28) of a poetic image, focusing on its ‘beginning’ in the ‘individual consciousness’ (p. 30). In other words, he aims to grasp its ‘original virtue’ and the psychic impulse it gives ([1960] 2016: 2). Therrien (1970: 336) describes the method used by Bachelard as a meditation capable of plunging into the ‘depths’ of the image and of soaring to its ‘heights’. This approach seeks to track archetypes present in images, but mostly to experience their reverberation in all their virtualities (Therrien, 1970: 335–​6). The phenomenological study of poetic images functions ‘on its own’ (Bachelard, [1960] 2016: 54), in ‘silence’ or by ‘silently declaiming’ the poem ([1943] 2010: 317). It consists of reading literary images and letting them inspire one’s poetic reveries. It requires also

Bachelard and Phenomenology of Imagination    87 complete immersion into the image ([1960] 2016: 3). To appreciate a literary image, the reader must ‘believe’ in it ([1943] 2010: 340) and read it with ‘sympathy’ and ‘admiration’ ([1957] 2020: 39). The reader must also read it slowly a number of times (p. 76) and, if necessary, copy it out ([1943] 2010: 323). The goal is to appropriate it ([1960] 2016: 4), to the point of provoking in oneself a ‘linguistic enthusiasm’ ([1943] 2010: 8) capable of inducing a desire to rewrite it ([1957] 2020: 76) and to prolong the poet’s reverie (p. 224). A literary image, a poetic image, must ‘[s]‌ignify something else and make one dream differently’ ([1943] 2010: 324). It is distinct from images that project human values into objects, such as the one that creates a love nest from a bird’s nest ([1957] 2020: 156), or from metaphors that have lost ‘all spontaneity’ (p. 138). Bachelard draws his literary images from a number of sources, including novels, poems, commentaries on art works, and dictionaries. He finds them in single words, phrases, or full narratives. The poetic reverie is to be done ‘awake’ ([1960] 2016: 10). It does not entail dreaming of a ‘project’ (p. 13), whether it be building a house ([1957] 2020: 119–​20) or avenging a tragedy ([1960] 2016: 19). Neither is it a matter of ‘describing’ a situation, whether ‘objectively’ or ‘subjectively’ ([1957] 2020: 56). A poetic reverie intertwines ‘memory’ and ‘imagination’ ([1960] 2016: 89) and ‘collects images’ around an object which is then transformed into a ‘cosmos’ in and of itself (p. 150). It ‘cannot be told’; it ‘writes’ and ‘rewrites’ itself ‘with emotion, with taste’ (p. 7). The reveries about ‘childhood’, which turn to the ‘permanent’ childhood in each being (p. 85), have a unique dream-​like value. In La poétique de l’espace, Bachelard adds to his reveries the ‘topo-​analytical’ method which consists in going back into his own memories by thinking about the places where they were deployed ([1957] 2020: 61). The house then appears to him as a privileged ‘instrument’ for undertaking such a topo-​analysis (p. 51), leading to questions such as: ‘was the room large, was the attic very cluttered, [ . . . ] how, in those spaces, was the being able to know silence [ . . . ]?’, etc. (p. 62). Sensitivity to the variation of images is a rule of thumb for assessing nuances ([1960] 2016: 2–​3). Bachelard deploys, in his readings and reveries, a formal, a material, and a dynamic imagination. He also meditates on the dialectics present in the image and the rhythms within it, sometimes alternating them. At times, he ‘exaggerates the exaggeration’ ([1957] 2020: 74) or amplifies the phenomenon contained in the image (p. 177–​ 8). He draws upon his senses ([1960] 2016: 6). He dreams of words ([1957] 2020: 15–​6), of their sound ([1942] 2011: 211), of their gender ([1960] 2016: 16–​7), of their different meanings ([1943] 2010: 328). As language evolves, he keeps his distance from etymological considerations ([1942] 2011: 213) and does not hesitate to make linguistic comparisons in order to explore semantic or phonetic specificities (p. 211). Finally, he combines his readings and reveries in a poetics by grouping them according to the numerous variations he finds of the primary image or the significant dialectics he uncovers in relation to the object under study. La poétique de l’espace illustrates various components of the Bachelardian method. In this work, Bachelard seeks ‘to determine the human value of spaces of possession [ . . . ] of beloved spaces’ ([1957] 2020: 50). By dreaming of a house in which the memories of all other houses, inhabited or dreamed, are intertwined, he observes that it constitutes ‘our

88   Michèle Charbonneau corner of the world’ and ‘our first universe’ (pp. 55–​6), and that its primary ‘benefit’ is that it ‘shelters the reverie’ and ‘protects the dreamer’ (p. 59). But, above all, the house is the ‘cradle’, an ‘enveloping warmth’, where one comes into being (pp. 59–​60). By wandering in a dream-​like state in ‘one’s birthplace’, Bachelard notes that it is ‘physically inscribed in us’ (p. 68), so that our very body would remember, for example, the ‘stair that is a little high’ (p. 68). Observing that the images of the house ‘disperse themselves’, reflecting its ‘complexity’, he endeavours to recreate their ‘unity’ (p. 55). As a result, he provides himself with another method: detecting the connections between images (p. 71), which he grasps in the dialectics traversing the life and the images of houses. Along the ‘vertical’ axis, he observes that one wanders from the attic to the cellar, as from reason to the unconscious (pp. 72–​3). The attic offers a refuge when one wishes to ‘dream clearly’, to see the structure of the whole, while the cellar allows one to dream ‘limitlessly’ of ‘subterranean forces’ (pp. 72–​3). Through a phenomenological study of the underground galleries found in one of Henri Bosco’s novels, galleries which he found too ‘complicated’ to understand on his first reading of the book, he concludes that they allow us to illustrate the ‘hidden goings-​on’ of the novel’s characters, who collect in the many recesses of the house ‘secrets’ and ‘initiatives’ (pp. 75–​6). Thus, Bosco’s cellar proves to be a ‘loom with which to weave one’s destiny’ (p. 76). The tension between the notions of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ strikes Bachelard as equally structuring in the house’s poetics because ‘one must also provide an outside destiny to the inside being’ (p. 64). However, while dreaming of a path to the outside of the house, he observes that the house’s power of attraction is greater than the reveries of extraversion (pp. 64–​6). Looking for images of the house concentrating ‘intimacy’ and ‘reveries’, he operates a variation of images and observes that a ‘palace’ does not necessarily allow us to find ‘centers of simplicity’, contrary to a simple ‘refuge’ (pp. 71, 85). The value of a refuge is that it expresses a desire to ‘snuggle up’, while feeling the ‘joy of inhabiting’ (pp. 85–​6). In this sense, the ‘hut’ appears as ‘the pivotal root of the function of inhabiting a place’ (p. 87) and as a ‘centre of solitude’ (p. 88). Following the musings of a poet, Bachelard observes that it is enough to turn on a light which had been switched off in a room for it to become ‘the eye of the house’ which ‘watches’ over the world (p. 90). The light which, from within the house, observes the observed without, leads him into reveries where houses sparkle like stars and where ‘stars inhabit the earth’ (p. 91). Focusing on a winter storm described by Charles Baudelaire, he concludes that, in the house, ‘we’re quite warm because it is cold outside’ (p. 96; italics in the original text). Next, the alternation between reveries of ‘cottage’ and of ‘castle’ in a text by Saint-​Pol-​Roux allows him to ‘rhythmanalyse the function of inhabiting’, a function which oscillates between the ‘needs to withdraw and to expand, the needs for simplicity and for magnificence’ (p. 124). Leaving behind the dialectical relationship between the house and the universe, Bachelard attempts to undertake a ‘phenomenology of the hidden’ by studying images of wardrobes (p. 52). Dreaming of the word armoire (wardrobe) itself, he writes: ‘Armoire, one of the great words of the French language, both majestic and familiar. [ . . . ] How it opens a breath with the a of the first syllable, and how it closes it softly, slowly in its

Bachelard and Phenomenology of Imagination    89 expiring syllable’ (p. 140; italics in the original text). Subsequently, his poetics of space leads him to meditate upon images of the nest and shell in order to show that they ‘solicit in us a primitivity’ (p. 155). Attempting to discover a nest through the eyes of a child, he unearths an ‘inhabited’ nest, since the ‘empty’ nest does not allow us to dream (pp. 157–​ 8). During his reveries, he detects ‘a sort of paradox of sensitivity’ which he expresses as follows: ‘The nest—​we understand immediately—​is precarious and, however, it triggers in us a reverie of security’ (p. 167; italics in the original text). For him, this reverie is a ‘call for cosmic confidence’ (p. 168). The ‘form’ of the shell leads him to reflect upon ‘the life that begins [ . . . ] by turning’ (p. 172). The inhabited shell then offers him the opportunity to make the ‘phenomenology of the verb to emerge’ (p. 176). To reflect on this, Bachelard broadens the emergence of the snail from its shell by imagining it projected onto a movie screen in fast-​forward motion (p. 178). Faced with the ‘violence’ of the escape imagined in this way, the ‘naïve’ observation of the inhabited shell becomes for him the experience of the ‘fear-​curiosity complex’, despite the minuscule size of the snail (pp. 177–​8). Moreover, having learned that some people bathe in the shells of giant clams (‘Grands Bénitiers’), he imagines himself in one such shell in order to feel the ‘power of relaxation’ and the ‘cosmic comfort’ (p. 191). Thus, the Bachelardian method invites one to discover, through the study of poetic images and daydreaming, the way in which human beings both imagine the world and create the world by imagining it. It also invites us to deepen our understanding of the way in which humans renew their dreams by focusing as much on the dream-​like potentialities of language and of the world’s materiality, as on the dreamer’s own affectivity and senses. Finally, it allows us to study the role of the imagination in the human’s being relationship to the world.

4.5  The Bachelardian Phenomenology and MOS In order to reflect on the contribution of Bachelard’s phenomenology of the imagination to MOS, it is worth underscoring some of its features by contrasting it with the phenomenology of the imaginary which an-Paul Sartre was developing at the same time. Sartre studied the function of the imagination as an act of consciousness (Sartre, [1940] 2004: 3). For him, ‘the image and the perception [ . . . ] represent the two great irreducible attitudes of consciousness. It follows that they exclude one another’ (p. 120). On the one hand, contrary to Bachelard’s contention, the qualities of objects can be described without interference from the imagination (Rodrigo, 2006: 46). On the other hand, imagination requires that we cease perceiving an object in order to conjure an image of it in our consciousness (Sartre, [1940] 2004: 120). So, for Sartre, the imagination creates objects that are irreal (p. 125), whereas for Bachelard it gives access to reality by ‘enhancing its value’ (Bachelard, [1957] 2020: 55; see also Wunenburger,

90   Michèle Charbonneau 2014: 127–8). For the latter, then, imagination has a ‘surreal’, rather than an ‘irreal’ function (Wunenburger, 2014: 128). For Wunenburger (2014: 129–​30), Bachelard’s capacity to grasp the dynamism of images is his most important contribution to the phenomenology of the imagination. Bachelard gives an example by referring directly to Sartre. Whereas Sartre attempts to understand the way in which the ‘viscous’ reveals its being to our consciousness by describing it as a ‘ventouse that sucks me in’ (Sartre, [1943] 2018: 652; italics in the original text), Bachelard responds that if Sartre had imagined the viscous as being manipulated by the dreamy and active hand of a baker, he might have imagined it at worst as a ‘transient offense,’ and a substance ultimately destined to ‘firmness’ (Bachelard, [1948] 2007: 113–​4). Beyond the production of a philosophy of the imagination, Bachelard endeavored, contrary to Sartre, to appreciate poetic images and the moment of their creation in and of themselves (Bachelard, 1988: 35). Research in MOS which draws upon Bachelard’s phenomenology of the imagination is still scarce. Nevertheless, four interrelated research themes seem to be emerging. Some scholars link Bachelard’s and Maurice Merleau-​Ponty’s works. In particular, both philosophers make room in their respective phenomenologies for the intertwining of perception and imagination, and of subject and object (Wunenburger, 2014: 146–​ 53). The first theme touches on creativity. Vesala & Tuomivaara (2018), who examine the relation between creativity at work and that in liminal spaces as experienced by professionals working in creative sectors, draw on Bachelardian phenomenology to conceive of the beach as a liminal space conducive to the imagination. To refine theories of creativity, Bachelard’s thoughts, which have many affinities with English and German Romanticism (Higonnet, 1981), could be linked to Thompson’s (2018) aesthetic and relational perspective of organizational creativity, which also draws on English Romanticism. Like Bachelard, Thompson (2018: 236–​8) recognizes the precedence of imagination over perception, the creative and dynamic features of the imagination, and its relationships with the body, memory, and perception. It seems that Bachelard’s three types of imagination of the materiality of the world (formal, material, and dynamic) could add to Thompson’s own theory of the imagination. Furthermore, Bachelard’s notion of the image’s transsubjectivity and his method consisting in letting images reverberate within oneself, that is to say, his ‘empathetic approach’ to the image (Higonnet, 1981: 35) could enrich Thompson’s relational perspective. This first theme also raises the question of relationships between the imagination, knowledge, and action. Along those lines, Magakian (2006) proposes studying the creative dynamic by examining it from three perspectives, one of which would be a poetic perspective developed with the help of Bachelard’s philosophy of the imagination. Hieronimus’s (2018) study could lead, through the notion of a ‘poetics of initiative’, to a better understanding of the relations Bachelard establishes between imagination and action. Pierron’s (2018b) work could help us to understand the Bachelardian meaning of creativity at work and oppose it to the neo-​conservative meaning of creativity (2018b: 148) often found in the management field. The second theme bears on organizational poetics. Küpers (2002) draws upon Bachelard’s work to integrate the phenomenon of wonderment elicited by poetic images

Bachelard and Phenomenology of Imagination    91 and the capacity for these images to trigger a creative imagination in a phenomenological approach to organization that is sensitive to aesthetic processes. Dahl, Guillet de Monthoux, & Helin (2021) and Helin, Dahl, & Guillet de Monthoux (2022) draw upon Bachelardian phenomenology to understand how ‘daydreaming,’ conceptualized as a soft management skill, helped a farm owner weather the crisis engendered by the fall in the price of milk. Kostera (2020) uses it to explore the creation of meaning produced at the junction of the ‘outward’ and ‘inner’ spaces overlapping in organizations. This second theme shows the relevance of Bachelard’s philosophy for a richer understanding of organizational spaces, as pointed out by Beyes & Holt (2020: 16), who include him among the key authors capable of nourishing the poetics of organizational spatiality. Bachelard’s ([1957] 2020) meditations on the human values found in spaces of possession could serve, in particular, to deepen our understanding of those inherent to organizational spaces. In order to refine the conceptualization of the aesthetic dimension of the organization (Strati, 2010), this theme could bring the notion of material imagination closer to Gagliardi’s (1990) ideas on the organizational pathos and those of Strati (1999) on the creative imagination in aesthetic experiences at work (Charbonneau, 2013: 103–​ 4). Bachelard’s method could also help produce a material poetics of an organization (Charbonneau, 2013: 110). To analyse organizational imaginaries, this theme could benefit from Bachelardian studies in other fields, including those of Berhouma (2017) and Wunenburger (2018) on the material imaginations linked, respectively, to workshop activity and manual labour, the latter study also allowing for reflection on the industrial imagination. The third theme focuses on the issues brought about by the transformations of the material environment in which organizations evolve. Few studies in the field of MOS seem to have drawn upon the Bachelardian phenomenology of the imagination to study these issues. On the other hand, other fields have done so. Thus, Pierron (2018a) suggests linking the material imagination to rational ecological perspective seeking to protect water resources within the framework of a poetic of water that could help enrich the ethical reflections that guide environmental action. For Huang (2020), Bachelard’s philosophy may help to design a ‘cosmopoetics’ by which one conceives that ‘the poetic images as phenomena of speech (logos) reveals the beauty of the world (cosmos) in rendering the happiness of living’ (2020: 42; italics in the original text). The substance of Bachelard’s studies on the four elements could fuel research on this theme (Macauley, 2010; Charbonneau, 2013: 110). In the same manner, one may think that Bachelardian phenomenology could offer a fresh perspective on management issues arising from the advent of the digital age. In addition to contributing to these three theoretical themes, Bachelard’s phenomenology of the imagination also allows for the renewal of certain epistemological and methodological questions. Studying the imagination in research activities, Maizeray & Janand (2017) use Bachelard’s phenomenology, along with some of his early psychoanalytical ideas, to explore the poetic imagination deployed in the research process followed in two studies in human resource management. Armitage (2012) refers, for his part, to Bachelardian phenomenology to test a process designed to formulate

92   Michèle Charbonneau research problems, a process which takes the form of discussions based on drawings. Focusing instead on the imagination deployed in an organizational context, Helin, Dahl, & Guillet de Monthoux (2020) use Bachelard to create a space for interviews (a caravan, in their case) capable of encouraging and sheltering their respondents’ poetic reveries. Still inspired by Bachelard, Dahl, Guillet de Monthoux, & Helin (2021) renew their analytical method, interweaving it with reading, writing, listening, and looking at photos (2021: 49–​50). They also devise a novel way of ‘writing’ their results by combining photographs of a farm with a poem and a portrait in order to communicate the poetic reveries of their respondent (p. 57). Bachelard’s phenomenology of the imagination, therefore, seems to allow for a significant renewal of research methods. One way of utilizing Bachelard’s works even more fully would entail deploying his method and poetics in order to read images inevitably contained in any research data. Although conducted in the field of gerontology, Baxter et al.’s (2020) offer an example of how to use Bachelardian phenomenology in the context of a hermeneutic study. Referring to Bachelard’s study of the symbolism of the door, the authors conclude that, in order to ‘thrive,’ the elderly living in senior’s residences must be able to freely open, close and walk through doors, whether they be physical, symbolic or metaphorical (2020: 865). Similarly, while conceptualising the practice of daydreaming, Helin, Dahl, & Guillet de Monthoux (2022) explore the poetics of a farm owner’s daydreams by using Bachelard’s notions of the material imagination, vertical temporality, and the imaginative relation to the space we inhabit. This fourth research theme could also provide an opportunity to discuss the limitations of the Bachelardian method. One such limit is related to the subjectivity of the dreamer. Aware of this subjectivity, Bachelard proposes at least on one occasion two different readings of the same verses ([1948] 2010: 30). The poetic reveries could, as a result, give rise to a fertile hermeneutic hesitation. Although, for Bachelard, the process of poetic reverie required solitude, he would also discuss his poetic meditations in class and in exchanges with poets (Pouliquen, 2005: 27). Consequently, the organization of such discussions, as incorporated in a number of qualitative research methods, could be added to the methodology. However, the type of exchanges likely to nourish a phenomenology of the imagination remains to be explored. Ultimately, Bachelard’s method is demanding (Therrien, 1970: 340), and requires constant and voracious reading in order to develop a sensitivity to the imagination (Bachelard, [1960] 2016: 23).

4.6  Conclusion While expanding of the philosophy of science, Gaston Bachelard developed an interest in poetic imagination. The philosopher from Champagne once wrote in a letter: ‘My whole life is under the sign of the late’ (Bachelard quoted in Parinaud, 1996: 25). His most significant studies may have been published relatively late in life, but the fact remains that his work, intensely rich from both a qualitative and a quantitative point of view, has garnered considerable international and interdisciplinary attention (Wunenburger,

Bachelard and Phenomenology of Imagination    93 2014: 16). Bontems (2010: 202–​3) observes that references to his work are multiplying. Interest in his work in the field of MOS, while less pronounced, seems to be following this trend. His phenomenology of imagination has shed new light on four research themes: organizational and workplace creativity, organizational poetics, issues related to the transformation of the material environment of organizations, and methods for studying the imagination in organizations and research activities. Imagination, which for Bachelard is ‘a major force of human nature’ ([1957] 2020: 48), remains a minor topic in management and organizational theories (Thompson, 2018: 233). Bachelard’s philosophy, with its dual conception of the being, joining rationalism and imagination, recalls a debate that has resonated in the field for over a century: whether management should be considered a science or an art. Bachelard’s phenomenology of the imagination, once resituated in the context of his entire work, could thus contribute to a fifth research theme in MOS, focusing on imagination in management education. A step has been taken in that direction by Dahl, Guillet de Monthoux, & Helin (2022), who call upon Bachelard in order to include art, poetry and contact with the materiality of objects, among other things, within management training, thus designing a poetic space in the classroom conducive to creative learning. Ultimately, the phenomenology of the imagination could teach us to dream poetically. The ability to use creative imagination resonates perhaps more strongly today than ever before given the complexity of some issues, including the ecological crisis. This may make Bachelard’s phenomenology of imagination even more relevant to MOS. It seems that the door which Bachelard ‘half-​opens’ in this field, to return to an image of which he is particularly fond ([1957] 2020: 307), is based on a ‘open’ and ‘participatory’ humanism, in the sense, following Préclaire (1971: 152–​4), that it invites each of us to speak up and to listen to the poetic reverie of the other resounding in oneself. Most certainly, it is a humanism that requires constant renewal, within a sympathetic relationship to the materiality of the world that leaves room for ambivalence, but one that projects us, along with others, towards the future. The achievement of this goal relies on our capacity to communicate a poetic relationship to the world, capable in turn of creating a surreality between two subjects.

Acknowledgements The author thanks Joanne Deller and Michel Bock for their assistance in translating this paper, including all cited excerpts from Bachelard’s work. The author assumes full responsibility for any error the translation may contain.

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Further Reading Rizo-​Patron, Eileen. (2017). Bachelard’s hermeneutics: Between psychoanalysis and phenomenology. In Eileen Rizo-​Patron, with Edward S. Casey, & Jason M. Wirth (eds.), Adventures in phenomenology: Gaston Bachelard (ch. 7). Albany: SUNY Press. Vydra, Anton. (2017). Bachelard vis-​a-​vis phenomenology. In Eileen Rizo-​Patron, with Edward S. Casey, & Jason M. Wirth (eds.), Adventures in phenomenology: Gaston Bachelard (ch. 6). Albany: SUNY Press.

Chapter 5

F rom Phenomenol o g y to a Metaphysics of H i story The Unfinished Odyssey of Merleau-​Ponty François-​X avier de Vaujany

Merleau-​Ponty is a singular philosopher in the history of philosophy.1 His dreamed masterpiece, the peak of his intellectual trajectory—​The Visible and the Invisible—​was brutally interrupted by his death in 1961. It is a partial, even allusive, piece in some parts. Most of his last books appeared as lectures delivered at the Collège de France in the second half of the 1950s, and some were retranscribed by his students before being checked by him or other philosophers (e.g. Claude Lefort). In a way, the late Merleau-​ Ponty is a disembodied or indirect presence, a movement towards something, a pure momentum. This is such a paradox for a leading intellectual who deeply explored the issues of perception and presence. Does this mean that such a momentum is not meaningful? Does this indicate that something is missing in the conceptual landscape offered by this French philosopher? Does this mean that Merleau-​Ponty’s legacy is not of interest because of its final incompleteness? Certainly not. The contributions of Merleau-​Ponty to phenomenology, continental philosophy, process philosophy, and political thought are obvious—​from the two founding books (based on his PhD dissertation) published in 1942 and 1945, namely, The Structure of Behavior and Phenomenology of Perception, to his final lectures at the Collège de France and his last books, such as the Eye and Mind.2 The thought of Merleau-​Ponty was always

1  As

a French speaker, I used only original sources in French, and I did my own translations. The pleasure to be immersed in the immediate poesy of Merleau-​Ponty’s writings and the desire to keep an atmosphere in the translation were stronger than my fear of losing my readers on the way because of my imperfect English. All misinterpretations and misunderstandings in the final quotes used here are mine. 2  In order to enter the world of Merleau-​Pontian thought, I recommend the handbooks of Carman & Hansen (2004) or Romdenh-​Romluc (2010) in English, as well as the books of Bonan (2010) and Vibert (2018) in French.

98   François-Xavier de Vaujany in movement, adventurous, reexpressing itself (his last book reexpresses directly and simply some key seminal ideas from the perspective of the experience of art), and continuing but also discontinuing itself on the way to an ontology of flesh or an indirect ontology (de Saint-​Aubert, 2006, 2018; Bonan, 2010; Vibert, 2018), contributing gradually as well to a metaphysics of history (Revel, 2015; Terzi, 2017; de Vaujany, 2021). Obviously, there is a first and a second (late) Merleau-​Ponty (Bonan, 2010; Vibert, 2018). The first Merleau-​Ponty extends phenomenology around the issues of perception and embodiment, and the second also discontinues it. The former is well-​known for his contributions to or critiques of the phenomenological continent, particularly in relation to Husserl, Heidegger, and Sartre. In many ways, the latter overflows phenomenology (e.g. with the presence of Machiavel, Bergson, Saussure, or Whitehead) and an unexpected continuity in the future with the work of the late Foucault (Revel, 2015; de Vaujany, 2021). I will use this simple two-​step history to structure this chapter, but I will try to emphasize both the continuities and the chiasmatic relationship between the two movements. The first Merleau-​Ponty is still present in the second (reexpressed), and the second Merleau-​Ponty is at stake in the first (see Carman & Hansen, 2004; Bonan, 2010; Vibert, 2018). For the second Merleau-​Ponty, I will stress a new metaphysics of history that was closely linked to his indirect ontology and that prefigured the historical approach of Foucault ([1982] 2001, 1984a) twenty years later (Revel, 2015; Terzi, 2017; de Vaujany, 2021).3

5.1  The Prima of Perception within Phenomenological Traditions: The First Merleau-​Ponty The first Merleau-​Ponty (1942, 1945) was mainly interested in perception, our perceptive relationship with the word. For him, the ‘I’ is an acting instance (consciousness is originally not a matter of ‘I think that’ but of ‘I can’;4 Merleau-​Ponty, 1945: 160). We perceive in the flow of our past, present, and anticipated activities this flow that we are thrown into. And the ‘I’ has no necessity. We are primarily a projective space, a decentred set of projections that punctually contribute to an ‘I’ in the flow of perceptions. These perceptions in and through activities require continuity—​our body as an experience. This is a major originality of the work of Merleau-​Ponty. The presence of our bodies (indistinctively individual and collective), the embodied memory of our past 3  See also Sabot (2013) for a conversation between the early Merleau-​Ponty and Foucault. This (very interesting) comparison will not be explored here. 4  Original quote in French: ‘La conscience est originairement non pas un “je pense que” mais un “je peux”.’

Phenomenology to Metaphysics of History    99 activities, and the scope of our perceptions are at the heart of our relationships with the world. They continuously space our world. As beautifully summarized by Giddens (1984a: 65), The body, Merleau-​Ponty points out, does not ‘occupy’ time-​space in exactly the same sense as material objects do [ . . . ] The time-​space relations of presence, centered upon the body, are geared not into a ‘spatiality of position,’ in Merleau-​Ponty’s words, but a ‘spatiality of situation’. The ‘here’ of the body refers not to a determinate series of coordinates but to the situation of the active body oriented towards its tasks.

Thus, everyday embodied activity opens its own time-​space interwoven within a shared space-​time (see Merleau-​Ponty, 1945: 291, his chapter about space). In this way, Merleau-​Ponty (1945) thus makes a strong distinction between the objective body (corps ‘objectif ’ ou ‘biologique’) and the phenomenological body (‘corps phénoménal’). The phenomenological body is perceptive. It has a history that is largely interwoven with our biological bodies and the wider expression of the world. It has potential for activity, and it is constituted by the activity feeling itself, delimiting itself, exploring its capabilities to live in the world and to transform the world. Far beyond the objective body by itself, the phenomenal body is not fully perceived as such. Introspectively, we never really directly see our bodies and ourselves. If we do, we need mediations, which only allow partial access to our body. As living bodies, we are always ahead of ourselves—​a couple of metres, seconds, and sequences ahead of what we do, perceiving our bodies primarily through our eyes and visual perceptions that locate ourselves in the flow of our activities (in advance of our activities). All our prehension capabilities are also dispersed ahead of us. Our grasping hands, our eyes, our feet—​we see our own body through the bodies of all those in front of us. We live our lives ahead and by procuration. This phenomenal body is a proper body (‘corps propre’). Merleau-​Ponty (1945: 245) explains, ‘The body itself is in the world like the heart is in an organism—​it continually keeps the visible spectacle alive, it animates and feeds it internally, and it forms a system with it’.5 Our proper body is our self. It is the singularity of any activity searching in its process the origins of its own flow. To explain what he means by a proper body, Merleau-​Ponty (1945) uses the example of someone visiting an apartment and the process of spacing it. He explains that the visitors do not experience a top-​down vision, an overhanging perspective. By contrast, they build the space from the very scale, possibilities, and perspectives of the walking body itself. In turn, the process of visiting the apartment opens the way to an agentic body, feeling itself and placing itself in the movements of the visit. The self is thus a part of the proper body and the spacing produced by our embodied experience of the world. 5  Original quote in French: ‘Le corps propre est dans le monde comme le cœur dans l’organisme: il maintient continuellement en vie le spectacle visible, il l’anime et le nourrit intérieurement, il forme avec lui un système.’

100   François-Xavier de Vaujany To describe our embodied capabilities, Merleau-​Ponty used the notion of a corporeal scheme (‘schéma corporel’ in French). He expounds, ‘My whole body is, to me, not a collection of organs juxtaposed in space. I hold it in undivided possession, and I know the position of each of my limbs through a body diagram in which they are all enveloped’6 (Merleau-​Ponty, 1945: 127). Our embodied capability is differentiated around numerous punctual, dispersed, and interrelated organs. But this process of differentiation, its systemic nature, is transparent for activity. Most of the time, as the ‘I’ is absent and activity itself prevails phenomenologically, the body is invisible to the subject produced in the flow of activities. The corporeal scheme is thus constitutive of its own space. It situates in this space its sub-​capabilities, all interwoven within the capabilities of the larger scheme. In the present of our acting in the world, we just feel all our organic capabilities as part of a general scheme. In using our cars, in the process of driving, we feel our right hand here, our left hand doing this, our left foot located here, our eyes staring at this point; we are just acting. All our organic capabilities are wrapped invisibly in our making of the world. Each organ, as the entire involvement of our phenomenological bodies, is just agentic. Our presence in the world is both central and anecdotal, invisible to ourselves but (paradoxically) visible to others, helping us to reflect our self. We exist continuously as ourselves mainly for others. From the inside of our lived present, we are more a multiplicity of doing than the clear-​cut presence of ‘I’. This joint exploration of space and the self is part of what Merleau-​Ponty (1945) calls ‘depth’.7 Depth is an exploratory experience and the emergent possibilities of this experience. It is the opposite of a pure imaginary experience. Merleau-​Ponty (1945: 380) explains, ‘The imaginary is without depth. It does not respond to our efforts to vary our points of view; it does not lend itself to our observation’.8 As an exploration, a playful exploration, perception is possible because of the depth of our experience.9 Later, Merleau-​Ponty ([1955] 2000: 147) expounds on how our experience of the world is a ‘system with several entries’. Thus, ‘in each perception, matter itself takes shape and meaning’. Materiality is a present temporality, as Bergson ( [1896] 2012) would have said, but it is a present involving simultaneously the reality of the world lived and the active exploration of its reality. 6 Original

quote in French: ‘Mon corps tout entier n’est pas pour moi un assemblage d’organes juxtaposés dans l’espace. Je le tiens dans une possession indivise et je connais la position de chacun de mes membres par un schéma corporel où ils sont tous enveloppés.’ 7  The meaning of this very important notion will evolve with the second Merleau-​Ponty (see Mazis, 2014; de Saint-​Aubert, 2018: 393–​5). Indeed, ‘from the time of his thesis projects in the 1930s until his last writings, the question of depth accompanies Merleau-​Ponty’s research as a new type of being, conceived as neither subject nor object, neither consciousness nor extension. [ . . . ]. We do not see depth, we see in depth: unobjectivable, depth requires that we abandon ourselves to it so that it might deliver itself as such.’ Saint-​Aubert also adds (p. 394) that ‘depth already envelops us’. 8  Original quote in French: ‘L’imaginaire est sans profondeur, il ne répond pas à nos efforts pour varier nos points de vue, il ne se prête pas à notre observation.’ 9  Deleuze would not say ‘our’ experience but, more directly, the experience of ‘depth’ itself (see my chapter (Chapter 22) about depth in Part III).

Phenomenology to Metaphysics of History    101 Another key concept—​intercorporeity—​is put forward to stress the individual and collective dimensions of our corporeity. To act together in a common world, we need to rely on a shared corporeal legacy, sedimented gestures, learned and acquired postures of a shared present, and embodied experiences that are both internalized and expressed as meaningful. This common body, both in and out (or rather, always in between), constitutes our perceptive and agentic worlds. Intercorporeity is continuously repeated, extended, and reinvented. Without intercorporeity, we would be stuck in opaque experiential bubbles. Intersubjectivity and interagentivity would not be possible. We would not even be individuals or individual bodies, as our perceptions rely on any embodied alterity that is likely to make our singularity resonant. Intercorporeity is a process beyond the individual and collective realms. In the background, the phenomenology of perception offered by Merleau-​Ponty is, in some ways, influenced explicitly by Gestalt theory (see Merleau-​Ponty, 1945). This theory is linked to a new psychology by Merleau-​Ponty, who states that we do not really perceive and sense reality. Rather, we keep reactivating larger forms, learned templates, and relations. We do not really perceive or sense an external reality; instead, we reactivate a living world that inhabits us as much as it is outside of us (as an experimented capability to view and act in the world). Part of our present perception and ongoing activity is always a past. Indeed, fully perceiving the world would be exhausting. We would not be able to act, move, or even think because we would drown in our own perceptions. The field of presence thus keeps selecting, stressing, or putting aside sounds, tactilities, and visual elements, with some focus generated by the flow of our activities themselves. The forms and shapes internalized in our past experiences help us to do that. However, in a way, these perceptive activities are also creative. When we yell at someone in front of us on the street, we perceptually imagine their faces and the parts of their bodies that we do not see (and have never seen). We keep prolonging lines, shapes, and even matters that are not part of our immediate perceptions. The past, present, and future have a strange co-​presence in our agentic relationship with the world. They continue to coexist in the field of presence. As suggested by Merleau-​Ponty (1945) in his chapter about time in Phenomenology of Perception, the past, the present, and the future flow simultaneously through our activities. They move together in our process of becoming. The first Merleau-​Ponty largely reminds us of and extends some key lessons from Husserl and Heidegger (see other chapters in Part I about these philosophers). He extends Husserl,10 as he comes closer to our experience of the world by further stressing its embodied nature. Heidegger is not only largely repeated but also discontinued by the first Merleau-​Ponty. The French philosopher is mainly interested in the issue of being, the obviousness of being, the transparent process of appearing in the world. Heidegger (1927) invents a systematic new language to express this sense of continuity, of obviousness, which is never questioned in our relationship with the world. For him, common


See Chapter 2 about Husserl in Part I of this book.

102   François-Xavier de Vaujany language itself is part of the equation, making visible and sensible this sense of obviousness only in the context of disruptions, of breakdown, when things go wrong. I make phone calls every day using my smartphone. It is simply wrapped into movements and directionalities. However, one day, this technique does not respond as usual. The surface of the phone does not react to my fingers sliding on it. Suddenly, this transparent object has a volume, a weight, and a complex structure (again). But what happened before when it was just part of the flow of everyday activities? How could we describe this usual, habitual relationship with the world, this mode of being? Heidegger (1927) offers an extensive vocabulary to make sense of this ordinariness. Merleau-​Ponty (1942, 1945) extends these views by returning not only to our perceptions but also to the neurological and psychological knowledge of his time, offering a surprising interdisciplinary work in Structure and Behavior. He also makes a more obvious move towards metaphysical thought, something Heidegger kept departing from. Other philosophers, such as Descartes, Spinoza, Kant, Leibniz, and, of course, Bergson,11 have also been put into conversation with this emergent phenomenology of perception. Overcoming traditional dualisms, such as inside-​outside, touched-​ touching, subject-​object, and subjectivism-​objectivism, was a key concern for the young philosopher, who was eager to illuminate the prima facie of perception in the world. But the ambition to describe perception from the within of a world already there settled major bifurcations towards a more ontological and even metaphysical approach.

5.2  The Second Merleau-​Ponty: Building an Indirect Ontology From the mid-​1950s onwards, Merleau-​Ponty both continued and discontinued his earlier work. Like Heidegger and, later, Foucault, he moved towards an ontology (called an ‘indirect ontology’, a sensible ontology, or an ‘ontology of flesh’; see Carman & Hansen, 2004; Bonan, 2010; Vibert, 2018; and Revel, 2015). Phenomenological issues, such as (intentional) consciousness, experience, subjectivity, and perception, remained central, but they acquired a different ontological status. They came from within the happening of the world. If Merleau-​Ponty (1945) acknowledged for long that we are thrown into the world, he did not get to the radical ontological and political implications of that stance before the second half of the 1950s. As thrown into the world, the subject becomes more and more secondary, consequential.12 As an intentional and constitutive instance, consciousness becomes a

11  See Chapter 23 by Andrew Kirkpatrick (in Part III of this Handbook about the relationship between Bergson, Whitehead, and Merleau-​Ponty. 12  I also see in that view many proximities with the pragmatist description of Mead (see Rosenthal & Bourgeois, 1991; Bourgeois & Rosenthal, 1990).

Phenomenology to Metaphysics of History    103 secondary topic, much more an event among others, a possibility rather than a starting point or a primordial constitutive instance. He thus explains in the unfinished manuscript of the Visible and the Invisible, ‘We need to take, first, not consciousness and its Ablaufphänomen13 with its intentional distinctive threads, but the whirlwind of spacing-​temporalizing (which is flesh and not consciousness in front of a noema)’14 (Merleau-​Ponty, 1964: 193). By this, Merleau-​Ponty means that flows and activities come first, as they are primordial to his new ontology. Perception is not a prior activity. Activity enables and opens perception. Activity is also primordial, before and beyond perception as a sensible activity linked to a delayed reaction (but this temporality, the in-​between of the event and the reaction, remains important). One of the central concepts in the indirect ontology of Merleau-​Ponty is that of flesh (‘chair’). Beyond any idea of an individual body and a located embodiment, flesh characterizes the whole ontological structure of the world, ‘among which the body is just a sample’ (Bonan, 2010: 236). It is ‘an element likely to be affected, which makes visible a part of being while keeping a latency, a part of the invisible, which is a reservoir of meaning’ (p. 236). Merleau-​Ponty (1961: 178) explains that ‘The thickness of flesh between the viewing and the thing is constitutive of its visibility as much as it is of the corporeality of the viewing of the viewer. It is not an obstacle between each of them; it is the meaning of their communication’,15 their mediation. Flesh is the general in-​betweenness of the world, a continuous process of happening, opening, and setting distances, forming subjects, objects, and responsive objects, in general. Viewing, perceiving, or feeling is not a property of a subject (e.g. a viewer). It is the process of the world itself—​what makes it alive. Flesh is the primordial process of the sensibility of the world and what enables attachments of and in the world. Flesh involves another key phenomenon—​ reversibility. Merleau-​ Ponty (1964) returns to his famous (Husserlian) example of the two hands touching each other. It is impossible to distinguish, phenomenologically, one hand touching the other. The sense of touching is largely reversible. There is a functional unity in this experience; all that happens is in between. From this, Merleau-​Ponty suggests generalizing this idea applied to the process of touching to our experiences of the world—​basically all our experiences. Regardless of the acting involved, we are inhabited visually, olfactively, auditively, and tactily as much as the world itself is acting upon us visually, auditively, olfactively, and tactily. And the reality itself of the world is in this relation and the modes of relations structuring it. This in-​betweenness is perceptually how the world happens in our present.


Phenomenological flow, ‘phénomène de l’écoulement’ in French. quote in French: ‘Il faut prendre comme premier non la conscience et son Ablaufsphänomen avec ses fils intentionnels distincts, mais le tourbillon que cet Ablaufsphänomen schématise, le tourbillon spatialisant-​temporalisant (qui est chair et non conscience en face d’un noème).’ 15  Original quote in French: ‘L’épaisseur entre le voyant et la chose est constitutive de sa visibilité à elle comme de sa corporéité à lui; ce n’est pas un obstacle entre lui et elle, c’est leur moyen de communication.’ 14 Original

104   François-Xavier de Vaujany In a very processual way,16 the late Merleau-​Ponty transforms consciousness into a (beautiful) epiphenomenon and gives up any traditional philosophy of consciousness (Bonan, 2010: 71; Revel, 2015; de Vaujany, 2021). One of the turning points is the concept of institution, which features both a state (instituted) and a process (instituting) happening in the realm of signs and their differences. Thus, ‘institutions include not only events with major consequences but also matrix movements, those opening a historical field with their own unity. Institutions make possible a series of events, a historicity—​an eventfulness of principle’17 (Merleau-​Ponty, 1995: 24). In the abstract of his lectures at the Collège de France, Merleau-​Ponty more precisely defines an institution as follows: These events, in an experience that endows the experience with durable dimensions, in relation to which a whole series of other experiences will make sense, will form a thinkable sequel or history—​or again the events that deposit a sense in me, not just something surviving or a residue but a call to follow, the demand of a future. (p. 3)

As with any event, an institution simultaneously has singularity, facticity, fecundity, and anonymity (Terzi, 2017: 8). Each event is unique (singular) in the world (and all the world is at stake in a single event); each event is productive, it makes, and it happens (facticity); each event calls for a future; each event becomes and is differential (fecundity); and each event is primarily an activity or a set of activities, making subjects secondary in the process (anonymity). Interestingly, an institution also fosters non-​events (for the inside of the process of sense-​making involved in collective activity) or prevents the occurrence of some events. It frames the world, opens some possibilities in its processes, and hinders others. Terzi (2017: 11) explains that an institution ‘includes mainly sedimentation and the forgetting of the event, its crystallization in the institution as a result, in the sense of what has been instituted and occults its original happening, functioning at the same time as what protects from the occurrence of new events’. An institution is thus both a creative (it calls for something, opens, and reconfigures) and conservative (it hinders, puts aside, and focuses) process. But beyond (and before) the productive differences between the signification done and the signification in the making (continuously reopening it), Nature (written with a capital letter by Merleau-​Ponty) becomes. This is the passage of time described by Whitehead (Merleau-​Ponty, 2003). Signs themselves, as self-​creations, in

16 Process

philosophy is obviously a source of inspiration for Merleau-​Ponty—​in his continuous (more or less visible) conversation with Bergson (as decisive as his conversation with Sartre), his reading of Wahl ([1932] 2004), and his use of Whitehead’s ([1920] 2013, [1929] 2010) thought in the lecture about Nature (see Merleau-​Ponty, 1995). For readers interested in these issues, I advise Vanzago (2008) or the great book by Hamrick & Van der Veken (2012). 17 Original quote in French: “non seulement des événements de grande conséquence, mais [les] événements matrices, ouvrant un champ historique qui a unité. L’institution est ce qui rend possible une série d’événements, une historicité: une événementialité de principe.”

Phenomenology to Metaphysics of History    105 their co-​presence and relative absence, in their productive differences, as in between ontogenesis, primarily co-​produce the world instituting and instituted by processes and can play with and generate beyond any intent or projection. The continuous reopening of the world primarily starts from nothing; or, rather, it is never inscribed in a predefined line linking the future to past events. Lived events continuously configure and reconfigure the lines at stake in experience. In his lecture about Nature, Merleau-​Ponty (1995) thus opens another interesting window to understanding the issue of temporality—​the experience of a melody. The thesis defended at this stage is very close to his argument about institution. Beyond his use of reversibility as a spatial process, he defends a more temporal vision of our experience of the world. For him, when one hears the first note of a melody, the last one is already there, part of the flow, the pace, the impulse, and the meaning of the lived melody (see Merleau-​Ponty, 1995: 228 in the section titled ‘The philosophical interpretation of the notion of Umwelt by Uexküll’). Likewise, when the last note appears, the first one is there. This also applies to the notes in the middle in their relationships with the other notes. Temporality then appears as a temporal arc, a temporal reversibility, a process always stretched by a memory and by anticipation, a past and a future. Our shared present and all events within it are experientially temporal arcs interwoven with one another, prehending one another. In our open lives, we are always in the between of numerous shared memories that enable collective activity and serve as the temporal bases of our opening to the world. As continuous movements, the melodies of the world make it possible to act upon the world. Institution is thus a temporal process of organizing (very important for the field of Management and Organization Studies (MOS); see de Vaujany & Aroles, 2019) that happens in and from the chaos of the world. Institution is not only the temporal structure of events (past, present, and future) in which any activity can occur and become meaningful, but it is also the very process of becoming of this temporal structure, it’s a continuous reconfiguration. An institution is continuously amended. Activity repeats it, opens it, and transforms it in the same movement. The discontinuities of collective activities need the continuities of institutions, and the continuities of institutions need the discontinuities of activities stemming from them. Related to his departure from a phenomenology of (intentional) consciousness,18 Merleau-​Ponty sheds light on a key tenet of his new indirect ontology—​the distinction between institution and constitution. He states, Constituting [ . . . ] is almost the opposite of instituting: instituted has a meaning without me; constituted has a meaning only for me and for the me of that instant. Constitution means a continued institution, i.e., never finished. The instituted strives

18 He

therefore criticizes Husserl for his long hesitation before moving beyond an intentional, constitutive view of consciousness (see Chapter 2 about Husserl in Part I).

106   François-Xavier de Vaujany for its future, has its future, its temporality, while the constituted inherits all from me that constitutes (the body, the clock).19 (Merleau-​Ponty, 2003: 46)

Indeed, consciousness is absent from the pre-​reflexive world of institutions. Subjectivity is a (possible) consequence of this process; it needs this world that is already there to happen. Subjectivation involves institution and institutionalization, as much as activity involves passivity. Subjectivation is interwoven with objectivation. Likewise, institution requires subjectivation and the continuous process of happening and novelty in and of the world20 that will be cultivated and expanded by subjective work not only in but also beyond what is instituted in the present. In this direction, Merleau-​Ponty opens a way for both flesh and materiality. He explains during his lecture about institution and passivity that The manner in which the measuring resists time reveals that time is included in its own substance and is not only something that participates. It is the piece of sugar that makes me wait; I thus need to put in it a duration (see Bergson in his work about immediate data of consciousness).21 (Merleau-​Ponty, 2003: 44)

The event of my waiting is part of a broader event in which the sugar is in a process of becoming, which is reality itself. The ontological duration of the sugar melting settles the duration of my consciousness that possibly conceives it. And, here, the sugar is not an institution, or if it is one, it is the most general institution of the world—​time itself. As a primary unstructured set of events, time keeps calling for a future. It is fundamentally a novelty calling for novelty. Here, we find a view very close to process philosophy, particularly that of Bergson ([1896] 2012); Alexander (1920); and Whitehead ([1929] 2010).22 It is notably with the lectures at the Collège de France (e.g. his lessons about institution and passivity or Nature) that Merleau-​Ponty has gradually elaborated his indirect ontology. In the writings of the French philosopher, institutions are increasingly linked to the locus of our passivities. A passivity is a set of perceptions that we no longer question. We


Original quote in French: “Constituer ( . . . ) est presque le contraire d’instituer: l’institué a sens sans moi, le constitué n’a de sens que pour moi et pour le moi de cet instant. Constitution [signifie] institution continuée (i.e., jamais faite). L’institué enjambe son avenir, a son avenir, sa temporalité, le constitué tient tout de moi qui constitue (le corps, l’horloge).” 20  Following this argument, the work of Merleau-​Ponty clearly becomes a ‘metaphysics of history’. 21  Original quote in French: ‘La manière dont le mesurant s’accroche au temps, lui résiste, indique que le temps est inclu dans sa substance même, et non pas seulement participé: c’est le morceau de sucre qui me fait attendre, il faut donc que je mette en lui une durée (Bergson d’après les données).’ 22  A central reference in Merleau-​Ponty’s (1995: 153–​68) lectures about Nature; see his c ­ hapter 3 in part II, ‘L’idée de Nature chez Whitehead’.

Phenomenology to Metaphysics of History    107 act upon the world transparently. Interestingly, Merleau-​Ponty defends the chiasmatic relationship between activity and passivity. Our most extreme passivity (e.g. sleeping) is always active. Dreams epitomize this oneiric world, which is part of the flow still inside us. At some point, we wake up, suggesting a potentiality that is still inside us to come back to an awakened relationship with our world. The same applies to our activities. Being active involves putting aside many perceptions, both effective and potential. While I typed this text, my perceptions could be multicentred. I could pay attention to the sound of the water in the bathroom close to me. I could notice the birds singing outside or the quick movements of a child skating on the street. I could even take care of my own breath. But the flow itself of my activities generates some focus, and my passivities are, in a way, active capabilities. This complex ecology of perceptions and non-​perceptions, as events inhabiting my field of presence, is also the subject of a learning process. Of course, institutions are far beyond immediate perception. Institutions rely on numerous mediations, such as buildings, narratives, cultural artefacts, and Nature itself. This vast process of ordering from the inside of experience is also largely and reversibly outside of it, an immanent negativity calling for something, continuously inviting a directional future. The Google search engine, Google News, and Google Hangouts serialize, narrate, and eventalize our experiences of the world. We are inhabited and used by Google as much as we use it. We have, for instance, a Google-​like relationship with knowledge. We do not learn information, but we memorize the shortcuts and series of acts we use on Google to find an interesting page for a report asked by our boss. We do not devote a specific time-​space to learning (e.g. by reading at night by the fireplace at home), but we develop impulsive and consumerist relationships with short pieces of information continuously reassembled. This is beyond any use of technology and its electronic presence. Even when we do not use Google, even when it is not under our fingers, it is now part of our relationship with the world as something that can become immediately compatible with our other mediations with the world that are all Googlized. In his other lecture at the Collège de France about Nature, Merleau-​Ponty (1995) elaborates further, and perhaps more explicitly and systematically, the general content of his indirect ontology. He defines Nature as the soil (ground) bearing us. Nature is much more than trees, rivers, birds, winds, and storms, or what some people see as natural elements. For Merleau-​Ponty (in continuation with Schelling, [1799] 2000;23 Dewey, [1998]1925; or Whitehead, [1920] 2013, [1929] 2010; and before Descola, 2005; Latour, 2017a and b; Arènes, Latour, & Gaillardet, 2018), Nature and culture are largely reversible. Life itself is a complexification process, an extension that continuously interweaves things. Ultimately, Nature is the creative process of experience or what sustains it. At some point, the soil can collapse under our feet (e.g. during the COVID-​19 pandemic, which we are currently experiencing). This strong, embodied experience is a way of

23 Discussions

of a naturphilosophie are obviously the starting point of this ontological and metaphysical discussion of continental philosophy (see Hamrick & Van der Veken, 2013).

108   François-Xavier de Vaujany touching this invisible presence that is at the heart of our presence and co-​presence in the world—​Nature. This presence has depth and verticality (also a common point with contemporary debates about the Anthropocene and Latour’s view of Gaia). In the context of his lectures at the Collège de France, Merleau-​Ponty returns to process as conceptualized by Alfred North Whitehead. This is probably not his first encounter with the process philosopher. In the late 1930s, Merleau-​Ponty read the famous book by Jean Wahl ([1932] 2004), Vers le concret. This opus introduced the thought of William James, Alfred North Whitehead, and Gabriel Marcel to the French-​ speaking world. For Merleau-​Ponty, this was his first exposure to process philosophy. Interestingly, the view of institutions as events ordering other events interpenetrating one another is also, in a way, processual. But it is clear from the lecture about Nature that the presence of process philosophy in Merleau-​Ponty’s thought, particularly his new ontology, is becoming visible.24 Nature does not appear here as a set of plugged space-​ times, a set of locations in space. It is a complex set of events that prehend one another. Events just happen. For Whitehead ([1920] 2013, [1929] 2010), they are not structured by pre-​existing and causal materialities. Events ingress materiality. Materiality is event based. The force of materiality, its textures, and its agentivity are in the very happening and becoming of the event. In the context of this cosmology, Nature appears tattered (‘en lambeaux’), always in the process of the becoming of the myriad events inhabiting the past, the present, and the future of a fragile common world (Hamrick & Van der Veken, 2013). Merleau-​Ponty (1995) discusses in his lecture not only various kinds of simple and complex organisms but also automata and new automata (i.e. cybernetics) increasingly interwoven (since the Age of Enlightenment) with our naturalities. He warns the audience about what he sees as a potential drift in and manipulation of our experience and our passivities involved in it. Cybernetics automata simulate life; they do not live. They do not share our sensible experiences of the world. In a way, subjectivity is pre-​assigned here (it should be a work, an effort, a duration25). He also returns to this issue in his book The Eye and the Mind. Is he afraid of the possible presence of manipulative automata wrapped into our sense of togetherness? Is the main difference between life and simulation that of a subjectivation likely to take part in hyper-​dialectic resistance? Is he afraid of a possible lack of balance and generativity between passivity (more and more located in simulation) and activity (more and more dreamed in life)? Is he criticizing 24  Another

chapter of our edited book returns to this fascinating intersection (see Chapter 23 by Andrew Kirkpatrick in Part III). 25  Zoom meetings epitomize this trend. We have an ‘I’ on Zoom that is not (yet) our subjectivity but looks like it, and that makes it tempting to stop here. When we join a meeting, we immediately reach a box, with our name (possibly) appearing below. But we did not make any effort to be there. With Zoom, our face is at the centre of the world (as with most software, locating us as the centre of the screen or in a privileged part of it). Our ‘I’ is pre-​assigned. To gain and develop our subjectivity, we need to play with the software, explore its settings, understand its inviable hypothesis, and express ourselves beyond the place and space pre-​assigned. From this material that is already in place and with a history, we may set up and expand our subjectivity.

Phenomenology to Metaphysics of History    109 the invisible automata produced (invisibly) by our experience of the world, placing us in disembodied relationships with the world? Maybe. These criticisms are largely extended a couple of decades later by Hayles (1999) in her description of how we became posthuman. Posthumanism appears here as much more than an episteme or a neutral techne. It becomes an ontogenesis, the primary ontogenesis of our world. For Merleau-​Ponty, in its process of becoming, Nature obviously has always been interwoven with various cultural artefacts, materialities, and techniques. Nonetheless, Merleau-​Ponty suggests a major shift occurring in the 20th century or something happening at an unprecedented scale. Something is now likely to simulate sensibility itself—​the mode of responsiveness to our world—​and to pre-​assign the ‘I’. This process of simulation, which is not fully new, does not appear as such phenomenologically. Obviously, Merleau-​Ponty does not think here about beings such as robots or animals (although he mentions Werner’s turtles). He explores something less obtrusive, much more discrete, something so wrapped in our activities that he seems to dread as a new ontogenesis. His book The Visible and the Invisible was expected to be his masterpiece, his opportunity to assemble and make his new ontology more explicit. What remains of this attempt are drafts of the manuscript (150 pages at an early stage of writing) and his working notes about it. This sketch of his ontological project gives us ideas of what he was hankering for. On the way to his indirect ontology, Merleau-​Ponty repeats and extends the core chiasms at the heart of his thought: passivity-​activity, continuity-​discontinuity, sense-​ non-​sense, and visibility-​invisibility. Each is the reverse of the other but is more than its opposite. In the process of becoming, they make the other possible. Passivity makes an activity possible, and an activity requires a form of passivity. The continuity of our becoming (beyond a continuous state of death or life as a succession of state) requires discontinuities, and discontinuity is only possible with continuities inside of it, making sense of and enabling it. Sense requires numerous passivities producing non-​sense in the scope of our perceptions, whereas non-​sense is often the driver of sense-​giving, which is part of the embodied directionality at stake in it. As I already stressed before, visibility requires numerous moments of invisibility to reach the focus that will make things visible for ourselves. All the chiasms probably contribute to the indirect experience of the world. The passive, invisible, non-​sense, and continuous side of our experience nurtures the active, visible, meaningful, and discontinuous dimensions of it. All our world becomes chiasmatic in the process of becoming. Why did he label his new philosophy as an indirect ontology? This is probably because there is no longer perception or consciousness in this new world. Everything is a question of (indirect and decentred) mediations, producing the world and sensing it (or not) in the flow of everyday activities. Humans are no longer the centre of a perceptive universe.26 Everything happens pre-​reflexively and pre-​subjectively. Subjects


Except if they are pre-​assigned a central location (see previous comments about digitality).

110   François-Xavier de Vaujany are themselves the production of all events. Interestingly, mediation is not a thing. It is much more an extension—​something happening that is likely to generate what will become subjects and objects. It is the distance that happens between things and making them occur. The metaphysics of history elaborated by Merleau-​Ponty from the mid-​1950s helped him articulate his new ontology in the context of a more general metaphysics. This move (which I started to depict with the concept of institution) needs to be seen as his will to renew the status of philosophy itself. For Merleau-​Ponty, philosophy is a thought that could neither be kept outside or above society, nor located in an overhanging position with the social sciences. As a political exercise, philosophy had to stem from ordinariness practices, lived problems, and everyday conversations. Instead of a separation or a discontinuous conversation, Merleau-​Ponty expects a philosophy from within. This view, in direct continuation with his ontology, has resulted in his metaphysical approach to history and temporality, which I will now detail.

5.3  Towards a New Metaphysics of History: Merleau-​Ponty Opening the Way for the Late Foucault The indirect ontology of Merleau-​Ponty is increasingly linked to a systematic project developed in several writings of the philosopher—​the building of a metaphysics of history27 (Revel, 2015; Terzi, 2017; de Vaujany, 2021). This project is that of a ‘wild history’ (histoire sauvage). The French philosopher has always looked for conversations with social scientists (Bonan, 2010; Vibert, 2018). He believed in a philosophy from the inside of each field (another common point with Foucault). With his metaphysics of history, he wanted to contribute to the renewal of the field of history from within. From 1953 onwards, Merleau-​Ponty sought to depart from purely causalist, teleological, and dualist views of history. He wanted to avoid two extreme situations: a mechanist (linear) history that would link a set of events from an ordinary point to its successive consequences towards a final event, and an insular history that would be made only of isolated events stuck into local, instantaneous, and purely subjective eventfulness. His wild historiography aims to overcome this polarization. In this direction, and more than two decades before Foucault (Revel, 2015; de Vaujany, 2021), he paved the way for a new historiography. The continuous genesis at stake in historical experience needs to be understood as given and transformative, structured and opening. Merleau-​Ponty (2003: 178–​9) explains,

27 This

notion appears in the summary of his lecture about institution and passivity (Merleau-​ Ponty, 2003).

Phenomenology to Metaphysics of History    111 Here, too, genesis has a double meaning: something given to us and also the move from us to the given [ . . . ] Or rather, not two opposite movements but what is given at their intersection, the articulation of one upon another perspective. The truth of the past that needs to be conceived neither by itself as if I flied it over, nor for my present only [ . . . ] the truth as what judges and the past lived by men of the past and my venture, but as their belonging to a single history.

Thus, we need to ‘wake up the wild history (beyond the objective history, which does not care about consciousness and is beyond history as an appendix of my personal history)’28 (pp. 178–​9). This new historiography corresponds to a more political Merleau-​ Ponty—​ the Merleau-​Ponty involved in a radical controversy with Sartre in 1953 on the topics of events and the modes of reactions to ongoing events (Revel, 2015). This second (ontological and metaphysical) Merleau-​Ponty is probably more explicitly political than the first one was.29 This presence (and the controversy with Sartre) is obvious in his book Adventures of the Dialectic, published in 1955 (Bonan, 2010; Revel, 2015; Vibert, 2018). It mainly focuses on history as already present (the determination of history) and history as opening (the becoming of history, its creative and reconfigurative nature). Freedom and agentivity are at the heart of the discussion. In the book, Merleau-​Ponty continues the discussion he started in his first period in the Phenomenology of Perception.30 In 1945, he explained, Birth means both to be born in the world and to come to the world. The world is always already constituted but also never fully constituted.31 Under the first relationship, we are called; under the second, we are open to an infinity of possibilities [ . . . ]. 28 

Original quote in French: ‘Ici aussi la genèse a un double sens: du donné à nous, et aussi de nous au donné [ . . . ] Ou plutôt, non pas deux mouvements contraires [ . . . ] ce qui est donné c’est leur croisement, l’articulation l’une sur l’autre des perspectives. La “vérité” du passé [à concevoir] ni en soi comme si je le survolais, ni pour mon présent seulement [ . . . ] la vérité, comme ce qui juge et le passé vécu par les hommes du passé et mon entreprise: comme leur appartenance à une seule histoire. Donc réveiller l’histoire sauvage (par-​delà l’histoire “objective,” qui ne s’occupe pas des consciences, et par-​delà l’histoire comme appendice de mon aventure personnelle).’ 29  Nonetheless, politics was not absent from his first writings. For me, the most profound chapter of Phenomenology of Perception is that about freedom. 30   For this section, I will rely heavily on the insightful and original thesis of Revel (2015). She stresses the renewal in the thought of the second Merleau-​Ponty and how close this renewal is to the thought of Foucault about history and subjectivity (emerging more than twenty years later). Nonetheless (and I want to stress it with the next quote), I do not share her vision of a radical discontinuity between the first and the second Merleau-​Ponty, which she defended. Many aspects of the political thought of Merleau-​Ponty already appeared in his first writings before his lectures at the Collège de France and the final unfinished book, The Visible and the Invisible. The ontological project of Merleau-​Ponty can also be seen as a way to radicalize and deepen his seminal vision of perception and experience, as well as to set up a bifurcation and reconfiguration in the phenomenological project itself (resulting in a post-​phenomenology). 31  But I notice here the important use of the notion of constitution. Ten years later, Merleau-​Ponty will take some distance from it and will position it compared with the notion of institution.

112   François-Xavier de Vaujany We exist under the two relationships. Thus, there is never an absolute choice; never am I a thing, and never am I a naked consciousness.32 (Merleau-​Ponty, 1945: 517)

In these seminal writings, Merleau-​Ponty insisted on the dangers of a philosophy outside politics (p. 521). Let us move to a couple of years later. In the last stage of his thought (the building of his ethics), Foucault (1984a) distinguished between the present and actuality. If the present is the frame, the shared temporality of the ongoing activities of the same world—​actuality—​is what keeps opening and reopening the present. Foucault invites us to explore attitudes instead of historical periods (i.e. ‘modes of relationships with actuality’, ‘a voluntary choice made by some’, and also a ‘manner to think and feel, to act and to conduct, which indicates belonging and shows itself as a task’33 (p. 568). This relationship is part of what the Greeks call an ethos. What mattered to Foucault was the idea of a difference, a possible discontinuity within the present, inside of it, and from it. From the inside of history, experimentation is continuous. This process keeps (re) inventing subjectivity and new ways of living (modes de vie) (Revel, 2015: 51). After the archeological and genealogical phases, the ethical Foucault of the late 1970s and 1980s thus explored modes of subjectivation and truth plays or truth regimes as wrapped within historical movement. Subjectivity is not the teleology of history. By contrast, subjectivity and freedom are qualities of history and historical events themselves. There are no ahistorical subjects. Each subject lives in a present, prefiguring them. Subjectivity becomes a process here. Subjective work needs to expand a subjective space. Subjectivity requires courage, determination, and will. More than an intent (which, in a way, does not allow any thickness and processuality for subjectivity), Foucault emphasizes that a subjectivation interwoven with objectivation (e.g. of dispositifs) and regimes of truth at stake is a shared present. A couple of decades later, Hartmut Rosa showed the radical importance of the process of subjectivation and its event. The German sociologist described the world we live in as missing ‘resonance’ (Rosa, 2019).34 For him, our contemporary experience is becoming a non-​resonating world close to depression. The past and the future no longer stretch our relationships with the world. Lived Nature has no depth anymore. It is not resonant. Flesh is drying up, and intereventfulness as an experience is vanishing. Everything 32  Original

quote in French: “Naître, c’est à la fois naître du monde et naître au monde. Le monde est déjà constitué, mais aussi jamais complètement constitué. Sous le premier rapport, nous sommes sollicités, sous le second nous sommes ouverts à une infinité de possibilité. ( . . . ) Nous existons sous les deux rapports à la fois. Il n’y a donc jamais choix absolu, jamais je ne suis chose et jamais conscience nue.” 33  Original quote in French: “Sur la modernité, en me référant au texte de Kant, je me demande si on ne peut pas envisager la modernité plutôt comme une attitude que comme une période de l’histoire. Par attitude, je veux dire un mode de relation à l’égard de l’actualité: un choix volontaire qui est fait par certains; enfin, une manière de penser et de sentir, une manière aussi d’agir et de se conduire qui, tout à la fois, marque une appartenance et se présente comme une tâche.” 34  A book relying deeply on the work of Maurice Merleau-​Ponty.

Phenomenology to Metaphysics of History    113 becomes a pure event prehending all the world. And more and more, remote pasts and distant futures are disconnected from the numerous and evanescent melodies expressed in our common worlds. Today, productive differences between signs do not result in empathic subjects. This is perhaps what is happening in our digital world. We all have a pre-​assigned ‘I’ at the centre of a screen. We all live in the world of decentred ‘I’s desperately in search of collaboration. The ‘we’, as a possibility of events, is pushed to the periphery of experience. And digital institutions keep ordering an invisible solid space, the new digital cage of our pre-​assigned subjectivities. After 1976, this processual and historical view of history departs gradually from that of Deleuze. For Foucault, subjectivation as the ‘process through which men and women, from the within of the mesh of history, invent and reinvent themselves is a twofold process of critique and inauguration’ (Rosa, 2019: 73). Without this process of subjectivation, no resistance and no freedom would be possible for Foucault. It is from the within of this history—​from the inside of the materiality of relationships and dispositives, institutions and epistemic configurations, of the bodies and ways of living—​that the shift of the lines, the folding of all that is given as a historical ‘already here’, the torsion of determination, takes the name of ethics. (Revel, 2015: 73)

Beyond logos, life itself (the bios), with its full materiality and processuality, is the process of differences as the pure power of affirmation (Foucault, 1984). Indeed, ‘where identity never ceases to reabsorb what diverges from it, oppositely, life never ceases to set differences’ (Revel, 2015: 74). Foucault invites us to explore a history of differences (and not a history of identity) within its unitary frame to grasp the production or invention that is at stake in history. By contrast, Deleuze (1985) emphasizes primarily the pre-​subjective or asubjective world of images. Their event, relative speed, intensity, and duration, the world they fold and unfold, are at the heart of Deleuzian metaphysics. Sense is the very process of the images themselves. Subjectivities can happen in the folds of iconography, but they are not the primary concern of Deleuze. Ontologically, resistance, and counterpowers make sense for Deleuze. In a way, Deleuzian metaphysics goes beyond (or before) subjectivation and objectification processes.35 Very surprisingly, the metaphysics of history elaborated by Merleau-​Ponty and his political views are very close to those of the late Foucault (twenty years earlier than the well-​known thesis of Foucault about history and subjectivation).36 But obviously, this ‘political thought of Merleau-​Ponty has never received the attention it deserves’ (Revel, 2015: 113). 35 

This move away from subjectivity is very Bergsonian (see Deleuze, 1966). And, surprisingly, this view of signs as ontologically producing meaning through differences is also very Deleuzian. But the lines followed by Merleau-​Ponty go until they meet possible subjectivations. 36 

114   François-Xavier de Vaujany For Merleau-​Ponty (1964, 2003), political activity can be defined as a ‘productive difference, i.e. a creative matrix’ (Revel, 2015: 114). This reading enables a new interpretation of Marx, which is more aligned with the vision of history as a bifurcation, a non-​teleological process, as it appears in his early philosophical writings. The dialectical vision of the Marx of that time (the 1950s), defended by Sartre, is opposed by Merleau-​ Ponty using a hyper-​dialectical approach and a vision of history focused on different historical presents and their subjectivation processes. As highlighted by Revel (2015), the controversy between Merleau-​Ponty and Sartre in 195337 particularly makes visible this opposition and the exploration of what will appear later as major Foucauldian topics: historicity (of the presents), freedom (at stake in the opening of the present), and their relationships of determination and productive differences. For Merleau-​Ponty, the concept of expression is absolutely central. He offers a thought of invention and inauguration, played in the mesh of what is already here. Expression is an outside reconfiguring the inside, a process of creating and staring in the same movement. The existing determinations of history, their inflections, their weight, and the ‘materiality of its already being there’ involve the ‘possibility of a prose, of an opening, of an invention of the world’ (Revel, 2015: 123). Interestingly, Merleau-​Ponty uses notions such as actuality and present with different meanings than those given later by Foucault (see Revel, 2015) but with exactly the same implications for his wider analysis. For Merleau-​Ponty, actuality is ‘a relationship of excessive proximity with what happens, a non-​problematized report of facts, a kind of “journalism” blinded by the continuous flow of information as delivered daily, whereas the present implies a critical distance enabling both a diagnosis and a letting go’ (Revel, 2015: 148). Instead of the continuous engagement of Sartre, Merleau-​Ponty ([1955] 2000, 2001) invites us to a discontinuous engagement and to a deep exploration of the present revealed in actuality (Merleau-​Ponty, 2000: 148). Understanding events, developing what Merleau-​Ponty (2003: 3) calls an eventfulness of principle, means exploring the being inside the becoming and understanding the ‘accumulation of things already done’, with this historicity giving a possibility and consistency with the historical process. Likewise, ‘each event cannot but ( . . . ) reopen

37  The key aspects of this controversy are about the relationship between historical events and intellectual engagements (see Bonan, 2010: 91; Revel, 2015; Vibert, 2018: 157). Sartre defends the idea that silence is a betrayal. An intellectual needs to continuously react upon actuality. By itself, non-​reaction can be problematic. Sartre defends a vision of intellectuals both as embodiments of consciousness in the city and as necessary spokespersons for the dominated class. At the time of the controversy, he sees in history a predefined dialectics and a predefined set of problems (this is due to his interpretation of Marxist thought). By contrast, Merleau-​Ponty defends a more distanced relationship with actuality. Intellectuals should always be in the in-​betweenness of actuality and the present time; they should explore the opening of history (see Merleau-​Ponty, 2001). Engagement is an active construction and experimentation from the inside of the present. It should always take place from the within of history (not a predefined set of values and problems). I see in this position something very close to a pragmatic view.

Phenomenology to Metaphysics of History    115 the history in which it is situated’ (Revel, 2015: 150). As a singular new point of departure, the possible locus of a new balance of forces, of a new causal line, of new political consequences, each event potentially questions the whole history as a present that configures past and future events. History is the becoming of events in the present, their possible ruptures and reconfigurations. Merleau-​Ponty thus stresses both the extraordinary fragility and the power of any event. All the things happening in the universe can be or become nothing or be or become everything.38 As he rejects any teleological view of history, Merleau-​Ponty gives deep value to the present, the consequence of a history already done. But the present is also inscribed into a larger dimension. Something is bigger than the present in the present. This prose or prosaic mesh or frame is a repetition, an accumulation, the verticality of historical processes kept in the present. But different presents (past or future) can inhabit historical processes. Each new present reconfigures the layers, the verticalization of memory and perception inside the lived experience. It is also continuously (re)opened to ‘possible differences’ (Revel, 2015: 155) exactly as any linguistic process. Very surprisingly, Merleau-​Ponty ([1955] 2000, 1964, 2001) uses his reflection about linguistics, language, and speech39 to elaborate his more general metaphysics of history. His reading of historical processes is based on the ideas of Saussure (Revel, 2015; Terzi, 2017). For Saussure, the differences among signs, their in-​betweenness, and what they lack in their (joint) occurrence produce meaning. Thus, differences are productive. Indeed, only differences are productive. Isolated signs or a mere sum of signs never produces meaning by itself. The whole process of meaning is differential. In the context of a structured, shared set of signs, a continuous process of opening keeps feeding signs and their in-​betweenness for Merleau-​Ponty (Revel, 2015: 164–​5). Saussure stresses a paradox: ‘a relationship exists because the elements its puts into contact will never be reducible to one another; conversely, the heterogeneity of each element is recognizable only because it has been measured one day in comparison to the other ones’40 (p. 165). As a meaningful process, history is also a more general differential process. Only the in-​between of past, present, and future events, put into relationship with the broader prose of the present, produces meaning. From within, the history of a society is always produced according to this model of production. Importantly, this differential process is always an opening, an inauguration for the whole set of signs accumulated both memorially and materially. ‘History already done’ (l’histoire déjà faite) and ‘history in the making’ (l’histoire se faisant) are part of the same chiasms; they are two facets of the same historical process. 38  This

theorization is influenced by subtle interpretations of Machiavel (Revel, 2015; Vibert, 2018). There is a complex logic at stake in conflicts (not only in the strategies or interests of actors but also in the strategic flows and forces in conflicts themselves). 39  And as fields of applications, literature, and arts. 40  Original quote in French: ‘ce qui s’impose avec les théorisations saussuriennes, c’est bien cette vérité en forme de paradoxe: un rapport n’existe que parce que les éléments qu’il met en contact ne seront jamais réductibles l’un à l’autre; et inversement, l’hétérogénéité de chacun des éléments n’est reconnaissable que parce qu’elle s’est un jour mesuré à celle de l’autre.’

116   François-Xavier de Vaujany In the thickness of this chiasm, subjectivation can occur to explore the interlacing of history. Freedom, responsibility, and political agency are then possible in the mesh of this complex process. Radical novelty and bifurcation are always possible but within and from the edge of our determinations.41 Events do not actualize the potentialities or possibilities of history. They modify and support history as much as they are carried by it. Thus, ‘determinations produce configurations in which events are necessarily inscribed; conversely, events—​as processes opening these determinations to what they do not already include—​move them and modify their constituted balance. In sum, difference is produced by history; in turn, it modifies history itself ’42 (Revel, 2015: 183; see also Terzi, 2017). To think of this process of coming and going, Merleau-​Ponty suggests the concept of in between43 (‘milieu’). We never escape history; we are always in between historical processes, in between events as part of a broader institution connecting them, a creative matrix that is by itself the power of history. This milieu is a constitutive relationship, the chiasm that characterizes us. As I already mentioned, Foucault ([1982] 2001, 1984a) was very close to this view. In his book The Subject and Power, Foucault (1984a) evokes the necessity to conceptualize agonism (instead of antagonism) between the two interrelated terms of history. Thus, Foucault ([1982] 2001: 183) explains that agonism means ‘a relationship that is both a reciprocal incitation and a struggle, which is less of a term-​to-​term opposition in which one is blocked, rather than a permanent provocation’.44 No activity escapes history, but at the same time, only people’s activities build history by continuously opening and inaugurating it (Revel, 2015). Thus, for Merleau-​Ponty ([1955] 2000, 1961, 2001), what prevents ‘the compossibility of history and event (or that of power and freedom) from being simply a state of balance between two opposite terms is the dimension of inauguration, of creation and production, as said a couple of years later by Foucault’ (Revel, 2015: 186). This corresponds to the specific vision of negativity in Merleau-​Ponty’s thought, something that always produces a difference ahead of itself. An ontology is the ‘recording of this power to intervene from the inside itself of the historical world already installed’ (p. 187). Institution, both as a 41 

I wonder if a reexploration of Marx’s (1841) PhD dissertation, particularly his chapters about time and meteors, could be interesting to analyse further the link with Marxist thought (and its forgetting) about history, accidents, and revolutions. 42 Original quote in French: “Les déterminations produisent des configurations dans lesquelles s’inscrivent nécessairement les évènements; inversement, les événements, en ce qu’ils ouvrent ces déterminations à ce qu’elles ne comprennent pas déjà, les déplacent et en modifient l’équilibre constitué. En somme, la différence est produite par l’histoire; en retour, elle modifie l’histoire elle-​même.” 43  Translating the concept of milieu in English is difficult. ‘Environment’ is not really an adequate translation. Milieu is much more the texture of the present into which differentiation can occur, the connected momentum towards differentiation. During the same decade of Merleau-​Ponty’s lecture at the Collège de France and the elaboration of his indirect ontology, Simondon ([1958] 2012) also extensively relies on this notion (see Guchet, 2001, about the relationship between the thought of Merleau-​Ponty and that of Simondon). 44  Original quote in French: ‘Plutôt que d’un “antagonisme” essentiel, il faudrait mieux parler d’un “agonisme”—​d’un rapport qui est à la fois incitation réciproque et de lutte; moins d’une opposition terme à terme qui les bloque l’un en face de l’autre que d’une provocation permanente.’

Phenomenology to Metaphysics of History    117 process and a state, epitomizes this ontological move. Instituting processes happen only from the inside of an institution itself, with the correspondence of events being wrapped into the experience. Events continuously repeat and reconfigure institutions. They establish new lines projected on the past and open new perspectives for the future. They open new possible configurations of past, present, and future (expected) events. This metaphysics of history appears clearly in Adventures of Dialectics (Merleau-​ Ponty, 2003). In this book, Merleau-​Ponty explains that history is not teleological. It does not lead to something, to an expected state. It never results in a synthesis closing or ending history (as suggested by some interpretations of Marx). Merleau-​Ponty explains that ‘History is a multiple-​entry system’ (p. 35). Thus, ‘dialectic always gives itself [ . . . ] a global cohesion, which is primordial, of a field of experience in which all elements open themselves to the other’ (pp. 281–​2). History is about openness and not at all about achievement, actualization, teleology, suspension, interruption, or closure. The very idea of a revolution is redefined by Merleau-​Ponty. From the inside of a history already done, a revolution corresponds to the bifurcation and experimentation of history. The continuity of discontinuities, as an opening, inaugural process, is the very movement of history. Indeed, dialectics need to be fully rethought from this conceptual move. Thus, Merleau-​Ponty ([1955] 2000: 147) makes a distinction between good and bad dialectics. If bad dialectic ‘solves its own becoming in a synthesis’, good dialectic ‘maintains an openness in the movement and lets its ambiguity persist’ (p. 147). There is no overcoming of conflicts. Events and differences between them just stack and take part in a vertical history (see also the concept of hyper-​dialectic in Merleau-​Ponty’s 1964 final and unfinished manuscript). In short, the metaphysics of history elaborated by Merleau-​Ponty opens the way to a complex process of subjectivation, which is also primarily and paradoxically a process of objectivation. History matters. The being of history matters. History as expressed, materialized, and stratified continuously gives a surface to the process of opening, which is at the heart of our possible freedom. Merleau-​Ponty (and, after him, the ethical Foucault) thus invites us to a ‘history of problems and not doctrines, a history of thought in the making and of weaving ceaselessly, from the stacking of its already formulated interrogations and the conditions of the possibility of a new interrogation’ (Revel, 2015: 214). Beyond the history of solutions, the late Merleau-​Ponty invites us to explore the history of problems, the event of the problems, and their instituting and instituted facets.

5.4  The Opportunity of Merleau-​Ponty for MOS: Experience, Institution and Openess In the context of MOS, the work of Merleau-​Ponty is already well-​known, in particular the first Merleau-​Ponty. But the political thought, the aforementioned ‘metaphysics of history’, remains largely neglected and absent in top-​tier MOS journals and beyond.

118   François-Xavier de Vaujany Numerous studies have stressed the importance of Merleau-​Ponty in understanding issues of corporeality, embodiment and intercoporeity in management, managerial practices, organizations and organizing (see Slutskaya & De Cock, 2008; Küpers, 2014; Paring, Huault, & Pezé, 2017; de Vaujany & Aroles, 2019). Merleau-​Ponty is used here to explore the relationship between organizing and embodiment (Küpers, 2014). Basically, collective activity requires a common body conceptualized by the French philosopher. The first works of Merleau-​Ponty are also used to theorize experience, should it be managers’ or consumers’ experience (Yahklef, 2014). Sense-​making, in particular strategic sense-​making processes, their relationships with sense and non-​sense, have also been analysed through Merleau-​Pontian lenses (Küpers, Mantere, & Statler, 2013). Early concepts have also been used to analyse practice-​based learning (Yakhlef, 2010; Willems, 2018), organizational cognition (Gärtner, 2013), embodied narratives (Cunliffe & Coupland, 2012; Ropo & Höykinpuro, 2017), managerial ethics (Dale & Latham, 2015; Küpers, 2015), embodied generosity (Hancock, 2008), new ways of organizing (de Vaujany & Aroles, 2021), managerial control (Paring & Pezé, 2021), senses and organizing (Riach & Warren, 2015), sense of space or place in organizations and organizing (Guthey, Whiteman, & Elmes, 2014), organizational atmospheres (Thøgersen, 2014; de Vaujany et al., 2019) or knowledge management (McDermott, 1999). If MOS, as a field, is made of ‘turns’, the thought of Merleau-​Ponty (1942, 1945) has contributed to the practice turn (see Sandberg & Tsoukas, 2015), the materiality turn (see Dale & Latham, 2015), the process turn (see Letiche, 2013; Küpers, 2014, 2015, 2020; de Vaujany & Aroles, 2019, 2021), and the critical turn (see Küpers, 2017; Korchagina, 2018). The late work of Merleau-​Ponty, in particular the dimensions at stake in his major chiasms, have been used for research about ‘inter-​practices’ (Küpers, 2014) or ‘organizational memorialization’ (de Vaujany et al., 2020). But if some research draws explicitly on his indirect ontology, e.g. the concept of ‘institution’ (see de Vaujany & Aroles, 2019), I did not really identify works dealing with the political work of Merleau-​Ponty and drawing the radical implications of his thought about a ‘metaphysics of history’, implementing the concept of ‘hyper-​dialectics’, elaborating a comparative analysis of the late Merleau-​Ponty ([1955] 2000, 1995, 2003, 2001) and the ethical Foucault ([1982] 2001, 1984a) or reexploring Saussurian, Bergsonian, Whitedian, or Machiavelan themes and their role in the late metaphysical move of Merleau-​Ponty. In a world in which management and organizing are more and more central in historical processes, understanding how managers, managerial techniques, and managerial activites open (or not) history, contribute to the already here of history, are events inside the experience of new institutions, produce the world we live in, make possible or impossible freedom as an agonistic movement interwoven with managerial reporting, control, and surveillance is becoming crucial for the MOS field. The metaphysics of history, its view of a generative tension and a process (possibly opening the way to different subjectivations), could feed numerous avenues for research in MOS. It could be an interesting contribution to the debates of the growing community discussing paradoxes and dialectics in organizing processes (see Clegg, da Cunha, & e Cunha, 2002; Smith et al., 2017; de Vaujany, Leclercq-​Vandelannoitte, & Holt, 2020;

Phenomenology to Metaphysics of History    119 Berti & Simpson, 2021). The chiasm conceptualized by Merleau-​Ponty (1953, [1955] 2000, 1961, 1964) and Foucault ([1982] 2001, 1984a) could also be useful to thinking differently about organizational history. Ongoing debates about temporality and time in the context of historical MOS (see Maclean et al., 2021) could benefit from the debates stressed here, in particular institutional approaches of history. More broadly, this conceptualization move could be very interesting for processual approaches of organizizing (see, e.g., Tsoukas & Chia, 2002; Langley et al., 2013; Helin et al., 2014; Hernes, 2014) and the development of an explicit conversation between process philosophy and (post-​) phenomenologies, in particular about the topic of ‘modes of subjectivation’. The thought of the late Merleau-​Ponty about Nature (fed, e.g., by Whitehead, [1920] 2013, [1929] 2010), the conceptualization of institution, history, and events grounded in Saussurian thought (see Revel, 2015), or his Machiavelian conceptualization of politics and power, could be very useful for process studies in MOS. To conclude, I would like to give the final word to Michel Foucault. In his last interview, he stated: ‘Search for what is good and strong and beautiful in your society and elaborate from there. Push outward. Always create from what you already have. Then you will know what to do’ (Foucault, 1984b). What a great political invitation to our time . . .

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Chapter 6

Phe nomenol o g y a nd t h e M ultidim ensi ona l i t y of the B ody Erol Čopelj and Jack Reynolds

6.1  Introduction The modern era has witnessed an unprecedented growth in our empirical knowledge of the human body. The signs are that this empirical knowledge will continue to accumulate, probably at an exponential rate. Finding ourselves in a situation where the empirical sciences have more to teach us about the body than anybody could possibly fully understand in a lifetime, it makes sense to ask: why should we look towards phenomenology for further knowledge about the nature of the body? What, if anything, can phenomenology teach us about this subject that the empirical sciences cannot? To answer these questions, it is important to appreciate that, in an important sense, empirical scientific research is an extension of common sense. Taken literally, the expression ‘common sense’ designates the kind of understanding that is common to a society, civilization, or tradition. According to the common understanding of the modern, Western world, the external senses offer us the original and primordial access to the way things are. And one thing that we see and experience through the senses is the body, with which each one of us is peculiarly bound up and which enters into our very identity as human beings. This is the most obvious of all facts. The ordinary person would not think of questioning it. And while the empirical sciences tell us many unusual and complex things about the body and its material constitution, it is taken for granted that there is a body here in the midst of the world, existing amongst and in interaction with other things, and which offers the possibility of being studied by our instruments. Everything begins from there. In its approach to this subject matter, phenomenology can be said to ‘pause’ experience at this being-​there of the body. Phenomenology’s first gesture is to put into question

124    Erol Čopelj and Jack Reynolds all the conceptual strata that have been built upon this basic fact that a body appears, and thereby to allow the fact itself to surface, just as it is. In this sense, phenomenology goes against this tendency of the ordinary way of thinking and seeing, against the ‘natural attitude’. Whereas common sense and empirical science begin from the body as straightforwardly and obviously given and go on from there to think about what this thing is, what it is made up of and how it originated, phenomenology steps back from the straightforward fact in order to ask: what is the intrinsic structure of the body’s appearance? Does the body involve a unique mode of manifestation? If so, how does it differ from other forms of manifestations, such as mathematical objects and pictures, for example? Even to grasp the sense of these questions, and their difference from those asked by common sense and empirical science, is already to have understood something of what phenomenology has to teach. As well as facilitating a perspective from which it is possible to focus on the body as a phenomenon, the phenomenological approach then seeks to understand the essence of this appearance: to describe its invariant structures and in virtue of which it is distinguished from all other appearances. This involves staying with the phenomenon at all times, preventing oneself from drifting off into speculative and ungrounded thinking, and discerning the subtle and interwoven structures that constitute this essence—​which is not to say that a form of reasoning cannot assist the phenomenologists in their endeavour. This means that, as to its method, phenomenology is not involved in precisely the same game as either the metaphysics of contemporary philosophy of mind, or the empirical research involved in cognitive science. Rather, phenomenology is primarily concerned with description of essential structures, and only secondarily or implicitly with argument and explanation. Over a century has passed since Husserl wrote the Logical Investigation and thereby (unknowingly) inaugurated the phenomenological movement. As we will see below, the body was not treated as an explicit theme in the Investigations. But this work does describe certain more formal structures that are presupposed by and that enter into the very constitution of the body as a phenomenon. This general framework provides a blueprint for subsequent investigations of the body by later phenomenologists, including the later Husserl himself. In this chapter we will try to shed some light on the following questions: What were these initial discoveries? How did they influence the reflections on the phenomenon of embodiment by later phenomenologists? And what precisely has phenomenology taught us about the body’s mode of manifestation over this last century of its existence? The fact cannot be bypassed that, like all philosophers, phenomenologists disagree about many things, including the nature and philosophical significance of the body,1 and that there are a variety of complicated terminological, methodological, and sometimes 1  That includes the two authors of this chapter! The second author of this chapter thinks that although the method(s) of phenomenology help to disclose aspects of embodiment that were not previously fully thematized (whether by philosophy or by the life sciences of the body), the body also serves as a lacunae of sorts for the phenomenological method, and raises a variety of epistemic and metaphysical questions, notwithstanding the phenomenological ‘bracketing’ that is heuristically invaluable but always incompletely achieved (see Reynolds, 2018, 2020). The other author agrees that the body, in its most

Multidimensionality of the Body    125 metaphysical differences between the major authors associated with phenomenology (cf. Heinämaa, 2021). Putting aside those disagreements for the moment, which we will take into account as we progress, let us ask: is there any universal agreement between the phenomenologists regarding the theme of the body? Phenomenologists would agree that the body involves what we will describe as a multidimensional mode of manifestation. What this means will become clearer shortly, but for now we can say the body exists in and across a number of distinct, irreducible, but functionally interrelated dimensions and layers, the description of which is vital for an understanding of the body as a phenomenon. Another likely point of agreement between the phenomenologists is that in order to make sense and describe these dimensions and layers, it is necessary to take note of the ‘horizonal’ references that obtain between them and to work out their ontological ordering. An overview of this chapter is now in order. Our first task will be to consider two foundational works of phenomenology, Husserl’s Logical Investigations and Heidegger’s Being and Time. We will show how these works set the stage for the subsequent phenomenology of the body, by describing the phenomena of multidimensionality and horizonality (Section 6.2). We will then present some key aspects of Husserl’s positive descriptions of embodiment in Ideas II (1989; see Section 6.3). Next we will examine some of the main phenomenological descriptions of the noematic and noetic dimensions of embodiment, as they are articulated in the works of Sartre (Section 6.4) and Merleau-​Ponty (Section 6.5), and also detail some of their differences from Husserl, both substantively and methodologically. In the Conclusion (Section 6.6), we will turn to consider some critical questions that might be posed regarding a phenomenological focus on the body and its multidimensionality.

6.2  Multidimensionality and Horizonality in the Logical Investigations and Being and Time In Husserl’s (2001: 3) own words, the Logical Investigations represent the initial ‘breakthrough’ into phenomenology, ‘not an end but rather a beginning’. What was so revolutionary about this text that it set into motion an entirely new movement in philosophy, ordinary forms of manifestation and especially in its demands upon the mind, is a kind of lacunae for phenomenology. He would go so far as to describe the fact of embodiment as an obstacle to the seeing of things as they are. With Plato and Socrates, the first author thinks that phenomenology only comes into its own when the mind succeeds in distancing itself from the body, which is not to deny that the body has more profound dimensions than those that are ordinary accessible. In Čopelj (2022), the first author attempts to show on phenomenological grounds that this distancing of the mind (which is not to be understood in the Cartesian sense) from the body is an essential part of contemplative practices which aims at the direct understanding of things as they are.

126    Erol Čopelj and Jack Reynolds whose vitality we continue to feel today, well over a century after this work was written? How might one sum up this ‘breakthrough’? One way is to say that it involved the discovery of the multidimensionality of the phenomenal field. Allow us to illustrate. Pre-​ phenomenologically, this cup sitting on my table is straightforwardly experienced as something that can hold my coffee, which has a specific shape and weight and a unique history in the world. From the phenomenological standpoint, this very same entity discloses itself as being constituted of a number of distinct, irreducible, and interconnected phenomenological dimensions and layers. These dimensions are peculiarly merged into the straightforward and simple experience of the object. In being so merged, this multidimensionality tends to be forgotten. This means that when we straightforwardly interact with the object, when we relate to it from the ‘natural’ attitude, we are not explicitly aware of its phenomenal multidimensionality. In order to remember its inner depth and complexity, it is necessary to step back from the object, allowing this phenomenological complexity to surface. Now, it is true that empirical sciences teach us something like this too: that what at first appear to be uniform objects are in fact made up of macroscopic parts and layers. The difference is in fact radical. In principle at least, phenomenological multidimensionality is immediately and experientially accessible, even if the means of access are difficult, i.e. via the ‘unnatural’ techniques of phenomenology, and in some cases at least partially hidden, i.e. in embodied habits which is the focus of some of Merleau-​Ponty’s work. Phenomenological multidimensionality is not behind experience. It is experience itself. The constituents of the objects that the scientists tell us about are themselves objects of sorts. In some of the paradigmatic scientific ways of looking at the world, every object is made up of smaller objects, and so on ad infinitum. This is sometimes called a principle of decomposition that involves a commitment to ‘smallism’ (cf. Wilson, 2004), wherein that which is real/​exists gets associated with micro-​physical parts, which is also where the real causal action lies. Phenomenology teaches us that every object (whether macro or micro) always and necessarily arises from something like a multidimensional fabric of phenomenal being, a fabric that does not itself have the nature of an object, although it can assume that form. In principle at least, this fabric can be described and its description can be said to constitute the work of phenomenology. By contrast, both science and common sense only work with one limited portion of this multidimensional fabric, where it assumes the form of an external, straightforward object that opposes itself as something external to the subject observing it. To apply this to our theme, the body is not just an object that manifests within this fabric and which can be focused upon and decomposed into parts; it is an essential quality of the phenomenal field itself, as we shall see. For reasons that have to do with making intelligible the fundamental categories of logical thinking and into which we cannot go here, in the fifth and the sixth Logical Investigations Husserl’s primary focus was on the sensuous and the categorical dimensions of the phenomenal field, and their relationship. To illustrate by example, consider the cup again. When we tune in to the cup phenomenologically, we can discern a sensuous layer, in which such qualities as colour, shape, weight, etc., have their

Multidimensionality of the Body    127 being. It is also possible to discern a layer from which spring such structures as the fact that the cup is white, that it has a handle, that it is on the table, and so on. This is the categorial layer. In the vocabulary of Ideas I (Husserl, 2014), the sensuous and the categorial layers pertain to the noematic dimension of the phenomenal field, designating the way that objects that are not us manifest. But the noematic is not the only dimension that can be discerned here. The sensuous noematic layer is essentially correlated to sense experience, such as visible perception. The categorial noematic layer is essentially correlated to such events as judgements, thoughts, and so on. The sense perception, the judgement and other such phenomena pertain to a dimension that is described in the Ideas I as ‘noetic’. While the noetic dimension is essentially bound up with noematic, they are nevertheless distinct and irreducible and each must be described in a way that is true to it. This may strike one as an unnecessarily complex. But that is the inherently rich nature of the phenomenal field; while thought can always simplify things in order to make the handling of them easier, it does so at the cost of losing its grip on how things are in and of themselves. As Merleau-​Ponty observes in the Phenomenology of Perception, many mistakes that we make in thinking about our experience come from attributing that which truly belongs to the sensuous noematic layer to its noetic correlate (sense perception). This is what he calls the ‘experience error’, in which we read our knowledge of things perceived (noematic) back into the nature of our perceptual experience (noetic). Put differently, we believe our experience presents us with what our putative knowledge (including scientific) has subsequently revealed to us. This discovery of this multidimensional and multilayered nature of the phenomenal field opened up the task of attempting to discern the different layers that exist in each dimension and to spell out their phenomenological relationships. This is also the task that the phenomenologists take up in the specific investigation of embodiment. In other words, the body spreads across and manifests in different dimensions and layers of the phenomenal field, and the phenomenology of embodiment gives itself the task of describing these dimensions and their relationships. But, one may wonder, how is it possible to describe these dimensions at all? This brings us to another key albeit implicit discovery of the Logical Investigations. This is the notion of ‘horizons’. The basic idea is that each of the dimensions and layers is made up of referential relations that point to other dimensions and layers. The whiteness of the cup pertains to the sensuous, noematic layer. This quality points or refers to the possibility of seeing that the cup is white. When I actually see that the cup is white, the categorial layer can be said to emerge from the sensuous, on which it is, according to Husserl, founded. This reference can thus be said to bind the sensuous and the categorial layers. The description of these referential structures becomes a major theme of phenomenological investigations. In the writings of the phenomenologists we find many descriptions of the horizonal referential relations that run through and bind together the different dimensions in which the body participates. Before turning to that specific theme, however, we will now consider how Heidegger developed these Husserlian ideas in Being and Time ([1927] 1962).

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6.2.1 Heidegger’s Being and Time In brief and very generally, Heidegger’s contribution can be said to consist in disclosing certain novel dimensions of the phenomenal field, of describing their horizonal interrelationships and foundational relations. And, in fact, some of Heidegger’s findings challenge Husserl’s descriptions, although we do not wish to get into that question here. What we do wish to focus upon here is those Heideggerian discoveries that will play a vital role in the description of the body that we find in later phenomenologists, and Jean-​Paul Sartre and Merleau-​Ponty in particular.2 Let us begin on a terminological point. Heidegger and his followers would most likely object to our use of such Husserlian terms as ‘noematic’ and ‘noetic’, as well as to such notions as ‘layers’ and ‘dimensions’, in the endeavour to give an account of his philosophy (perhaps it is part of what he comes to call his ‘topology’ in later work, however). In any case, we believe that this way of speaking, while perhaps not being entirely true to his thought, can help present his basic ideas in a clear way that enables comparison with those of the other phenomenologists. The reason for which Heidegger would probably reject a term such as ‘layer’ is found in the fact that such terms usually designate objective categories, a mode of being that Heidegger calls ‘present-​at-​hand’. According to Heidegger, however, there are ways of being (i.e. the ready-​to-​hand and being-​in-​the-​ world) that cannot be thought of in terms of objective categories at all. Let the reader note, then, that we are not using these terms in a restricted, objective sense, but give them a much wider significance, which we will allow to articulate itself as the discussion unfolds. Heidegger’s concept of being-​in-​the-​world is central to the French phenomenologists ‘of the body’, who attempted to develop Heidegger’s account in a direction not taken in Being and Time and to demonstrate that the body is a central, constitutive moment of being-​in-​the-​world itself.3 What, though, is meant by ‘being-​in-​the-​world’? Again, it is perhaps best to illustrate this with a concrete example. When I look at this coffee cup in a detached way and where it appears as an object in space partaking in casual interactions, the cup exists as present-​at-​hand. This noematic layer refers to a more fundamental one in which the cup exists as ready-​to-​hand: as an instrument intrinsically bound up with other instruments (e.g. the table, coffee, etc.) and through which I can realize my projects (e.g. being caffeinated). The ready-​to-​hand dimension itself refers to the world, the all-​encompassing context that conditions the possibility of the ready-​at-​hand and the present-​at-​hand. The world itself is a dependent moment of being-​in-​the-​world, which is the mode of being of the entities that we ourselves are. Thus, in Heidegger’s account and if we abstract from the complex phenomenon of temporality, being-​in-​ the-​world can be said to constitute the very foundation of the phenomenal field. This 2 

For further reflections on this, see Levin (1990). Andy Clark (1997) plays on this theme, albeit without much Heidegger scholarship, in his influential book Being There. More Heidegger inflected efforts to do this include Clark’s sometime co-​author, Mike Wheeler (see Wheeler, 2005). 3 

Multidimensionality of the Body    129 foundational dimension is itself multilayered; being in the world is divided into three interpenetrating and co-​founding dimensions: understanding, attunement, and discourse. For the purpose of describing the phenomenon of the body, understanding and attunement are crucial. Very briefly, understanding represents the futural layer of being-​ in-​the-​world: it is responsible for projecting possibilities and thereby directly opening up the instrumental dimension. Attunement is the ontological ground of moods and it is responsible for the disclosure of the raw fact of being there; it is the sense that we always find ourselves in some specific situation, in the midst of a particular and limited range of possibilities, which determine of how we can project ourselves into the future. As we have said, neither Logical Investigations nor Being and Time treat the body as an explicit theme. But the dimensions, layers, and horizons outlined above set the stage for a proper understanding of the phenomenology of embodiment that takes place after the two foundational texts were written.

6.3  The Body in Ideas II Not having treated the body in his earlier work, its description becomes one of the main preoccupations of the later Husserl, with various rich accounts of kinaesthetic and tactile sensings. Although it is discussed in Cartesian Meditations (1960; especially in the fifth meditation and in relation to the constitution of another subject) and the Crisis, arguably Husserl’s treatment of embodiment is set out most clearly in Ideas II. In this section, we will briefly summarize what it says about the multidimensionality of the body. From a limited point of view, the body appears as just another thing in the world. But Husserl draws our attention to a distinct layer of corporeality in which ‘external’ and inanimate things do not participate at all. Broadly, this dimension is referred to as Leib: the living or animate dimension of embodiment. In this dimension of its being, the body appears as the bearer of ‘localized sensations’, which are essentially bound up with the sense of touch, and one of Husserl’s main aims in this text is to illustrate the primacy of touch relative to the other senses (e.g. the visual sense) in the constitution of the animate body. Let us try and discern this unique phenomenon of localized sensations. As my right hand rests on the table, I scratch it with my left hand. From one angle, the right hand manifests essentially in the same way that the table does: as an inanimate thing with a certain material makeup, with a soft skin and hard bones, as something coloured, and so on., and which participate in causal interactions with other inanimate things. This is the dimension of Körper. Through a shift of focus, however, I come to notice that underneath the fingertips of my left hand, certain impressions appear in the right hand and as localized within it. These impressions are clearly not properties of the hand in the same sense as its weight and colour are. The table, for example, exhibits nothing like these ‘sensings’. And as I move the fingers of the left hand across the right, the localized sensations alter accordingly and in a regular manner. And the same is obviously true

130    Erol Čopelj and Jack Reynolds of the whole body, including the left hand itself: all over, the localized sensations are present as that which helps constitute and differentiate the animate body from inanimate objects. These localized sensations also partake in a kind of spatiality, spreading throughout the hand in a peculiar and sui generis way. But this is a distinct manifestation of space than the one in which external, inanimate things participate: ‘localizations of sensings is in fact something in principle different from the extension of all material determinations of a thing’ (Husserl, 1989: 157). It is in virtue of this layer that is filled in by localized sensations that the body is not simply a richer and more complex material thing but precisely my body, a living and animate ‘thing’. Besides the sensations of touch, the layer now in question also offers the possibility of manifesting practically infinite kinds of feeling sensations. As Husserl writes, they appear as localized: ‘is also true of sensations belonging to totally different groups, e.g. the “sensuous” feelings, the sensations of pleasure and pain, the sense of well-​being that permeates and fills the whole Body, the general malaise of “corporeal indisposition,” etc.’ (Husserl, 1989: 160). These feeling sensations serve as the basis of intentional feelings that constitute the world as having certain ‘values’. If Husserl is right about this, then the animated body plays a key role in Heidegger’s attunements and moods, although as we saw Heidegger did not describe this connection in Being and Time. Matthew Ratcliffe’s (2008) notion of ‘feeling of being’ can be interpreted as an interesting attempt to combine the Husserlian and Heideggerian insights in this way, and others working in what might be called phenomenological psychopathology also pay attention to this embodied dimension of our moods and similar states of mind (see, for example, the work of Thomas Fuchs). Husserl also observes that the layer of localized sensations also serves as a foundation for another layer of the body, where it manifests as the ‘the organ of the will’ ( Husserl, 1989: 159). Here the body exhibits the quality of being the only immediately movable thing; all other things can only be moved mediately through the body. We will see in due course how the French phenomenologists extended this description of the instrumental dimension of embodiment and tried to describe the unique mode of manifestation of this condition of possibility of all instrumentality that is not itself an instrument. As already mentioned, Körper refers to the noematic dimension of the body and where the body appears as an inanimate object in space. But the body’s existence in space is sui generis; even when the body’s manifests as an object space it does so in a manner different from phenomena that are inanimate things and nothing more. First of all, all external things appear in a certain orientation: this thing is to the left, this one to the right, this one above, and that one below. But the body is not itself just another thing within this arrangement; as the zero-​point of orientation it is that which makes the orientation and arrangement of external things possible. The body is the ‘here’ that can never become a ‘there’. Moreover, while I can always establish a distance between myself and all external things, I can never establish a distance between myself and my body. Husserl also notes how some parts of the body (e.g. the face) are in principle invisible to me, which also contributes to the body’s sui generis mode of manifestation.

Multidimensionality of the Body    131 Some key features of our embodied life depend on this differentiation between Leib and Körper, and perhaps constitutively or necessarily so, in that it is hard to conceive of the experience and the perception of depth, for example, without this ‘zero point’ as Husserl puts it, the lived perspective of a given body-​subject.4 This can also be described as the difference between that dimension where the body appears as a subjectivity and the body as a material object, and also as the contrast between being a body and having a body (existing and possessing), and between first-​person and third-​person perspectives. These are all not exactly the same, of course, but for a good effort at parsing them, see Heinämaa (2021). What is the modal and metaphysical status of the difference between Leib and Körper? It is not meant to be a standard metaphysical distinction since it is about the mode of appearance of the body ‘for us’. At the same time, some of the modal contrasts (between subjectivity and objectivity, say) appear to have metaphysical implications. In addition, phenomenologists often claim a certain kind of priority for Leib, both as the genetic condition for any subsequent analysis of Körper and also concerning the irreducibility of Leib. We have an asymmetry posited here, and one which is not transitive. To put the point succinctly, we might say that noetic dimension enables an empirical inquiry into the living body, but what is revealed qua Körper (e.g. by sciences of the body) cannot adequately explain Leib.5 We will come back to this in the Conclusion (Section 6.6), but it is perhaps fair to also note that there is a danger of becoming attached to this distinction in a way that reifies and ignores other dimensions and/​or layers of embodiment. That includes important phenomena that are ‘in between’ any bifurcation of the body as subject and as an object, commencing with the habits of embodiment for a start, which are only partly available to consciousness and often in situation of breakdown or the ‘un-​ ready-​to-​hand’, as we will see.

6.4  French Phenomenology of the Body: Jean-​Paul Sartre In French existentialist phenomenology, the body became a more explicit theme than had previously been the case, even if the ground was prepared for it by that earlier phenomenological work. There are several reasons we can adduce for this more thematic focus on the body. First, Ideas II had a major influence on the thought of Merleau-​Ponty, who was one of the first outside readers of the book (and indeed visitors) in the newly 4  We would need to consider the details of various pathological and anomalous cases of embodiment too, but, see Gallagher (2005) for a nice treatment of the issues in regard to Molyneux cases, phantom limbs, and some of the injuries that afflict Ian Waterman, in particular his almost total lack of proprioception. 5  For exposition of this point in regard to Husserl and the neglected phenomenologist, Helmuth Plessner, see Wehrle (2020).

132    Erol Čopelj and Jack Reynolds established Husserl archives in Leuven, in preparation for what was to be his magnum opus, Phenomenology of Perception. In addition, there was already an existing French tradition of philosophy of the body, commencing with Malebranche and Descartes, and which in the early 20th century also included Bergson, as well as Sartre and Merleau-​ Ponty’s contemporary, Gabriel Marcel.6 Although it is difficult to generalize about national receptions of phenomenology, there were arguably also some differing ambitions for the phenomenological project, which partly derive from the particular philosophical scene in France within which phenomenology was both developed and encountered. Without being able to do the history of ideas justice here, we can simply note the existing French philosophical scene was bifurcated between the idealism of Brunschvicg and Bergson’s vitalist philosophy, and that played a significant role in Sartre’s encounter with phenomenology, for one. Sartre famously discovered phenomenology in the winter of 1932/​3 over an Apricot cocktail. At that time (and indeed afterwards) Sartre had an existing dialectical concern with overcoming idealism and realism. In addition, he saw phenomenology as providing resources to further enable his own distinctive non-​naturalist ‘realism’ regarding the contingency of being. Addressing Sartre’s metaphysical picture is not something we can do in any detail here, except to note that he distanced himself from Husserl’s later idealism but arguably remains true to some parts of Logical Investigations, and his phenomenology of embodiment complements the account of Ideas II (see Moran, 2010), although Sartre did not seem to have access to that particular Husserlian text. Sartre’s important early essay, Transcendence of the Ego, involves a critique of Husserl’s transcendental ego and its roles ‘within’ or as constituting experience, along with the phenomenological role of the ‘I’. Drawing from a Humean critique of the substantive self, as Husserl also did, for Sartre there is an anonymity of the person chasing the tram or ‘street car’. In this more anonymous or non-​egocentric conception of phenomenology, the body remains largely an implicit background rather than something warranting direct phenomenological attention. With Being and Nothingness, however, this changes. Sartre devotes a long chapter to the body in part three of the book. Moreover, in Sartre’s literary works the body is an ongoing, even perennial focus of his attention. He and de Beauvoir were both concerned with the ‘Look’, in both their literary and philosophical works.7 But the philosophical and phenomenological foundation is found in Being and Nothingness. In general, there is some justification for describing Sartre’s phenomenology as articulated in Being and Nothingness as a hybrid of Husserl and Heidegger’s. Like 6 

Explicitly or implicitly there is also perhaps a tacit Catholicism operative here, as Derrida argues in On Touching (2005), where he critically engages with this tradition, including the work of Merleau-​Ponty. 7  For Sartre, the look of another person has the power to decentre or nihilate us from our surrounds. Sartre evocatively describes this scenario in the infamous key-​ hole scenario where someone is caught peeping. Another interesting example is his description of an individual who is immersed in appreciating the natural world, say bird-​watching, but is disrupted by the presence of another person even if they do not look at them. Sartre thinks there is an ontological (not physical) reorientation of the world that ensues.

Multidimensionality of the Body    133 Husserl, Sartre’s phenomenological investigations can be extremely focused and detailed, and he pays close attention to the multidimensionality of the phenomenal field, as it plays out in different areas of our existence. In relation to the body in particular, Sartre is keen to stress that the noetic dimension of embodiment (body-​for-​itself) and the noematic (body-​for-​other) are on different and incommunicable levels—​in other words, they cannot be reduced to one another and neither is satisfactory in isolation (Sartre, 1995: 304−5). Nor does Sartre think that there is a third dimension to which these two dimensions may be traced back and where the duality of this level may be harmonized. Nevertheless, there are connections between these dimensions, and Sartre thinks it is essential to understand their proper ontological ordering. As a general approach to describing phenomena, this is very much in line with Husserl’s discovery of the multiplicity and irreducibility of the phenomenal field in the Logical Investigations that we discussed above. Insofar as the overall schema of Sartre’s philosophical project is concerned, he is very much in agreement with Heidegger’s notion of being-​in-​ the-​world, which he tries to develop in a specific direction. Indeed, at the start of his study of embodiment, Sartre says that we must start from our being-​in-​the-​world. As for Heidegger, for Sartre being-​in-​the-​world contains two essential dimensions: facticity and freedom which are closely related to Heidegger’s attunements and projective understanding, respectively. Sartre’s description of the noetic body (in its being-​for-​itself) is a description of the way that the body participates in our facticity and freedom.

6.4.1 Being-​for-​itself As a general principle, it can be said that in whatever dimension or layer the body manifests, it assumes the essential and defining qualities of that dimension or layer. For example, when the body manifests in the sensuous layer, it appears as something coloured, extended, shaped, and so on. Now, for both Heidegger and Sartre’, ‘facticity’ designates the raw fact of existence, of being here, as a human being, in the midst of these particular things and within these limitations. While, as Heidegger has shown, facticity can disclose itself in different ways through moods or attunements, there is something intrinsically enigmatic and unintelligible about the fact that we are at all. For Sartre, the factic body partakes in this enigmatic quality of our facticity. It is contingent that I exist. But given that I exist, it is necessary that I exist in a determinate place and in the midst of objects that are ordered in a particular way. This necessity is a part of my facticity. On the basis of these observations, Sartre focuses on the fact that every such ordering of things in the midst of the world refers to and sketches out a peculiar object that is not itself just another object in the midst of the world. This should make us recall Husserl’s description of how Leib makes the ordering of things possible without itself being just another thing in that order. This ‘inapprehensible given’ is the body with its senses, not as it appears to someone observing it, but as it is lived by each one of us in our pursuit of projects. Everything refers to the senses through which the world is given. In that sense, the body is everywhere. Nevertheless, the senses are elusive

134    Erol Čopelj and Jack Reynolds and inapprehensible: they cannot be grasped in the way that the objects can but only as the ungraspable condition of possibility of our experience of objects. This description of the body as ungraspable and invisible does not refer to some kind of a lack but rather to a positive phenomenological description of the body as it is, in the factic dimension of being-​in-​the-​world. To illustrate this, Sartre uses the example of somebody surveying their surroundings from upon the top of a hill. While they can survey all that is around them, they nevertheless do not and cannot—​without annihilating the body as for-​itself—​have a perspective on their own body; the body is the point of view on whatever is actually being surveyed but it cannot itself be seen. Even if there were some Archimedean spot outside the world from which we could see everything, it would nevertheless still be the case that we wouldn’t be able to see ourselves seeing. The fact of being there is an omni-​ present dimension of the phenomenal field but it is not one that can ever be grasped or known; rather it is the point of departure for all grasping and knowledge. His literature explores the contingency of embodiment. In Nausea, his chief protagonist, Antoine Roquentin, is concerned not just with the chestnut tree, but with the contingency of his own appearance. Indeed, for Sartre, the factic body is originally disclosed in the experience of nausea. As we have seen, in the context of being-​in-​the-​world, facticity is necessarily co-​ joined with a dimension that is responsible for instrumental sense-​making, vis-​à-​vis the futural projection of possibilities. For Sartre, the projection of possibilities into the future (e.g. of finishing writing this chapter) necessarily involves a surpassing of the factic body. The factic body is there as our anchor in the midst of the world but it is constantly and necessarily surpassed through our projections into the future. This surpassing and projecting creates an instrumental field with which we are engaged practically. The body plays an essential role in the constitution of this instrumental field. For Sartre, the disclosure of the instrumental field presupposes a hand, or a body, that ends the chain of references and instrumental associations. In other words, the instrumental body is not itself another instrument within the field of instruments but the non-​utilizable limit that allows any such field to appear in the first place. As Sartre says, the hand is the ‘unknowable and not utilisable term that the last instrument of the series indicates’ (Sartre, 1995, 323). Sartre argues that if our general project is one of fixing a door, then the nail that we are looking at will, in turn, pre-​reflectively refer us to the hammer that is needed to make use of that nail. Moreover, that hammer also refers to the bit of wood that needs to be stabilized, and this in turn refers to the arm and hand that will hold the hammer. But the arm itself exists differently from these instruments; it pertains to the invisible and elusive dimension that the other instruments refer to and sketch out but which itself never appears as just another instrument. In other words, our perception of objects is structured according to their probable use for us and by an implicit (horizonal) reference to our own, invisible body. From the start, ordinary human experience teaches us that perception is meaningful and organized in terms of possible projects in the world, and in this regard perception solicits us toward action. This idea would be explored in detail by Merleau-​Ponty, and subsequently ‘enactivism’, which was partly inspired by his

Multidimensionality of the Body    135 work (e.g. in Francisco Varela, Evan Thompson, and others).8 It is also important to appreciate that while they are closely related and inseparable phenomena, the elusiveness and inapprehensibility of the facticity body is not the same as the hiddenness of the instrumental body. As Sartre says ‘Either it is the centre of reference that is emptily aimed at by the world’s implement-​objects, or it is the contingency that the for-​itself exists; more accurately, these two modes of being are complimentary’ (Sartre, 1995: 453). In other words, both are distinct dimensions of our embodied being-​in-​the-​world and, as such, help constitute the infinite richness of the phenomenal field that phenomenology must always respect and try to do justice to descriptively.

6.4.2 Being for-​the-​other Like Husserl, Sartre recognizes that in addition to its noetic dimension—​its being for-​ itself—​the body also exists noematically. Sartre describes this as the body’s being for-​ the-​Other, referring to the way that the body manifests within the world of another subject (for what Sartre takes to be contingent reasons, both roles can be played by the same human individual). Sartre’s description of this dimension of embodiment is based on his complicated and involved phenomenology of intersubjectivity, into which we cannot go here. Let it suffice to briefly state that the body as it is for-​the-​Other belongs to the objectifying possibility of intersubjective encounters, where the Other is transcended as a being-​in-​the-​world and apprehended as a peculiar kind of object within-​the-​world. This objectification is inseparable from the apprehension of the other as an embodied being, where the body expresses the other’s being-​in-​the-​world. This apprehension of the body as something within the world is moreover sui generis. Not only is the perception of the other’s body radically distinct from the perception of inanimate things, this perception itself exhibits different forms. First, the other’s body is sketched out in the instrumental field with which I am directly engaged, just as my body is. But, as we saw, whereas it is impossible to take a point of view on the body as it is for-​itself, it is possible to objectify the other’s body and bring it into view. Such objectification involves either apprehending the body in its raw facticity (in which case it appears as the flash of the other, which plays a key role in Sartre’s long description of sexual desire) or as an instrument that I can utilize (through salaries, threats, etc). The other’s body is also always apprehended on the background of being-​in-​the-​world and therefore as possessing a meaningful structure that has to be interpreted in terms of the other’s projects and instrumental relations. In other words, it is never given as a merely inanimate thing but as a body of another in a situation. It is possible, however, to abstract the body from this background. Through such an act of abstraction, the body almost manifests as a pure inanimate object, as a corpse (we say ‘almost’ because even in this apprehension there 8  Enactivism is usually split into three main types: radical (Hutto and Myin), autopoietic (Varela, Thompson, etc.) and sensori-​motor (O’Regan, Noë, and others). The last two are significantly indebted to Merleau-​Ponty.

136    Erol Čopelj and Jack Reynolds is a sense that this object existed as a structure of some being-​in-​the-​world). The corpse body is the phenomenological source of physiological and anatomical categories, which have no place, according to Sartre, in the more fundamental and original dimension of embodiment. Finally, Sartre describes a dimension of embodiment that can be described as a kind of hybrid between the body for-​itself and for-​the-​Other. In this dimension, the body appears to the subject as it is for the Other. The infinite actual and possible perspectives that the body could exhibit to Others are here given as empty profiles of my body, as apprehended and objectified in psychological reflection. I cannot know these absent profiles directly but must learn about them through communication with others, who have the perspective of my body that I cannot possibly have (according to Sartre, language plays a key role here). This is the phenomenological dimension wherein the phenomenon of alienation finds its roots: I am alienated from my body because the body partially is what Others take it to be. According to Sartre, the three dimensions that we have discussed—​for-​itself, for-​the-​Other, and for-​itself-​as-​for-​the-​Other—​exhaust the dimensions of corporeality. Sartre’s account has been influential. With Merleau-​Ponty and Levinas, he introduced the French terms ‘corps vécu’ and ‘corps vivant’, meant as equivalents or translations of the German Leib and translated into English as lived-​body (but see Heinämaa, 2021, for discussion). At the same time, his work also leaves several questions unanswered, most notably in explaining why there often appears to be a unity between these different ‘aspects’ of embodiment that he describes, as well as the reversible relationship that seems to obtain between them. Dualistic style subject-​object conceptions of the body may be significant in our experience, but perhaps they are not exhaustive of the modalities of embodied experience. As Evan Thompson (2007: 235) suggests, there is a risk that if we reify this distinction between Leib and Körper into two metaphysically irreducible properties or aspects, then we create problems reminiscent of those that face the classical mind-​body problem. Perhaps the best way to think of this is to emphasize, as we have, the multidimensionality of the body.

6.5  Maurice Merleau-​Ponty: Embodied Habits and Tactility In Phenomenology of Perception, Merleau-​Ponty’s overall focus is on embodiment as much as it is on perception, and that is for structural reasons: they form a structural ‘couple’ and many of the problems he diagnoses in regard to the history of philosophy ramify across both perception and the body. In short, Merleau-​Ponty argues that neither are adequately comprehended by empiricism and intellectualism, an antimony that he contends has characterized large parts of the history of Western philosophy. Empiricism treats the body as an aggregation of parts causally interacting (a mechanistic model that

Multidimensionality of the Body    137 he calls partes extra partes). Intellectualism bestows power upon conscious judgement and reflection. In itself the body has no special significance or meaning for intellectualist views, no intentional mode of comportment or attunement that needs to be understood on its own terms, which he sometimes characterizes in terms of the ‘I can’ rather than the ‘I think’. Merleau-​Ponty ultimately contends that motor intentionality, which continues the description of the instrumental dimension of embodiment, has far-​ reaching consequences, and is the ground for reflective intentionality (including any reflective philosophical understanding). Given our interest in methodology, it is worth noting from the outset that Merleau-​ Ponty is much more consistently dialectical in his approach than Husserl. For him, the role given to the body (and perception) in the empiricist and intellectualist traditions is found wanting, both descriptively and explanatorily, thus motivating a rethinking of it. This differs from the way in which Husserl usually motivates his own phenomenology of embodiment, which is not via explanatory inadequacies in other philosophical and scientific treatments of embodiment (cf. Carman, 1999). Although Husserl agrees with Merleau-​Ponty that our embodiment gives us a worldly structure, the body is also ultimately constituted within the field of consciousness by the ‘transcendental ego’, which Husserl argues is required to understand both the empirical ego and the unity of the body-​subject we have described (cf. Staiti, 2016: 131). The body is not identical with the transcendental ego; rather, the latter is the ground and condition of possibility of the former. For Merleau-​Ponty, by contrast, embodiment is paradoxically both involved in the fundamental constituting activity of the subject while itself being something constituted. What he calls the body-​subject is the most basic enabling condition, albeit situated within what he calls a phenomenal or transcendental field (this includes the socio-​historical, and it is not a field of pure consciousness). To try to make this difference a little more concrete, it is worth noticing that in Phenomenology of Perception the case study of Schneider is quite pivotal, as are experiences of ‘phantom limbs’, which are situations where someone who has lost a limb nonetheless experiences pains or aches that are ostensibly ‘in’ the absent limb. In regard to Schneider, who suffered an injury in World War I, Merleau-​Ponty derives the details of this case study ‘second-​hand’ from the work of the Gestalt psychologists Adhémar Gelb and Kurt Goldstein. In short, while Schneider can blow his nose if he feels that need, or grasp his nose if it has been bitten by a mosquitoe, he cannot perform equivalent actions if his eyes are shut and he also cannot smoothly point to his nose if asked to. If he watches his hand, eventually he can guide it to his nose, but it is a laborious process. When confronted with a practical task such as cutting paper, however, Schneider doesn’t have to first locate his hands before moving them; the scissors on the table and the task of cutting paper immediately and unreflectively mobilize potential actions and solicit him to react to them in certain ways. Concrete movements and acts of grasping, such as the blowing of his nose, enjoy a privileged position for him and, Merleau-​Ponty will argue, for all of us; it is the main example of what he calls ‘motor intentionality’. It is worth highlighting that this idea is a development of Sartre’s description of the instrumental body as opening up a field of instruments and enabling interaction with

138    Erol Čopelj and Jack Reynolds that field without needing meditation by the body as it is for-​the-​Other (i.e. as something represented within-​the-​world). It is also in harmony with Husserl’s observation that the body is immediately movable, without first needing to be represented in some way. The grasping movement is from the outset at its end and involves anticipation, and the understanding of space involved in grasping is basic, even though it largely resists our explicit thematization and understanding. On the other hand, when Schneider is asked to accomplish some abstract activity like pointing to his nose, these kinds of reflective activity go through the intermediary of noematic body and Schneider cannot perform movements that are not a response to an actual, present situation. Merleau-​ Ponty suggests that Schneider either has an ideal formula for a particular movement that he works out in his head before acting, or he launches blindly into movement. There is no feedback between these two very different attitudes, whereas for most of us active movement is indissolubly both movement and consciousness of movement and we presuppose a mutual presence of body and object in our pointing. To put it in the terms we have been using in this chapter, we could say that in Schneider’s case the connection between the noetic and noematic dimensions of embodiment has broken down in some way, while for most of us this connection remains operational. It is instructive to contemplate how contrasting different forms of the same phenomenon (i.e. the ‘intact’ and the ‘broken’ forms of the connection now in question) can serve as a helpful aid in phenomenological descriptions of the multidimensionality of the phenomenal field. While this example serves to reaffirm Merleau-​Ponty’s distinction between the instrumental body (the ‘I can’) and objectified body (which admits of an ‘I think’), Merleau-​ Ponty is also keen to point out that Schneider’s difficulties cannot be readily accounted for on the basis of either empiricism or intellectualism, as he understands them. As Martin Dillon summarizes this: ‘The patient cannot be understood as suffering from a purely physical disability (as empiricism would have it) because he can perform the physical movements; but neither can he be incapacitated in a purely psychical way (as intellectualism claims) because he can understand the goals to be achieved’ (Dillon, 1998: 138). The central role of the lived-​body in Merleau-​Ponty’s work (rather than the transcendental ego) also complicates his view of the phenomenological method. Arguably he ends up with a weak or liberal naturalism that engages with and criticizes reductive construals of embodiment (see Reynolds, 2018, 2022), in contrast to Sartre’s avowed non-​naturalism. This difference between Sartre and Merleau-​Ponty pervades their respective accounts of freedom and racism too, despite the two philosophers often being united under the ‘existentialist’ umbrella. For Sartre, famously, we are radically free in any circumstances, notwithstanding the necessity of embodiment we have enumerated and the significant role of facticity more generally in his philosophy. And although Sartre aligns himself with Frantz Fanon and the ‘negritude’ movement of his time in essays written after World War II, the point remains that consciousness is not identical with embodiment, for Sartre. As such, race and gender are not in the ‘for-​itself ’/​ consciousness in any deep sense. There hence arguably remains a sort of dualism in his treatment of embodiment, even if his dialogues with de Beauvoir and Fanon changed

Multidimensionality of the Body    139 his perspective on this over time, enabling greater recognition of the way in which race and gender are in the lived-​body and structures how we occupy space in a world, as shown by Fanon in Black Skin, Whites Masks (cf. also Ngo, 2017). There is another idea that some contemporary phenomenologists have drawn on that should be considered and introduced: the body-​schema, which Merleau-​Ponty discusses at length in Phenomenology of Perception. What he calls the body-​image refers to perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs about our body, and which therefore help constitute the noematic body, the body as it is for-​the-​Other. The body-​schema is tied to a pre-​reflective sense of where our bodies are in space and the affordances presented for action (cf. Gallagher et al., 1998: 54), which is largely not directly phenomenologically attended to, but shapes and constrains us through motor skills and habits and which help constitute the noetic, instrumental dimension of embodiment. Nonetheless, there is some sense of being with our bodies that is phenomenologically manifest and might lend plausibility to the idea of the body-​schema, even if it is not usually a thematic object of focus for us. And there is a reason for that, which we began to indicate in the Introduction to this chapter (Section 6.1) and our remarks around science and ‘common sense’. In one sense, of course, it is no surprise to anyone that we don’t typically need to reflect on the location of our limbs in space in order to deploy them to grasp a mug, or to type the thoughts that we are having. But we also don’t often reflect on that very fact, and if we do, we can consider what it means to experience our bodies in the world in that way and attend to it more closely. Sometimes that phenomenological attention will help to reveal structures and dimensions of that usually implicit experience. Moreover, if we are stressed, injured, or suffering any of a variety of psycho-​pathological conditions, the body can come to display itself in dimensions quite differently from this, but it is still the case that the anomalous nature of these experiences is then comprehensible against these ways of being-​with our bodies that we often typically take for granted. Merleau-​Ponty is also a philosopher for whom habit plays a significant role, much more so than for Sartre. Many philosophers and scientists who have treated habits have done so from what Merleau-​Ponty calls an empiricist perspective, and the habits are rendered mechanistically as chains of rigid association or causation. But he seeks to give them a positive and productive role in the body’s instrumental dimension: a kind of flexibility and ‘know-​how’ of a non-​propositional and non-​reflective sort. Habits are not mere habits, unintelligent and rigid, but forms of skilful adjustment to our world, a position that Hubert Dreyfus draws heavily on in his phenomenology of skill acquisition (cf. 2002). As with Heidegger’s conception of the unready-​to-​hand (cf. Wheeler, 2005), however, these are often made phenomenologically manifest and conspicuous in situations of breakdown. While Schneider’s injuries present a very unusual case, there are also more mundane scenarios we can describe, like one of the authors of this chapter not managing to smoothly accomplish a task that is usually almost semi-​automatic, like setting up a zoom link or a video-​conference. This experience reveals something that casts a new light on our usual modes of being-​in-​the-​world. Again, this reflects Merleau-​Ponty’s quite different view of the phenomenological reduction than Husserl’s. As defended by Husserl, phenomenological reduction when

140    Erol Čopelj and Jack Reynolds coupled with the eidetic reduction can reach a level of clarity and distinctness befitting a first philosophy, bracketing away the successes of our various sciences, as well as culture, history, and metaphysics, in order to return to our experience of the things themselves, without presupposition. On Merleau-​Ponty’s view, however, this is a heuristic that can bring certain phenomena to light that were previously neglected (or can help to compensate where theory has overdetermined the observation or experience), but it is not a move that facilitates access to a presuppositionless starting point for a rigorous science of consciousness. Likewise, any reduction that aimed to bracket away our own embodiment would, on this view, be a Cartesian residue, and Merleau-​Ponty argues that some of the key phenomena of interest to Husserl in his later work are presupposed by, rather than accessed through, the phenomenological reduction.9 This is also the essence of the ‘existential’ rejoinder that Sartre and Merleau-​Ponty have against Husserl, whether it is fair or not. They think that Husserlian phenomenology remained concerned with the ‘I think’ and thus remains a form of intellectualism. There is a bodily encounter with the world, or the contingency of being for Sartre, that is not about knowledge or phenomenological judgement. It is an ontological rather than an epistemic relation, we might say, and the body is important to this, whereas they contend that for Husserl the body remains an object of an ‘I think’ or representation for consciousness. The question that separates them, then, concerns the viability or otherwise of any move to bracket embodiment itself (not just a particular scientific view of the body, say), to place it in parentheses, and examine its genetic constitution. There is certainly an interest in Merleau-​Ponty’s writings on the genesis of the body as the object par excellence, but the lived body functions as both an enabling and disabling condition. Situated within a phenomenal field, it becomes a quasi-​transcendental condition for the constitution of meaning and the like, rather than consciousness. As such, the issue concerns whether or not Husserl’s self-​proclaimed Cartesian Meditations reflects a Cartesian conception of mind and body, not simply methodologically but also minimally substantively, as Claude Romano (2015) contends. We cannot settle that issue here, other than to reaffirm the first footnote of the chapter and recognize that the co-​authors of this chapter diverge on this question. It is important to note, however, that there are also norms characteristic of motor intentionality, as we saw in the discussion of Schneider above. According to Merleau-​ Ponty, the key point is that ‘whether a system of motor or perceptual powers, our body is not an object for an “I think”, it is a grouping of lived-​through meanings which moves towards its equilibrium’ (Merleau-​Ponty, [1945] 1995: 153). Merleau-​Ponty hence explores a more basic motivation for human action than is usually taken to be the case: rather than focusing upon our desire to attain certain pleasures or achieve certain goals, his analysis reveals the body’s more primordial tendency to form what he calls ‘intentional arcs’, and to try and achieve an equilibrium with the world. 9  Merleau-​Ponty has in mind motor-​intentionality, temporality, the life-​world, and intersubjectivity. Rather than directly criticize Husserl, Merleau-​Ponty appeals to Husserl’s ‘unthought’ to support his own views.

Multidimensionality of the Body    141 By understanding perception as tightly bound up with action affordances in this way, Merleau-​Ponty anticipates subsequent ‘enactivist’ views that explicitly understand perception as a doing, an action, or an enaction (Gallagher, 2017). How does perception involve a doing, exactly? Is that always the case? We cannot here address the various debates about ‘motionless perception’, or ‘locked in syndrome’ as potential counterexamples, but it is clear that the general enactivist view fits neatly with Merleau-​ Ponty’s ongoing efforts to complicate dualistic ways of thinking. On this view, experience and physical events are not radically separate, but rather co-​implicated because of the tight relationship between perception and embodied motility. We are ‘thrown’ into this world moving when we are born, of course, and in relation to perceptual experience the claim would be that we perceive what is salient for us, attractive or repulsive for us, useful or not. In addition, we perceive the apple, not one dimensionally but with its sides in some sense present to us (Husserl suggests apperceptively) and which anticipate our ability to adopt another perspective on that object, whether we seek to use it practically or to gain knowledge of it. Like Sartre, Merleau-​ Ponty also gives the body a transcendental significance. Although there is cultural variability concerning the embodied expressions of emotions, for example, there is also a role for the body as enabling all such differences. The body is always there and its absence (and to a certain degree also its variation) is inconceivable (Merleau-​Ponty, [1945] 1995: 91). It means that we cannot treat the body as nothing but an object available for perusal, which can or cannot be part of our world, since it is not something that we can possibly do without. It is the mistake of classical psychology, and the empiricism of many sciences, that it treats the body as an object, when for Merleau-​ Ponty, an object ‘is an object only insofar as it can be moved away from me [ . . . ] Its presence is such that it entails a possible absence. Now the permanence of my body is entirely different in kind’ (Merleau-​Ponty, [1945] 1995: 90). As we saw, this is a development of insights already explicated by Husserl and Sartre. While there are sciences of say, proprioception, which explain our sense of being-​with our bodies and their role in facilitating something like access to a world that is teeming with possibilities, Merleau-​Ponty argues that we cannot adequately explain this, or the way the body-​schema functions, through empiricist construals of the body as just causally interacting parts. In more recent times Evan Thompson has prosecuted a related argument, arguing that it is this intrinsic bodily awareness (which he insists is not equivalent to awareness of the body as an object) that must be explained by any scientific account of consciousness that is functionalist and/​or neurologically oriented: ‘it must account for the ways in which one’s body is intentionally directed towards the world, and it must account for a form of self-​awareness that does not imply identification of one’s body as an object’ (Thompson, 2007: 252). Both Thompson and Merleau-​Ponty thus provide resources for a dialectical version of phenomenology of the body, which not only offers phenomenological analyses in their own right, but also exhibits the problems and lacunae within other programs, particularly of a reductive orientation, and infers that this or that part of the phenomenological picture should be accepted (see Reynolds, 2018: Chapter 6).

142    Erol Čopelj and Jack Reynolds

6.5.1 Intertwining/​Double Sensation Merleau-​ Ponty is also well-​ known for his reflections on tactility and sensibility. Various reflections on touch feature in the Phenomenology (where he drew on Husserl’s discussions in Ideas II) and in his later unfinished work, The Visible and the Invisible, where he emphasizes the reversibility of the touching-​touched relation and proposes an ‘indirect ontology’ of the chiasm and the flesh. The more ontological picture cannot concern us here (for a summary, see Reynolds & Roffe, 2018), but he argues that the experiences of touching and being touched are not simply separate orders of being in the world, as Sartre had claimed in Being and Nothingness. Sartre contends that: To touch and to be touched, to feel that one is touching and to feel that one is touched—​these are two species of phenomena which it is useless to try and reconcile by the term ‘double sensation’. In fact, they are radically distinct and exist on two incommunicable levels.

While Merleau-​Ponty agrees with Sartre that these two dimensions cannot be united by the term ‘double sensation’ ([1945] 1995: 93), he nevertheless insists upon the thoroughly communicative and interdependent relationship that obtains between the sentient and the sensible. As Merleau-​Ponty puts it: ‘when I press my two hands together, it is not a matter of two sensations felt together as one perceives two objects placed side by side, but an ambiguous set-​up in which both hands can alternate the role of “touching” and being “touched” ’ ([1945] 1995: 93). He elaborates further: I can identify the hand touched in the same one which will in a moment be touching [ . . . ] In this bundle of bones and muscles which my right hand presents to my left, I can anticipate for an instant the incarnation of that other right hand, alive and mobile, which I thrust towards things in order to explore them. The body tries [ . . . ] to touch itself while being touched and initiates a kind of reversible reflection. (Merleau-​Ponty, [1945] 1995: 93)

In his later work, he puts the point as follows: ‘a sort of dehiscence opens my body in two, and because between my body looked at and my body looking, my body touched and my body touching, there is overlapping or encroachment [ . . . ] things pass into us, as well as we into the things’ (Merleau-​Ponty, 1964: 123). Here we get a kind of ontological rendering of his earlier philosophy of ambiguity, one that in some sense aims to establish the ground of distinctions like subject and object as they pertain to touch and sensation but also more generally. It seems fair to say that Merleau-​Ponty’s phenomenology gives us a more complex picture of embodiment than that which Sartre presents. Any absolute distinction between being in the world as touching, and being in the world as touched (such as Sartre’s), deprives the existential phenomena of their complexity. Perceptual experience, likewise, is not adequately understood as pure consciousness, being tightly linked with action in the world and

Multidimensionality of the Body    143 with habits playing a significant role made possible by the motor intentionality of the lived-​body.

6.6  Conclusion We have introduced some key phenomenological ideas about the multidimensionality of embodiment, and used some methodological distinctions from phenomenology to attempt an overview of some of the major phenomenological themes and authors. We should note that this summary is partial and might well be extended. We have mentioned Helmuth Plessner only in passing. In Totality and Infinity (1969), Levinas has written about the phenomenology of eros, with an embodied dimension to his discussions concerning the caress and voluptuousity. In Philosophy and Phenomenology of the Body (1975), Michel Henry has tried to show that the body primarily manifests in an invisible auto-​affective dimension that precedes and conditions the possibility of every kind of horizon, such as Husserl’s transcendental horizon and Heidegger’s being-​ in-​the-​world. In works such as Body, Community, Language and World, Jan Patočka’s (1998) has argued that the body is inseparably implied in our instinctual life that is rooted in the Earth, and which precedes and provides the foundation for being-​in-​ the-​world, thereby opening up certain novel avenues for the phenomenology of embodiment. What we have provided is thus far from an exhaustive account of what the phenomenological tradition has said about the body, but we hope it traces some of the overlap and the diversity in the major figures, and is useful for understanding the work of other phenomenological authors. Critical questions might still be posed, of course. We have not talked at much length about the sexed body, for example, a criticism which many feminist authors (often with phenomenological background) have made (Grosz, 1994), and which de Beauvoir brought to the fore as well as anyone in The Second Sex. We have only briefly alluded to race and its enculturation in the lived-​body. We have not considered at all the aged body, which all of us are increasingly inhabiting. But it is not only a question of what has been left out, and hence what further additions might supplement the analyses offered here. Perhaps the more radical question concerns the singularity of the idea of the (lived) body. Perhaps there are many bodies, with any invariant or universal structures difficult to discern within the putative unity that we assume qua lived or living, or a volatility about them (Grosz, 1994). Without settling these questions, which in our view leave intact the need for phenomenological clarification of the sense of ownership or unity we at least sometimes have in embodied life (even if it is ultimately epiphenomenal), we hope that the itinerary we have sketched is illuminative. These clarifications concerning embodiment are too readily forgotten about in many discussions concerning the body that are reductive in orientation. Although there is a risk of dualism in any reified contrast of Leib and Körper, as well as in the idea of the lived-​body which presupposes a contrast with mere bodies and is expressed in the past tense, the multidimensionality

144    Erol Čopelj and Jack Reynolds of embodiment remains phenomenology’s key contribution. It is a contribution that remains important for research in cognitive science concerning embodied agency, as well as in the health sciences, psychopathology, and beyond.

References Carman, T. (1999). The body in Husserl and Merleau-​Ponty. Philosophical Topics, 27(2), 205–​225. Čopelj, E. (2022). Phenomenological reflections on mindfulness in the buddhist tradition. London: Routledge. Clark, A. (1997). Being there. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Derrida, J. (2005). On touching—​Jean-​Luc Nancy, trans. C. Irizarry. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press. Dillon, M. (1998). Merleau-​Ponty’s ontology (2nd edn). Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Dreyfus, H. (2002). Intelligence without representation—​Merleau-​Ponty’s critique of mental representation. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 1(4), 367–​383. Gallagher, S. (2005). How the body shapes the world. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Gallagher, S. (2017). Enactivist Interventions. Oxford OUP. Gallagher, S., Butterworth, G., Lew, A., & Cole, A. (1998). Hand-​mouth coordination, congenital absence of limb, and evidence for innate body schemas. Brain and Cognition, 38(1), 53–​65. Grosz, E. (1994). Volatile bodies: Towards a corporeal feminism. Sydney: Allen and Unwin. Heidegger, M. ([1927] 1962). Being and time, trans. J. Macquarrie & E. Robinson. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd. Heinämaa. S. (2021). On the transcendental undercurrents of phenomenology: The case of the living body. Continental Philosophy Review, 54, 237–​257. Henry, Michel. (1975). Philosophy and phenomenology of the body, trans: Girard Etzkorn. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff. Husserl, E. (1960). Cartesian meditations, trans: Dorion Cairns. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff. Husserl, E. (2014). Ideas for a Pure Phenomenology and for a Phenomenological Philosophy (Vol. I), trans. Daniel O. Dahlstrom. Indianapolis: Hackett Husserl, E. (1989). Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and to a Phenomenological Philosophy (Vol. II). Studies in the Phenomenology of Constitution, trans. R. Rojcewicz & A. Schuwer. Dordrecht: Kluwer. Husserl. E. (2001). Logical investigations (Vol. 1), trans. J. N. Findlay. London and New York: Routledge. Levin, D. M. (1990). The body’s recollection of being. London: Routledge. Levinas, E. (1969). Totality and infinity, trans. A. Lingis. Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne University Press. Merleau-​Ponty, M. ([1945] 1995). Phenomenology of perception, trans. C. Smith. London: Routledge. Merleau-​ Ponty, M. (1964). The visible and the invisible, trans. A. Lingis. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press. Moran, D. (2010). Sartre on embodiment, touch, and the ‘double sensation’. Philosophy Today, 54(Supplement), 135–​141.

Multidimensionality of the Body    145 Ngo, H. (2017). The habits of racism: A phenomenology of racism and racialised embodiment. New York: Lexington. Patočka, J. (1998). Body, community, language and world, trans. E. Kohák. Chicago and La Salle, IL: Open Court. Ratcliffe, M. (2008). Feelings of being: Phenomenology, psychiatry and the sense of reality. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Reynolds, J. (2018). Phenomenology, naturalism and science: A hybrid and heretical proposal. London: Routledge. Reynolds, J. (2020). Embodiment and emergence: Navigating an epistemic and metaphysical and dilemma. Journal of Transcendental Philosophy, 1(1), 1–​25. Reynolds, J. (2022). Merleau-​Ponty and liberal naturalism. In M. De Caro and D. Macarthur (eds.), Routledge handbook to liberal naturalism (pp. 70–​82). London: Routledge. Reynolds, J., & Roffe, J. (2018). Neither/​nor: Merleau-​Ponty’s ontology in the ‘the intertwining /​the chiasm. In A. Mildenberg (ed.), Understanding Merleau-​ Ponty, Understanding Modernism (pp. 100–​14). London: Bloomsbury. Romano, C. (2015). At the heart of reason, trans. M. Smith. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press. Sartre, J-​P. (1962). Transcendence of the ego, trans. Forrest Williams & Robert Kirkpatrick. New York: Noonday Press. Sartre, J-​P. (1995). Being and nothingness, trans. H. Barnes. London: Routledge.Staiti, A. (2016). The relative right of naturalism: Reassessing Husserl on the mind/​body problem. In B. Centi (ed.), Tra corpo e mente. Questioni di Confine (pp. 125–​150). Florence: Le Lettere. Thompson, E. (2007). Mind in life. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Wehrle, M. (2020). Being a body and having a body. Phenomenology and Cognitive Sciences, 19, 499–​521. Wheeler, M. (2005). Reconstructing the cognitive world. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Wilson, R. (2004). Boundaries of the mind. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Chapter 7

T he Self in th e Worl d The Hermeneutic Phenomenology of Paul Ricoeur Paul Savage and Henrika Franck

7.1  Introduction Paul Ricoeur’s rich thinking and production on narrative, time, identity, selfhood, and ethics has inspired many Management and Organization Studies (MOS) scholars to draw on his work (Boje, 2014; Rowlinson, Hassard, & Decker, 2014; Mena, Rintamäki, Fleming, & Spicer, 2016; Luhman, 2019; Cunliffe & Ivaldi, 2020). We think that one reason for Ricoeur’s ‘usefulness’ in understanding phenomena in management and organization is his refusal to apply strict yardsticks, measures, or standards to life, and in extension to organizational life. Ricoeur allows us, at least to some extent, to get a handle on that which is within, that which comes from beneath, and allows us to make sense of the problems we are experiencing. Throughout his life, he worked with the subjective self as it is in ongoing tension with others and with institutions. In MOS we are by default embedded in an institutional setting, and at the same time disrupted by, and disrupting, that setting. As scholars, we often need to abstract from individual experiences in order to make general conclusions. However, this might overlook an awareness of experience, particularly when we talk about identities or ethics, where personal and subjective expressions become concretized in institutional settings. Ricoeur gives us a means to interpret the abstract and the concrete in the constant interaction between the particular and the general. Prior to World War II, Paul Ricoeur studied philosophy at the University of Rennes and then at the Sorbonne, both in France. He was drafted into the French army at the beginning of the war, was captured, and remained a prisoner of the Germans from 1940 to the end of the war in 1945. While in the various prison camps, he began translating Husserl’s Ideas I from German into French, and this then led him, after the war, to his doctorate and professorship at the University of Strasbourg up to 1956. Starting in 1954 he began regularly lecturing in North America, and was a professor of theological

Hermeneutic Phenomenology of Paul Ricoeur    147 philosophy at the University of Chicago from 1970 to 1992. In 2005, he passed away at the age of 92.

7.2  Ricoeur and Phenomenology Paul Ricoeur’s first major project after World War II was to explore a philosophy of the will, laid out in three volumes, of which the third was never written. The first volume, his doctoral dissertation published in French in 1950, was entitled Freedom and Nature: The Voluntary and the Involuntary (1966). As the title suggests, it focused on our experiences within a world that we can affect, and which can affect us. In this opening work, Ricoeur begins to articulate the approach we see repeated over and over in his writing, namely, ‘to integrate legitimate antagonisms and to make them bring about their own surpassing’ (Ricoeur, 2013: 3). He keeps returning to the dialectic between the particular and the general, as well as ideas of the self, subjectivity, and the world, built as they are upon complementarity rather than opposition. Understanding is the goal of philosophy, in his view, and presupposes that philosophy arises out of the real world of experience. The second and third volumes, if they can be called that, are understood to be, Fallible Man (1965) and The Symbolism of Evil (1967), published ten years later in his native French. (There is some confusion over whether these two books together encompass what was originally outlined to be the second volume of Freedom and Nature; and, if so, Ricoeur had moved on before a third volume was written.) In Freedom and Nature: The Voluntary and the Involuntary, Ricoeur explores phenomenology built in part upon the proposal that ‘all consciousness is a consciousness of ’ an object (Ricoeur, 1966: 6). This connection between consciousness and the object that is being thought of, is labelled as ‘intentionality’, a term familiar to students of Husserl and, prior to him, Brentano (2012). There is always intentionality in our experiences of the world because those experiences arise in our consciousness as a relationship between perception and perceived—​it is in this sense that perception intends the perceived. Clearly, this meaning of the word ‘intention’ is different from how we normally use it in daily life, as it does not refer to motivation, aim, or purpose. Instead, it is the connection between, for example, loving and that which is loved, or thinking and the thought. Ricoeur goes on by examining claims to knowledge, particularly objects of knowledge, or, in other terms, objective knowledge. How do we know that we can make those claims? He begins by way of Descartes’ ‘Cogito ergo sum’. Here, we recognize that we are able to make knowledge claims because we know that we exist, but in this case, perception intends a perceived object that is the self. Does knowledge become subjective when the object and subject are one and the same? While this is an epistemological exercise, it is also a metaphysical one due to the inclusion of a subject that knows it exists in reality. If it is not reality, then it is not existence and cannot be thinking. This duality of the self as subject and object comes up again in regard to

148    Paul Savage and Henrika Franck other people as they are both objects of our perception and subjects in their own right, perceiving and having being. This exercise is the opening to his work on the will and a foundation upon which he constructs his view of the capable human, able to act and to understand the world. The nature of the will is important in our experience of reality, and certainly for understanding ourselves and others, as it is within and upon nature that we freely act as we will. The will has the possibility for antagonisms that Ricoeur instead turns into a complementing of one another—​the voluntary and the involuntary. However, this entails a certain tension between the two. On the one side, the voluntary is expressed in our choices. On the other side, the involuntary is expressed as that which is acted upon, most clearly illustrated by our own body. If phenomena are purely objective, then where is the subject to/​through whom things occur? Or, if experience is purely subjective is there anything outside the self acting upon the subject or being acted upon? In response to this polarization, Ricoeur outlines the threefold nature of the voluntary as: deciding to act, choosing what act, and consenting to the world as that which is acted with and upon. The third step, consenting, helps us see the voluntary in relation to the involuntary, by affirming that we decide through our being in the world, we choose and ultimately act through the body, and we choose to act upon the world which is also regulated outside of our voluntary control. In this way, we can see that the voluntary only has meaning because of the involuntary, as the former consents to the latter, and the latter is only involuntary in the light of voluntary action. We see the limitations of freedom as we are free to decide and to choose, yet only able to act through the body and in a world beyond our total control. As Ricoeur offers, ‘[t]‌here is no phenomenology of the purely involuntary, but rather a reciprocity of the voluntary and the involuntary’ (Ricoeur, 2016: 62). Phenomenology entails thus an incarnate, embodied self, acting within reality wherein we cannot fully separate the phenomenon from the self who experiences. (Here, too, we see a type of intentionality as discussed previously, in the relationship between choosing to act and consenting to the world. One intends the other.) In this way, it becomes apparent that experience is not the only component of a phenomenon. Analysis is also present, as we analyze how we experienced something (I felt, I heard, I saw, etc.), situating events in categories (feelings, sounds, sights, etc.). Furthermore, this analysis distinguishes the components of experience—​the thinker, the act of thinking, and the thought—​arising naturally from the previously mentioned ‘intentionality’, as experience requires a subject; experience happens to someone. Having thus positioned phenomenology with its complementary parts of experience and analysis, Ricoeur leans towards language even more than previously. ‘Applied to the current in philosophy from which I came, this linguistic turn signified the passage from a phenomenology [ . . . ] to a hermeneutics with a focus on language’ (Ricoeur, 1981: 8). Thus began an arc that would bring Ricoeur to an approach that would help us interpret both the particular and the general experience of the world.

Hermeneutic Phenomenology of Paul Ricoeur    149

7.3  Hermeneutic Phenomenology Hermeneutics is not a reflection on the human sciences, but an explication of the ontological ground upon which these sciences can be constructed. (Ricoeur, 1981: 15)

In the 1960s, Ricoeur’s focus shifted from a hermeneutical phenomenology to hermeneutics and discourse. Perhaps as a response to the academic environment in France at the time, populated as it was by psychoanalysis and the emerging structuralism and post-​modernism, he wrote Freud and Philosophy: An Essay on Interpretation (1970). This stage of his work focused on Freud’s ideas from the perspective of discourse—​not from the practice of psychoanalysis. Briefly, as Ricoeur had already been looking at decentring the subject in phenomenology, he saw that Freud was also decentring the subject. The difference here was Freud’s limitation (in Ricoeur’s view) that the subject we first encounter is probably a false self, which leads to uncertainty in terms of who is seeing the self. Pointing out the weakness in Freud’s discourse of approaching the self with the suspicion that there is another deeper, hidden self, requires nonetheless a type of faith, a hermeneutics of faith or truth. If nothing is the way it appears, it requires an assumption that there is a pre-​existing structure that we can reference for truth. Here, Ricoeur points to a hermeneutics of suspicion in Freud’s work of uncovering the hidden. In contrast, he offers an accompanying hermeneutics of faith that seeks to give back meaning to the self we encounter. In closing, Ricoeur suggests that Freud’s discourse on instincts, habits, and norms can, in a roundabout way, lead us back to self-​consciousness again through a hermeneutics of suspicion that challenges us to understand what lies behind. With the introduction of language as a system of interrelated signs apart from any external meaning, structuralism began to make headway in other fields of the social sciences during the 1960s and 1970s, particularly through the work of Lévi-​Strauss. In response to structuralist claims to being a scientific method, Ricoeur elaborated on the need to include traditions and, perhaps more importantly, time, in how meaning changes. Structuralism, as Ricoeur understood its early explications, is not able to fully grasp symbols and signs, in part, because symbols have origins in time through discourse. By the same token, Ricoeur pointed to a pre-​existing language that must exist before we can structure a system of interrelated signs—​much like the box image that guides a person to assemble a table-​top puzzle with the individual pieces fitting together. However, where this metaphor of the puzzle fails is that each symbol, sign, or word can mean more than any one thing—​they are polysemic. Discourse is not simply language or speech, but both of those within time and infused with potential meaning beyond the structure. He will come back to the aporias that time presents. Ricoeur continued exploring structure and being—​encompassing the subject-​object pair in relation to the world—​as textual beings. He describes textuality as how language

150    Paul Savage and Henrika Franck is made real in a structured way, encompassing speech and text to project a world, a representation of our world, and how this in turn helps us understand ourselves (1981). Clearly, then, written text is a small part of what he labels textual. Discourse is textual in that it carries meaning beyond the words themselves. Interpretation presupposes language as the means to explain (to ourselves and to others) and to understand experience. Speaking and writing are subjective acts that project or refer to a world outside of the speaker or writer, but nonetheless help us by means of reference to objectivity. Discourse has at its core a distanciation—​the distance between the event (in time) and its meaning, but also between the sense and reference of the words and sentences. The sense is simply what the individual words mean on their own, in a constant relationship of definition with other words as structuralism offers in part; while reference is that object or intention to which the words are directed through discourse—​the world of the text with its abundance of meaning that is the catalyst to interpretation.

7.4  Metaphor, Time, and Narrative How Ricoeur sees human beings as textual beings informs much of his work. It is through text that we can express how we see the world and ourselves in that world, but also that text influences the world. The text informs us also on how to understand the world in this dialectic of the Self as Same and Other, which we will come to in a moment. Moving away from the practice of bracketing, frequently associated with Husserl’s work, Ricoeur challenges transcendental phenomenology with its ideal subject—​a subject that is not enmeshed in the world—​an isolated ego. Rather, his hermeneutic phenomenology positions the subject in relation to the object, within the complexity of the world. To interpret phenomena requires the ability to express what is happening, at least to oneself, which leads Ricoeur to see hermeneutic phenomenology as presupposing a fullness of language. Because language is received from others, insofar as we do not create our language as children—​we are given and develop our language by/​through family, culture, education—​then our interpretations and explanations are dependent upon others and interwoven in relation to others. Understanding requires explanation which moves us from understanding somewhat, through the pre-​requirements of language, to understanding more, which then also adds to and informs our language. Having previously articulated two types of hermeneutics, of suspicion and of faith/​ truth, Ricoeur demonstrates how these are revealed in figurative discourse—​a type of discourse that expresses more than the literal meaning of the words. Ricoeur points out that ‘it is the very excess of meaning in comparison to the literal expression that puts the interpretation in motion’ (1970: 19). An ideal type of figurative discourse is metaphor, which compares two objects for the purpose of saying more than what the individual parts are saying. Here, as language begins to meet its own limitations with literal descriptions of the world as it is, metaphor offers possibilities to express truths of reality as it could or should be, through new combinations (Ricoeur, 2004). For example,

Hermeneutic Phenomenology of Paul Ricoeur    151 while it is not literally true that a marriage is on its last legs (because it has no legs), the truth about the state of the relationship arises in the comparison between a relationship and a biological body with legs. The comparison assumes an understanding of the separate parts (marriage and legs) but offers an innovation in meaning—​a semantic innovation—​‘to bring to light new aspects of reality’ (Ricoeur, 2004: 344). In this way, we can understand metaphorical discourse as causing interpretation due to an excess of meaning, not a lack of meaning, within language. This too requires us to bring both suspicion and faith to bear on discourse as we suspect the lack of similarity but have faith in the comparison. Although not something we will explore deeply, metaphor as a heuristic fiction—​using what is not real to interpret reality (marriages with legs?)—​ redefines reality through a deviation from the purely literal meaning. Literal (or historical) narratives and fictional narratives guide our interpretations of reality in two ways. The former refers to what is possible today due to our understanding of what can and cannot be done within the framework of past human experience. On the other hand, fictional narratives propose another world that offers insight and truth about our real world including possible futures—​and in this respect, ‘our existential time is shaped by the temporal configurations that history and fiction together establish’ (Ricoeur, 1984: 158). Insofar as existential time—​the time of phenomena—​incorporates experience and analysis, as previously discussed, we invoke the past to understand ‘what is’, and we invoke the future (as fiction) to explain how ‘what is’ could be different. Ricoeur approaches time through both the particular and the general, reflecting Augustine’s subjective and Aristotle’s objective positioning that reveals a puzzle about time that, in his view, ultimately cannot be solved. Time is general as cosmic time gathers all phenomena, regardless of meaning, within its boundaries. Time is particular as lived time positions phenomena, with varying meanings, in a constant now that becomes past. What brings cosmic time and lived time together is narrative as discourse—​as having a plot that references both the particular and the general. Time becomes the present location of narrative because discourse is a present act, and narrative becomes the location of time as past, present, and future are explained and understood. Ricoeur’s process of constructing narrative encompasses what he refers to as a mimetic cycle (1984: 54), a process that leads from ‘imperfect knowledge to anagnorisis, or recognition’ (Dowling, 2011: 16). The first stage is prefigured time (Mimesis 1), that collection of meanings, stories, fragments of stories, and events that are as yet unarranged. However, this stage assumes a pre-​understanding of language, of action as symbolically mediated, and of temporal states, as we are unable to recall and to assemble these fragments later for our own use without some type of refencing to a pre-​existing structure. Configured time (Mimesis 2) is a temporal bridge, concerned with emplotment, a phase in which stories, fragments, symbols, references, metaphors, etc., are selected, collected, and ordered with purposeful agency. It is here that narratives are constructed in a present time in reference to the past, present, and future. Cosmic time, in which all actions occur equally, becomes human time as it occurs to me, to us, to the narrator. (We will return to cosmic time in a later section.) Historical and fictional narrative have these two preceding steps in common. Where they diverge is in refiguration (Mimesis 3), that

152    Paul Savage and Henrika Franck moment when a narrative constructed from the mass of experiences and stories, having been ordered through emplotment, is then communicated to another (or oneself) for the purpose of understanding the present world. Historical narratives make explicit claims to truth about this world (Ricoeur, 1985: 3) while ‘every work of fiction, whether verbal or plastic, narrative or lyric, projects a world outside of itself ’ (Ricoeur, 1984: 5). As such, fictional narratives can project similitudes to truth, or may be assemblages of truth, but are so as ‘referential illusions’ (Ricoeur, 1984: 79). They do not refer, as do historical narratives, to actual things past, but rather to possible things of an outside, non-​real world, and thereby construct an illusion of transferability across the horizon of reality and fiction. Refiguration, whether historical or fictional, is a refiguration of the self through narrative as we experience recognition. This is not the simple recognition of oneself as a person able to act, but rather of oneself ‘indirectly by way of the detour through the cultural signs of all sorts that make us say that action is symbolically mediated’ (Ricoeur, 2016: 240). I am refigured, or changed, as I recognize the world with greater understanding and recognize myself as other than I was prior to this greater understanding. In a very banal way, this is clear when we say, ‘I wish I knew then what I know now’. Table 7.1 summarizes the action inherent in each of the three stages of the mimetic cycle—​prefiguration, configuration, and refiguration. In addition, we have articulated an assumption that each stage makes, in an attempt to balance the subject-​ object within the plane of the personal and the general. This narrative mimetic cycle is also foundational to understanding how we build our identity, in relation to time and to others. As mentioned, time becomes human time through narrative that references past living stories—​fragments told to us and constructed on language given to us. However, time and narrative lead Ricoeur to move further into an understanding of the self through his prior work on hermeneutical phenomenology. Table 7.1 The mimetic cycle Stage




Collecting stories and fragments of stories in one’s memory, consciously or unconsciously.

Living story or fragments require a pre-​ understanding of language but might not have a temporal nature.


Constructing a story from fragments and full memory through emplotment—​a deliberate structure to say something about the self and the world.

Emplotment situates the story in reference to human time—​with a subject in the present of experience.


Telling a story to oneself or another that leads to recognition of why the story is told and what it may say about reality.

The story must have sufficient reference to reality to be understood as a statement about life that subsequently can be added to the prefigured collection of stories one has in one’s memory.

Hermeneutic Phenomenology of Paul Ricoeur    153

7.5  Identity and Ethics If another were not counting on me, would I be capable of keeping my word, of maintaining myself? (Ricoeur, 1994: 341)

In his book Oneself as Another (1994), Ricoeur reflects on the concept of personal identity and develops a hermeneutics of the self. He introduces a key distinction between two kinds of identity in relation to selfhood. Idem identity is the identity of something that is always the same which never changes; ipse identity is oneself as a reflexive structure, as a self that exists by relating to/​through change. Individual identity is formed and re-​formed in a constant interplay between idem and ipse, and selfhood is sustained over time through a constant iteration between idem (sameness) and ipse (otherness). Sameness makes an individual remain the same over time and space: it is the traits that are unique, reidentifiable, and continuous over time (Ricoeur, 1994). Otherness gives the ability to divert and break off; to initiate something new. In selfhood, there is always an overlap between idem and ipse. For example, when there are changes in an individual’s life, both voluntary or otherwise, something in the identity changes but other things stay the same. Sameness could be explained as ‘what we are’ (characteristics, history, traits), whereas otherness expresses ‘who we are’. Otherness is the sense of self that individuals become aware of in interaction with others over time, but also within individuals over time so that change is possible without losing the sense of self. Ricoeur takes promises as an example of the integration between sameness and otherness. When someone makes a promise, they affirm that despite future changes in life, i.e. disruptions of sameness, they will stay firm. Promises are founded on permanence in time, not grounded in sameness, but rather in otherness, because the individual and the world around him/​her have changed over time. This brings out the ethical dimension of the self and invites us to question how we value and prefer one kind of otherness and devalue another; it cannot be ethically neutral. When life around us changes rapidly, otherness rules over sameness, because we need to attest to ourselves that despite changes, something in me will stay the same, and other things will change. This is why the self is always contested, and there is a constant suspicion and doubt. Identity is thus formed through the question: Who am I in relation to my former and future self and others? There is a narrative in identity that needs a continuity of self through time, a reflexivity of the self to others and a treatment of the self as other, which includes, inevitably, a moral evaluation of the self. This reflexivity is triggered by otherness, the potentiality for change. Ricoeur stipulates that ethics are not just a part of social reality, but are integrally related to the power of society and the integration of a collective good life. He argues that an ethical life, ‘the good life’ is anterior to law and is in fact the basis upon which institutional and societal norms are revised. He calls norms morality, whereas ethics is the transcendental basis for identity. Ethics is the way in which the self relates to others

154    Paul Savage and Henrika Franck and otherness, and this is why identity is inherently ethical. It is ethical because it is constituted in the choices we make in each situation and experiencing what is other than, or beyond, ourselves.

7.5.1 Conscience: Otherness within Ourselves The most intimate otherness is that relative to one’s own conscience. Ricoeur finds the idea of conscience as not merely a religious or moral, but also an ontological phenomenon. Conscience can be found in the presence of other people as social values, it can also be found in history and memory, both one’s own and one’s ancestors. For Ricoeur, conscience is not a mere moral phenomenon, as in duties and norms: the demand of our conscience is a profoundly ethical demand, something we live by day to day. Normally, conscience is related to norms; ‘I feel bad because I broke the rule’. But in Ricoeur’s view, this is not the ethical aim—​the reality of conscience goes beyond the norms and the rules; conscience is related to the choices made in each situation. The otherness of conscience is experienced as a demand, a call to do something that is disrupting the current sameness of the self. Conscience is seldom a clear voice—​there is a multiplicity of voices present in conscience, as well as among the others around us. The otherness of conscience balances between listening to external otherness and to one’s own conscience, and judging which voices to consider. Ricoeur can be criticized for being too optimistic. It is hard not to see in this the idea of an ontological regeneration through forgiveness or, indeed, the Christian idea of redemption through forgiveness. But when conscience is regarded not as a moral phenomenon, but first and foremost as an ethical demand from the other, something every action is mirrored through, it becomes a process. There is no endpoint or final answer, but our conscience wants us constantly to be able to look back on ourselves as having lived a good life. This understanding of the self is valuable to better understand how the good life can be created and recreated, as Ricoeur allows us to make sense of the day-​to-​ day problems we are experiencing. In Ricoeur’s view, ethics is distinct from the moral, and this is where we experience tension. Here Ricoeur offers his notion of practical wisdom: ‘Practical wisdom consists of inventing conduct that will best satisfy the exception required by solicitude, by betraying the rule to the smallest extent possible’ (1994: 269). Where otherness is a part of the ethical dimension in all human collaboration, practical wisdom is the ability to understand the distinctive nature of the other. In his last work, Reflections on the Just (2007), Ricoeur extends the idea of ethics and practical wisdom into justice. He sees a dichotomy between the consistent emphasis on the Aristotelian virtue phronesis (practical wisdom) in specific situations and the Kantian model of ethics defined in terms of impartiality. Ricoeur makes this discussion between teleological and deontological ethics interesting by mediating them through categories of the self, the good life, and the just institution. He finds ethics as an individual’s ongoing experience of choosing how to act in particular situations in the institutional context. So, ethics is not a study of moral

Hermeneutic Phenomenology of Paul Ricoeur    155 norms, but rather a transcendental basis for identity. It is constituted in experiencing the other—​what is beyond oneself—​and it is this that is inherent in the identity of a human being.

7.6  Memory, History, Forgetting It is even said, unkindly, that the old have more memories than the young, but less memory! (Ricoeur, 2004: 22)

Ricoeur’s approach to the phenomenology of memory begins with the nature of memory—​a reflection on memory as capacity and memories as past experiences. His use of the mental image to describe a memory also helps us understand the difference between imagination and memory. The former is a mental image that does not have the representational ontology of ‘having-​been’, but rather as a fiction it expresses what ‘could-​be’, as discussed earlier regarding narrative fiction. The mental images of memories have an ontological status of being in the past, but with an implicit connection to the present, which is being that is about to become past. The experience of a memory, regardless of whether it is spontaneous or sought after (‘Oh that reminds me of x!’ vs. ‘Oh no. Where did I put my keys?’), speaks to our own being as much as it speaks to past events. The division between memory as a capacity and memory as an object leads us to differentiate between the subject who remembers and the object that is remembered. However, the nature of a memory is that we remember in the present—​drawing the memory out of its old context. Much like distanciation within hermeneutics, the context, author, and reader of the original event are other than us, in the present. Surely, we do not change dramatically overnight trying to remember where we put our keys; but the person we were decades ago, the memories ‘inscribed’ in our mind, and the interpreter we were then—​these are other than they are today. Ricoeur then lifts this distance between the past event and the present remembering to discuss collective memory. Ricoeur suggests two positions regarding collective memory and outlines the strengths and shortcomings of each (Leichter, 2012). On the one hand, only individuals have memories, and it is not possible to fully ‘remember’ another’s experience. Therefore, collective memory can be seen as simply the totality of individuals’ memories regarding this or that phenomenon. Ricoeur points out that this ignores the need for social institutions in both understanding and expressing memories. On the other hand, memories occur within frameworks that are intrinsically social—​language being perhaps the primary one—​and therefore collective in that we have inherited language, symbols, myths, and institutions from others. Here is where our memories take on meaning. Collective memory, however, cannot exist without the individual as this would lead to extreme cases in which memories have no subject to whom the phenomenon occurred.

156    Paul Savage and Henrika Franck Historians engage with memory as both the individual and the collective past. Ricoeur explores a threefold practice of history, or historiographical operation, but understands that the phases do not occur one after the other: archiving, evaluating, and writing. History recognizes through its practice the intersubjectivity of our memory, as individual accounts are archived and then evaluated in relation to other accounts, but also in the light of time and ages, and written, rewritten, and edited, as our understanding of the past deepens. The difference between historical and fictional narratives (including efforts to abuse history for political ends) is that the former seeks to produce a faithfully objective account, while the latter does not. That being said, when historians are collecting accounts for archiving, evaluating and critiquing material, and writing history (properly ‘histories’), they do not escape the same dialectic of individual and collective that we see in memory, because it is testimony that grounds history. Here, testimony is purporting to say, ‘I know what happened because I was there’. This brings us back to Ricoeur’s beginnings in hermeneutic phenomenology—​experience as an experience of some ‘thing’, but also of some ‘one’, both of which are situated in social institutions, time, place, and memory. The other side of memory is forgetting. It gives rise to another instance of hermeneutics of suspicion, in that we question the accuracy of memory in light of forgetting—​ and question what it is that is being forgotten. Is the forgotten an event of the past, or is it an incomplete, fuzzy, fading image presently in our mind? The fragility of memory is made apparent as it can be lost as records of the past are not found, as we see in the disappearance of heritage as elders pass away without passing on their histories and language to the next generations. The fragility is also made apparent in choosing not to remember the unnecessary and the painful. As memory cannot be all-​encompassing of every detail of every moment, it means that we are already selecting what to remember and therefore what we recount narratively to ourselves, as we remember. Having chosen parts of an experience to remember, this means choosing what to forget. This is natural to our process of remembering—​that we unconsciously forget many (seemingly) irrelevant details and give meaning and priority to that which we do remember. However, we see Ricoeur raise three types of forgetting that are abuses of natural memory: blocked, manipulated, and controlled. Blocked memories are those that are suppressed due to trauma or shock of some kind, and may require therapy to remember. Manipulated memories, however, are attempts to change memories through recounting other aspects of an experience for ideological purposes, as we see so often in reference to Afghanistan and the reasons given for military intervention by the USA and their allies. Anecdotally, a relative of one of the authors told us about their military service in Afghanistan, saying, ‘I went to build schools for girls. The military was just the company I chose to do that with’. This was in response to the question, ‘Do you think the Canadian military should be fighting in Afghanistan?’. As we discussed in the Mimetic Cycle, by choosing different components in living memory (M1) we are able to change the plot of a narrative (M2), including a memory, and thereby present a ‘historical’ event with a new meaning (M3). One way to counteract this abuse is through the critique of the ideology leading to the selection and emplotment of the story components. Lastly, controlled forgetting has its correlation in controlled memory, in the form of sanctioned commemoration—​for

Hermeneutic Phenomenology of Paul Ricoeur    157 example, that we commemorate the end of a war, or the role of fathers on Father’s Day. In the same way, controlled forgetting, as Ricoeur points out, is the sanctioned lack of remembering. His example is instances of amnesty or pardon. Here, governments, councils, tribunals, or peace negotiators state that the past may not be brought up—​ past injuries, insults, and atrocities. This is done to maintain peace after war. It is also to maintain peace where remembering might lead to the overthrow of current powers. History echoes the mimetic cycle in that it first collects prefigured stories (oral or written content) that are archived. These prefigured components refer to past objects or phenomena that are made present through memory and forgetting. In the evaluating stage of the historiographical operation, a configuring takes place under the guidance of a plot or an intention (for example, to give an objective account of the past) and some of the archive is discarded or ignored as irrelevant to this current intention. In the final stage of this operation, history is written and read, refiguring the past in the present—​a step that incorporates the original past reference into the living story of the reader—​ creating a new memory and a new reference to anchor explanation and understanding.

7.7  Ricoeur in Management and Organization Studies As we wrote in the Introduction (Section 7.1), Ricoeur has inspired many MOS scholars in our endeavour to understand organizational life and its tensions between particular, subjective experiences and generalizable institutional understandings. His work inspires and helps us to understand, for instance, the temporality of identity work in entrepreneurship, something that Ericson & Kjellander (2018) explore through the story of Olle Andersson. They follow Olle Andersson’s path through his life from when he was a young adult to his retirement, with his development through social relationships in different roles towards different people. Ericson & Kjellander avoid generalizations and manage to tease out Olle’s becoming through time, through the Ricoeurian tensions between idem and ipse, between self and other, between the particular and the general. Mallett & Wapshott (2011) also take on the challenges of identity through developing a Ricoeurian approach to identity work in organizations. They explore the threefold mimetic process of pre-​, con-​, and refiguration of self-​reflexive mediating within an organizational context, and demonstrate how this idea of Ricoeur’s can help people deal with various occupational roles. Cunliffe & Ivaldi (2020) use a hermeneutic narrative methodology to explore embedded ethics within a non-​profit organization. They use Ricoeur’s work on the capable human in order to illustrate embedded ethics, and to demonstrate how ethics is ‘lived’ through enacted values in specific contexts. In her earlier work, Cunliffe (2009) has drawn on Ricoeur’s idea of individual responsibility and the hermeneutic emphasis on the self in relation to others in order to reframe leadership and leadership training. She introduces phenomenological philosophy to leadership, and demonstrates how a

158    Paul Savage and Henrika Franck leader can learn to mediate between self and the other, not just the world or another person, but also the other who is an integral part of who we are ourselves. Rhodes, Pullen, & Clegg (2010) draw on Ricoeur’s narrative and ethics in relation to organizational downsizing. Using a Ricoeurian lens, they problematize the presence of dominant narratives, as they tend to diminish ethical deliberation and responsibility. They bring light to the problematic connections between dominant narratives and open ethical questioning, and offer ways to avoid narrative closure. In their work on organizational memory, Rowlinson et al. (2010) use Ricoeur’s work on memory, history, and forgetting in an attempt to reorient historical and sociological studies within MOS to appreciate specific historical conditions and particularities. Spee & Jarzbkowski (2011) use Ricoeur’s concepts of decontextualization and recontextualization, and explicate strategic planning activities as being constituted through the hermeneutic, i.e. iterative and recursive relationship of talk and text. Cunliffe, Luhman, & Boje (2004) explore narrative temporality and how alternative presuppositions about time can lead to different narrative ways of researching and theorizing organizational life. Based on Ricoeur’s work in Time and Narrative, they restory narrative research in organizations as Narrative Temporality. Boje (2014) takes narrative temporality further by introducing concepts from quantum physics to change management theories, particularly with his work on ante-​narrative and quantum storytelling. Ricoeur’s ideas on narrative and temporality are also put into play by our own work on organizations as fictions (Savage et al., 2018), where we tease out new coordinates to approach organizations as fictions. In terms of the historical turn in organizational studies, Rowlinson et al. (2014) apply Ricoeur’s work to diminish the divide between MOS and historical theory, offering several alternatives to current approaches that limit both historical theory and organizational history. This is reiterated in Godfrey et al. (2016) when they encourage MOS scholars ‘to engage with history as historiography, and as a sense of the past’ (p. 606), as historical beings. In addition to these examples, in response to narratives surrounding corporate social responsibility (CSR), Mena et al. (2016) refer to Ricoeur’s work on organizational memory and forgetting in light of what must be forgotten when legitimizing CSR. These are only a few of the examples of how Ricoeur’s work is used in MOS. His value to organizational studies is that he reveals an inherent tension in the human condition in the institutional setting. He helps us configure the organization in its ordinariness, and allows us to resist the push for objectivity or predictability. Ricoeur’s ideas help us to understand organizations in a way that is neither collective nor individual, but rather as a tension between the self and the other, between the particular and the general.

7.8  Summary Ricoeur’s early work started from an attempt to clarify the phenomenology of the will so as to understand subjectivity and the self. Bringing the subject back into the object

Hermeneutic Phenomenology of Paul Ricoeur    159 of the event led him to propose his hermeneutic phenomenology, adding to our understanding of phenomenology as both experience and analysis. This analysis presupposes language as the means to interpret what is happening around us. Also, to have experience we must have a particular self to whom it transpires. Language and being become enmeshed. With the rise of structuralism and its application to a broad range of human sciences, Ricoeur shifted to his most famous work related to time and to narrative, namely, from subjective and objective time to narrative time, and ultimately human time. This continuation of his work into the self and the world, as both subject and object, brought him to reflect on identity and the ethical self. Again, avoiding the bracketed self of Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology, Ricoeur recognized the role institutions play in our lives. Lastly, memory speaks to the recurring theme of the particular and the general again. Individuals have memories, but only through others, through given culture and language, do we interpret those memories for our own understanding. Paul Ricoeur was a prolific writer from the 1940s until his passing in 2005. His lectures and over 500 published essays continue to be translated and republished in collections, and we have only touched on his major themes in this chapter. There is still much about management and organization that we do not fully understand, and in this Ricoeur’s work could be of benefit. Particularly, we see several areas for future research in technology-​driven fields such as decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO), education and personal development, government and civil institutions, and virtual work and worlds, to name but a few. In each of these and many more, we need to understand what is needed to create an experience of ‘the good life with and for others in just institutions’ (Ricoeur, 1994: 180).

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160    Paul Savage and Henrika Franck Luhman, J. T. (2019). Reimagining organizational storytelling research as archeological story analysis. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, 14(1), 43–​54. Mallett, O., & Wapshott, R. (2011). The challenges of identity work: Developing Ricoeurian narrative identity in organisations. Ephemera: Theory & Politics in Organization, 11(3), 271–​288. Mena, S., Rintamäki, J., Fleming, P., & Spicer, A. (2016). On the forgetting of corporate irresponsibility. Academy of Management Review, 41(4), 720–​738. Rhodes, C., Pullen, A., & Clegg, S. R. (2010). ‘If I should fall from grace . . .’: Stories of change and organizational ethics. Journal of Business Ethics, 91(4), 535–​551. Ricoeur, P. (1965). Fallible man. Chicago: Henry Regnery. Ricoeur, P. (1966). Freedom and nature: The voluntary and the involuntary (Vol. 1). Chicago: Northwestern University Press. Ricoeur, P. (1967). The symbolism of evil. Boston: Beacon Press. Ricoeur, P. (1970). Freud and philosophy: An essay on interpretation. New Haven, NJ: Yale University Press. Ricoeur, P. (1981). Hermeneutics and the human sciences: Essays on language, action and interpretation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ricoeur, P. (1984). Time and narrative (Vol. 1). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Ricoeur, P. (1985). Time and narrative (Vol. 2). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Ricoeur, P. (1994). Oneself as another. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Ricoeur, P. (2004). The rule of metaphor: The creation of meaning in language. London: Routledge. Ricoeur, P. (2007). Reflections on the just. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Ricoeur, P. (2013). Hermeneutics: Writings and lectures. Cambridge: Polity. Ricoeur, P. (2016). Philosophical Anthropology. Cambridge: Polity. Rowlinson, M., Booth, C., Clark, P., Delahaye, A., & Procter, S. (2010). Social remembering and organizational memory. Organization Studies, 31(1), 69–​87. Rowlinson, M., Hassard, J., & Decker, S. (2014). Research strategies for organizational history: A dialogue between historical theory and organization theory. Academy of Management Review, 39(3), 250–​274. Savage, P., Cornelissen, J. P., & Franck, H. (2018). Fiction and organization studies. Organization Studies, 39(7), 975–​994. Spee, A. P., & Jarzabkowski, P. (2011). Strategic planning as communicative process. Organization Studies, 32(9), 1217–​1245.

Chapter 8

Phe nomenol o g y a nd t h e P ol itical Phil o s oph y of Hannah A re ndt Lucie Chartouny

8.1  Introduction To quote Arendt at a conference or to include her in the footnotes of an essay seems to be a rather provocative choice when working in management and organization studies. It is as if her work—​which cannot be understood without taking into account the rise of fascism in her native Germany and the Holocaust that followed—​is not totally relevant for our concerns, or that it is misunderstood. It can indeed seem surprising, at first glance, to quote in management someone who seems so critical about labour; it is also very tempting to see the banality of evil around every corner in companies, and by doing so making it lose all its revelatory power. Also, to refer to Arendt is to take the risk of always being brought back to her relationship with Heidegger. However, these ‘risks’ are worth taking, so important to us is Arendt’s political philosophy and its capacity to enlighten management and organization studies today. We believe that this acuity of her political philosophy for our time and our studies lies in its phenomenological character. Indeed, her use of phenomenology elevates her political philosophy to a status far above that of a simple tool with which to create practical policy. Arendt’s theory is above all an imagination of politics (Revault d’Allones, 2001), with the brilliance and contradictions that go with it. Her phenomenological method is that of a journalist-​detective (Tassin, 2018) whose quest is for freedom, or rather the conditions for the appearance of it: conditions not fulfilled in our modern societies. She chose to describe how freedom can appear. This description is phenomenological as it is not a prelude to which she will add explanations, even though she refers a lot to phenomena of the past, to history. We think that her phenomenological description is more

162   Lucie Chartouny effective than any explanation to prompt her readers to wake up and make them want to be free again. Arendt wrote before 1975 and the economic, social, technical, and organizational upheavals that mark our present. However, when reading Between Past and Future or The Human Condition, we get the impression that not only is it our society that Arendt is commenting on, but that her insights are essential for confronting our current crises. A crisis, she says, forces us to create something new, in order to be able to understand and think again, because we can no longer move forward using our usual tools and paths. It therefore consists of a break with tradition; we can only remain linked to the past through ‘pearls’ or ‘fragments’ of it (Benjamin et al., 2007: 51). Only through this recomposition of the world from fragments of the past can we enlighten our present, and that includes management and organization theory. Our belief is that it is because Arendt’s political philosophy is phenomenological that it is so relevant to us: we will detail this through an elaboration of the key aspects of her political philosophy. Our work connects with the study of management and organizations on various level. Arendt’ phe­nomenological disclosure of humanity is of great help to us as we rethink our social identities, which are today still defined by our employment while we are simultaneously evolving into a ‘society of laborers without labor’ (Arendt, 198: 5). Second, the centrality of beginnings and plurality in her philosophy can be of great help to clarify the overused expression ‘living together’—​and perhaps even allowing us to replace it by ‘beginning together’. Lastly, the connection she describes between truth, events, and time is of interest to us as we urgently feel the need to create new narratives—​inside and outside the enterprise—​in order to deal with societal and environmental issues. Arendt cannot be fully understood without situating her thoughts in history. She was born in 1906 in Hanover, Germany, into a German Jewish family. She studied philosophy with Martin Heidegger and Karl Jaspers and completed her thesis under the direction of the latter. Her doctoral thesis was on the concept of love according to St Augustine (1928). She fled Germany for France in 1933, where she became secretary to the Baroness of Rothschild. After an internment in the Gurs camp, she left Europe with her second husband and went into exile in America in 1941 on an ‘emergency visa’. She arrived in the United States with only US$25 and learned English while staying with an American family in Massachusetts. She was then able to write directly in English and translated some of her writings into German herself. During the war, she wrote political texts in a German Jewish magazine; in New York, she taught at Princeton and became a professor at the New School in 1968. Her major publications include The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951), The Human Condition (1958), and her articles in The New Yorker on the trial of the Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann. Political and historical events are at the heart of her writings and thoughts, making her philosophy political. To begin with, we will describe how the phenomenological revelation of individuals gives them their humanity (Section 8.2). Then, we will present how political experience is the experience of a plurality of beginnings (Section 8.3). Eventually, we will study how Arendt creates a method for dealing collectively with events through storytelling, so that we can continue to begin (Section 8.4).

Phenomenology and the Political Philosophy    163

8.2  Phenomenological Revelation Gives Individuals Their Individuality Arendt’s political philosophy finds its roots in the need to act and think again after totalitarianism and to prevent it from coming back. To do so, she addressed philosophy and politics through phenomenology. Individuals reveals their humanity through appearing in front of others through speech. The public realm is that of the disclosure of people.

8.2.1 Addressing Philosophy and Politics through Phenomenology Arendt called herself a political theorist rather than a philosopher. This ambivalence illustrates her questioning of the relationship between politics and philosophy. She questioned politics throughout her life: rather than trying to determine and describe what politics means, she wondered if politics still has a meaning (Arendt, 2005). But she also questioned philosophy and distanced herself from it because she understood the anti-​political aim of it (Revault d’Allones, 2001: 16:43). Arendt accused philosophy of being out of the world: Essentially, philosophy from Plato to Hegel was ‘not of this world,’ whether it was Plato describing the philosopher as the man whose body only inhabits the city of his fellow men, or Hegel admitting that, from the point of view of common sense, philosophy is a world stood on its head. (Arendt, 1961: 23)

For her, thinking required a ‘withdrawal from the world as it appears and a bending back [ . . . ] where are we when we think?’ (Arendt, 1998:109−10). This creates a disconnection between politics and philosophy, which she illustrated through the trial of Socrates. According to her, this trial is based on a misunderstanding: judged by the citizens of Athens with the traditional tools of politics, Socrates had actually wanted to put philosophy at the service of the city. It is this reconciliation between this withdrawal from the world and political action that interested Arendt: indeed, without it, we risk reproducing our incapacity to ally thinking and acting. It is through phenomenology that this reunification can happen. Indeed, Arendt once said to her students: ‘I am a sort of phenomenologist. But, ach, not in Hegel’s way—​or Husserl’s’ (Young Bruehl, 1982: 405). By focusing on describing what happens, the phenomenological angle allowed her to deal with phenomena via another angle than psychology, faced as she was by real horrors that were (and are) so difficult to explain. To us, Arendt’s phenomenology is existential, and can be related to Ricoeur’s (1957) definition of it based around three

164   Lucie Chartouny ‘melodic cells’: one’s proper body, freedom, and the other. Through this research, we will focus as much as possible on Arendt, without always comparing her to other thinkers. It is however necessary to briefly resituate her works, notably in relation to Heidegger and Husserl, and to Greek and Roman antiquity, in order to understand her phenomenology. From Heidegger’s philosophy, Arendt selected the idea of the existence of a plurality of perspectives but refused to think of human existence based around the question of mortality, organizing her phenomenology instead around natality, the idea of births. Heidegger made the individual ‘not only product but producer of the world’ (Allen, 1982: 176), an idea that we find in Arendt’s phenomenology where humans create our common world through our deeds, words, and durable works. In her description of a world made of a plurality of perspectives, Arendt was inspired by ‘The Origin of the Work of Art’ (1935) which presents for each thing that appears in front of us the object of use (a basket of fruit), the product of consumption (the apple), and the work of art (the painting representing the basket) (Mattéi, 2019: 1:36). However, for Heidegger, beginning is an extraordinary event that takes place in the History of Being. By contrast, Arendt made births political; people are beginners who should begin something new and, ‘natality, and not mortality, may be the central category of political’ (Arendt, 1998: 9). As Husserl’s phenomenology, Arendt used in various aspects the phenomenological idea of the epoché—​the suspension of the world. For Husserl, the epoché related to trust in the objectivity of the world and is theoretical. For Arendt, this epoché was political. It can indeed be a suspension of the existence of the common world between humans, and at the same time about the humanity of the individual, if there is no action. If we chose to mention at the very beginning of our study Arendt’s relationship to a certain ideal in Roman and Greek antiquity, it is because her phenomenology of beginnings is a reply to the crisis of a political tradition that is not valid anymore. This political tradition, strongly related to history, began with Plato and ended with Marx. For her, still, ‘It is [ . . . ] misleading to talk about politics [ . . . ] without drawing to some extent upon the experiences of Greek and Roman antiquity’; for her, no one ever ‘thought so highly of political activity and bestowed so much dignity upon its realm’ (Arendt, 1961: 154). This crisis of the political tradition is at the starting point of Arendt’s political philosophy.

8.2.2 The Revelation of the Individual through Action In order to describe the crisis that affects human’s capacity to act politically, Arendt detailed three stages of the vita activa, or life that is not dedicated to the pure spirit (1998). Life on earth is given to humans in these three non-​exclusive modes, all of which we should be concerned with: labour, work, and action. Arendt described these modes phenomenologically because she seeks to describe the common experience of

Phenomenology and the Political Philosophy    165 those who experience each mode. Each activity represents a facet of humans, although only action allows us to be fully human. Through labour, the human is animal laborans who repeats the biological cycle; through work, he/​she is a homo faber who produces durable things; and through action, a zoon politikon (civic animal). Arendt pointed out that: ‘From the viewpoint of animal laborans, it is like a miracle that it is also a being which knows of and inhabits a world; from the viewpoint of homo faber, it is like a miracle [ . . . ] that meaning should have a place in this world’ (Arendt, 1998: 236). This idea of miracle is phenomenological, because miracles cannot be explained: the description of the phenomenon can tell us more than any attempts to explain why things are as they are. The first activity—​labour—​is that of the biological cycle, which brings us back to mortality. It is a necessary activity aiming at the production of vital necessities linked to the growth and the reproduction of forces. Labour involves endless repetition: ‘laboring always moves in the same circle, which is prescribed by the biological process of the living organism and the end of its “toil and trouble” comes only with the death of its organism’ (Arendt, 1998: 98). It means that humans cannot assume freedom, and our entire humanity, through it, as we are under pressure to meet our basic needs. The realm of labour is nature: labour leaves nothing behind as what is produced is consumed and destroyed. For Arendt, humans must seek to free ourselves from labour, which constrains us and binds us to our bodies. The second activity—​work—​is shaped by humans; it lasts. The homo faber is a craftsman who produces durable objects outside his body, who creates a world where expertise and efficiency reign. ‘Fabrication, the work of the homo faber, consists in reification. [ . . . ] only homo faber conducts himself as lord and master of the whole earth’ (Arendt, 1998: 139). His/her work enables the creation of a common world by establishing a world of things, but one cannot find a phenomenological transcendence through it. A craftsman can produce in his workshop but will then have to go to the market to exchange his goods; the realm of work is social and economic activity. We must clarify that the durability of the manufactured works does not necessarily mean production of solid goods such as furniture: certain works, in particular of art, are fragile but allow us to tell stories and create memories. These stories often take for their object action, the third activity. The third and most important activity of the vita activa—​action—​Arendt’s idea of action can be linked to her vision of citizen’s engagement in Roman and Greek antiquity: to act means to act as a citizen. A person appears in front of others through acting and speaking, through beginning something that was not there before. Speech is crucial because it allows the revelation of unique individual identities. ‘Action and speech are so closely related because the primordial and specifically human act must at the same time contain the answer to the question asked of every newcomer: “Who are you?” ’ (Arendt, 1998: 178). Action is a phenomenon of disclosure of the humanity of the individual, who now exists publicly in front of others as a ‘who’ and not a ‘what’ made of various characteristics.

166   Lucie Chartouny Acting is both irreversible and unpredictable as ‘To act [ . . . ] means [ . . . ] to set something into motion’ (Arendt, 1998: 177). One person does not know what will happen, only that there was a ‘before’ and that there will be an ‘after’ his/​her beginning. At the source of humans’ action does not lie the will but what Arendt called principles. Principles can be ‘honor or glory, love of equality, which Montesquieu called virtue, or distinction or excellence [ . . . ], but also fear or distrust or hatred’ (Arendt, 1961: 152). Arendt lamented that modernity has seen the coronation of the animal laborans over everything else: ‘Whatever we do, we are supposed to do for the sake of “making a living”; such is the verdict of society’ (Arendt, 1998: 126−8). In doing so, we cannot take the risk to begin something anew, to reveal our humanity through action. Remembering that Arendt was a phenomenologist allows us to avoid taking her categorizations as fixed and to remember the place of experience in them, of what is felt by individuals in practising them. The distinctions made by Arendt seem to us all the more useful when we consider, for example, that some people can experience action within their jobs.

8.2.3 Two Realms between Light and Darkness One person needs other people in front of whom he/​she acts. Arendt’s political philosophy cannot be understood without taking into account its collective aspect, but through a collective that does not control but instead reveals the individual. Arendt described two realms that must be distinct: public and private. Far from being fixed and pre-​defined, these are realms of a moment that exist because the relations and actions of humans have created them. The Public Realm Because people appear in front of other people by beginning and speaking, the public realm, which is the one of the political collective, exists. Arendt’s theory is clearly phenomenological as she described the term public through two related but distinct phenomena. The first phenomenon is that everything that appears in public can be seen and heard by all; in the public realm, appearance constitutes reality (Arendt, 1998). Because one can communicate one’s experience, this will be seen and heard by others, the world, and oneself, finds a new reality. The second phenomenon makes the common world, which as we have said is made up of durable things produced by the homo faber, truly common: ‘a world of things is between those who have it in common, as a table is located between those who sit around it; the world, like every in-​between, relates and separates men at the same time’ (Arendt, 1998: 52). For Arendt, things and people find a new reality in the public realm: but the disclosure of things and people is also dependent on the possibility for homo faber to create durable things and stories about the things and the deeds of people of action. We

Phenomenology and the Political Philosophy    167 will see that Arendt’s paradox is solved through humans’ connection to the idea of beginning, and that this is what counts. The Private Realm, the Condition of the Existence of Politics As with the three activities of the vita activa, the different realms are dependent on each other. ‘A life spent entirely in public [ . . . ] becomes [ . . . ] shallow. The only efficient way to guarantee the darkness of what needs to be hidden against the light of publicity is [ . . . ] a privately owned place to hide in’ (Arendt, 1998: 71). Arendt defined the private realm in relation to the idea of private property, of a home where one could be born and die. Contrary to Marx, Arendt insists that the economy remains linked to the oikia, i.e. the household, the private realm. A ‘Naked’ Person Is Not a Person: There Is No Humanity without a Political Community If Arendt wanted some things to remain in the private realm, it was to protect the individual’s humanity. Arendt was critical of the fact that in the modern age, the boundaries between public and private realms have been blurred within the social. In the social, people gather as animal laborans, having lost their capacity for action, and behave like economic agents. What made political life valuable has been lost: this ‘lost treasure’ is ‘public happiness’ (Arendt, 1961: 5). That is, the happiness of being seen speaking and acting with other people. It is the ‘aspiration of the citizen to be the best in any situation’ that found an example in the fight between Hector and Achilles, where each appears and finds full reality there, regardless of the outcome of the fight. (Esposito, 2001). By insisting on the importance of separating the public and private realms, Arendt rejected the integration of pain, which is not communicable, into the private realm. She refused a political-​biopolitics that takes as its object the naked life, the life of those who suffer (Butler, 2012). Arendt did not believe in the rights of a ‘naked’ human being who does not have access to a proper private realm. The camps revealed that a person is not a person when his/​her nature is confined to that of simple, repetitive labour: a person who simply rolls a stone up a hill like Sisyphus is not a person. ‘A man who is nothing but a man has lost the very qualities which make it possible for other people to treat him as a fellow-​man’ and cannot have access to the political community (Arendt, 1994: 300). The (re)construction of humanity can only happen through a political community, through acting in relationship with others, once liberated from necessity. Today, unemployment can show in some respects the fragility of our humanity. When people cannot be defined through their employment, their wage, and their supposed utility for society, they can easily feel pushed out of the web of human relationships (Lecerf, 2001). We have shown how the phenomenology of Arendt is an attempt to explain how people can achieve a new humanity through acting with others conditioned on their access to a private realm. Let us describe now how Arendt’s political philosophy is composed around a phenomenology in which what is absolute is not the things nor the individual consciousness, but the idea of beginning.

168   Lucie Chartouny

8.3  A Political Experience that Is the Experience of a Plurality of Beginnings For Arendt, it is through the idea of beginning that a phenomenological transcendence can be found. We will show that there is not one but many beginnings through various births, which are conditioned on the existence of plurality.

8.3.1 A Phenomenology of Births Arendt had been referring to the theme of the beginning and natality ever since her thesis on St Augustine (1929). Her political philosophy could be described as a politics made of multiple births intertwined, the appearance of each conditioning the existence of others. These multiple births are conditions of the possibility of a non-​totalitarian world. The totalitarian world is a world in which there can be no spontaneous births. ‘Isolated against others by his force’ (Arendt, 1998: 189), the ruler monopolizes all beginnings. The Biological Birth: The Human’s Connection to the Beginning The first birth, the biological one, takes place, like death, in the intimacy of the household. ‘Such appearing is not an act, [ . . . ] it lies absolutely outside the sphere of our conscious control, [ . . . ] simultaneously disturbing and escaping the subject’s sphere of representation’ (Marder, 201: 303). This birth escapes our consciousness but connects us with the idea of beginning. Arendt wrote a lot about childhood, about the education of children, from a perspective that takes up this idea of natality (Arendt, 1961). She urged us to make education a space preserved from labour and work; we should, instead of being focused on ‘knowledge’, revisit the question of the ‘meaning’ of what we teach young people (Holt, 2020: 588). This vision of education is phenomenological: Arendt wanted us to suspend the existence of labour and work through an epoché, in order to enable a student’s capacity to act towards becoming fully effective. The role of the teacher is to amplify the possibilities of the student, to increase his/​her capacities. Arendt’s phenomenological definition of authority is that it is the act of increasing the power of those who are subjected to it, of helping them increase their possibilities to perceive and to appear. The relationship at stake is also phenomenological as it does not require argumentation: ‘the authoritarian order [ . . . ] is always hierarchical. If authority is to be defined at all, then, it must be in contradistinction to both coercion by force and persuasion through arguments’ (Arendt, 1961: 93). Students and teachers are related to each other in an immediate relationship, in which roles are clear; the teacher is not fictive, but someone paving the students’ way to their second birth.

Phenomenology and the Political Philosophy    169 The Second Birth of the Individual It is through action in the public realm that one is born a second time: ‘With word and deed we insert ourselves into the human world, and this insertion is like a second birth, in which we confirm and take upon ourselves the naked fact of our original physical appearance’ (Arendt, 1998: 176−7). We have shown that one gains one’s humanity through action, but this second birth is also how one becomes free: ‘Men are free [ . . . ] as long as they act, neither before nor after; for to be free and to act are the same’ (Arendt, 1961: 153). In Arendt’s thought, freedom is temporal. It cannot be pre-​defined by ceremonies or spaces, or even thought out in advance. (Benhabib, 1993). This second birth is existential. Arendt rejected the idea of an essence of the human: ‘nothing entitles us to assume that man has a nature or essence in the same sense as other things’ (Arendt, 1998: 10). We are not conditioned in our acts; acting is a reply to our first birth, which we do by beginning ourselves. But neither are we the masters of the results of our beginning, which often differs from our intentionality. The Birth of a Web of Human Relationships Politics arises in what lies between men and is established as relationships. (Arendt, 2005: 95)

The establishment of a political community equals a collective birth. We think that this collective birth can be described as a proper political body, made of various ‘who’ revealed in front of the others, as an interpretation of the idea of a proper body claimed by Ricoeur (1957) for existential phenomenology. However, this collective birth is fragile. Action can only take place, ‘Where people are with others and neither for nor against them, that is, in sheer human togetherness’ (Arendt, 1998: 180). This togetherness also excludes. In the Greek city-​state, only free men could appear in public as equals, women and slaves being excluded from their community. We have seen how a person who is nothing but a person, who does not have access to his/​her own proper private realm, is excluded from political life (Section Then can we really, based on Arendt’s philosophy, think of a web of human relationships that is emancipatory for all? In our opinion, Arendt’s intention is not to ontologize the difference between the sexes on the basis of the division between private and public realm. She recognized the dependence of public on private. If some matters must remain private, ‘it is by no means true that only the necessary, the futile, and the shameful have their proper place in the private realm’ (Arendt, 1998: 73). It is rather that some issues are too precious and we should not take the risk of their being taken over by totalitarian governments by appearing in public. In the footsteps of Benhabib (1993), we can connect the birth of a new political community to feminism by revindicating a connection between Arendt’s idea of private realm and Virginia Woolf ’s vision of a ‘room of one’s own’ (2004), which would mean that one needs time and money to be able to act politically and join the web of human relationships.

170   Lucie Chartouny Arendt recognized the fragility of human affairs. The phenomenality of politics is incompatible with an idea of control in politics (Revault d’Allones, 2001). Knowing this, totalitarian systems destroyed the conditions of possibility of a beginning: totalitarianism ‘undercuts the very possibility of possibility’ (Marder, 2013: 314). Even out of totalitarian systems, we may fear that appearances in front of others are not always sincere. Arendt can be seen as overconfident about the fact that people will truly appear in front of others. Let us remember that in phenomenology, people are not perceiving each other through their cultures or pre-​defined categories. Relationships are possible through a primitive and sincere perception of the other; our speech reveals who we are, sometimes against our intentions. If she did not offer any practical solution to this risk related to people’s insincerity, she also thought that the insincere cohabits with the sincere, as political experience lies in plurality.

8.3.2 Phenomenal Plurality against Domination For Arendt, plurality is inherently related to natality, ‘through which the human world is constantly invaded by strangers, newcomers whose actions and reactions cannot be foreseen by those who are already there and are going to leave in a short while’ (Arendt, 1961: 61). By writing about the difference between those who are already there and those who are newcomers, while saying that newcomers should still be able to begin something, Arendt introduced the two main characteristics of plurality: equality and distinction between humans. Equality, because ‘If men were not equal, they could neither understand each other and those who came before them nor plan for the future and foresee the needs of those who will come after them’ (Arendt, 1998: 175). Equality should happen, as we have seen, in the public realm. Her description of equality is temporal: we should also be equal to those who act before and after us. If we should be distinct from them, it is because without distinction, speech and action would not be necessary for people to understand each other (Arendt, 1998). If Arendt was so critical of labour, it is precisely because its collective nature demands the erasure of all consciousness of individuality, and so of distinction. Political experience is this experience of phenomenal plurality. Through it, Arendt managed to ‘give depth back to politics’, the depth which was previously that of philosophy (Revault d’Allones, 2001: 30:00) and that she first had to give up (see Section First, this plurality is the plurality of agents able to begin something and who are distinct. This plurality can be frustrating, uneasy and uncomfortable: ‘It has always been a great temptation [ . . . ] to find a substitute for action in the hope that the realm of human affairs may escape the haphazardness and moral irresponsibility inherent in a plurality of agents’ (Arendt, 1998: 220). We cannot control the action of the agents, linked as they are to the web of human relationships. In a totalitarian system, isolation thus takes place through the destruction of spontaneous social relations (friendships, love affairs, etc.).

Phenomenology and the Political Philosophy    171 Plurality, however, is also a phenomenal plurality of standpoints that can be experienced by one person. It is the plurality of perspectives from which a thing or a person is seen (Arendt, 1998). The common world arises only because there are different perspectives from which a thing or phenomenon can be apprehended (Cerny, 2012). This philosophy of plurality is thus protective of the singularity of the people. The more perspectives there are, the bigger and more open nations will be; this also means that even those who are the cause of the world’s destruction are its victims, losing a ‘power to be affected’ by destroying a singular perspective (Revault d’Allones, 2001: 40:00). It is on this plurality that Arendt based her most concrete descriptions of what a democracy might look like: ‘if only ten of us are sitting around a table, each expressing his opinion, each hearing the opinions of others, then a rational formation of opinion can take place through the exchange of opinions’ (Arendt, 1972: 233). What is important is the possibility of understanding the other, of grasping his/​her perspective in order to be able to continue to dialogue with him/​her. It is our capacity to ‘experience with’ that is at stake, the capacity of each of us to develop our own opinion by taking into account those of others (Allen, 1982). This ‘enlarged mentality’ made of having in mind a plurality of standpoints when making a decision enriches our capacity to act and is at the heart of the building of informed judgements and opinions (Arendt, 1967: 302). It does not have the same definition as empathy, as the latter is too passive (Arendt, 1992) when we should be actively engaged through our perceptions. We’ve shown that at the heart of Arendt’s phenomenology lies the idea that humans can be born a second time through beginning something new, and that the political community is conditioned on the existence of plurality. However, it is only at the heart of revolutions that the appeal for beginnings directly aims at creating the possibilities of freedom: ‘freedom, which only seldom—​in times of crisis or revolution—​becomes the direct aim of political action, is actually the reason that men live together in political organization at all’ (Arendt, 1961: 146). We will show that to achieve a full existence, phenomena—​even the most difficult to describe, as revolutions that start with violence—​must be spoken out loud.

8.4  From the Event to the Storyteller: Narrating Phenomena so that We Can Continue to Begin We cannot understand Arendt’s political philosophy without studying the crisis, the unexpected, the event. There is indeed an interesting tension in her political theory that we will try to reveal, between the need for acting in the vita activa, and the fact that as we cannot control our beginnings, we also need to find ways to cope with what happened before by creating stories from it out of political life. We will first show that events happened, and some events, such as revolutions, can be violent, but they are beginnings.

172   Lucie Chartouny The problem is that beginners today are wandering between past and future. Eventually, Arendt described how events should be told to reconcile reality and a plurality of truths through the role of the storyteller.

8.4.1 Revolution as a Beginning Arendt’s mother took her to a demonstration when she was a child and told her that she was living a historical moment. Perhaps unsurprisingly, therefore, the historical moments studied by her are most often insurrectional events, and often violent—​La commune, May 1968, or the French and American Revolutions. How did she reconcile this thinking of revolution with her defence of the principles of birth and plurality? She did so by referring back to her principal investigation—​that of the conditions of freedom—​and by asking if ‘every revolution is a process of freedom’ in its means, its purpose, and its intentions (Mosna Savoye, 2019: 2:03). A Revolution to Found Freedom Arendt characterized revolution as an event that serves to found freedom: ‘the central idea of revolution, [ . . . ] is the foundation of freedom, that is, the foundation of a body politic which guarantees the space where freedom can appear’ (Arendt, 1963: 125). What matters in revolutionary action is the idea of unfolding into history a beginning, a new story that had never existed before and that even its actors had no idea of a moment before. Here we can better understand Arendt’s criticism of unions: they would never have been revolutionary enough to transform both society and at the same time the political institutions that represented it. They failed to create a new public space with new political norms. How does a revolution take place? There is no destiny, absolute or will of one behind revolutions, contrary to Heidegger’s thesis that history is what happens to us, what is destined for us. ‘in revolutions there is no place for a noumenal, metaphysical entity or will, which would determine from a hidden standpoint [ . . . ] the fateful events surrounding a new beginning’ (Marder, 2013: 317). On the contrary, as with every beginning, it is simply the act of beginning a revolution that makes it a reality: let us recall that for Arendt, the ‘absolute lies in the very act of beginning itself ’ (Arendt, 1963: 204). However, all revolutions cannot achieve the same kind of results. To begin can at first reveal the invisible: for example, Arendt noted that the greatest merit of the French Revolution had been to make visible people who had hitherto been little visible socially, by bringing them to the streets. By saying so, Arendt did not deny her phenomenology: this revolution is a revelation of the diversity of agents. The problem, however, is that the agents were not equal between them. The French Revolution mixed the political—​trying to change the regime—​with social questions—​of inequalities, of poverty—​and it was according to Arendt this mix that was at the source of the terror that followed it: ‘violence pitted against social conditions has always led to terror’ (Arendt, 2017: 58). For political freedom to exist, the social question would have had to have been solved beforehand; here again, those who did not have a proper private realm—​the poorest—​cannot begin; they did not have the freedom to be free.

Phenomenology and the Political Philosophy    173 To be able to make a revolution, one must ‘be free not only from fear but also from want’ (Arendt, 2018: 53). A revolution must first be a liberation from necessity before hoping to achieve freedom; it is only after this that there can be hope for the creation of a new government. What Place for Violence in Revolutions? For Arendt, violence is anti-​political, it is a counterphenomenon. Yet it is at the same time at the very foundations of politics and beginnings. Arendt wrote it in a very transparent way: ‘violence was the beginning and, by the same token, no beginning could be made without using violence, without violating’ (Arendt, 1963: 20). She justified it by recalling how Cain killed Abel or Romulus killed Remus. But for her, violence, by interrupting the flow of life as it was before, also allows another phenomenon to be born, through the emergence of a collective acting together: the public realm. Here is another paradox in Arendt’s philosophy: the idea that ‘politics is essentially contained in the event that constitutes its absolute opposite’ (Esposito, 2001: 167). As we have seen by detailing the various births free people go through, we can assume that what saves political life from violence is that if people can begin, they are also, at the same time, born as beginners, which gives the possibility to newcomers who are not there yet to begin in their turn. Councils to Preserve the Public Freedom Contained in Revolutions We have said that Arendt’s political theory, as a phenomenology, is not practical or explanatory in terms of how to create a functional political system. However, after the violence of the revolution, we can legitimately wonder: what happens? Arendt adopted Tocqueville’s question: once the moment has passed, how to maintain a sense of public freedom among the citizens of a democracy, and prevent them from returning to their private lives, to their former routines (Rolland, 2001)? As detailed above (Section, one of the most concrete results of Arendt’s political phenomenology is her idea to put ten people around a table and make them exchange opinions: Arendt described councils. She referred in particular to the councils of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and presented them as a possible solution to the crisis of representation (Arendt, 1963). The councils also allow us to grasp the concrete functioning of plurality against totalitarianism: it is because there will be disagreements within the councils that they are interesting. Arendt called for a recognition of this type of structure in our democracies.

8.4.2 Replacing the Event in Time: A Beginner Wandering between Past and Future We have seen that in revolutions, a person acts by beginning something that interrupts the circular movement of daily life. But beginnings are not disconnected from the past: many revolutions started as attempts to restore a lost political situation or tradition. A person who begins tries to connect the past and the future, as he/​she ‘always

174   Lucie Chartouny lives in the interval’; for him/​her, ‘time [ . . . ] is broken in the middle, at the point where “he” stands; and “his” standpoint is not the present as we usually understand it but rather a gap in time’ (Arendt, 1961: 11). In describing this, Arendt’s theory is an existential phenomenology organized around a certain vision of a rooting in the instant, but also a temporal epoché. In our modern society, though, an acting person is not sufficient to connect the past and the future. Where beginnings should be enlightened by his/​her understanding of our history, he/​she does not have any ‘testament’ to refer to. Arendt lamented that ‘Notre héritage n’est précédé d’aucun testament’ (Arendt quoting René Char, 1961: 3). Where a will should ensure a continuity between the past and the future, its absence breaks this possibility. ‘Since the past has ceased to throw its light upon the future, the mind of man wanders in obscurity’ (Arendt quoting Tocqueville, 1961: 7). The events are no longer legible; the acting person lacks a vision of what has happened and of what will happen. However, people can draw their beginnings based on the possibility of forgiveness of the past, and on the possibility to make promises for the future (Arendt, 1998)—​promises which are a way to recreate intentionality without presuming any results. This crisis of our understanding interests us, as it is where the complexity of the relationships between events and truth lies. This lack of will worried Arendt, who wanted to understand how to love a world where events have taken place that should not have done (Coquio, 2020) and to describe a path to doing good even after the worst has happened.

8.4.3 Reconciling Reality and Truth Arendt herself wrote: ‘truth and politics are on rather bad terms with each other’ (Arendt, 1967: 295). On the one hand, philosophy seeks to define a truth; on the other, humans face a plurality of perspectives by appearing in front of each other in the breach between past and future (Strauss, 1992, quoted by Revault d’Allones, 2001). It is not surprising that in a political philosophy marked by phenomenology a tension exists. Arendt’s analysis of the myth of the cave (1961) revealed this tension between truth, humans, and political philosophy. The philosopher begins by leaving the cave to search for the true essence of being, without worrying about the applicability of this truth to human affairs; only later, facing the hostility of other humans, does he/​she try to bring his/​her truth closer to ‘standards applicable to the behavior of other people’ (Arendt, 1961: 112). A Truth Made of Plurality To reconcile the vita activa of those in the public realm and its unpredictable events with the idea of a truth that preserves the possibility of beginnings, Arendt again relied on the plurality. This plurality of truths can be experienced by one person: even between the three activities of vita activa, truth differs. According to Marder (2013: 303),

Phenomenology and the Political Philosophy    175 when person’s standpoint is labour, the truth lies in what happens in ‘the ‘now’ of perception’; when it is work, it lies in the encounter between ‘the cognizing intention and its cognized object, as well as of intentionality and lived experience’; as for the truth of action, it is a matter of an existential conception of truth based on those who begin and those who think. But truth must also be connected to plurality because, as we have seen with the idea of enlarged mentality, ‘no one can adequately grasp the objective world in its full reality all on his own, because the world always shows and reveals itself to him from one perspective which corresponds to his standpoint in the world and is determined by it’ (Arendt, 2005: 128). We need the other’s experience and standpoints to enlarge our opinion and truth. This plurality of truth is also to be constructed in our own mind: our capacity to think should allow us to always have truths and their opposites discussed. Arendt blamed modern education for deteriorating our conscientiousness, which has become lazy and too accustomed to evaluation (Holt, 2020). Totalitarian systems play on these limitations: Arendt pointed out that bureaucracy faces citizens with a total loss of factual truth. Several services do the same thing, so that one does not know who to contact; sometimes the person who can provide the service does not even know that he or she can do so (Demont, 2002). Civil Disobedience as a Guarantee of the Truth of the Minority One of the manifestations of the plurality of truths that should exist in political life is civil disobedience. While civil disobedience has often been thought in the literature to be the answer to an individual moral question, Arendt described it as a concerted collective choice (Di Croce, 2018). Like revolutionaries, those who disobey wish to change the world, and so civil disobedience must take place publicly. Those who disobey make up minorities who organize collectively, conscious of opposing the government majority. The fact that they have agreed to act together makes their views convincing (Arendt, 1972). Arendt wanted to institutionalize civil disobedience through a deliberative activity against parliamentary modalities. She insisted on the extra-​legal character of it: civil disobedience is necessary to bring change to laws, and yet this can only take place from outside the legal framework (Di Croce, 2018). Arendt’s political theory is once again about beginnings and how they can emerge without fixed frameworks. The Role of the Truth Teller Thus, when taking into account the plurality of truths, it is not easy for people to tell and access truth. As we have said, some phenomena are complicated to recount; even when we know the factual truth, we can still fail to convey it to others because facts lack transcendence (Arendt, 1967). We are more likely to listen to liars, who want to transform the world through their lies, and thus appeal to our desire for changing reality (Arendt, 1967).

176   Lucie Chartouny In order to solve the crisis of understanding of the acting person, Arendt wrote that for action and speech, the homo faber should always be able to create a story with enough coherence to be told ‘no matter how accidental or haphazard the single events and their causation may appear to be’(Arendt, 1998: 97). The homo faber becomes a truth teller in the figure of an historian or a poet. Acting men are dependent on the homo faber: ‘acting and speaking men need the help of homo faber in his highest capacity, that is, the help of the artist, of poets and historiographers, of monument-​builders or writers, because without them the only product of their activity, the story they enact and tell, would not survive at all’ (Arendt, 1998: 173). If he manages to be at the same time ‘teller of factual truth’ and ‘storyteller’, the truth-​ teller brings about the needed ‘reconciliation with reality’ (Arendt, 1967: 311), which allows individuals to accept events as they are, to immortalize their acts and achieve transcendence collectively. Arendt transcended the beginning by immortalizing it through a story that can be told. This transcendence is at risk according to Arendt. If scientists sought to conquer space, it was because they went in search of a ‘true reality’ that would allow them to go beyond appearances (Arendt, 2007: 48), in other words to surpass phenomenology. Arendt regretted that their actions, more and more predominant in our society, can no longer be told in the same way. As they are connected to the universe instead of being connected to the web of human relationships, they do not act with the same revealing force (Arendt, 2007). We have showed that Arendt was seeking to guarantee the pursuit of the possibility to begin, to begin again even in the midst of the crisis of political tradition and the indescribable events that had taken place. To do so, she described a truth made up of plurality, in which one person should be active in trying to understand another’s standpoints. The reconciliation between events and truth can only happen through a new facet of the relationship of the zoon politikon with the homo faber, which enables a collective immortalization.

8.5  Conclusion: A Political Philosophy whose Phenomenology Enlightens Management and Organization Studies We have described the place of phenomenology within Arendt’s political philosophy. We are convinced that Arendt’s political philosophy is full of resources for management and organization theory. First, the phenomenological revelation of individuals who appear in front of others gives them their humanity; to do so, we need to protect both private and public realms. Obviously, her concern with separating the public and private realm can be of great help in coping with the disappearance of the boundaries between the office and

Phenomenology and the Political Philosophy    177 home that goes with digitalization and remote working. It might be time to redefine for ourselves what should be, at all costs, preserved as separate from work. In a more positive way, the blurring of the boundaries can also be an opportunity to change work by bringing our principles and ethical questioning to the heart of it. The good news is that acting can be achieved through small steps and beginnings, in the innocence of who we are. Arendt thought of a public realm that can be built everywhere—​in a meeting room, a cafeteria, or the streets—​as long as we have the possibility to appear as both equal and distinct. Within organizations—​and using their spaces and facilities—​we can easily begin concerted action with others in order to resist in a way that is convincing. This collective action can even be achieved against the truth of the majority, based upon Arendt’s writings on civil disobediences and as shown by many social or environmental grassroots communities within companies that try every day to put action at the heart of labour. Her vision of beginnings as an absolute can be seen as an invitation to promote meaningful beginnings at work. First, about the welcoming of newcomers. One cannot begin alone; by not being present, and working remotely, we prevent others—​new employees, for example—​from being fully part of our community and being able to begin. In order to preserve our collective creativity, we need to regularly appear in front of others, and not only behind a computer screen. Arendt’s vision of an authority that enables the ‘augere’, the increase of the newcomer’s capacity to perceive, is interesting when welcoming a new colleague at work. In terms of soft skills, the promotion of empathy at work in our professional relationships and decisions could be also enriched by her vision of an active enlarged mentality which really enables a true plurality. Second, it is also about building a meaningful vision of innovation, in which we will understand that in order to innovate, one must have achieved one’s freedom to be free, which means, at least, having time. In this vision, it is not the business result of the innovation—​which will always be too unpredictable—​that will be celebrated, but the capacity to begin something new, and to do it collectively. We know that most of our organizations are not built on a model of equality between people and that by putting ten people around a table, they could not express their own opinions easily. Plurality, at the centre of her philosophy, make us feel the urgent need to reconsider some aspects of the governance of our organizations, in order to give to those who are not yet part of the world the possibility to begin in turn. In this aspect, Arendt’s phenomenology of beginning can sound environmentally engaged. Redefining what should be the object of democratic discussion within an organization, and how to accompany it, in order to give back meaning to politics on topics that we no longer even realize make up our common world. Finally, the reconciliation she effectuated between truth and reality is interesting because she found a way to reunite what happened during a crisis with a truth that can be told. Words should not only be those of the management, or those of the people who have acted. The person of action needs the poet or the historian to transform and complete his/​her beginning. We can wonder who the poets are at work, and allow them

178   Lucie Chartouny to throw light on what happened in an original way in order to immortalize it. Our capacity to invent new collective narratives—​and narratives that we can enjoy telling—​ seems key to keeping on beginning despite the crises we are living through. This, in turn, allows us to have a chance of dealing with them, a chance that can only be realized if we stop using the tools of the past.

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Phenomenology and the Political Philosophy    179 Marder, M. (2013). Natality, event, revolution: The political phenomenology of Hannah Arendt. Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, 44, 3. https://​​10.1080/​ 00071​773.2013.11006​808. Mattéi, J. F. (2019, January 4). Œuvre de culture inutile et permanente, La crise de la culture expliquée par Jean-François Mattei [Video]. YouTube. watch?v=c9Dpyen992Y (accessed on 11 August 2022). Mosna-Savoye, G. (2019, May 7). La liberté d’être libre : Un inédit d’Hannah Arendt, Le Journal de la philosophie. [Radio broadcast] France Culture, Radio France. https://www.radiofrance. fr/franceculture/podcasts/le-journal-de-la-philo/la-liberte-d-etre-libre-un-inedit-dhannah-arendt-8942110 (accessed on 11 August 2022). Revault d’Allones, M. (2001, November 14). Phénoménologie et politique : Arendt et MerleauPonty, ENS de Lyon [Video]. Canal-U. (accessed on 11 August 2022). Ricoeur, P. (1957). Phénoménologie existentielle. In Encyclopédie française. Paris: Larousse. 19. 10–​18; 19. 10–​12. Rolland, P. (2001). Simone Weil et Hannah Arendt. La politique entre malheur et bonheur. In M. Narcy & É. Tassin (eds.), Les catégories de l’universel: Hannah Arendt et Simone Weil (pp. 211–​253). Paris: L’Harmatta. https://​hal​​ves-​ouver​​hal​shs-​00097​776. Tassin, É. (2018). Pour quoi agissons-​nous? Questionner la politique en compagnie de Hannah Arendt. Le Bord de l’eau. Woolf, V. (2004). A room of one’s own. Penguin Books. Young-​ Bruehl, E. (1982). Hannah Arendt: For love of the world. New Haven, NJ: Yale University Press.

Chapter 9

E x perience as a n E xc e s s of Givenne s s The Post-​Metaphysical Phenomenology of Jean-​Luc Marion Sara Mandray

Presenting Jean-​Luc Marion’s thought in 2021 is both a tricky and a pleasant exercise, and dare I say it, an essential one. A tricky one first, because talking about the philosopher before the eyes of the philosopher himself requires an extreme accuracy not to betray his thought. A pleasant one, above all, considering that we are addressing those who suggested that phenomenology is a thing of the past. And finally, surely an essential one, in a time when a series of crises have revealed the limits and inappropriateness of rational tools in contemplating the world and the challenges that we are facing nowadays. What does a crisis truly reveal? Crisis is the irruption of the possible in an era of predictability, characterized by the unforeseeable event. But why is it so disrupting, so significant? Crisis actually emphasizes present nihilism. Nihilism attempts to rationalize the world. It ‘accomplishes the objectification of the world by the imposition of calculability as the criterion of being’ (Marion, 2017: 166) and states with Nietzsche that ‘the human is the evaluating animal par excellence’. This rationality impacts also the anticipation of the future, which is reduced to the foreseeable: ‘The entire future henceforth will result from an evaluation [ . . . ] We can plan the future as an outgrowth of the present because we know through the will to power that it will obey the rules of evaluation’ (Marion, 2017: 166) However, in the perfection of the metaphysical rationality, the possible vanishes, the future ‘is exhausted in its foreseeability’ (p. 166). Then appears the crisis, irruption of the possible in the era of predictability. Why is it that the crisis is so disrupting? Because it ultimately belies rationality in its predictability. Why is it so significant? Because ‘in the situation of nihilism every event becomes a crisis for nihilism itself ’ (p. 166). The event, this impossibility which has become effective, is not only undermining nihilism, but metaphysical rationality as a whole.

Experience as an Excess of Givenness    181 In eventness (événementialité), ‘the impossible and the real are reversed’ (Marion, 2017: 170). The effective event is still ‘impossible’, that is incomprehensible. The event is taking place without ever having been possible, that is foreseeable. Hence it opens the door to a brand new possible, to a new era of possibilities. Therefore the event is a landmark, ‘not only the real but the possible will be different’ (p. 169). The event belies all the principles of metaphysical rationality and calls us for a change of view: The event contradicts the principle of identity because it differs from the state of affairs that preceded it. It contradicts the principle of sufficient reason because there is no conceivable reason that triggers it: The event is not foreseeable, it has no a priori, it is not repeatable, in contrast to the technical object, which in principle always is all of those things. It is also no longer measurable but immeasurable, incomprehensible, and irreducible to metaphysics in general as to its final form of nihilism. What philosophy can thus have some sort of hold on the event? In either case, not one that would wonder for instance about the reasons we have for acting, as many moral philosophies do today, for the event does not result from a more or less rational calculus or deliberation: The event comes without reason and, as concerns our action, without our reasons for acting. If it holds onto the principle that everything that shows itself first gives itself, and if it manages to think this given, phenomenology can find itself in a position where it obviously does not foresee the event but is able to make it out when it arrives, to face up to it and to receive it, in short to see it, to go see it. (Marion, 2017: 170–​1)

Phenomenology, and especially the post-​metaphysical phenomenology of Jean-​Luc Marion, invites us to leave the comforting safety of the world of rational objects in order to face things as they are: evential (événementielles), paradoxical, saturated, gifted. Presenting Jean-​Luc Marion’s phenomenological thought is also and more importantly about presenting the thought of a historian of philosophy, always engaged in dialogue. Marion first engaged with Descartes, who understandably led him to Husserl (Marion, 2021: v). But Marion truly embraced phenomenology when engaging with Heidegger or maybe even against Heidegger. The first books that Marion published outside the field of Cartesian studies, namely The Idol and Distance ([1977] 2001) and God without Being ([1982] 1991), were two thunderclaps in the Heideggerian sky. Beginning with the paradox of the ‘death of God’ (who by definition is immortal), Marion first gets on with a vast undertaking: deconstructing the question of God. In The Idol and Distance, then, he opens three ways of understanding the words of Nietzsche, ‘God is dead’: the via negativa, the via affirmativa, and the via eminentiae. The first way, in the negative, is the destruction of an idol: if God dies, it means that he is not and never really was a god. The via negativa attests to the destruction of the metaphysical idol of God and prepares the way for the coming of the true God. The second way, in the affirmative, can be understood as the Christian Revelation: God is dead and risen, defeating death. It deeply means the death of death itself. Lastly, the third way, and the most remarkable one, is based on the first two viae. It is characterized as the encounter

182   Sara Mandray of the human with ‘a nonmediated divine’. ‘The twilight of the idol causes the sun of God to rise and requires managing the distance between the divine and the human’ (Marion, 2017: 108). In the wake of the discussions raised by The Idol and Distance, Heidegger et la question de Dieu (‘Heidegger and the question of God’) was published (Kearney & O’Leary, 1979) in which Marion criticized Heidegger’s ‘double idolatry’, asserting that ‘the question of Being not only is not identified with the question of God but that this very question of God evades the a priori of being’ (Marion, 2017: 109). In Heidegger, the question of being, namely the question of the ontological difference between Being (l’être) and being (l’étant) (Seinsfrage) prevails over the question of God because it decides the conditions of its possibility (conditions of the manifestation of being). However, the choice of metaphysics is that the question of Being is more essential than the question of God, meaning that the horizon of Being (de l’être) decides the horizon of the sacred and the divine. With that in mind, we can say that Heidegger’s phenomenology has not yet completely exited the metaphysical enclosure even if it breached the wall and already sees beyond it. In God without Being, Marion tries to remove the question of God from the metaphysical horizon. To that end, he introduces the concept of idol: both the maximal range of a gaze and the maximum of visibility that it can bear. According to metaphysics, the widest horizon is that of the Being, which is the maximal range of the transcendental gaze. Nothing but the horizon of Being, namely the maximal range of my gaze, provides dimensions for all beings. God, as a being, would then be constrained, limited by the limits of my personal gaze. This unbearable affirmation leads Marion to conclude that: ‘it is possible that God does not allow himself to be included in the idolatrous horizon of Being, that God not only is not the supreme being but that he does not have to be, that he reveals himself as without being’ (Marion, 2017: 112). God without Being is first of all an indictment against the idolatrous position which consists in allocating a horizon to God. Affirmatively it means that the question of God belongs to another order. Marion here goes back to Pascal and the thematic of the three orders: the order of the body, the order of the mind (to which metaphysics and the question of Being belong), and the order of charity. The third order is specific in that it strikes with vanity everything that is not a matter of charity, comprising the Being and metaphysics. The question of love, at the end of God without Being, demotes the metaphysical questioning about Being. The order of charity, which is reachable only for the saints, stands outside of metaphysics. Pascal is suggesting here that something is existing beyond the metaphysical horizon and even beyond rational theology (special metaphysics), and this would be the theology of Revelation. From here on, the question that channels the works of Jean-​Luc Marion could be said to be, from this beginning, to figure out ‘whether there is a philosophy beyond metaphysics’ (Marion, 2017: 59). In his research, his first step has been to question the Husserlian and Heideggerian phenomenologies, and in particular their relation to metaphysics.

Experience as an Excess of Givenness    183

9.1  Beyond the Metaphysical Phenomenologies of Husserl and Heidegger: The Third Reduction Marion published Reduction and Givenness ([1989] 1998), a collection of essays on the phenomenology of Husserl and Heidegger. The book investigates the initial operation of phenomenology, which is also its method: reduction. The immediacy only appears—​if I can put it like that—​if one suspends its already implicit mediations or those used in a given moment for producing it. Also, the return to the things themselves indicates that the things themselves are not given immediately. Their immediacy hence must be gained via mediation, to the extent to which one must precisely go back to it via a leading back, a reduction. It is an illusion to think one can do without philosophy because immediacy is never given and the given is never immediately available. One must search for it. Otherwise, why should it be necessary to go back to ‘the things themselves’? Where would they have gone? Where would we be? What distance would separate us from them? It is in order to resolve these questions that I was interested in phenomenology and its operations, especially that of the reduction. (Marion, 2017: 73)

Marion distinguishes then three types of reduction: the first (the Husserlian one) is reduction to objectness, the second (the Heideggerian one) is reduction to beingness, the third and last, introduced in Reduction and Givenness, is the reduction to givenness. Husserl is the first to suspect givenness (Gegenbenheit) and to see that the road to givenness is reduction. Marion translates Husserl’s words ‘as much appearing, so much being’ into ‘as more reduction, so more givenness’. Husserl indeed paves the way while recognizing the ‘dignity of the given—​no showing up without appearing, no appearing without being given’ (Marion, 2017: 76). However, he remains within the horizon of Being and follows the Kantian logic while ‘spontaneously thinking or formulating any phenomenon in the horizon of objectness’ (p. 76). He upholds the language of metaphysics spoken by all of his contemporaries, which prevents him from truly stepping into givenness. In Husserl, reduction ends up with the reconstituting of the object as object which allows itself to be seen in the manifestation of the phenomenon. Reduction to objectness sets up the first type of reduction. Heidegger, in the wake of Husserl, proposes a second type of reduction, namely reduction to beingness. Heidegger’s phenomenology is indeed centred on the question of Being (l’être) as a being (un étant). But the being is not immediately accessible itself in the sensible world. Our senses only provide us access to essences trapped in the world’s existence. Thereupon, the road to being passes through a reduction of essence to what it is not, that is, to a pure being without existence. The being as being (l’étant en tant qu’étant)

184   Sara Mandray results from a reduction of the given to the being, that is, a reduction of the given to what it is not (given its essential and existential dimensions). The second reduction, then, as the first one did, raises the question of knowing why the given ‘would find itself reduced to a different authority than to the given itself ’ (Marion, 2017: 75). ‘Why is beingness or objectness arbitrarily and without specific justification privileged for characterizing the given [le donné], givability [la donnéité], or givenness [la donation]?’ (Marion, 2017: 75). Marion’s thesis when he proposes the third reduction is to connect reduction directly to givenness itself. It allows us, then, to exit the noesis-​noema pair and to step out of metaphysics. Thereupon, reduction would aim at ‘determining the degrees of givenness and nothing else’ (p. 78). In that respect, reduction regains its initial meaning, that is, to ‘distinguish between what is given as such and what is given only indirectly’ (p. 74) The work of the post-​metaphysical phenomenology centres thus on a single purpose, which is classifying the appearing in a hierarchy according to its different degrees of givenness. This is the work that Marion’s phenomenology establishes for itself as a purpose. The first step of this work is the constitution of the Marionian ‘subject’.

9.2  Beyond the Transcendental Subject: The Marionian Gifted In Being Given ([1997] 2002), Marion lays the foundation of its phenomenology as characterized by a phenomenology of the gift. What is at stake, then, is to find a way for the gift to be freed from the metaphysical logic. After thematizing the three reductions presented in Reduction and Givenness, he investigates the links between gift and givenness. The question of the gift as it’s presented at that time, then dominated by Derrida’s criticism of Mauss in Given Time ([1991] 1992), may be summarized as follows: ‘There is only a gift if there is no phenomenon of the gift’ (Marion, 2017: 80). The answer that Marion gives in Being Given is to submit the gift to a reduction in order to tear it loose from exchange. He shows that the gift remains even when deprived of any of the three constitutive elements of exchange, namely the thing given, the recipient, and the giver. Inheritance shows an example of gift without giver. Second, the gift without recipient is typical of gifts given via the intermediary of a third (an association or a non-​governmental organization). Lastly, the gift without thing given comprises all the non-​things (one’s word, love, loyalty) that can only be given symbolically via a different thing (a ring, an electronic code, a signature). While reducing the gift to givenness, Marion thus shows that the gift does not belong to the order of exchange but falls under a different phenomenality. And this other phenomenality, characterized by the non-​ reciprocity, by the radical asymmetry of the gift, unveils an essential characteristic of the given in general. The given, distinguished from the object and from being, is based on a fundamental feature which is anamorphosis.

Experience as an Excess of Givenness    185 There is only one place and one moment where I can see the given as such, and I cannot fix or change this place, repeat it or reproduce it by projections like the subject in the transcendental position. Only the event of the phenomenon that gives itself is able to do this. From this results the fundamental character of the given, namely that it is given starting from itself. (Marion, 2017: 82)

The concept of anamorphosis applied to the given directly implies withdrawing any initiative from the transcendental subject. The ego is no more the one who constitutes the phenomenon, rather, the phenomenon is constituting me, it gives me to myself. I leave the world of metaphysical rationality, of foreseeability, and enter the world of eventness (événementialité): A whole range of situations is possible. When the phenomenon is given [or gives itself], I can say that it is an accident. It can even be a matter of an illusion where I believe that the phenomenon gives itself while in reality nothing is given. It can remain intentional from my side, if I am exposed in such a way that what I really very much want will happen to me. And then, maybe someone had the intention that such or such a thing would happen. One can imagine anything, and there are all the gradations, from complete illusion to perfect election. Between the two: an accident, an encounter, a stroke of luck, misfortune, good reflexes, the pure unforeseeable, the unheard of, the call. In short, the event. (Marion, 2017: 85)

In this context, subjectivity as such is disrupted as it receives itself from what it receives. This Marionian form of subjectivity is called the gifted (l’adonné) (Marion, [1997] 2002: 268–​7 1). The gifted has the special feature of being phenomenologically instituted by the given, which here takes the form of the call. In order to better understand this particular form of institution, we need to investigate each of the four characteristics of the manifestation of the call and its impact on the gifted. Those four characteristics are summons, surprise, interlocution, and facticity or individualization. Summons first constitutes an interloqué. The interloqué is summoned by a call that transforms the I into a me ‘to whom’. I find myself identified as an interloqué by a summons of which even the origin remains unknown to me. The so-​called ontic perfection, the autarchic subject, gives way to an interloqué, a me ‘to whom’ a call is made. We are switching from a thought of the nominative subject (I) to a thought of the dative interloqué (me ‘to whom’). In this case, relation precedes individuality. ‘Subjectivity or subjectness is submitted to an originally altered, called identity’ (Marion, [1997] 2002: 268). Surprise, second, results directly from the summons of the interloqué. Surprise comes from the unknown origin of the call which freezes in place the gifted, as he/​she was subdued to this indeterminate sway. ‘The gifted gives all his attention to an essentially lacking object; he is open to an empty gap’ (p. 268). In this case, which precedes the metaphysical

186   Sara Mandray subjectivity or subjectness, ‘the I transformed into a self/​me is overwhelmed by the unknowable claim’ (p. 269). We have moved a long way from an all powerful intentionality demonstrating its power through constituting objects. The third characteristic of the call then is interlocution. The circumstances of interlocution (which is in no way a dialogical situation) are typical of the switch from a nominative/​subject case (I) to an oblique/​dative case (myself/​me ‘to whom’). Once again it would be vain here to look for the origin of the call. ‘As surprise opens even onto the unknown or failing object, interlocution opens onto the indeterminate or anonymous Other’ (Marion, [1997] 2002: 269). ‘I receive my self from the call that gives me to myself before giving me anything whatsoever’ (p. 269). This exit from the original solipsism paves the way to the fourth characteristic of the call, namely facticity. The paradigm which allows us to understand the best facticity (or individualization) is that of the speech: For every mortal, the first word was always already heard before he could utter it. To speak always and first amounts to passively hearing a word coming from the Other, a word first and always incomprehensible, which announces no meaning or signification, other than the very alterity of the initiative, by which the pure fact gives (itself) (to be thought) for the first time. Not only is the first word never said by the I, which can only undergo it by receiving it; not only does it not give us any objective or rational knowledge; but it opens only onto this very fact that some gift happens to me because it precedes me originarily in such a way that I must recognize that I proceed from it. Man deserves the title mortal (or, what is equivalent, animal) endowed with speech on condition that we understand ‘endowed with speech’ in the strictest sense: having received the gift of the heard word, heard insofar as given. Whence a decisive paradox: the call gives me to and as myself, in short, individualizes me. (Marion, [1997] 2002: 270)

The speech replaces the interloqué in the original situation of every mortal: that of finding oneself first called, which is always preceded by a call, by a given word. While constituting me as a myself/​me interloqué, that is to say, called, the call leads to the inauthenticity of the I. Indeed, ‘the facticity of the call renders the called’s access to itself as a myself/​me (therefore its selfhood) equal to its originary difference with itself as an I, therefore its inauthenticity’ (p. 270). We are moving way here from a transcendental I which would constitute itself by itself, and we find another I, always inferred from a myself/​me which receives itself from an originary call. ‘The result of this is the birth of the gifted, a subjectivity or subjectness entirely in conformity with givenness—​one that is entirely received from what it receives, given by the given, given to the given’ (pp. 270–​1). A few years later, Marion published an essay which is the outcome of his works on the gifted (l’adonné). In this book called The Erotic Phenomenon ([2003] 2007), he investigates the link of one adonné to another adonné, namely the erotic phenomenon.

Experience as an Excess of Givenness    187

9.3  Between Intention and Intuition: The Degrees of Givenness After replacing the transcendental subject by the gifted, which is instituted by the given, Marion’s phenomenology intends to rank within the given the different degrees of givenness, in other words, to rank phenomena according to their degree of phenomenality. The metaphysical tradition since Kant and Husserl used the image of Plato’s chariot to define the phenomenon. It presents the phenomenon as an encounter of a messy intuition received with one or several rational concepts. Concepts here operate as the keystone which allows us to organize the manifold of intuition in opening reality to intelligibility. With this representation in mind as its own analytical tool, metaphysical tradition first focused on phenomena poor in intuition while mostly studying intention, namely the will to signification. Poor phenomena typically include logical statements or mathematical idealitites. They are characterized by a unique signification and a precise definition. In the case of geometric figures, we can take the example of a square or a circle. Those phenomena only require a formal intuition of space. Indeed, the perfect square or circle does not exist in the sense that it cannot appear in real world, in other words, it cannot take shape in time and space. Another type of phenomena adds to space formal intuition of time, namely common law phenomena. Those phenomena typically belong to physical or natural sciences, characterized by mechanics and dynamics. Once again they only have a unique signification. They can be for instance buildings or technical products (a plane, a rocket). The two first types of phenomena (poor phenomena and common law phenomena) follow the primacy of a priori intention over intuition. They provide intuitive confirmation to concepts. In metaphysics, ‘existence contributes only a mere “complement to the possibility”, therefore to essence. For the product never gives itself first, but by contrast always after and following its “concept”, which is previously shown and demonstrated’ (Marion, [1997] 2002: 224). The question that Jean-​Luc Marion proposes to himself, as a successor of this phenomenological tradition, is the following: ‘Do we always have a priori concepts available to us, and can we always get to the bottom of every intuitive given with these a priori concepts and manage to organize them in order to constitute them into objects?’ (Marion, 2017: 87). We can go back here to the example of the event, of the crisis, mentioned in the introduction. When a crisis emerges, ‘this invalidates the metaphysical principle according to which only what is first possible becomes real’ (p. 88). Crisis sets the perfect example of a phenomenon that gives itself a posteriori. It is by definition unforeseeable, and even inconceivable; it is a matter of impossibility. Crisis, this impossibility which has become effective, requires us to exit the metaphysical paradigm of an intentional a priori phenomenon. Instead, crisis gives itself intuitively as ‘in excess’, without any possibility for me to find a concept which could organize it rationally. ‘Once this impossible becomes real, it continues to be impossible to conceive its

188   Sara Mandray possibility’ (Marion, 2017: 88). Crisis is too enormous, abnormal, and measureless. The phenomenon which gives itself through crisis, gives itself in so much excess that it overflows our capacity to organize such an overflowing intuition thanks to concepts. This particular type of phenomena ‘saturates’, so to speak, our intelligibility. It does not mean that those phenomena give themselves lacking intuition, but rather that their manifestation highlights a lack of concept. ‘When an imbalance arises and I find myself lacking concepts, something else happens, something that decides, that I cannot directly comprehend and in regard to which I must make up my mind in response’ (Marion, 2017: 89). This manifestation is first that of an a posteriori which imposes itself on me. Saturated phenomenon is ‘the supreme a posteriori’ (p. 89). The whole of Marion’s work is subverting the intentional, a priori approach to phenomenon in metaphysics. It falls to metaphysics alone to consider the paradox an exceptional (indeed eccentric) case of phenomenality, whose common law it organizes according to the paradigm of the poor phenomenon. With notable exceptions (Descartes, Spinoza, Kant, Husserl), metaphysics always thinks the common-​law phenomenon (shortage of intuition) on the basis of the intuitively poor phenomenon (certain, but of little or nothing). My entire project, by contrast, aims to think the common-​law phenomenon, and through it the poor phenomenon, on the basis of the paradigm of the saturated phenomenon, of which the former two offer only weakened variants, and from which they derive by progressive extenuation. For the saturated phenomenon does not give itself abnormally, making an exception to the definition of phenomenality; to the contrary, its own most property is to render thinkable the measure of manifestation in terms of givenness and to recover it in its common-​law variety, indeed in the poor phenomenon. What metaphysics rules out as an exception (the saturated phenomenon), phenomenology here takes for its norm—​every phenomenon shows itself in the measure (or the lack of measure) to which it gives itself. To be sure, not all phenomena get classified as saturated phenomena, but all saturated phenomena accomplish the one and only paradigm of phenomenality. (Marion, [1997] 2002: 226–​7)

Saturated phenomena, which appear to be the archetype of phenomenality, give themselves through the four dimensions which identify the phenomenon as a given in general: quantity, quality, relation, and modality. Marion dedicates to those phenomena a whole essay, entitled In Excess ([2001] 2002).

9.4  Saturated Phenomena: The Metaphysical Exception or the Paradigm of Phenomenality According to quantity, saturation manifests itself as an event, namely a historical phenomenon. The historical phenomenon is specific in that it is not limited to ‘an instant,

Experience as an Excess of Givenness    189 a place, or an empirical individual’ (Marion, [1997] 2002: 228). It happens in a non-​ mappable place like a battlefield, in contrast with the mappable ‘theater of operations’. It encompasses a population such that none of those who belong to it could measure the extent of it. There is no individual point of view which would permit us to quantify the event, in other words to constitute it as an object. Marion takes the example of the battle of Waterloo which indeed no one has ever seen in the sense that no gaze could ever encompass it completely with one sweep. It is plain that Fabrice saw only the fire of his own confused erring and barely the fire of the hail of bullets, barely the emperor passing, his horse in flight, or the barmaid in a flutter; but the emperor himself saw hardly more: he saw neither the advance of the enemy reinforcements nor the delay of his own, neither the ditch where his cavalry got bogged down nor the dying among the already dead. In fact, nobody will see more, not Wellington, any of the officers, or any of the men on the field—​each will furnish confused and partial reports from an angle of vision taken in by panic or rage. (Marion, [1997] 2002: 228)

The particularity of history making itself is maybe first that it has no need of the interpretation of the transcendental subject to happen. It does not wait to be raised (or reduced) to the rank of metaphysical object in order to unfold and, most of the time, to overwhelm participants themselves who strive to ‘make history’. ‘The battle passes and passes away on its own, without anybody making it or deciding it. It passes, and each watches it pass, fade into the distance, and then disappear, disappear like it had come—​that is to say, of itself ’ (Marion, [1997] 2002: 228). The talent of generations of historians (military, political, economic) will be needed in order to outline the face of the event which gave itself to be seen in all its excessiveness. The talent of an artist like Stendhal will even be needed to make sensible in the eyes of the young Fabrice, at the beginning of The Charterhouse of Parma, the saturation of the event which gives itself. The event and his plurality of horizons makes history an endless narration, always repeated, namely a hermeneutic. The event first opens a new era in which grows a community of historians who will be as many interobjectivities reconstituting the event. We may notice here the distance from the poor and common-​law phenomena characterized by a unique and unequivocal definition. According to relation then, saturation occurs in the form of the flesh. The phenomenon of the flesh is based on my own capacity to be affected, or ‘attuned’, to be under attunement. ‘I am never neutral, without state of mind. [ . . . ] I am not only affected by the exterior world but also by an internal attunement’ (Marion, 2017: 89). Most of all, only this intrinsic capacity to be affected allows the external world to affect me. ‘Not only can we not sense anything without sensing ourselves, but this sensing of the self alone makes possible the sensing of other things, and not the reverse’ (p. 90). Marion takes the example of the sense of touch: I touch the armchair on which I am seated, and my hand touches its armrest. One could always say that my hand and the chair fall under the same materiality, that they

190   Sara Mandray share the same space and thus that I am one thing in the world among others. Yes, but a huge difference remains: When I touch the armchair, the chair does not sense my hand that touches it; it senses nothing, but although my hand remains a part of the world like the chair it touches, it senses the chair, and it alone does so. Indeed, it only senses the chair because it senses itself. Or rather, I sense myself when I touch the chair and therefore in touching this chair I sense two things: the chair and especially myself as the one sensing. (Marion, 2017: 90)

The opposite example is also possible. In the case of anesthesia, I artificially do away with self-​affection in order to remove the pain. Therefore, I also remove all external affections; in fact, I put an end to affectivity as a whole. The two go hand in hand. In the case of general anesthesia, I even put an end to my very awareness of the world around. The external and the internal are merged in the flesh and establish it as a paradox. ‘The flesh consists of this part of materiality that is the jurisdiction of the mind or the soul. That’s the paradox’ (Marion, 2017: 90). The two last types of saturated phenomena (idol and icon) are based on a capital distinction in the works of Jean-​Luc Marion, which is already to be found in The Idol and Distance. They open, to a certain extent, his phenomenology to a theological horizon.

9.5  Towards Revelation: The Theological Horizon of Marion’s Phenomenology The two last types of saturated phenomena, idol and icon, propose two figures of visibility. The saturation of the category of quality causes the unbearable bedazzlement called idol. ‘The idol is determined as the first indisputable visible because its splendor stops intentionality for the first time; and this first visible fills it, stops it, and even blocks it, to the point of returning it toward itself, after the fashion of an invisible obstacle—​ or mirror’ (Marion, [1997] 2002: 229). In order to understand this phenomenon, we may consider the typical example of it, which is the painting (or the work of art in general). When I look at a painting, I am never able to comprehend the total signification of this painting. ‘In it, intuition always surpasses the concept or the concepts proposed to welcome it’ (p. 230). It will take me several times, several attempts at definition, just to outline, through multiple beams, the silhouette which gives itself, in negative, in the bedazzlement of the idol. I will have to come back several times and look at the painting repeatedly in order to add, as through successive brushstrokes, some details to this outline. The unbearable bedazzlement caused by the idol imposes on me to endlessly change my gaze, to renew my gaze. I will have to come back and look at the painting, but

Experience as an Excess of Givenness    191 with a different gaze. Only this renewed gaze could allow me to grasp an additional detail, to further distinguish this silhouette which gives itself under the modality of dazzlement. Therefore, the idol does not appear to me unequivocally, and the definition that I outline of it draws the idol’s silhouette as well as my own figure at the time when I receive the idol’s intuition. The changes indeed of my own gaze lead one or another part of the idol to be highlighted. The history of my relation to the idol, in this succession of visits, of renewed gazes, is also the history of my own changing gaze, which evolves, the history of my ipseity, of the idol which gives me to myself. In this sense the idol acts as a mirror, or more precisely a succession of mirrors. ‘The sequence of gazes that I continually pose on the idol establish so many invisible mirrors of myself; it therefore describes or conceptualizes it less than it designates a temporality where it is first an issue of my ipseity’ (Marion, [1997] 2002: 230). The second form of saturation in visibility operates in the category of modality, which is the fourth dimension of the given. It takes the form of the icon, characterized both as irregardable and irreducible. ‘It no longer offers any spectacle to the gaze and tolerates no gaze from any spectator, but rather exerts its own gaze over that which meets it’ (p. 232). Icon is properly the reversal of the gaze. The gazer takes the place of the gazed upon. Icon is par excellence the gaze of the Other, these black pupils which express nothing else than a gaze imposed on me. Icon ‘provides no spectacle, therefore no immediately visible or assignable intuition’ (p. 232). The gaze of the Other does not give itself to be seen (there is nothing to be seen in those black pupils), instead it gives itself only to be endured. And in this act of appearing and weighing on me, the gaze of the Other constitutes me as a witness, and once again gives me to myself. We can notice here that the icon gathers the characteristics of the three other types of saturated phenomena. As the event does, it requires a succession of narrations and points of view to be defined. Indeed we cannot give an unequivocal definition of the gaze of the Other or of a person, which is eminently too rich to be appreciated in a single sentence and at a glance. As the idol then, the icon needs to be seen again and again. Only this way can one hope to further penetrate its understanding, which each time gives me to myself offering a different mirror. In the gaze exchanged day after day with a person, there grows an intimacy which not only helps me to further penetrate the understanding of this person but also sends me back to my own person in a move of auto-​reflexivity towards myself. As the flesh, lastly, the icon gives me to myself so significantly that I nearly feel myself internally in the gaze of the Other. Idol and icon operate like the two opposite sides of visibility. Idol is defined as the maximum of visibility that can be borne by my gaze. Icon, on the contrary, is a turning around of things. We are shifting from being a gazer who is fully focused on the gazed given, to a gazer who lowers his/​her gaze in front of the icon, who lowers his/​her head as an expression of veneration. I do not look at the icon, the icon instead is looking at me. We are facing here the two polar opposites of visibility, which happen to be to some extent interchangeable. The statue of a god standing in a temple operates as an icon. On the other hand, it moves into being an idol as soon as it is to be seen in a museum. But a

192   Sara Mandray simple group of believers would nevertheless enable it to recover its former icon status. Therefore, the question of idolatry and veneration opens up Marion’s phenomenology to a theological horizon. While criticizing the idolatrous position of a metaphysics which pretends to be corseting God in the constructed world of beings and concepts, Marion opens phenomenology wide so as to include the phenomenon of God. If the divine no longer belongs to the horizon of Being, where is it then to be placed within the given? To which degree of givenness is the divine phenomenon to be ranked? This is what Marion tries to perceive while investigating the phenomenon of revelation (Marion, [1997] 2002: 234ff.). The key point about the phenomenon of revelation is to question to what degree givenness can unfold. Saturation already opened the phenomenon to a squared phenomenality. What is at stake here is to unfold the era of givenness towards a cubed phenomenality. The phenomenon of revelation represents the maximum of phenomenality. In that respect, it needs to fulfill two conditions: to still be a phenomenon and to still be possible. Therefore, the phenomenon of revelation constitutes itself as the phenomenon which ‘concentrates the four types of saturated phenomena and is given at once as historic event, idol, flesh, and icon (face)’ (Marion, [1997] 2002: 235). This ‘fifth type of saturation’ ‘saturates phenomenality to the second degree, by saturation of saturation’ (p. 235). However, the phenomenon of revelation remains a ‘mere possibility’: ‘I will say only: if an actual revelation must, can, or could have been given in phenomenal apparition, it could have, can, or will be able to do so only by giving itself according to the type of the paradox par excellence’ (Marion, [1997] 2002: 235). While opening philosophy to theology, the phenomenon of revelation appears to be the climax of the post-​metaphysical phenomenology of Jean-​Luc Marion.

References Derrida, J. ([1991] 1992). Given time. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (Translated from Donner le temps. Paris: Galilée.) Kearney, R., & O’Leary, J. S. (eds.) (1979). Heidegger et la question de Dieu. Paris: Grasset. Marion, J.-​L. ([1977] 2001). The idol and distance: Five studies. New York: Fordham University Press. (Translated from L’idole et la distance. Cinq études. Paris: Grasset.) Marion, J.-​ L. ([1982] 1991). God without being. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (Translated from Dieu sans l’être. Paris: Fayard.) Marion, J.-​L. ([1989] 1998). Reduction and givenness: Investigations of Husserl, Heidegger, and phenomenology. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press. (Translated from Réduction et donation. Recherches sur Husserl, Heidegger et la phénoménologie. Paris: Presses universitaires de France.) Marion, J.-​L. ([1997] 2002). Being given: Toward a phenomenology of givenness. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. (Translated from Étant donné. Essai d’une phénoménologie de la donation. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

Experience as an Excess of Givenness    193 Marion, J.-​L. ([2001] 2002). In excess: Studies of saturated phenomena. New York: Fordham University Press. (Translated from De surcroît. Études sur les phénomènes saturés. Paris: Presses universitaires de France.) Marion, J.-​L. ([2003] 2007). The erotic phenomenon. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. (Translated from Le phénomène érotique. Six méditations. Paris: Grasset.) Marion, J.-​L. (2017). The rigor of things: Conversations with Dan Arbib. New York: Fordham University Press. Marion, J.-​L. (2021). Questions cartésiennes (Vol. 3). Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

Chapter 10

Extendi ng a nd Disc onti nu i ng Ph enom enol o g y w i t h Michel H e nry Eric Faÿ and Ghislain Deslandes

As we have already said, human beings begin to feel before they see and know. (de Biran, [1807] 2020) I call ‘Western philosophy’ that whose logos is the phenomenality of the world and rests on it. (Henry, [1990] 2008)   

Michel Henry, a French philosopher born in 1922 and who died in 2002, stands apart from his generation of philosophers in almost every respect. A Resistance fighter (as part of ‘Pericles’, the maquis of the Haut Jura region during World War II) and yet opposed to the conception of the human as a ‘political animal’; a great admirer of Marx, to whom he devoted two large volumes, but as far from Marxism as one can be; a philosopher of the body with no taste for dialectical materialism, Michel Henry is notable for his refusal to fit into the usual categories of continental philosophy. It is far from Paris, in Montpellier, that he developed his philosophy based on his foundational experience in the Resistance: The essence of true life manifested itself to me, even though it is invisible. In the darkest hours, amid the worst atrocities the world has ever known, I could feel it in

Extending and Discontinuing Phenomenology    195 me, like a secret that I had to protect and which in turn protected me. A manifestation deeper and older than that of the world itself shaped our human condition. (Quoted in Audi, 2001: 292)

In constant opposition to the philosophical currents of his time, he considered himself a phenomenologist. Indeed, his critical reading of Husserl and Heidegger is central to his work. By interpreting Husserl’s principle ‘so much appearance, so much being’, he found the structuring principle that was to guide the body of his work: ‘so much appearing, so much being’ (Henry, [2000] 2015: ch. 1). This means that we can only be aware of being if we are aware of the ways it appears to us: when appearing manifests itself, so does being, as the above quotation illustrates, not through speculation. This methodological principle served as a structure for redefining the ‘task of phenomenology’; its ‘object’, which is not ‘the totality of phenomena, which the sciences deal with, but: that which allows them to be such each time, the mode of their donation, subjectivity. With phenomenology, philosophy conquers its own object, it is the philosophy of subjectivity and in this way distinguishes itself from all the other sciences, particularly from psychology, which also believes it speaks of subjectivity but, treating it as something that is (and which, consequently, is linked to the rest of being, with the organism, the external world, the social environment, etc.), and not as the condition of all possible being, it misses it in principle. (Henry, 2011: 26)

In this chapter, and with this definition of phenomenology in mind, we will first look at how Henry extends and discontinues the arguments of traditional phenomenology (Husserl and Heidegger) where subjectivity makes phenomena appear in the world. He does so by introducing the appearing in the light of life he first discovered as a member of the Resistance and conceptualized a few years after in his masterpiece, The Essence of Manifestation ([1963] 1973). We will thus gain some insights into the groundbreaking nature of Henry’s contribution to the ontological question of subjectivity. Then, in the third section, we will show how such discontinuation in ontology brings a radical discontinuation in the concept of management or organization of praxis, in particular by taking advantage of the increasing number of works in Management and Organization Studies (MOS) that have given pride of place to Henryian phenomenology.

10.1  The Appearing of the World and Appearing of Life 10.1.1 The Appearing of the World The method of phenomenology is to explore how phenomena appear to us, their ‘appearing’ (Faÿ & Riot, 2007). For Husserl, phenomenological effort starts with

196    Eric Faÿ and Ghislain Deslandes ‘epoché’—​phenomenological reduction—​an introspective move of our consciousness bracketing an interesting phenomenon to look carefully at the operations by which interest in the phenomenon is raised. Through several reductions, we may discover their commonality, the essence of our consciousness, which is to establish an intentional link between our ego and objects. Shaped by certain intentionalities, our consciousness focuses on certain selected objects, leaving others in the shadow. Furthermore, following Husserl ([1929] 1960), we are invited to elicit the operations our consciousness makes to constitute the reality and certainty of the phenomena appearing to us through intentionality: by contextualizing, adding intuitive data, looking for confirmation, etc. Therefore, Riot, from a Husserlian perspective (Faÿ & Riot, 2007: 147) points out how strategic textbooks teach specific operations of consciousness, emphasizing what is abstract, calculable, in a future, distant from ourselves (such as objectives), and disconnected from lived experience. In short, Husserl invites us to explore how, through their intentional consciousness, members of organizations, subjectively and intersubjectively, make their objects appear and, therefore, constitute their world. Heidegger ([1927] 1962) discusses such a view of the world appearing through intentional consciousness, depicting the human subject as a Dasein (being there) thrown into a world in pre-​conscious ways (for instance, through the intermediation of one’s language). Thus, a world, a horizon of visibility, is given before anything appears. Following Heil & Whittaker (2008: 147) organization studies may in turn pay attention to ‘specific worlds’—​e.g. the world of fishing, the world of education—​to understand the appearing of phenomena in the light of such worlds. We may also observe how talking of a ‘global world’ implies a network of capitalistic interdependencies where phenomena will appear and be given meaning or be left in the shadows. Furthermore, Heidegger underlines that what makes a phenomenon appear is the difference which distinguishes the thing from a world horizon. For example, Winograd (1986) and Introna & Ilharco (2004) have shown how technology—​spreadsheets, group-​wares, reporting tools, etc.—​ is one of the main ways managers, like Dasein thrown into their corporate world, pay attention to it by transposing it into data in order to throw light on certain events and information (difference-​making) by comparing them to expectations or forecasts (their world horizon). With such a Heideggerian perspective, researchers in MOS make explicit the processes by which differences between a world and an object are developed in various worlds: i.e. how, in the finance world, forecasts are made which make an event occur when actual results differ from forecasts; how, in academia, a relevant literature review will help prove the contribution—​difference—​of a research paper in a given field. In each case, the appearing of the thing or event, its reality and truth, requires a world horizon and the phenomenological ability to establish differences. What is noticeable is that, in any of these different approaches of traditional phenomenology, the appearing of phenomena is always linked to a world: these worlds being constituted by the sum of the objects appearing through our intentional consciousness, in Husserl’s view; an already-​there world is the horizon where difference highlights a phenomenon in Heidegger’s conceptualization. What we would like to stress here is

Extending and Discontinuing Phenomenology    197 that, in traditional phenomenology, the real and subjectivity are always constituted in relation to the world.

10.1.2 The Appearing in the Light of Life Henry extends traditional phenomenology by searching for novel ways in which phenomena appear to us. His groundbreaking approach lies in the way he challenges the links between the appearing of phenomena and a world ([1963] 1973, 2019). This therefore enables him, as we will see, to rethink radically the appearing of subjectivity. Then, what kind of appearing could lead us to phenomena which do not need a world to appear or which will not contribute to the appearing of a world? To answer such a question, we will start with some observations. When moving our arm, we feel it moving even if we don’t grasp an object or even if we don’t look at it moving in a given space (world); we do not need our arm to touch another part of our body to be aware of our arm, of its movement, and of ourselves moving our arm. The observation of cosmonauts able to move in weightlessness confirms that they do not need a world out there, the Earth’s attraction, to experience their bodies moving. Here, we may get a sense of the epoché made by Henry. Without needing an outside or embodied world, our body appears to itself while moving, resting, etc. The reduction we have described with the moving body is extended by Henry to our affectivity. Of course, we may have serious doubts about the reality of the ghosts in our nightmares, but there is no doubt that we experienced being frightened and its appearing to us. Henry calls such appearing of ourselves to ourselves auto-​affection. It occurs in the materiality of our affective flesh; in auto-​affection, the object/​phenomena (our self) appearing to our self (subject) are one. Auto-​affection is a way of appearing different and heterogeneous to all ways of appearing connected one way or another to a world. Furthermore, we may notice that the experience/​feeling of our moves or our affects through auto-​affection is always an experience of ourselves being alive. Therefore Henry, taking his phenomenological reduction further, stresses that the core of auto-​ affection is the appearing of one’s life to oneself. Indeed, while experiencing ourselves being in life, we experience both ourselves and our life as one. Furthermore, in the materiality of our affective flesh, our life appears to us (Henry, [1985] 1993: ch. 1). Such a phenomenological approach extends the philosophy of life which started with Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, and which transpires for instance in Zola’s literature. In the following excerpt from Zola, we may see how the character stops thinking in order to pay attention to her auto-​affection: her delight of experiencing herself as healthy and, therefore, her joy of experiencing herself as alive: ‘Caroline could no longer think straight. Exhausted, the philosopher, poet and scientist in her gave up on that fruitless quest for reasons. She was nothing more than a happy creature standing under a clear sky and breathing the sweet air as she

198    Eric Faÿ and Ghislain Deslandes experienced the singular delight of being healthy [ . . . ] Ah, the joy of being alive, could anything ever rival that? (Zola, [1890] 2008: 376)1

Paying attention to the appearing of phenomena such as our efforts, affects, and, ultimately, of our life in the auto-​affection of our flesh does not mean cancelling the appearing of the world as it has been conceptualized by traditional phenomenology. Another dimension is also offered: when perceiving the world, and/​or the objects in our world, we can obtain specific affects through auto-​affection, in the light of life. In organizational life, our excitement at reaching targets may, for example, be tempered by our experience of a deeper affect, that of the sadness caused by our life experiencing itself as hurt by the exhausting (or fraudulent) ways the results were achieved (Faÿ, Puyou, & Introna, 2010). Henry therefore establishes a duality in the modes of appearing, two heterogeneous, complementary, and radically different perspectives: the appearing of auto-​affection, the manifestation of our life to our self (immanence); the appearing of exteriority making objects and a world ours (transcendence). Taking this reflection on modes of appearing further, we will now explore the kind of discontinuity we may experience in the approach of being (ontological level), from our being located in the appearing of the world (phenomenological tradition) to our being located in the appearing of life.

10.2  Extending and Discontinuing Ontology 10.2.1 From the Appearing of the World to Ontology While practising Husserl’s epoché—​bracketing the world—​we may discover the pure operations of our consciousness constituting world realities. Hence we may distinguish our reflexive ego practising epoché (transcendental ego, in Husserlian vocabulary) and our ego intentionally focused on dealing with objects in the world. Of the various operations of our consciousness that our reflexive (transcendental) ego observes, some are designed to achieve unity among our various experiences. Thus, from a Husserlian perspective, our transcendental ego may be intuitively understood as reflexive consciousness making our lived experiences ours and constituting the unity of those lived experiences. Thus, the other may appear to us as another intentional ego with whom we constitute the probability or certainty of realities, the objects and objectives of a common world. Hence, bracketing such constitution, the other may become another reflexive/​transcendental ego with whom, through interpersonal spirit, we share and 1 

We can assume Zola was here responding to Nietzsche’s criticism of the darkness of the naturalism.

Extending and Discontinuing Phenomenology    199 debate about the ways we formulate such constitution of a world and its realities. In The Crisis of European Sciences ([1936] 1970), Husserl criticizes the modern constitution of realities through mathematical models that lead to the abstraction of the world of life, the world where we live our daily life. Following Heidegger’s path towards ontology opens a new perspective. Indeed, Dasein—​human existence, a specific way of inhabiting a world and/​or language—​is not the ontological being, but is, according to Heidegger, its only possible manifestation. It is therefore through a hermeneutical effort that we may observe the openness of our existence to ontological being or our ‘forgetfulness’ of it. Forgetting being manifests itself in worrying about everything and nothing, hiding behind readymade thoughts, technical thinking, and false securities. Restraint, in turn, facilitates openness to being, then manifested through recovering a sense of unity and authenticity. We may then experience either the dispersion of our Dasein in worries about the world we are thrown into, and its endless measures and calculations of the real, or, the unity of our Dasein by exercising restraint, by abandoning the goal of mastering everything and being present in the event of the manifestation of the real: the unexpected, unformulated difference on the horizon of a world (Heil & Whittaker, 2008: 143−64). Thus, the other may appear as the one with whom we share a world, be it by sharing worries or by attending the unveiling of the real in the horizon of a world.

10.2.2 Ontology in the Appearing of Life: Henry’s Contribution Michel Henry departs from traditional phenomenologies and the ontological developments introduced above. From his elaboration of the duality of appearing he argues ([1963] 1973, 2003, 2005, [1990] 2008) that we cannot get the full experience of our being with the same appearing modes as those dedicated to world appearing (phenomenological monism). Indeed, when following Husserl, we discover our reflexive, transcendental ego, we ‘see’ such an ego operating and we ‘understand’ the core of the life of our consciousness. We may notice, however, that these fruitful ‘insights’ are always fragile re-​presentations and not the certain experience of our conscious life by itself. Similarly, Heideggerian phenomenology may help us to observe the ways we inhabit our world, and, through a hermeneutical process, get glimpses of our authentic connection with ontological being or else, of our forgetting it, in the mediocrity of inhabiting the world as one can do. Hence, our being appears through the interpretations of our contingent way of being in the world. This highlights the enormous difficulties the phenomenologies of the world have in accounting for the appearing of an indubitable sense of ‘I’ (2011). On the other hand, as previously shown, through the auto-​affection of our moves, impressions, affects, without a specific world, we may have simultaneously the immediate, immanent, experience of our Self, ‘I’ and the experience of us alive, of our being in

200    Eric Faÿ and Ghislain Deslandes life. Here, Henry’s groundbreaking contribution is to stress that the ontological path to ‘I’ is to be found in the materiality of our affective flesh where the auto-​affection of our life occurs. Hence affectivity, understood this way, ultimately signifies the very essence of our humanity, our subjectivity, and in a way, our dignity. The affectivity here—​our intimate experience of our life—​is to be distinguished from sensibility in world experience. Therefore our affective life, our ‘I’, is independent of the world, but constitutes the primary reality of our relationship to it because ‘I’ appearing to itself is always inherent in ‘I see’, ‘I feel’, ‘I think’ (Berlanda, 2017). Henry follows such an argument by adding that: ‘Man is indeed this living fleshly Self that has nothing to do with the definitions that make up, in various forms, this compound of spirit and matter, soul and body, “subject” and “object,” which is impossible to understand, either today or in its early stages in Greece or elsewhere’ (Henry, 2003: 176). Moreover, in response to the vitalism trend, Henry stresses that life is always someone’s life and not an anonymous, powerful romantic flow of life, nor a vital impetus we may experience being thrown into. In addition, simultaneously with the appearing of our singular life through auto-​ affection, we may experience it as a gift, and therefore experience it connecting us, beyond our singular ontological ego, to the strength of the foundation of life. Indeed, Henry suggests that we may experience, in the auto-​affection of our life, our Self given to itself by greater than itself: ‘I am given to myself without this giveness being derived from myself in any way’ (2019: 39), hence the foundational affect of what he calls ‘absolute life’. And, furthermore, we may simultaneously experience that any other subjective life is founded, rooted, in this foundational affect of giveness of life. In Material Phenomenology, Henry ([1990] 2008) uses the metaphors of well and groundwater to depict the foundation of any community: our experience of our self ‘I’ as a well ‘re-​ sourced’ in the same groundwater as other wells /​living selves are, drinking in the same groundwater as others do. We may thus feel that our experience of the foundation of life founds, strengthens, and regenerates our being with the other, and thus, intersubjectivity and community. Although we may have some difficulties in making conscious such experience in our Western individualistic modernity, it may help us to acknowledge that it is shared by some traditions in Eastern cultures (see authors connecting Henry’s work with Zen Buddhism: Yoneyama, 2007; Vaschalde, 2014). Letiche (2006) pioneered the analysis of Henry in the context of MOS by stressing how affectivity is the essence of Henry’s unique relational ontology. In Seing the Invisible ([1988] 2009), Henry illustrates this rather difficult ontological perspective with the singular moment of recollection just before a group of people lifts an extremely heavy load. In that moment, each singular life, while reconnecting to the foundation of life, is simultaneously finding its energizing strength and connectedness with others: ‘I can, while altogether we can’. What we may also note here is that the moment of recollection/​ concentration reconnects every single one of our powers to our ontological ‘I’—​which is given to ourselves, which is disposable to ourselves—​so that we may seize ourselves (note the French reflexive form, ‘je me lève’—​literally, ‘I raise myself up’, which is less apparent in the English ‘I stand up’, for instance). Hence Henry underlines that the

Extending and Discontinuing Phenomenology    201 power of our auto-​affected life, our living Self, becomes the power of seizing—​or not—​ all of our powers and abilities. Fundamentally, our experienced life, being the origin of our Self, is also the very origin of our power (Deslandes, 2013, 2017). Such Henryian ontology unifies our immanent subjective and intersubjective life (being) with our subjective and intersubjective experience of effort (praxis) by expanding Henry’s reading of Maine de Biran (Henry, [1965] 1975) and Marx (Henry, [1976] 1983, [1990] 2014). But here, Henry’s major departure from Western philosophy is in his locating the real in the immanent subjective and intersubjective affective and active life. Hence Henry’s relentless philosophical struggle against the unreal: the illusion of attributing ontological value to representations of the world. Indeed, the illusion is precisely to make real that which is ‘set before’ us, which appears in the light of the world, is calculable, measurable, thinkable—​in other words, ‘objectifiable’. By stressing the ontological truth of our life, he revives the philosophical tradition, which, since Plato, has distinguished the real from the illusory, by which we generally set such great store. Identifying what is real can thus have immense consequences for political economy. Kühn, a Henryian philosopher, develops the illusion of political economy as follows: Political economy is nothing more than the ideological discourse that passes off empty entities of abstract equivalence (wages, capital, interest, market, etc.) as primary ontological realities [ . . . ] without however being able to form a true world-​of-​ life (Lebenswelt), which is the only immediately concrete correlate of our sensitive and affective experiences. (Kühn, 2006: 126)

In fact, in the political economy of Western society, what we tend to feel intimately, the invisible manifestations of our life to itself, do not exist as such because they cannot be measured, nor can they be experienced by anyone but ourselves. However, in Henry’s view, the criterion of the visible cannot be the criterion of the real, and, in a way, the two must be dissociated. Nothing is ever as real as the ‘I’—​our subjective life—​which is hungry and thirsty, which experiences suffering and joy, and from which no one can separate themselves. Such an ‘I’ is not our social identity as it appears in the eyes of society through parametric modalities or through the image we often like to display. In short, Henry introduces us to a phenomenology of life which paves the way for an ontology which owes nothing to the experience of the world but makes it possible (Henry, 2004). It is therefore now possible to return to the ontological issues we raised earlier. First, we may experience the foundation of our communities, in the ‘groundwater’ of life, which is both different from and intertwined with experiencing our communities by sharing a common life-​world (Husserl), a common world (Heidegger). Furthermore, beyond paying attention to our reflexive transcendental ego (Husserlian perspective), we may be receptive to the appearing of our life to itself.2 Instead of paying attention to the forgetfulness of ontological being by our inauthentic being-​in-​the-​world 2 

Then, we may experience our life strengthening reflexive thinking.

202    Eric Faÿ and Ghislain Deslandes in the Heideggerian sense, we could pay attention to the malaise of our life when forgetting the foundational affect of being given to itself by greater than itself (the experience of absolute life as introduced above) and, simultaneously, forgetting its connectedness with others through the groundwater of life.

10.3  Extending and Discontinuing Praxeology and MOS Phenomenology allows us to question the way praxis, work, or production appear to us. In The Crisis of European Sciences, Husserl ([1936] 1970) strongly criticizes modern thinking which deduces praxis from abstract models and calculated anticipations and, therefore, ignores our life-​world as genuinely perceived by the life of our consciousness. Heidegger’s (1977) critique underlines how technology and reason, when reduced to calculation, induce a specific framework (German Gestell) for production, whereby the real (nature, humans) becomes limitless resources (Rappin, 2015). Such a framework implies the inextricable and pervasive intertwining of humans with technology and devices (i.e. information systems) to order and regulate disposable resources (Ciborra, 2002). By focusing on exploiting resources, we increasingly forget being, whereas if we exercise restraint and pay attention to the manifestation of the real—​i.e. the unexpected emergence of difference in a world—​being will manifest itself to us. Henry extends and discontinues these critiques of the modern connection between rational thinking and praxis. His critique is based on a radical reversal of the notion of real from objective descriptions to the real subjective and intersubjective life (Seyler, 2021). As suggested by the quotation from Zola above, we may experience our subjective life, the gift of its coming to itself endowed with the overabundant energy for maintaining itself, flourishing and bonding with others. Here is the living interiority of our praxis, hitherto ignored by Western philosophy and MOS. What Henry names praxis is not the visible behaviour one can reflexively think about, but our invisible experience of the recollection of the energy of our life strengthening our ontological subjective and intersubjective power (I can /​we can), and, enabling us to seize, expand, and cultivate our powers, abilities, and talents. But, instead of freeing such given energy of life in praxis, we may drive it back and turn it into regression while encountering its inner or exterior resistances. Hence Henry’s major discontinuation in Western philosophy: being (our invisible life) expands in invisible praxis (the real). This implies the immanent intrigue of our consent or refusal—​of the transition from suffering—​that of absolute life disturbing and helping our self—​to joy (Puyou & Faÿ, 2015: 874). Here lies the foundation of Henry’s ethics and criticism of barbarism,3 of abstraction, objectivity alone, rationalism, which 3 Davidson

(2012), translator of Barbarism, introduces what Henry ([1987] 2012) means by barbarism: ‘a culture of death [ . . . ] social and political practices that carry out this annihilation of life

Extending and Discontinuing Phenomenology    203 hinder not only the life of our consciousness, but furthermore our affectivity where our life reveals to itself and thus represses its given energy, generating a malaise if not violence (Henry, [1987] 2012). Deriving action from rational calculations is therefore a barbaric move and an ontological illusion which represses the real, the ontological locus of action: the subjective and intersubjective life, its coming to itself endowed with the energy to maintain and flourish by cultivating its ties, abilities, and talents (Faÿ, 2011). In recent years, several research teams and authors have begun to rethink MOS in the light of Henry’s work. Three main closely linked topics have emerged: his critical reading of contemporary political economy, the question of intersubjectivity in collaborative processes between ‘subjective bodies’ fulfilling social roles (and the conditions of the possibility of ethical practice in organizations thanks to concepts such as affectio societatis), and the way in which Henryian phenomenology participates in its own way in the affective turn of MOS.

10.3.1 Henryian Contributions to Critical Theory: Critiques of Processes without Subjects Henry developed a critical analysis of political economy. Reinterpreting Marx ([1976] 1983, [1990] 2014), he sees economic production as all activities dedicated to the fulfilment of human needs, producing goods because of their use-​value. But this production should not be limited, as it usually is, to its visible, objective characteristics, measurable inputs and outputs, in other words, as processes without subjects. Production should be situated in the place where it is real: the immanent, pathic, subjective, and intersubjective praxis as described above. The solution to exchange goods with use-​value is the creation of objective and measurable representations of invisible praxis, of the pathic experience of active and affective life, human ‘resources’ assessments, money, etc. But representations are not the incommensurable experience of real praxis. It is from this discrepancy between what we experience as the reality of our working praxis and the objectified representations and measures of our work that a number of difficulties arise. And this is where Henry’s phenomenology of affective and active life makes such a significant contribution to critical economy and critical MOS: the possibility to found the critique of the representation which, instead of being a mere mediation of exchanges, becomes the starting point and the end point of political economy managerial science and/​or practices as argued by Seyler (2010: 197): To manage ‘human resources’ as one manages natural resources is to accentuate the substitution of the objectification of social praxis for the common test of a shared life.

[ . . . ] This ideology, which presents scientific method as the sole source of truth, pits against all other possible sources of truth, including the life which it eliminates from its analysis’ (2012: viii−ix). Hence, hegemony of abstraction through science and technology by stifling the culture of life, in the sense of the knowledge of the living praxis, ruins our humanity.

204    Eric Faÿ and Ghislain Deslandes In other words, the knowledge of life is also knowledge that concerns social praxis as a place where the powers of subjectivity are intensified [ . . . ] Objectifying knowledge that focuses exclusively on the exteriority of measurable objectives and imposes itself externally on living individuals runs counter to the culture of life.

Similarly, one may stress the managerial illusion of ‘bringing to light’ the invisible subjective active life by objectifying and measuring skills, appearances, attitudes, etc. This is the fundamental error of any management system that attempts to ‘manage human resources’ as though they were ‘natural’ resources (Deslandes, 2016). In Souffrance en France, Dejours (1998), drawing on Henry’s perspective of active and affective life and its praxis, harshly criticizes management that focuses on targets set by financial elites and their practices which contribute to what Arendt (1963) identified as the banality of evil. Following Dejours, Deranty (2008) shows how the structuring role of work in subjective life renews critical theory by offering a novel critical standpoint to the precarious nature of existence as a result of the transformations of work and employment. Deslandes argues that working in such contexts at a cynical distance (Fleming & Spicer, 2003) is a delusion: The belief that a person can behave like an automaton in the context of his or her social function, precisely to avoid alienation, is a delusion. In a phenomenology of life, it is precisely because the person is not fundamentally able to separate herself from herself, from her affectivity, that she can never really behave like an automated machine; this is the very reason for her suffering in the case of alienation, or her joy when his social function allows her to intensify her power to act. (Deslandes, 2016: 122)

Faÿ et al., in Living with Numbers (2010), also describe, in a Henryian perspective, a case study, where management accountants experience their affective life, the tension of acting as an interface between people from Finance—​and their quantified, abstract requirements—​and managers on the shop floor whose praxis they can barely acknowledge: ‘Managers know that [ . . . ] these figures are entangled with the everyday praxis of being a manager and its various related affects [ . . . ] Nevertheless, they also feel simultaneously that these figures do not, and cannot, reflect the singularity of the life they are living when they do what they do’ (2010: 36). Management accountants have several ways of dealing with this tension with managers. Objectivity—​looking for an objective view of business—​is one affective way to smooth the tension and help solve the conflicts between the perceived pessimistic/​optimistic bonus-​driven managers and profit-​driven senior managers. Another approach is to share incarnated praxis, team efforts in intense circumstances, which offers plenty of room for being realistic by being aware that ‘representation renders present again what praxis immediately presents’ (Adler, 1985: 156). Alternatively, listening intently to the living praxis and giving a precise description of how the forecast is made is a way of ensuring that forecasts are consistent with this

Extending and Discontinuing Phenomenology    205 living praxis. It is also a way to ensure that the management accountant’s living praxis is intertwined with that of the managers.

10.3.2 Returning to Subjective and Intersubjective Phenomenological Life and Praxis in MOS Abandoning abstraction, which denies the truth and the strength of life (De Woot, 2013: 16; Jean, 2014), in favour of phenomenological life offers new potential for research in MOS. Such a perspective does, however, raise the difficulty of finding ways to effect a transition from rational, instrumental, managerial thinking to living praxis. In the next paragraphs, we will outline ways in which this question has been addressed by various MOS researchers. A first way, following Gély (2007), entails the designing of roles to enable the flourishing of subjective and intersubjective praxis. Rethinking Roles and Their Design In his seminal work, Rôles, action sociale et vie subjective, Raphael Gély (2007) shows various possible connections between Henry’s phenomenology of life and social life through discussion of the central Sartrean concept of role. His main thesis is that the functional design and practice of role leads to the atrophying of life while by contrast a living interpretations of interconnected roles strengthens subjective and intersubjective praxis, allowing each singular life to grow and interconnect with others. As Gély puts it: ‘no one has ever seen a representation of a waiter serving coffee. The role only exists and is experienced in the very lives of those who perform it. (p. 45) [ . . . ]: the barista experiences a shared life with the customers they serve’ (Gély, 2007: 98). Thus, according to Deslandes (2016), the aim of a managerial ethic should be to establish the conditions to enable every living being to have not a ‘function’ but a role that a living being may have (Ducharme, 2012). Thus, collective action can never really be measured objectively (Supiot, 2017) but involves activating and reinforcing, through inner resonance and first-​person intersubjectivity, the powers of life. This is not to deny the importance of social and professional determinations (manager/​employee, customer/​supplier, shareholder/​employee, etc.) as such, but to inscribe these social roles according to the principle of an original affectivity that constitutes each of these subjective bodies as ‘acting living selves’. Puyou (2013) gives an empirical illustration of how roles may contribute to the intensification of lives. He observes that there is a margin of freedom in which management accountants may invest their role as characters (an encounter between the role and the singular living subject). There is therefore no absolute determinism leading them to instrumental rationality and surveillance for the sake of increasing shareholders value. As characters, however, they may act as business partners or advisors, engaging not only in Habermassian discursive rationality with their counterparts, but also in exercising

206    Eric Faÿ and Ghislain Deslandes their powers in strong connection with others exercising their own powers. Hence, a collective and joyful living praxis may occur as a form of cooperation, which satisfies life’s basic needs and increases the individual’s powers to act. Therefore, future research may develop such insights into managers’ roles and characters, examining experiences whereby managers play their role as coaches or mentors, while consenting to be living subjects, and observe the possible intensification of praxis it may enable. ‘Affectio Societatis’: A Henryian Foundation of Ethical Praxis in Organizations For Henry, ethics is concerned with doing, with action, with praxis, not with knowledge. Ethical doctrines are therefore often ineffective according to him because they imagine they can control the will from the standpoint of objective knowledge. However, for Henry, praxis is ultimately a knowledge of life that refers to the acting subjectivity of a person. Without this reference to subjective and intersubjective life, in instrumental relationships, there is never action but only, as Gély writes, ‘a third-​person process which is a natural, sensitive, objective movement and as such has nothing to do with an action, and this is because the essence of action does not dwell in it’ (Gély, 2007: 37). In a lifeless third-​person process there can be no ethical action. Conversely, from the intimate connection of each life with the ‘groundwater’ or absolute life the relation to others is characterized by the possibility of a reciprocal phenomenological interiority of the living beings, an immediate presence of one to the other’s experience of life. This excludes any will to connect through what we represent or imagine of the other. As suggested by Deslandes (2016, 2017, 2020), the term affectio societatis makes it possible to locate this reciprocal interiority of living beings that fundamentally determines their relationship with others. Deslandes philosophically establishes the possibility of organized bodies or contracts being founded on affectio societatis, a legal term meaning that which escapes the strict terms of the contract, to qualify the feeling of a form of co-​ownership, a shared, common feeling. Conversely, when life withdraws from work, a desaffectio societatis takes place. Furthermore, after Henry, we understand that the notion of affectio poses the principle of individuation, and therefore of heterogeneity (contrary to the hypothesis, generally accepted in economics, of the homogeneity of the human experience of work), but it cannot be dissociated from the relation to the community (societatis). Consequently, basing organization or contracts on affectio societatis allows one to experience the fundamental living unity of differences among living beings (Faÿ, 2008a: 836−7). Therefore, acting with others is not just a matter of visualizing objectives and thus measurable criteria, but implies first and foremost activating together the self-​affecting powers of life. All cooperation is therefore driven by a desire to share between living people, an affectio societatis as a place in which the same absolute life strives to be fulfilled and flourish. Affectio societatis is what takes us away from social determinations and brings us back to the experience of the self as the actualization, with others, of the living praxis. Yet this implies, as Deslandes (2016: 127) states:

Extending and Discontinuing Phenomenology    207 This is an abandonment of the theories commonly used in management of the cogeneration of the self by the other, the other without whom I would be nothing (coming from empiricist and behaviorist approaches, but also from phenomenological approaches, such as those of the philosophers Emmanuel Levinas and Paul Ricœur, for whom our ideas and affects are always mediated by models that come from others). Worldly selves are not at the origin of living selves but, on the contrary, come from them. Esprit de Corps: Affectio Societatis in Adverse Settings In ‘Ethics, Embodied Life and Esprit de Corps: An Ethnographic Study with Anti-​ Money Laundering Analysts’, Pérezts et al. (2015) interpret the first author’s ethnographic study through the prism of Henry’s phenomenology. The role of a bank’s anti-​money-​laundering analysts is to trace the source of customers’ deposits and, in some cases, refuse certain transactions, often against the will of the front office, whose priority is to maximize their earnings. The authors show how embodied subjects fulfil their role by intensifying their sensitivity and affectivity. In fact, they show the immediate interrelationships between anti-​ money-​ laundering analysts sensing and ‘smelling’ the customers’ files with their ‘I’, their subjective auto-​affection of life. They point out how these interrelationships between sensitivity and affectivity forges both the anti-​money-​laundering analysts’ ethical judgement and their strength for ethical praxis, i.e. their ability to stand up to the front office’s aggressiveness. Interestingly, ethical judgement is chiefly attributed to these analysts not through rational arguments but through actual quasi-​sensorial and affective experiences: feeling ‘black or grey’ files, files which ‘smell bad or good’, ‘clean or dirty’ files, files that make them ‘feel comfortable or uncomfortable’. These findings corroborate Henry’s ([1963] 1973) view by suggesting that such sensitivity shows that it is already inhabited by the ethical judgement of the analysts’ affective life. Put differently, the ‘I’ (auto-​affection of life) at the core of the ‘I feel, I sense’ (sensitive link with a world) enables the ethical judgement (clean/​dirty, bad/​good) of what is felt, smelt, sensed. Furthermore, the authors show how resisting pressure from the front office or convincing management to refuse substantial customer deposits result not from isolated but from collective praxis, invested with what they call ‘esprit de corps’. They describe the conditions which foster this: daily interactions in the bullpen, weekly meetings with open discussion of each others’ cases, support with no pressure from the team leader. Here, esprit de corps is for a group facing adverse conditions, the equivalent of Deslandes’ affectio societatis. After Henry’s ontology of life as presented above, both concepts suggest the possible connection with the underground resourcing layer of life when sharing difficulties and joys in corporate life. From this connection springs both a sense of community and the strength to actualize ethical praxis. This suggests that sharing the feelings of our affected lives with others can be a phenomenological path to connect with the ‘groundwater’ of life and its regenerating and strengthening energy.

208    Eric Faÿ and Ghislain Deslandes As subsequent research will show, we may experience this through an unexpected event escaping the framework of our intentional conscious will. Silence, Open-​Deliberation, and Praxis Here, following the Henryian conceptual framework introduced in this chapter, we propose a novel interpretation of a key moment of silence which occurred during an action research led by this chapter’s first author (Faÿ, 2004, 2005, 2008b, 2017). The focus of this action research was to study how a well-​contained open space for discussion could facilitate participants’ embodied subjective voice and intersubjective dialogue whilst simultaneously exchanging views about improving their organization. This particular case concerned a network of actors managing documentation processes and software for launching new products, involving around fifteen to twenty-​five people from different departments (e.g. Lab, Manufacturing, Purchasing, etc.) and different hierarchical levels (engineers, PAs, etc.). The meetings were held on a regular basis (every six weeks), and, rather than a top-​down approach, the agenda was based on the experience, requirements, or difficulties of the people involved. The researcher’s role was to point out at each meeting any difficulties in speaking or, conversely, any notable achievements. The difficulty of using the pronoun ‘I’ was particularly revealing, highlighting the anonymous position of people subjected to rationally organized instrumental processes. During the sixth meeting, a noteworthy event occurred. At the project manager’s behest, the researcher (this chapter’s first author) took the floor and apologized for singling out certain participants by name during the previous meeting, thereby making them uncomfortable. At that moment, I, the researcher, felt as though the ice was breaking: I had to pause between sentences and speak more slowly: people were listening intently, something was happening throughout the silence in the group. Such an intense silence could be interpreted as phenomenological restraint or epoché—​not as a result of some conscious intentional will—​but an affective move, that of the underground common layer of life reconnecting with the employees, regenerating their ‘I’, their living subjectivity, performing their social role, and, through this reconnection, regenerating affectio societatis, a shared affect of unity in difference, beyond the roles and images displayed. But what followed in the meeting enabled us to suggest this interpretation. Some participants voiced their concerns from their own embodied difficulties (‘I’m tearing my hair out with the suppliers’), whilst others apologized for faulty reasoning or for not understanding the complex situation when they were supposed to have the answers; others were calmly explaining their point or suggesting solutions. More than an open dialogue (Senge, 1990) it was an open deliberation (Faÿ, 2005) because it led to decision-​ making. Not only did they reach an agreement on how to organize the complex process but, more importantly, the division of roles required to implement that decision occurred in an agile, realistic way. Hence, we propose that in the event of such a silence, the ‘groundwater’ of life regenerates living subjects, their affectio societatis, and their cooperation, thus intensifying their lives as living interconnected praxis through their social role. Similar examples of action research inspired by Henryian concepts are

Extending and Discontinuing Phenomenology    209 provided by Uchiyama (2003, 2008) who revisited Chekland’s Soft System Methodology. Uchiyama allows change process to start from what he calls ‘actuality-​level’ subjective and intersubjective praxis, as shown above, which will challenge what he calls the ‘reality level’, the level of figures, process, structures, etc.

10.3.3 A New Take on the ‘Affective Turn’ in MOS: Stakeholder Theory from a Henryian Perspective In recent years, research in MOS has focused on describing the conditions that are conducive to an ‘affective turn’ in organizations (Clough, 2007). The word ‘affect’ in management is used in the context of a theory that has become increasingly prevalent in managerial practices. Painter et al. (2020), in an article entitled ‘Understanding the Human in Stakeholder Theory: A Phenomenological Approach to Values-​ Driven Leadership’, point out that the definition of stakeholder theory, in which an organization’s stakeholders are simply those who are ‘affected’ by its activity is usually instrumental and ignores the meaning of the Latin word affectus—​here a noun not a verb—​which is close to Henry’s understanding of the concept. Hence, stakeholder theory is blind to the possibility of intersubjective encounters between different stakeholder positions. However, in the conventional definition of the theory, the anthropological question, i.e. what is the concept of the ‘stakeholder man/​woman’, is never really posed (and the term ‘affect’ is not used for this purpose). The concept expressed here, without further clarification, is that of the rational subject, primarily concerned with its own interests, the subject defined and described on the basis of exclusively economic criteria. The term ‘affect’ is thus understood here in a minor way, as that which is destined for a specific use, as one would say: ‘to allocate resources to a specific operation’. To affect can just as easily be translated here as ‘to fuel’ or ‘to act’, i.e. verbs that are exclusively concerned with action and performance. At no point, however, is the question of ‘who’ actually asked, of a stakeholder theory of the person, as it seems to have already been answered. The term ‘affect’ is ultimately used to describe observable phenomena, namely that there are relationships between the organization and some other group or entity, and refers to the multiple modes of existence of the stakeholder function. But nothing seems to shed light on the profound nature of this relationship, the main properties, the substantive reality, the substratum, which essentially connects the organization to its stakeholders: indeed, there is no theoretical development of affect in the traditional definition of the term ‘stakeholder theory’. It is precisely here that it seems important to cite the work proposed by Painter et al. (2020), which uses the concept of affect in the Henryian sense to rediscover stakeholder theory. In this sense, a stakeholder theory of the person would pave the way for a structural deverticalization of organizations. This would imply putting stakeholders on the same level of ontological dignity. In their field study, they draw up a map of values that

210    Eric Faÿ and Ghislain Deslandes reveals clues to deeper affective movements in which stakeholders can find themselves and act together. As the authors state here: This ethics of affectivity (Seyler, 2010) should make us sensitive to what is ‘real’ in the analysis of stakeholders, to what seems precisely elusive: the subjective praxis, which is the constituent part of effective action. Such ethics should acknowledge what, in SHT, is likely to provide individuals with the experience of connecting their own powers in an affective and ontologically effective fashion. Or, put differently, if institutions prevent individuals from accessing their affective life by means of an insistence on abstract representation and distancing, they have no capacity for ethics (Puyou and Faÿ, 2015). (Painter et al., 2020: 15−16)

10.4  Conclusion: Paths for Extending Henryan Phenomenology in Future MOS Research In this chapter, we have tried to show the limits of MOS approaches in which the real is still missing—​the real being here regenerated or stifled, affective and active, subjective and intersubjective life, bringing to light ignored phenomena. Moreover, it seems important to us—​as it is to Henry—​to stress again the fundamental distinction between the feelings and emotions that may be ours in an/​the organizational world (ontic level) and the deeper manifestation of our affective life to itself (auto-​affection), affect such as affectio societatis (ontological level), when experiencing these feelings and emotions. Indeed, by introducing Henry’s unique ontology of affective, active, and intersubjective life, we highlight the reality of the subjective body, as a place for our dignity, which has not been recognized as such by structuralism and post-​structuralism’s scepticism. In short, by pointing out the reality of our subjective life, we have advocated that MOS researchers should not consider organizational phenomena in the exclusive light of the world, as is too often currently the case (Deslandes, 2016). In this chapter, we have introduced a distinctive Henryian contribution to the affective turn in MOS by relating affect to the innermost incarnated subjective life which enables an immediate encounter with other living beings (humans, animals, plants), without the primary necessity to share the same world. From there, we also introduce a distinctive contribution to the affective turn in MOS by stressing that making sense in organizations should not be restricted to lived experience but should ultimately open up to the subject’s life, its facilitated or impeded growth dynamism and its praxis. Taking this further, we suggest that an understanding of the Henryian notion of praxis may provide an original

Extending and Discontinuing Phenomenology    211 contribution to the practice turn in MOS. Indeed, we stress how one’s life, the ‘I’ always interior to any ‘I do’, ‘I work’, etc., offers an immediate, pre-​reflexive, affective knowledge and assessment of praxis. As we have also seen, Henry’s phenomenology may reveal a very useful, enlightening, and novel basis for critical or clinical approaches. It will also offer a renewed sense of what happens, new insights in the light of life, in any field or case study, including ethnography. When MOS studies focus on individual and collective action, they will derive fundamental benefits thanks to the novel approach to subjective and intersubjective praxis we have tried to develop here while designing, through action research, new models for organizing or managing. A phenomenology of life could, for example, be very fruitful in current debates on artificial intelligence or climate change. The critical point is that such ‘intelligence’ is not embodied or connected with any phenomenological life; therefore, research may inquire about what the quest for the unreal that artificial intelligence represents and the possible increase in users’ loneliness and powerlessness this could lead to. Similarly, ethnographic studies of remote working, virtual organization (Faÿ, 2009), could focus on the difficulty—​or ease—​of finding affectio societatis. Where climate change is concerned, we could also agree that such an issue can’t be solved by technological changes alone and that following a Husserlian phenomenological path, as Scharmer (2016) does, may yield interesting results in terms of consciousness change and action. A Henryian approach would suggest that epoché of ongoing representation and objectives may dismiss the human/​nature distinction and lead to the experience of our incarnated connectedness with all—​past, present, and future—​living beings throughout our common background in life and therefore experience strong bonds with the Earth in which living beings dwell. Such expanded relationality would enhance our concerns about environmental destruction, pollution, and pandemics, the importance of which is often grasped far too late, with devastating consequences—​something the Covid-​19 crisis has made abundantly clear. We hypothesize that a sense of life being under threat would lead to change in our affective flesh, that is, where we, living beings, connect to Life, the ‘groundwater’ of life, in Henryian terms. Denial as a defence against anxiety could be overcome with the experience, following Henry, that when the world becomes terrifying we may experience life as a secret to protect and which protects us and, therefore, empowers our praxis. Thus, in an organizational context, manifestations of affectio societatis such as camaraderie, solidarity, and unity in difference would be strengthened among stakeholders expanded to all living beings. This would facilitate open deliberations strengthening praxis, and, roles would be performed in a much more living way developing cooperation or esprit de corps in conflictual situations. This brief phenomenological outline of an eco-​ontology of life, its praxis and culture, may bring about a way to avoid nihilism. All in all, this requires agreeing to affect—​the coming to itself of life in our flesh as living beings—​and to its powerful force that stimulates and sustains action. This in turn leads to a great potential for more humane and meaningful workplaces and worlds of life.

212    Eric Faÿ and Ghislain Deslandes

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Chapter 11

Foucau lt a nd Ph enomenol o g y, a T ense and C ompl e x Rel ationsh i p From Anti-​Phenomenology to Post-​Phenomenology Aurélie Leclercq-​Vandelannoitte

11.1  Introduction: Foucault, an Anti-​P henomenologist? The relationship between Foucault and phenomenology is seemingly a clear, simple, and resolved question (Legrand, 2008; Monod, 2013a). Foucault (1966a) not only took some distance from phenomenology, which he took to be the dominant philosophical trend (along with Marxism, or Hegelian-​Marxism) after World War II (the time of his intellectual formation), but he also expressly built his thought against it, addressing very strong and radical criticisms of it (Monod, 2013a), from the beginning if his oeuvre. In a relationship with phenomenologists often described as negative and polemical, which reached its climax during the controversy with Sartre (1962) at the time of Les Mots et les Choses (1966), where the real philosophical target was actually Merleau-​Ponty more than Sartre (Lebrun, 1989: 33), Foucault (1966a, [1967] 1994, 1968) denounced the register of consciousness and the supremacy of the perceiving, judging, and active subject characterizing of phenomenology. The object of Foucault’s criticisms was classic—​or Cartesian—​phenomenology, found in Husserl’s developments, revolving around the concept of internal, subjective experience, known as a ‘lived’ or ‘vécu’ experience. Foucault shared with postmodern philosophers, notably Deleuze, Derrida, and Lyotard, strong criticisms regarding the role and foundational status attached to the

216   Aurélie Leclercq-Vandelannoitte phenomenological subject, which they denounced as a ‘substitute for the “dead God” in our modern épistémè’ (Legrand, 2008: 282). He criticized the role of the singular subject as the decisive lever of phenomenology in its different variations, be it Husserlian (the subject as a concrete monad), Heideggerian (the Dasein as being in the world), Levinassian (the vulnerable self), Ricoeurian (the intimate subject-​ipse), Sartrian (the transcendent ego), Merleau-​Pontian (the body-​subject), or Henryian (the self-​affected self) (Depraz, 2013). Rejecting the idea of a ‘too subjective subject’, and seemingly leaving no room for the latter (Depraz, 2013), Foucault (1966a) privileged instead the notions of ‘systems’ (e.g. systems of thought, épistémès) and structures (e.g. institutions). He focused in particular on the history of systems, their genesis and evolution, as revealed by the name of the ‘Chaire d’Histoire des systèmess de pensée’ he created at the Collège de France, far from the founding function of the subject, reigning in a sovereign manner over experience and meaning. In this regard, Foucault’s approach must be located in the philosophical debate of the 1950s opposing existentialism to structuralism. Inspired by the critique of Husserlian phenomenology developed by Cavaillès (Pradelle, 2013), Canguilhem (1967) (who supervised Foucault’s doctoral thesis and largely inspired postmodern philosophy) drew a clear and definitive border separating, on the one hand, a humanist and existentialist philosophy of phenomenological orientation (that of Sartre and Merleau-​Ponty); and, on the other hand, a philosophy oriented towards knowledge (whose Cavaillès was the representative)—​and of which Foucault, in line with this French epistemological tradition, was considered as the culmination point (Monod, 2013b). In this vein, in the redesign of the preface to the American translation of Canguilhem’s master book, Le Normal et le Pathologique, Foucault (1978) himself made a well-​known distinction between a ‘philosophy of experience, meaning, subject’ of Cartesian and phenomenological inspiration (represented by Sartre and Merleau-​Ponty, following Bergson), and a ‘philosophy of knowledge, rationality and concept’ (represented by Cavailles, Bachelard, and Canguilhem). Foucault explains that, while the former, known as existentialism, tries to describe lived experiences so that they can be understood in psychological and conscious forms, the second approach, known as structuralism, aims to explore unconscious and logical structures. Doing so, he drew a structuring opposition in the field of French modern philosophy between representatives of phenomenology on the one hand, and representatives of structuralism, to which he has long been associated on the other. Foucault is known in particular as a philosopher inscribed in ‘anti-​phenomenologist structuralism’ (Monod, 2013a: 312). In his early writings, Foucault indeed develops an ‘anti-​phenomenological manner’ to write history, as a way to assert his rejection of phenomenology, as both theory and method (Legrand, 2008). He develops a novel approach to philosophy which aims to open the subject to a ‘thought of the outside’, to heterogeneous archives, and an analytics of power. In particular, his archeological method, which constitutes the first axis of Foucault’s thought (Burrell, 1988), explicitly aims to ‘free history from the grip of phenomenology’ (Foucault, 1969a). Complementing archeology, the genealogical approach, known as Foucault’s second axis (Burrell, 1988), is defined by the idea that

Foucault and Phenomenology    217 ‘one has to dispense with the constituent subject, to get rid of the subject itself, that is to say, to arrive to an analysis which can account for the constitution of the subject within a historical framework’ (Foucault, 1980: 117). Through his novel perspective, as explained by Legrand (2008: 282), Foucault emphasizes that objects and the world are not constituted by a transcendental subject—​a pure consciousness or an incarnated body—​conveying to them meaning and structure; on the contrary, the subject itself is shaped through an external process, by its surroundings, by the material practices investing the surface of the body (surveillance, discipline, punishment, confession and so on) and producing thereby the illusion that this illusion constitutes ideally the very things, practices, structures, and constraints that in fact constitute it materially.

Foucault is thus, at first sight, very far from the conceptual foundations of phenomenology as an investigation of ‘lived experience’. Foucault notably contests the historic and epistemic conditions of possibilities of phenomenology (Lebrun, 1989), considering the latter as a discourse inscribed in the history of epistemic changes (Foucault, 1966a). In line with his rejection of the transcendental subject, he situates the discourse, the ‘enunciated’, beyond the phenomenological notion of the ‘lived experience’ (Depraz, 2013). Through his novel and original approach, Foucault seems to break with the existentialism and philosophy of consciousness found in orthodox phenomenology (Husserl, 1982). However, the relationship between Foucault and phenomenology is far more complex, tense, and subtle than a mere situation of opposition, defiance, and rejection. While, at first sight, Foucault’s thought is strictly opposed to phenomenology, specialists of phenomenology and of Foucault have explored the possible tensions existing between them, and have recognized parallels, linkages, and similitudes that can be established between them (Dreyfyus, 1983; Visker, 1999; Han, 2002; Legrand, 2008; Depraz, 2013; Heidenreich, 2013; Le Blanc, 2013; Monod, 2013a, 2013b; Sabot, 2013). Referring to the above-​mentioned structuring opposition dominating the French philosophical landscape after World War II (i.e. existentialism and structuralism), some observers notably argue that Foucault was not active only on the second side of the opposition (indeed, Foucault rejected the view that positioned him as a structuralist) (Monod, 2013a). Furthermore, he was not entirely wary of, resistant to, or exterior to phenomenology, and his relationship with phenomenology (Husserl’s) and its followers (Merleau-​Ponty and Heidegger in particular) was not limited to that of hostility and rejection . . . Quite the contrary. In many regards, phenomenology actually appears to be underlying Foucault’s thought, the fertile soil on which he built his analytics. Foucault (1985: 764) himself recognized that the two types of philosophies that were dominant in the 1950s in France (i.e. existentialism and structuralism) themselves could be traced back to Husserl’s lectures in the Sorbonne in 1929 that led to his Cartesian Meditations1 (Husserl, 1986), 1 

Husserl’s title Cartesian Meditations is an allusion to Descartes’ Metaphysical Meditations, the latter being seen by Husserl as the precursor of transcendental philosophy.

218   Aurélie Leclercq-Vandelannoitte such that Husserlian phenomenology can be considered as constitutive of the ‘historical a priori’ of contemporary French philosophy (Legrand, 2008: 285). As explained by Foucault himself, these polar opposites in the philosophical debate actually both stem from a common phenomenological root. Furthermore, the phenomenological approaches developed by Merleau-​Ponty and Sartre obviously played a strong role in Foucault’s thinking, as demonstrated by Sabot (2013). It ought to be noted that, despite strong criticism against phenomenology, Foucault was literally fascinated by Merleau-​ Ponty, who was Foucault’s professor at Ecole Normale Supérieure, and who would soon become for him a thought leader, as reported by Mauriac (1976: 492, quoted in Eribon, 1994). Indeed, Foucault found in the courses and first writings of Merleau-​Ponty the motivation to develop a criticism of certain objectivist tendencies in psychology, which claimed to constitute itself as a science (Sabot, 2013), as seen in Foucault’s (1954) introduction to the translation of Traum und Existenz (Rêve et Existence) by Binswanger, a psychiatrist seeking to build a phenomenological psychiatry inspired by Husserl and Heidegger. As insightfully noted by Sabot (2013), it is through Merleau-​Ponty’s (1945) Phenomenology of Perception that Foucault came to know Binswanger’s work, which inspired Foucault’s development of the History of Madness (1961). Furthermore, while he had strived to detach himself from a philosophy of subject and consciousness, Foucault, at the end of his oeuvre, revisited the question of the subject in ways that show rather more continuities than discontinuities with Merleau-​Ponty (Levin, 2008; Revel, 2015), as well as with Heidegger’s consideration of the hermeneutics of the subject (Monod, 2013b). At the end of his life, Foucault (1982) himself confessed a strong admiration for Heidegger, whose influence on his oeuvre remained particularly important. Thus, while his opposition to phenomenology surely played an important role in Foucault’s approach, his alliance with and reliance on phenomenology have played a no less important role in the construction and evolution of Foucault’s thought through the course of his oeuvre. From Foucault’s writings on human sciences and madness, to his courses at Collège de France on the subject (notably The Hermeneutics of the Subject in 1981−2; Foucault, 2001) and conferences at the beginning of 1980s, Foucault’s thought contains a subtle entanglement with the concepts developed by the most important representatives of phenomenology. From the first Foucault (on history and archeology), the second Foucault (on genealogy and power), to the late Foucault (on the ethics of the subject), we contend in this chapter that a large part of Foucault’s main axes (Burrell, 1988) is inspired, animated, and nourished, to some extent, by phenomenology. Foucault’s approach thus oscillates between criticisms and reappropriation of phenomenology, relies on convergences and divergences, continuities and discontinuities with the latter, and translates to a mix of proximity and distance with it (Sabot, 2013), made up of both complicity and tenderness (Monod, 2013a). In line with observers that have recently reconsidered the relationship between Foucault and phenomenology, we argue in this chapter that Foucault’s philosophy inevitably falls within the scope of phenomenology, by rediscovering and extending its potentialities (Legrand, 2008). To do justice to the real nature of the relationship between Foucault and phenomenology, this chapter aims to highlight the possible affiliation

Foucault and Phenomenology    219 and peculiar significance that phenomenology has taken in Foucault’s approach, and to show how Foucault extended the potentialities and richness of phenomenology towards a new approach of phenomenology—​that of ‘post-​phenomenology’. To that end, we consider Foucault’s three main themes (Burrell, 1988) through the prism of phenomenology: first, we consider the relationship between the young Foucault and the phenomenology developed by Husserl, about historicity and archaeology; we then analyse Foucault’s relationship with phenomenology through the prism of the historicization of the transcendental, expressed in Foucault’s genealogy of the subject, revealing unexpected similarities between Foucault’s and Merleau-​Ponty’s work; last, we explore Foucault’s reconsideration of the subject, through his development of the hermeneutics and ethics of the self, revealing an active mode of experimentation largely influenced by Heidegger’s approach, and further aligning him with the work of Ricoeur and Merleau-​Ponty.

11.2  Historicity and an Archeology of the Surface: Making Visible the Invisible The first main topic where a parallel can be drawn between Foucault and phenomenology is that of historicity and archeology, where Foucault appears as both close and distant from the father of phenomenology, Husserl. In a 1967 interview, entitled ‘Who are you Professor Foucault?’, phenomenology is described by Foucault ([1967] 1999) as one of the most popular philosophical discourses of the 1950s, from which he aims to free himself (Le Blanc, 2013). In this interview, he describes phenomenology as relying on four main characteristics: an analysis of the immanent meanings of lived experience; a transcendental philosophy bringing together all meanings to a transcendent subject; a philosophy of totalization; and a philosophy of the cogito. Foucault’s method, i.e. archeology, in the analysis of discursive traces and orders left by the past, in order to write a history of the present (O’Farrell, 2005), explicitly positions itself against these four dimensions, and is even presented by Foucault as an ‘anti-​phenomenology’ (Le Blanc, 2013). Yet, beyond Foucault’s strong criticisms and despite his explicit position against the orthodox (1966a), Husserlian phenomenology in Les Mots et les Choses, it is well-​known that he had a strong admiration for Husserl and his Meditations Cartésiennes (1986), which, as Foucault explained, largely fed the whole French philosophical tradition in the 20th century (Monod, 2013a). It is striking to observe that Foucault’s oeuvre both opens and closes on Husserl’s Recherches Logiques (published in 1900−1 and considered to be the founding work of phenomenology), revealing, according to Le Blanc (2013: 373), the persistence of ‘the phenomenological motive’ in Foucault’s thought, despite his claim to have abandoned it. Arguing that Foucault borrows a lot from the language of

220   Aurélie Leclercq-Vandelannoitte phenomenology, some observers have thus established a bridge between Foucauldian thought and Husserlian phenomenology, around the theme of history (Depraz, 2013) and historicization. The latter is conceptualized by Husserl ([1954] 1989) in the Krisis2 (La Crise des sciences européennes et la phénoménologie transcendentale; 1954), and defined as a reverse questioning method on science, which implies reactivating the meaning of a phenomenon, known as ‘archeology’—​a term that is also fundamental in Foucault’s oeuvre. Actually, ‘archeology’ was central and decisive for both philosophers. And it is important to remember that, when Foucault developed his archeological method, he was well-​aware that the concept of ‘archeology’ had first been used by Husserl and his disciple Fink (Legrand, 2008: 283). (Husserl’s interest in archeology must be placed in the context of 19th century, when archeology was considered to be a heroic and revolutionary science, leading to important discoveries for humanity. Fascination for archeology at the turn of 20th century explains why this metaphor was directly transposed to the philosophical and intellectual field; see Heidenreich, 2013.) Foucault actually borrowed many key expressions from Husserl himself, such as the notion of a ‘historical a priori’, and the whole metaphor of ‘archeology’: ‘strata’, ‘sedimentations’, ‘architecture’, and ‘soil’ (the latter being a term also used by Merleau-​ Ponty, 1995, in his lecture about Nature; Heidenreich, 2013), revealing common points of thinking and writing between these two philosophers (Monod, 2013a). The presentation of a text by Husserl devoted to the possibility of a ‘phenomenological archeology’ (Husserl & Monod, [1932] 2013), unpublished in French, further enriches and supports this ‘metaphorological’ confrontation (Monod, 2013a) and the parallels that can be established between both philosophers. Heidenreich (2013) indeed suggests an insightful comparison between archeology and phenomenology, and explores the intimate and complex relationship between Husserl and the young Foucault. Emphasizing the power of metaphors, in that they help us to understand the structure and perspective of a given thought, Heidenreich (2013) perceives in this similitude more than a simple commonality in writing style or rhetoric kinship between Husserl and Foucault. Heidenreich argues that it represents an expression of a partially convergent and partially divergent mission, a ‘work’ of paradoxical identification of ‘surface structures’. A similarity indeed exists between these philosophers in the way they use the central metaphor of archeology to build their conception of philosophy as a manner of ‘dig[ging] the soil’ (Heidenreich, 2013: 364), and that is that they both seek to develop an ‘archeology of the surface’ (Le Blanc, 2013). For Husserl, the images of the soil and sedimentation are omnipresent, in a phenomenology that is aiming to construct a new soil. The objective of Husserl’s phenomenological archeology is indeed to dig the soil in a vertical manner, in order to discover the origins, the archi-​foundations of a phenomenon. For Foucault, in contrast, the goal of his archeological method is instead to scratch the surface, working in a more lateral manner, in order to make visible what is invisible at the surface: a horizontal archeology that produces an archive of things and of


More precisely: Krisis der europäischen Wissenschaften und die transzendantale Phänomenologie.

Foucault and Phenomenology    221 discourses, as they are, without trying to interpret them (Heidenreich, 2013). Foucault’s mission in his archeological method is indeed to grasp in words, images, and symbols, ‘the significant act’ unfolding itself on the surface (Le Blanc, 2013: 374): What I am looking for are not relationships that are secret, hidden, quieter or deeper than men’s consciousness. On the contrary, I try to define relationships which are on the very surface of speeches; I try to make visible what is only invisible by being too on the surface of things.3 (Foucault, 1969b: 23)

Doing so, Foucault subscribes to the phenomenological tradition to the extent that he appropriates the rhetoric of archeology, while reversing it and transposing it. He does so by moving from a vertical logic targeting the deepest layers, to a lateral or horizontal logic avoiding any hierarchy and prioritization. There is therefore a strong similitude within this central metaphor, while it is simultaneously transposed and transformed by Foucault. As suggested by Heidenreich (2013), this convergence reveals a deeper, more fundamental kinship than realized between Husserl and Foucault, the latter appearing, contradictory to traditional expectations, to be a true heir of Husserl. Although in a different manner, both share indeed the common gesture of taking perspective, of observing distance (Depraz, 2013). They do so through ‘archaeological practice’ for Foucault, through which history is viewed as an analysis of the processes that have led to what we are today; and the ‘neutralization of the epochè’ for Husserl (Depraz, 2013), through which he opens Descartes’ notion of universal doubt to highlight that ‘modifications’ of the believing consciousness are always possible (Brainard, 2002). In that regard, Les Mots et les Choses (Foucault, 1966a) and Krisis (Husserl, [1954] 1989) can both be seen as a diagnosis of the mutations of subjective rationality in modern societies (Depraz, 2013). Foucault describes the situation of a discourse in the épistémè of an era and its registration within a lineage, a specific system of thought, which appears as an effort to historicize the transcendent; as for Husserl, he stages a concrete, historical a priori and describes the meaning of the origin according to an approach that questions backwards (Depraz, 2013). Yet, beyond these similitudes, both articulate historicity and transcendentalism in very different manners, explains Depraz (2013). Husserl describes a history of real facts, develops a retrocessive questing for the origins of a meaning and considers historicity as an a priori; while Foucault avoids any reference to the transcendental as a condition of possibility, and does not consider the depth of the transcendent gesture but a historical and contingent experience (Depraz, 2013). Thus, while Husserl’s phenomenological method seeks to ‘dig up’ and to reactivate the intentional acts in which the formal systems of science once originated (Legrand, 3  Version in French: ‘Ce que je cherche, ce ne sont pas des relations qui seraient secrètes, cachées, plus silencieuses ou plus profondes que la conscience des hommes. J’essaie au contraire de définir des relations qui sont à la surface même des discours; je tente de rendre visible ce qui n’est invisible que d’être trop à la surface des choses’.

222   Aurélie Leclercq-Vandelannoitte 2008), in contrast, Foucault (1969a) aims, with his archeological method, to get rid of this appeal to the subjective and conscious acts of meaning. He wishes to reestablish archeology in its proper space, i.e. the discursive formations in all their anonymity (Legrand, 2008). To that end, it is necessary for Foucault to abandon the phenomenology of consciousness, on which Husserl’s conception of history is founded, as well as the vision of history as a linear process, implying instead the recognition of a new sort of history recognizing discontinuity (Legrand, 2008: 283). Thus, Foucault does not totally abandon the idea of phenomenological meaning, but he reorients it, from representing a bifurcation to providing the conditions for the appearance of meaning which should not refer to a transcendental subject or to a pre-​ reflexive cogito, but to an inquiry bearing on ‘the formal conditions for the appearance of meaning’ incorporating considerations on the transformations of meaning produced within the history of discourse (Le Blanc, 2013: 288). Foucault thus circumscribes the functions of archeology to the identification of transformations in meaning of discourse within an archive; and, to that end, he relies only on the units immanent to the discourses themselves. Doing so, he does not reject the descriptive method of phenomenology, as a phenomenology of significations, but modifies its significance, by making it rely on entire systems of relations that can only be accessed by getting rid of some specific phenomenological hypothesis (Le Blanc, 2013). For Le Blanc (2013), Foucault’s archeology thus uses the phenomenological motive to define itself as ‘archeology’, such that the phenomenological cannot be entirely placed in a position of exteriority in relation to archeology. Interestingly, Foucault’s approach, inspired by phenomenology, contributes to a historicization of the transcendental (Sabot, 2013) and of the subject, as further explained in the following section.

11.3  Historicizing the Transcendental and Consciousness Foucault’s relationship with phenomenology can be further analysed through the prism of the historicization of the transcendental, expressed in Foucault’s genealogy of the subject (extending his archeological approach), revealing unexpected links and ‘family resemblances’ between Foucaut’s and Merleau-​Ponty’s thoughts (Monod, 2013a; Sabot, 2013). Merleau-​Ponty’s phenomenology and approach to empirical psychology indeed contributed to orient Foucault towards a practice of philosophy that considered the contributions and limitations of ‘human sciences’ (and first of all psychology), while looking for another horizon of thought (Monod, 2013a), emphasizing the historically and socially conditioned character of consciousness (Foucault, 1980a). The connections between both philosophers can be traced back to Foucault’s ([1961] 1972) Histoire de la Folie, where he broadly criticized Descartes for his exclusion of madness from the space constituting truth and knowledge. According to Foucault,

Foucault and Phenomenology    223 Descartes drew a dividing line between mad and normal people and, in doing so, he installed a new ratio. For Foucault, the goal of his criticism of Descartes was not only to develop a history of the discourses and practices surrounding madness, constituting it as a mental illness—​it was above all a philosophical criticism of the constitution of the subject, produced on a metaphysical level in Descartes’s philosophy, and arising by excluding madness from the field of thought. In this regard, Foucault (1980b: 58) explained the importance, in the development of his thought, of Binswanger’s descriptions of madness as a fundamental experience, which relied on the existential analysis of Heidegger’s approach to madness as a way of being (Dasein) (Monod, 2013a), and were developed in Merleau-​Ponty’s courses and first writings and Phenomenology of Perception (1945). Observers see a certain proximity between Foucault and phenomenology—​Merleau-​Ponty’s approach in particular—​ regarding the possible contributions of the latter in formulating a counterargument to the objectifying and reifying tendency of psychiatry (Sabot, 2013). The consideration of madness, illness, and dream as plenary manners of being to the world found a strong echo in Foucault’s thought, explaining his growing interest in Merleau-​Ponty’s approach to empirical psychology and phenomenology (Monod, 2013a). To understand how the thought of Merleau-​Ponty so influenced Foucault on these aspects, it is important to go back, according to Sabot (2013), to the way Foucault (1978) confronted the approaches developed by Merleau-​Ponty and Canguilhem, the representatives of the two main philosophical trends in the 1950s. According to Foucault, Merleau-​Ponty and Canguilhem take symmetrical and inversed positions to phenomenology. In his questioning on life, Merleau-​Ponty’s approach develops an ‘inside’ view of phenomenology, privileging the notion of experience (the lived experience) against an objectivist approach of a science that distorts meaning. Merleau-​Ponty’s phenomenology can be considered a kind of ‘archeology’ (Merleau-​Ponty himself uses this term to define his own approach to a phenomenology of perception), which goes back to the lived experience aiming to reveal the perceived world, a phenomenal world, purified of everything that proceeds from an objectifying attitude, and brought ‘to the pure expression of its own meaning’. In contrast, Foucault explains that Canguilhem develops an ‘outside’ view of phenomenology, in that he proposes to overflow phenomenology through epistemology, to pass outside, by placing at the heart of his concerns the relationship between living things and the knowledge of living (Sabot, 2013). Canguilhem develops a critical investigation questioning the conditions of possibilities of a ‘knowledge on life’, which is seen as an alternative to the phenomenological analysis of the world of life. Thus, the notion of the lived experience developed by Merleau-​Ponty and of the biological science developed by Canguilhem constitute the two main paths towards questioning life. The confrontation of these two approaches broadly nourished Foucault’s thought, who developed a renewed approach towards questioning life. We know how Foucault (1966a), in Les Mots et les Choses, criticized Merleau-​Ponty’s phenomenology, notably his phenomenological archeology of human sciences. Merleau-​Ponty explored the crisis in the human sciences announced by Husserl, where humans are constituted as a consequence of the effects of knowledge that prescribe

224   Aurélie Leclercq-Vandelannoitte their existence. For Merleau-​Ponty, this raises a problem as humans are simultaneously conditioned subjects and the constitutive core of their development. Foucault (1966a) attempted to go beyond this phenomenological understanding of the crisis of human sciences, and, to that end, he directly referred to Merleau-​Ponty’s diagnosis of the crisis of human sciences. Notably, he agreed with the analysis proposed by Merleau-​Ponty, according to which the subject appears as an ambiguous figure (Sabot, 2013). And Foucault concurs with Merleau-​Ponty on the idea that the subject, who is at the centre of modern thought, appears as ‘a strange empirico-​transcendental double’, which presents itself as both the object and the subject of its own knowledge. Furthermore, Merleau-​ Ponty’s developments of a third dimension, as he was departing from the philosophy of consciousness, beyond the pure subject and object, where activity and passivity, autonomy and dependence would cease to be contradictory, through the phenomenological analysis of the lived experience, largely inspired Foucault’s subsequent theory of the subject. Such a theory ‘would take root both the experience of the body and that of culture’. The two philosophers thus share the same view of the empirico-​transcendental duality of the human condition, despite their divergences regarding the solutions that can be brought to address this dilemma (Sabot, 2013; Cormick, 2016). However, as explained by Sabot (2013: 324), the relationship between them remains complex, as Foucault further criticized the ambiguous nature of this mixed discourse, centred on the lived experience. Foucault (1963) has long maintained, with the Phenomenology of Perception, an unclear relationship, difficult to disentangle in any case. Foucault indeed continued to distance himself from the question of the self and the subject (Monod, 2013a, b). He disagreed with the way the subject was considered in the ‘philosophy of the subject’, viewed as the dominant trend in European Western philosophy in the 1950s. The subject appeared as the foundation of all knowledge, the principle of all meaning, as emanating from the signifying subject. Foucault denounced such a predominance and centrality for the meaningful subject, which was, as he explained, largely due to Husserl’s influence from his Meditations Cartesiennes (1986) and Krisis ([1954] 1989), and reinforced by phenomenologists who advocated the domination of Descartes in French philosophy and the transcendence of ‘ego’. Instead, Foucault started to describe his work as an attempt to build a ‘genealogy of the subject’, to question and historicize its condition of possibilities, while considering relations and mechanisms of power. ‘I have tried to get out of the philosophy of the subject through a genealogy of the subject, by studying the constitution of the subject across history, which has led us to the modern concept of the self ’, explains Foucault in his courses at Collège de France ([1981−2] 2001: 506). Such a genealogy is particularly difficult, he explained , as ‘most historians prefer a history of social processes, while most philosophers prefer a subject without history’ (1981−2] 2001: 506). Foucault’s genealogy of the subject accounts ‘for the constitution of knowledge, discourses, domains of objects, and so on, without having to make reference to a subject which is either transcendental in relation to the field of events, or runs in its empty sameness throughout the course of history’ (Foucault, 2003: 306). In view of these developments, Sabot (2013: 326) notes, a possible ‘convergence zone’ between Foucault and Merleau-​Ponty, ‘which does not exclude certain overlaps or even a certain “play” between these thoughts’. For example, it is possible

Foucault and Phenomenology    225 to consider Merleau-​Ponty’s phenomenology in concert with Foucault’s approach by emphasizing their similitudes and complementarities, more than their differences and contradictions. Both philosophers present theories of subjectivities as fundamentally embodied and contextualized (Levin, 2008), with different emphases and foci, that are all necessary for a full understanding of the subject. Levin (2008) notably explains that, while Merleau-​Ponty (especially in his first period with his Phenomenology of Perception; 1945) highlights ‘the experiential, material aspects of embodied being in his discussions of habits, body images, and the “I can” ’, Foucault provides a complementary approach by emphasizing ‘the power relationships and the discursive and historical forces that contribute to body-​subjects’ construction’. Both contribute, in Levin’s (2008) view, to a broader ‘theory of embodiment as discursive yet still material, and as historically and culturally situated, yet still capable of agentic, liberatory transformation’. In this vein, Sabot (2013) similarly highlights how Foucault developed a more phenomenological presentation of the body (notably during a conference on the ‘utopian body’ in 1966a) where Foucault situates himself as close as possible to Merleau-​Ponty: the body is considered here, not as a uniform and homogeneous space presented to us by objective knowledge, but from the point of view of experience as a multidimensional space, both penetrable and opaque, open and closed, visible and invisible, irreducible to its objective dimension (Sabot, 2013). In the end, if, for Merleau-​Ponty, knowledge (e.g. medical knowledge, taking the body for object) deserves to be related to a ‘perceptual field’ from which it can be articulated, Foucault adds that this perceptual field is itself structured by a ‘historical a priori’, which defines the ‘world of perception’ (Sabot, 2013: 328). Foucault thus complements phenomenology by highlighting the historically and socially conditioned character of consciousness, suggesting, then, an ‘account for the constitution of the subject within a historical framework’ (Foucault, 1980a: 117). According to Sabot (2013) Foucault thus paves the way to a ‘historicization of the transcendental’, which ‘takes the way of phenomenology to make it bifurcate sharply towards history’. Doing so, Foucault seemingly opts for the second path in the above-​mentioned polar opposites, that of the history of science and knowledge, more than the axis of the subject. At that time, Foucault therefore appeared to many as an ‘anti-​humanist’, which he himself even claimed to be (Foucault, 1966b). But this question is largely complicated by the fact that, at the end of his oeuvre, Foucault decided to revisit the question of subjectivity.

11.4  A Reconsideration of Subjectivity: From Foucault’s Cartesian Mediations to an Active Mode of Experimentation As mentioned above, Foucault situates his genealogy of the subject in direct opposition to the approach developed by Descartes, Husserl, Sartre, and Merleau-​Ponty, which privileges the transcendence of a subject outside history. However, in line with

226   Aurélie Leclercq-Vandelannoitte his approach of historicity, and the historicization of the transcendental, Foucault developed an alternative approach to the subject and ‘subjectivation’ at the end of his life, which, paradoxically again, found inspiration in the phenomenological approach. The conceptualization of modern subjectivity developed by Descartes, which had received strong criticism in The History of Madness (for its exclusion of madness from the space of the constitution of truth and knowledge), is indeed reexamined by Foucault in the 1980s, relaunching what may appear to be a long ‘Cartesian meditation’ in Foucault’s thought (Monod, 2013b: 345). The last Foucault, especially his research programme entitled ‘L’Herméneutique du Sujet’ (Foucault, 2001), shows many resemblances with Heidegger (1999, 2001), considered an important figure in phenomenology. It is there that Foucault’s debt to phenomenology is the most obvious and explicit, in particular through its reconstruction of the history of metaphysics and redeployment of the figure of subjectivity, inspiring Foucault ([1981−2] 2001) to consider the question of the ‘subjectivation’ mode of the self and the practice of the self as an ethical subject (Depraz, 2013). It ought to be noted that, at the beginning of his oeuvre, Foucault had already dealt with the question of the subject to a certain extent. But he had done so from the ‘outside’, an outside constituted of history, the history of psychiatric knowledge, the history of prisons and medical institutions, and as the object of power mechanisms. Such a conceptualization is a priori very different from the idea of pure a Cartesian meditation of the ‘philosophying subject’, but Foucault was certainly inspired by Descartes in his last period of work focused on the self (Monod, 2013b: 346). Descartes, who also studied the question of madness in his Meditations Métaphysiques, was indeed cited in Foucault’s ([1961] 1972) Histoire de la Folie. This aspect is considered as a starting point in the ‘Cartesian meditation’ further developed by Foucault (Monod, 2013b), who developed, at the end of this work, the question of the subject and the notion of meditations as ‘technologies of the self ’ (Depraz, 2013; Monod, 2013b), making him appear to be representative of a certain phenomenological tradition, one of Heideggerian deconstruction. Of course, explains Monod (2013b: 347), Foucault retains his distance from any Husserlian repetition of Descartes’ meditations in a phenomenological frame, but the new interpretation he suggests in his Herméneutique du Sujet (Foucault, 2001) (what Monod, 2013b calls ‘le moment cartésien de Foucault’) is nonetheless constitutive of a continuous dialogue with Husserl and Heidegger. Foucault develops there the ideas of ‘a knowing subject’, of ‘the practices of the self ’, and of the ‘Cartesian turn of phenomenology’ (Monod, 2013b: 351). In this regard, according to Foucault, Descartes replaced the knowing, founding subject with a subject constituted of practices of the self (Monod, 2013b). However, in Descartes’s thought, the subject is above all a subject able to produce the truth, and only accessorily an ethical subject, a subject able to produce a right action, far from what the late Foucault designates by the ‘ethics of the subject’, conducted through a ‘subjectivation’ process. As discussed by Monod (2013b), Foucault instead develops, from his reading of ancient philosophy, diverse techniques of subjectivation, a work ‘on the self ’, which enables him to develop his views on the ‘ethics of the subject’. He emphasizes, rather

Foucault and Phenomenology    227 than the ‘certitude’ and unity of the subject found in phenomenology, the displacement of the subject, the path of the meditating subject, the work made by the subject on him/​ herself. To that end, Foucault referred to the Christian practice of hermeneutics (Heidegger, 1999, 2001) and the long history of self-​techniques in the Western world. This approach is, assuredly, different from the traditional phenomenological perspective (notably Heidegger’s), but Foucault emphasizes that the problematization of the relationhips he developed between ‘technique’, ‘truth’, and ‘subjectivity’ are largely inspired by Heidegger. It is from him, indeed, that Foucault started to reflect on the relationship between the subject and truth, known as Foucault’s Cartesian meditation (Monod, 2013b). In particular, Foucault’s interest in the history of techniques of the self is inspired by the Heideggerian approach with the historicization of objectivity and its relationship to the history of technique. Foucault follows Heidegger in his willingness to historicize the metaphysics of the modern subject, and, in his course on the ‘Herméneutique du Sujet’, echoes Heidegger by considering Descartes as the central figure of a transformation of the modern subject. Depraz (2013) sees in this late Foucault the development of a new kind of phenomenology, a ‘phenomenology of attention’ that Foucault does not develop in the traditional phenomenological ‘egological’ mode, but in the mode of a fine restitution of ‘practices of attention’ found in ancient, Stoic, skeptical, or Epicurean philosophy. For Depraz (2013: 336), this conception of the self, developed notably in Foucault’s (1976−84) Histoire de la Sexualité, can be interpreted as a ‘practical restitution of phenomenology’. Foucault also shares with phenomenology the willingness to describe the experiences of consciousness and their modifications through ‘practices’, by developing exercises of the thought, which phenomenology uses in the present tense, while Foucault evokes past forms (Monod, 2013a). The late Foucault thus reveals the development of what Depraz (2013) considers a ‘phenomenological practice’, articulated practically in the ‘care of the self ’, the ‘practice of the self ’, and ‘techniques’ of the self, where the common ground is the notion of attention. Attention is for phenomenology the concrete, experiential, practical name of the epochè, i.e. the relationship of the self to the self, as a presence of the self, suggests Depraz (2013). Furthermore, Foucault identifies different ways of practicing this attention: the care of the self, as a relationship with the self (a general attitude in life); a ‘technique of the self ’ (implying a more active relationship with the self); an ‘internal mobilization’ (as a conversion to the self); and an exercise of the self, mobilizing awareness. In this way, the notion of attention is seen to be very important in the late Foucault, which implies an understanding of the practice of the self in very concrete terms, as ‘a reversal towards oneself ’ through a ‘diversion of what is external’. For Depraz (2013), this conversion to the self, to the ‘inside’, is a ‘subjectivation’ process, in order ‘to fix oneself as an objective, to establish a relationship full of oneself to oneself ’ (Foucault, 2001: 206). For Depraz (2013: 339), this process requires what she calls an ‘ethics of attention’, implying an assuming of a double attention: i.e. an attention to the thing itself on the one hand and, on the other, to the way the subject perceives (sees or listens to) the thing; it is an ‘attention of attention’. Doing so, Depraz (2013) draws

228   Aurélie Leclercq-Vandelannoitte a parallel with the conception of attention in Husserl’s work, conceived of as a relational presence to the self (where attention is there, an activity that has the dynamic of an internal gesture, in a bodily, relational, semantic, and expressive manner, enabling a modulation of actions and an augmentation of the being). A parallel can thus be drawn on this point between Husserl and Foucault, around the notion of praxis, as the access to the truth is not a simple affair of theory, but can only be experienced in a practice of the self. These developments show the extent to which Foucault reappropriates and alters the phenomenological notion of ‘experience’, despite his initial rejection of it, in order to ‘to unveil, to “objectivate”, and thus transform through acts of knowledge this specific and unconscious dimension of our experience’ (Legrand, 2008: 289). He develops a more active mode of experimentation on our knowledge and mode of existence, such that it may transform the subject (‘an experiment is something that transforms you’, explained Foucault; 1994b: 41; quoted in Legrand, 2008: 289). Through experiments, the subject learns to perceive otherwise what he/​she already perceives (Legrand, 2008: 290), and aims to transform him/​herself. ‘The theoretical experimentations Foucault offers are the effort of the thought applied to the historical a priori, to the structures of what I called experience [ . . . ] in the hope of transforming it’ (Legrand, 2008: 290). Foucault is convinced indeed, that, in order to get a reflective perception of what we are and how we think, we need to use the mediation of history, of another knowledge, another experience (Legrand, 2008). Foucault wishes to make us conscious of the way we are related to the objects of our knowledge, and to that end, he explains that there must be a transformation in our experience of those objects. Legrand (2008: 288) thus notes here a different goal in Foucault’s philosophy from classic phenomenology: if the subject is encouraged by Foucault to clarify the configuration of their knowledge and perception of things, this is not ‘merely to attain [a]‌transcendental and constitutive, hence invariant structures, and thereby to give a solid foundation to the sciences’ as posited by phenomenology; ‘it is on the contrary in order to get rid of them, change and transform them—​or, to be more specific: to conquer a certain freedom in our very relationship with the rules that constrain us’. This is notably the goal of what Foucault calls the ‘limit-​experience’, which aims to reach the deepest structures of our experience-​knowledge (Legrand, 2008), not in order to describe them as the ultimate foundations of science or of our relationship with ourselves and the world (Legrand, 2008), but rather to ‘make an experience of what we are, of that which is not only our past but also our present, an experience of our modernity such as we wind up transformed by it’ (Foucault, 1994b: 43). Paradoxically, as noted by Depraz (2013), Foucault’s concern to be situated outside of phenomenology, finally leads him back to the heart of it. While refusing what in phenomenology appeared to Foucault as a ‘totalizing method’ and considering that not everything can be described, Foucault eventually shared with Husserl this taste for extreme experiences, which provide a maximum of intensity, tearing the subject away from him/​herself, leading to a transformation of the subject, by the subject, according to a practice of the self. By revisiting phenomenology, Foucault ([1981−2] 2001, [1982−3] 2001) develops the parrhesiastic function of philosophy, emphasizing the way a free subject is related to

Foucault and Phenomenology    229 him/​herself in what he/​she’s thinking, doing, and living. By doing so, he shares with phenomenologists a common ethic of asceticism: according to Ricoeur (1985: XV), the large phenomenological problems and their solution are never posed ‘in the air’, rather they are conquered by the asceticism of the phenomenological method. ‘Ascese’ is an exercise of the self by the self, an ethical practice within the relationship to the self, which relies on experiential sincerity. As mentioned by Depraz (2013), Foucault thus paves the way for a form of spirituality that has long been neglected by modern philosophy, attempting to reinstate it. While this move may have been interpreted as a real inflection, and even a contradiction, in Foucault’s thought, from politics to ethics, and from power to the subject (Gros, 2005), this ethical turn does not necessarily imply a renouncement to the analytics of power and its inscription in history advocated earlier by Foucault. For Revel (2015), this turn addresses the political question of the present, inscribes it in what until then was a work on the historicity of systems of thought, and tries to develop a perspective that weaves together the genealogy of the determinations that cross us and the experimentation of a possible difference, which has been developed by both Foucault and Merleau-​Ponty. As explained by Revel (2015), Foucault suggests a political, historical, and immanent ontology, which can be understood in the wake of Merleau-​ Ponty’s (late) work (1953, 1955, 1964, 2003) on the permanent reopening of history to what overflows it and on the production of a difference, inspired by Saussure’s structuralism. Merleau-​Ponty indeed built, two decades before Foucault, a thought of the historic event, inscribed in the notion of a ‘productive difference’ which prefigures Foucault’s approach (de Vaujany, 2021; Revel, 2015). As he moved towards an ‘indirect ontology’, where the subject increasingly becomes secondary, and where consciousness becomes an event among others (de Vaujany, 2021), Merleau-​Ponty, in the second period of his oeuvre, develops a ‘metaphysics of history’ and temporality that opens the way to Foucault’s late approach of historicity and subjectivity (de Vaujany, 2021). There is thus, an unexpected but strong kinship, a resemblance, a continuity, between the late Foucault and the second period of Merleau-​Ponty’s thought, in the way they enable us to think jointly of the notions of historicity and freedom, reconciling a consideration of historic determinations and the opening of possible differences (de Vaujany, 2021; Revel, 2015). In the end, in his last period (Burell, 1998), as he reinvests himself in the figures of subjectivity and hermeneutics (Monod, 2013a), Foucault paradoxically appears as very close to the main representatives of phenomenology. He himself recognizes in them attempts to constitute a new analytical rigour in addressing the ‘permanent and perpetually renewed question “what are we today?” ’ (Foucault, 1982). In that regard, Foucault (1982: 814) explained that he himself was enrolled in the tradition of ‘historical reflection on ourselves’ illustrated by Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Nietzsche, Weber . . . but also Husserl, Heidegger, and Merleau-​Ponty. What I refused is precisely that we first give ourselves a theory of the subject. [ . . . ] I had to reject a certain a-​priori theory of the subject in order to be able to analyze

230   Aurélie Leclercq-Vandelannoitte the relationships that there may be between the constitution of the subject or the different forms of the subject and the games of truth and practices of power.4

11.5  Conclusion: Foucault, a Post-​P henomenologist Foucault has long been known as—​and even claimed to be—​an anti-​phenomenologist. However, a complex and tense relationship exists between Foucault and phenomenology, in particular with Husserl’s, Heidegger’s, etc., in the French phenomenological heritage, especially through the developments Merleau-​Ponty (Monod, 2013a; Sabot, 2013). Despite claims to reject it, phenomenology actually played a crucial role and significance in Foucault’s three periods (archeology, genealogy, and the ethical subject), as if Foucault had rejected phenomenology to appreciate it better, without saying it explicitly. Thus, ‘understanding Foucault’s background in phenomenology, and relating his work to it, is important for understanding his philosophical position’, explains Oksala (2005: 9). While the relationship between the work of Foucault and phenomenology is crystal clear (Legrand, 2008), taking the form of an initially violent rejection of phenomenology by Foucault, this chapter demonstrates that Foucault’s philosophy cannot be understood without phenomenology and that, in turn, phenomenology would not be complete, and could not be fully grasped, without Foucault. By resisting the main phenomenological concepts, Foucault paradoxically appropriated them, reversed them, transposed them, and transformed them. He gave to phenomenology a new signification, a new meaning, a new orientation. It is in this vein that we can make sense of Dreyfus & Rabinow’s (1982) consideration that Foucault’s approach is ‘a phenomenology to put an end to phenomenology’. Foucault, indeed, invites us to think of phenomenology differently, in a perhaps complementary manner to its classic conceptualization, paving the way to his ‘post-​phenomenology’ (in much the same way that Merleau-​Ponty moved to a ‘post-​ phenomenology’: Revel, 2015). A post-​phenomenology to transform a certain vision of phenomenology . . . A phenomenology opened to the outside, which aims to make visible the invisible at the surface; a phenomenology historicizing the transcendental, highlighting the historically and socially conditioned character of consciousness; a phenomenology oriented towards a more active, ascetic mode of experimentation with the hope to transform and, in the end, to free the subject.

4  ‘Ce que j’ai refusé, c’est précisément que l’on se donne au préalable une théorie du sujet. [ . . . ] Il fallait que je refuse une certaine théorie a-​priori du sujet pour pouvoir faire cette analyse des rapports qu’il peut y avoir entre la constitution du sujet ou des différentes formes de sujet et les jeux de vérité et les pratiques de pouvoir’ (Foucault, 1984: 718).

Foucault and Phenomenology    231

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Foucault and Phenomenology    233 Mauriac, C. (1976). Le temps immobile, Vol. III. Et comme l’espérance est violente. Paris: Grasset. (In D. Eribon, Michel Foucault et ses contemporains. Paris: Fayard, 1994, p. 107.) Merleau-​Ponty, M. (1945). Phénoménologie de la perception. Paris: Gallimard. Merleau-​Ponty, M. (1995). La nature. Notes de cours du Collège de France. Paris: Editions du Seuil. Monod, J. (2013a). Présentation. Les Études Philosophiques, 106, 311–​315. Monod, J. (2013b). La méditation cartésienne de Foucault. Les Études Philosophiques, 106, 345–​358. O’Farrell, C. (2005). Michel Foucault. London: Sage. Oksala, J. (2005). Foucault on freedom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pradelle, D. (2013). Vers une genèse a-​subjective des idéalités mathématiques. Cavaillès critique de Husserl. Archives de Philosophie, 76, 2, 239–​270. Revel, J. (2015). Foucault avec Merleau-​Ponty. Ontologie politique, présentisme et histoire. Idées directrices pour une phénoménologie pure et une philosophie phénoménologique, trad. nouv. par Jean-François Lavigne. Paris: Vrin. Ricoeur, P. (1985). Introduction à Ideen I d’E. Husserl. In E. Husserl (ed.), Ideen I (p. xv), Paris: Gallimard. Sabot, P. (2013). Foucault et Merleau-​Ponty. Un dialogue impossible? Les Études Philosophiques, 106, 317–​332. Sartre, J. P. (1962). The transcendence of the ego. New York: Noonday Press. Visker, R. (1999). Truth and singularity: Taking Foucault into phenomenology. Phenomenologica (p. 155). New York: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Pa rt I I

T H E E X P E R I E N C E OF ORG A N I Z I N G Embodiment, Robots, and Affects in a Digital World

Chapter 12

On the Way to E x perience w i t h t h e Phenom enol o g i c a l Venture of M a nag e me nt a nd Organ i z at i on A Literature Review Leo Bancou, François-​X avier de Vaujany, Mar Pérezts, and Jeremy Aroles

Phenomenology is dialectic in ear-​mode—​a massive and decentralized quest for roots, for ground. (McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988: 62)   

A growing interest in experiences (and its associated lexicon) will not have failed to attract the attention of Management and Organization Studies (MOS) scholars. Managerial and organizational activities are often intuitively described as ‘experiences’, in particular ‘lived experiences’. Students are increasingly on the look-​out for ever more compelling learning experiences—​a hunger fuelled by the forced diffusion of remote teaching during the recent pandemic—​pushing us, as scholars, to develop experiential learning (EL) techniques. Through our fieldwork accounts, we attempt to convey what workers experience on an everyday basis, trying to give a sense of what it is like to be there. And in the area of marketing, managers keep exploring the expectations and experience of their customers. It is thus not surprising to see phenomenology appearing

238    Bancou, de Vaujany, Pérezts, and Aroles explicitly or implicitly in the past and present of many theoretical streams of the MOS field, revealing it to be profoundly phenomenological. In this chapter, we want to explore the presence and history of phenomenologies and post-​phenomenologies (see the general introduction to this Handbook) within MOS. We want to understand how phenomenological concepts, theories, and views have been imported (and translated) in the context of MOS. This comprehensive overview of recent trends and ongoing conversations—​which cannot and is not meant to be exhaustive—​will also pave the way for the three thematic blocks that structure Parts II, III, and IV of this volume, which are devoted to exploring phenomenological issues in MOS from a variety of perspectives.

12.1  Searching for the Phenomenological Voice(s) in MOS 12.1.1 The Voice(s) of Phenomenology When considering phenomenology on the one hand and the field of MOS since its inception on the other, one could picture an old and enduring conversation, sometimes explicit, loud, and noisy, but very often more discretely (and sometimes almost imperceptibly) interwoven with other streams of thought. While phenomenology has long occupied a relatively minor position in MOS research,1 it seems that the voice(s) of phenomenology (in a plurality of forms) are becoming clearer and more distinct in many debates within MOS. This is notably the case for the aesthetic school of thought, business ethics, or process organization studies, but this trend is also found in more surprising contexts, including institutionalism and neo-​institutional theory, pragmatist approaches, and critical theory to name a few. In addition, more and more organizational scholars appear to be increasingly keen to listen and to take this conversation to new levels (see e.g. Yanow & Tsoukas, 2009; Holt & Sandberg, 2011; Gill, 2014; Helin et al., 2014; Küpers, 2014, 2017; Dale & Latham 2015; de Vaujany & Aroles, 2019; Meyer, 2019). Yet, what remains troubling—​but also exceedingly rich and interesting—​is that phenomenology is itself constituted by a plurality of many divergent voices, making themselves heard in ways ranging from existential to hermeneutic, feminist, and post-​ phenomenological approaches. The canonical works of Husserl (1913, [1936] 1970, [1952] 1989, 1963) or Heidegger ([1927] 1962, 1977), the existentialist tradition of Merleau-​Ponty (1942, [1945] 2013), Sartre (1943), or de Beauvoir ([1949] 1986), each carry voices that are distinct from post-​phenomenological authors such as Arendt ([1959] 1998), Levinas ([1961] 1991), the later works of Merleau-​Ponty (1964, 1995, 2003), Henry ([1965] 1987), 1 

It was probably more visible at the beginning of the history of MOS, e.g. with Berger & Luckman (1966), as alternatives to the dominant positivist paradigm of that time.

Phenomenological Venture of Management    239 or Ricoeur (1983). So how can we lend an ear while still orienting ourselves amidst these phenomenological or post-​phenomenological choruses? What could be done to make these voices—​and the resonances across and between them—​not only more audible but also more intelligible in the vast, ever-​continuing MOS conversations? In the review of the literature conducted for this chapter, we acknowledge that phenomenologists and phenomenological themes have received intermittent attention in the MOS literature. Phenomenology appears to be both in a distant vicinity (or in an intimate distance, as the reader prefers) from MOS. This chapter endeavours to highlight how phenomenology can further enlighten our exploration of the ephemeral, fragmented, and transient nature of organizational worlds. In that sense, one of our intentions with this chapter is to provide readers with a comprehensive view and guide them through the many avenues of phenomenology but also to signpost the crossroads with different theories, themes, and dimensions that are central to the study of work, organizations, and management. This seems like a timely and relevant endeavour for three main reasons, as detailed next.

12.1.2 Three Reasons to Explore the Presence of Phenomenology in MOS First, we believe that exploring different phenomenologies is crucial to understanding the broad history of what we can tentatively call ‘organizational thought’. A variety of streams currently being developed and discussed in our field—​such as Institutional and Neo-​institutional Theory, Pragmatism, or Process Organization Studies—​share strong and resonant commonalities with phenomenological thinking. At times, their trajectories are largely intertwined, even though the phenomenological voices sometimes only seem to appear in between the lines. Examining these intersections can not only help us to understand the specificities, originalities, or limitations of many contemporary MOS research streams, but can also provide promising future research avenues. In particular, this exploration may be a way to overcome some common misunderstandings about phenomenology, which portray phenomenology as too dualistic, too idealistic, too humanistic, or not enough ​instrumental or material for the scope of MOS. Yet, many seminal thoughts in phenomenology which are difficult to position and are, in fact, much closer to neo-​materialist, posthumanist, critical, aesthetic, or processual perspectives than many scholars believe (or would probably be prepared to acknowledge). The remaining chapters of this volume are intended as an important step in bringing into the light a largely invisible community2 in the MOS field, and that this chapter will provide an overarching view of it.

2  Very few conferences, standing groups, workshops, or even special issues in academic journals have offered an opportunity to make visible the groups, individuals, and streams of thought exploring MOS phenomenologically.

240    Bancou, de Vaujany, Pérezts, and Aroles Second, recent scholarly discussions in MOS point to the need to address the fractures and discontinuities in phenomenological thought, and in particular push towards ontological explorations and metaphysical projects (Sandberg & Dall’Alba, 2009; Thompson, 2011; Sandberg & Tsoukas, 2015, 2020; Reinecke & Ansari, 2017; Meyer & Vaara, 2020). Many phenomenologists have apparently, at some point, departed from the terminology of phenomenology (see, e.g., Heidegger, Merleau-​Ponty, Ricoeur, or Levinas) in favour of a more ‘ontological’, ‘cosmological’, or ‘metaphysical’ stance, thus far beyond issues of ‘perceptions’, ‘appearances’, and pure ‘experience’. For some of them (e.g. Heidegger, Merleau-​Ponty, and Marion), this ontological move was not argued as a departure from the phenomenological project but more a deepening or reorientation (kehre) of it, stemming from its core.3 Understanding these discontinuities or deepening in the phenomenological project is pivotal for MOS scholars who are often at the heart of this tension, or oscillation, between appearance, ontology, and onto-​ epistemology in their own work. In addition, some key figures behind ‘postmodern thought’ are often (self-​)defined as either post-​or anti-​phenomenology. For instance, although Foucault and Deleuze (both strongly influential in MOS) extensively criticized what they saw as ‘phenomenology’ and departed radically from its vocabulary and logic, some continuities (e.g. around subjectivity and subjectivation processes) may still be present in their work (Reynolds & Roffe, 2014; Revel, 2015; see also Chapters 13, 20, and 21). Thus, our intention is to expose how the continuities and discontinuities of phenomenological thought bear an interesting relevance in the context of MOS. In addition, some anti-​or non-​phenomenological traditions (see the general introduction to this volume) can be interpreted as reactions to phenomenological constructs, making an in-​depth understanding of the latter a key step for understanding and pursuing the former as well. Gaining such a deep understanding of these traditions requires carefully navigating of the labyrinth of phenomenological thought. Third, we contend that exploring phenomenology can enable MOS scholars to develop new ways of becoming that are sensible and receptive to the roles of bodies, relations, sensations, affects, emotions, and instruments in the everyday life of organizations. In a context of increasing digitalization, flexibilization, and fragmented spatial-​temporal frameworks (Nicolini, 2007; Aroles et al., 2019; Fayard, 2021; Carroll & Conboy, 2020), it seems inescapably crucial to consider the benefit of phenomenological approaches when rethinking the conduct of organizing and managing activities. In line with the above-​mentioned objectives, this chapter seeks to provide a comprehensive overview of the presence of phenomenology within the MOS literature. Through an in-​depth survey of how phenomenologies and post-​phenomenologies intersect with other philosophical streams and key debates in MOS, we also intend to address the fractures and discontinuities in phenomenological thought. In addition, this

3  Some

philosophers even state the presence of an ontology in the Husserlian project itself (see Chernyakov, 2002; or Caminada, 2015).

Phenomenological Venture of Management    241 chapter aims to introduce the realized and potential contribution of phenomenology to explore contemporary trends and practices in work and management. We thus illustrate how phenomenological thinking can help us to imagine new ways of becoming that are more sensible and more relevant to these organizational and managerial trends.

12.2  The Presence of Phenomenology in the MOS Literature 12.2.1 A Detailed Literature Review In our attempt to show the presence of phenomenological thought in the MOS literature, we conducted a literature review, which we have tried to make as exhaustive and comprehensive as possible. While it constitutes an honorable task, it is legitimate to ask whether doing a systematic literature review of the presence of phenomenology or phenomenology-​inspired works in MOS is actually feasible. Instead, we followed Kuhn’s (1962) sociology of ‘scientific communities’ and Crane’s (1972) notion of ‘invisible colleges’, which can be broadly defined as ‘communication networks among scholars who share an interest an interest in a particular area of research’ (Vogel, 2012: 1017). Vogel also notes that ‘the high mobility of researchers between invisible colleges, which is enabled by permeable boundaries and fairly unrestricted access, increases membership fluctuations, particularly among peripheral members’ (Vogel, 2012: 1020). Using a range of bibliometric methods, we tried to reveal or make visible the invisible, i.e. the various phenomenologies, post-​phenomenologies, or phenomenological approaches in MOS. Beyond their deep, historic embedding, phenomenologies and post-​phenomenologies present themselves with a striking contemporaneity in MOS research. The review was conducted in 2021 and so, we decided to limit our bibliometric analysis to the last two decades, from 2000 to 2020. We selected twenty academic journals, which we divided into two circles of analysis. Following other journal lists compiled for review purposes (e.g. Murphy & Zhu, 2012), the first circle is constituted by twelve ‘core’ or ‘top-​tier’ publications: Academy of Management Journal (AMJ), Academy of Management Review (AMR), Accounting, Organizations & Society (AOS), Administrative Science Quarterly (ASQ), Human Relations (HR), Journal of Business Ethics (JBE), Journal of Management (JOM), Journal of Management Studies (JMS), Organization Science (Org. Sci.), Organization Studies (OS), Organizational Research Methods (ORM) and Organization (Org.). These ‘first circle’ journals were picked based on different criteria. The selection followed the Financial Times (FT)’s ‘Top 50 Journals List’ (2021), which is widely recognized as a strong reference in the ranking of academic journals. First, we picked the top six peer-​reviewed journals featured in the ‘Management’ subject area, namely AMJ, AMR, AOS, ASQ, JOM, JMS. After removing Journal of Applied Psychology, which focuses

242    Bancou, de Vaujany, Pérezts, and Aroles on behavioural psychology rather than the study of managerial and organizational phenomena, we picked the top two peer-​reviewed journals in the ‘Organizational Behaviour’ subject area of the FT’s ‘Top 50 Journals List’: Org. Sci. and OS. We added HR (ranked eleventh) and JBE (ranked seventeenth) which both speak directly to MOS scholars. To justify and complement this selection, we used the chartered ABS Academic Journal Quality Guide (2021), resulting in the addition of Org. (ABS3) and ORM (ABS4). Except for JBE (ABS3) and Org., which are widely recognized as leading publications in the field of MOS, all selected journals in this first circle were ranked fourth in the AJG 2021 ranking. Considering the differences between North American and European scholarly traditions and publication models (Battiliana et al., 2010), we tried to make our journals database somewhat balanced regarding the journals’ geographical location, as we selected seven US-​based (AMJ, AMR, ASQ, JBE, JOM, Org. Sci., ORM) and five European-​based (AOS, HR, JMS, Org., OS) journals. While this selection of top-​tier journals may be deemed incomplete or unfair, it is important to remind ourselves that the rationale behind it was not to cover the entire field, but to focus on publications which represent leading scholarship in MOS. The second circle of selected publications corresponds to eight other journals, including seven that are not featured in the FT’s ‘Top 50 Journals List’ (2021) but that are rated third or fourth in the AJG 2021 ranking: British Journal of Management (BJM), Business Ethics Quarterly (BEQ), Gender, Work & Organization (GWO), Academy of Management Learning & Education (AMLE), Management Learning (ML) and Work, Employment and Society (WES). Among the eighteen ABS subject categories, we chose three relevant subject fields for this literature review’s focus before selecting journals that were interesting to show the presence of phenomenology in MOS: ‘General Management, Ethics, CSR & Management’ (BJM, BEQ, GWO), ‘Management Development and Education’ (AMLE, ML), and ‘Human Resource Management and Employment Studies’ (WES). These peer-​reviewed journals also presented more of a chance of yielding interesting and insightful results given their central themes, ambivalent leadership positions, and history. We completed this second circle of journals with the addition of two more: Culture & Organization (C&O) and Philosophy of Management (POM). While it is ranked second in the ABS system, C&O is interesting in that many recent phenomenology-​inspired articles have been published in it (Biehl & Volkmann, 2019; Dahl et al., 2021). POM is neither referenced in the ABS ranking system nor does it have high recognition in MOS, yet its focus on philosophical approaches to management theory and practice makes it very relevant to our literature review’s objective. Based on this selection of twenty academic journals, divided into two distinct circles, we examined the presence of phenomenologies, post-​phenomenologies, and phenomenology-​inspired works in the MOS literature using a range of methods that we will now introduce. This literature review’s methodology is rooted in bibliometrics and combines citation analysis, cluster analysis, networks mapping, and comparative tables. We mainly used the search and advanced search functions for the terms that we deemed were the most relevant to our literature review’s objective.

Phenomenological Venture of Management    243 We classified those terms into five categories: main words, canonical phenomenologists, phenomenologists, post-​ phenomenologists,4 phenomenological themes and expressions. The ‘main words’ category consists in searching the term ‘phenomenology’ but also ‘phenomenologies’, ‘phenomenological’, or ‘phenomenologist’. The ‘canonical phenomenologists’ category refers to two canonical, founding figures in the phenomenological tradition: Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger. While it may be argued that other authors are as important, we join other scholars in considering them as particularly influential in the development of phenomenology (Moran, 2005). Thus, we searched for ‘Husserl’, ‘Heidegger’, but also adjectival variants, e.g. ‘Husserlian’ and ‘Heideggerian’. The ‘phenomenologists and post-​phenomenologists’ category concerns a selection of authors and theorists who are important figures in the phenomenological and post-​ phenomenological thought (see the general introduction of this volume), namely Max Scheler, Henri Bergson, Gaston Bachelard, Maurice Merleau-​Ponty, Emmanuel Levinas, Hannah Arendt, Alfred Schütz, Paul Ricoeur, Michel Henry, Hermann Schmitz, Hubert Dreyfus, and Peter Sloterdijk. While this selection is neither exhaustive nor representative, our objective was to represent authors from the late 19th century until today who could help the reader understand the scope of the phenomenological movement. We also paid attention to the nationality of authors and sought to achieve a kind of balance, proportional to the places where phenomenology had developed most. Hence, seven authors are French (Bergson, Bachelard, Merleau-​Ponty, Sartre, Levinas, Ricoeur, Henry), four are German (Scheler, Arendt, Schmitz, Sloterdjik), and two are from the Unites States (Schütz, Dreyfus). Yet, given the bi-​nationality of authors such as Arendt (German-U.S.), Schütz (Austrian-U.S.), and Levinas (Lituanian naturalized French), we also understand that phenomenology is a fundamentally international movement of thought and inherits from the displacements of its members. When having trouble finding relevant results within journals given the popularity of a name (e.g. Henry or Schütz) we added the author’s first name in order to refine the scope. Lastly, the category, ‘phenomenological themes and expressions’, corresponds to our objective to highlight the presence of phenomenological thought in MOS. More specifically, we seek to understand how MOS researchers harness and reframe concepts and terms from phenomenology such as ‘embodiment’, ‘being-​in-​the-​world’, ‘flesh’, and ‘affect’. In that sense, our literature review focused on analysing both the presence of phenomenology and phenomenologists but also the influence of phenomenological ideas and orientations in the context of MOS. As we looked for occurrences of ‘phenomenology’ in the first circle of MOS journals, we paid attention to the number of publications per year, e.g. the number of articles published each year based on publications where the word ‘phenomenology’ is mentioned at least one time in the text. After having excluded editorials, book reviews,

4 We

excluded at this stage the categories of anti-​phenomenologies and non-​phenomenologies described in our general introduction to focus on the phenomenological corpus itself.

244    Bancou, de Vaujany, Pérezts, and Aroles Publications in each year (criteria: see below) 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 Publications (total)

Figure 12.1  Research articles with ‘phenomenology’ published each year in first circle of MOS journals

and other texts that did not identify as peer-​reviewed academic journal articles, we obtained a total of 629 articles. Among the journals with the highest number of publications were JBE with 132 articles (Chikudate, 2000; Pullen & Vachhani, 2021; Puyou & Faÿ, 2015), HR with 104 articles (Riach & Warren, 2014; Adamson & Johansson, 2016), and OS which totaled eighty-​three articles (Sandberg & Dall’Alba, 2010; Yakhlef, 2010; Cunliffe & Locke, 2020. Hence, those three publications represent more than half of all articles from this first circle of journals. We also noticed an upward trend by looking at the number of articles published each year within the 2000 to 2020 period, including a peak of forty-​seven articles published in 2019 (see Figure 12.1). The search for the word ‘phenomenological’ yielded 544 articles while ‘phenomenologist’ resulted in only thirty-​six articles. Second, we searched for occurrences of ‘phenomenology’ in the second circle of journals, which led to the identification of 365 articles. Journals with the highest number of articles included ML with seventy-​eight articles (Cunliffe, 2009; Holt & Cornelissen, 2014; Tomkins & Ulus, 2015), POM with sixty-​five articles (Betta, 2017; de Vaujany et al., 2018), and GWO, which published sixty-​four articles (Pullen, 2006; Hancock & Tyler, 2007; Cutcher et al., 2020). The publications graph for the second circle of journals also showed an upward trend but on a different scale. In 2020, thirty-​four articles mentioning the word ‘phenomenology’ were published in those journals (see Figure 12.2).

Phenomenological Venture of Management    245

36 34 32 30 28 26 24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0

Publications in each year (criteria: see below)

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 Publications (total)

Figure 12.2  Research articles with ‘phenomenology’ published each year in second circle of MOS journals

Figure 12.3  Network mapping of ‘phenomenology’ related scholars (citations) in first circle of MOS journals

As the above-​mentioned references are used purely as examples and do not represent the extent of MOS scholars using phenomenological orientations, we applied citation analysis and networks mapping in order to make visible the researchers’ interrelations, i.e. how much they cite each other in articles from the first and second circles of journals (see Figures 12.3 and 12.4).

246    Bancou, de Vaujany, Pérezts, and Aroles

Figure 12.4  Network mapping of ‘phenomenology’ related scholars (citations) in second circle of MOS journals

While this chapter is not the place to analyse those relations, this allows for detecting networks and clusters of scholars who share an interest in phenomenology in MOS, thus further revealing the existence of an invisible college by means of bibliometric methods (Crane, 1972; Vogel, 2012). We then looked at the presence of ‘canonical phenomenologists’, i.e. Heidegger and Husserl in the two circles of MOS journals. For the first circle, searching for articles that mentioned ‘Heidegger’ and ‘Heideggerian’ yielded 263 publications. We scrubbed the results to remove reviews, editorials, proceedings, as well as duplicates of the same work. Although many articles only mention Heidegger in the reference list or in a liminal way, we were able to identify the MOS journals where Heidegger’s concepts had most impact, e.g. through researchers’ articles that use them as a central part of their theoretical framing. This includes OS (Chia & Holt, 2006; Tomkins & Simpson, 2015; Lamprou, 2017), Org. (Yakhlef & Essen, 2012), and JBE (Ladkin, 2006; Segal, 2011). We applied the same approach while looking for mentions of ‘Husserl’ and ‘Husserlian’, resulting in sixty-​eight publications. The most ‘serious’ articles in terms of their connection to Husserl’s phenomenology were found in OS (Sandberg & Dall’Alba, 2010) and Org. (Jones, 2003). Thus, it clearly showed the dominance of Heideggerian views compared to Husserlian approaches as well as the importance of journals such as OS and Org. in disseminating these ‘canonical phenomenologists’ in MOS. Then, we repeated the same search within the second circle of MOS journals. The words ‘Heidegger’ and ‘Heideggerian’ yielded 216 publications, most of which were cited in POM (Helms & Dobson, 2016; Blok, 2020), ML (Holt & Cornelissen, 2014 Willems, 2017), and C&O

Phenomenological Venture of Management    247 (Tomkins & Ulus, 2015). We identified eighty-​two publications for ‘Husserl’ and ‘Husserlian’, which were also found in POM (Sheard, 2009; Rolfe & Segal, 2011), ML (Edenius & Yakhlef, 2007), and C&O (Letiche, 2009). Results for Heidegger and Husserl seemed to be somewhat proportional across the first and second circles, thus confirming the dominance of Heideggerian views and exposing POM, ML, and C&O as important journals for their diffusion in MOS. In line with our objective to investigate the presence of phenomenologies in MOS, we turned to our third category of search words, e.g. ‘phenomenologists and post-​ phenomenologists’. One of our methodological assumptions for this inquiry was that the presence of the author’s name, e.g. ‘Levinas’ or ‘Arendt’, within an article does not necessarily imply the centrality of the philosopher for this article’s theoretical framing. Moreover, we assumed that scholars do not always refer to the phenomenological orientation—​translated in concepts or theoretical views—​of these philosophers and may well be using another aspect of their work which has less to do with phenomenology or whose link is less evident. As we searched for the most relevant articles, we also put the word ‘phenomenology’ next to the author’s name, e.g. ‘Arendt’ plus ‘phenomenology’. Our interpretations of results were also guided by other criteria such as relevance, number of occurrences, date of publication, and loading times, which, combined, enabled us to identify the most representative articles for each journal within the publication period. After filtering out editorials, book reviews, and duplicates of the same work, our final database consisted of 1,913 research articles for the 2000 to 2020 period, including 1,243 articles for the first circle and 670 articles for the second circle of MOS journals. We compiled comparative tables showing the number of articles in which an author is cited at least once for the first circle and second circle of MOS journals (see Tables 12.1 and 12.2). Although those figures might include works that use the author’s theories in a liminal or secondary way, we believe that it provides a clearer picture of which journals each author is most cited in. More specifically, it enables us to identify how certain phenomenologists and post-​phenomenologists have been cited either heavily or poorly in specific MOS journals. For example, in the first circle of publications (Table 12.1) both Levinas and Arendt are heavily cited in JBE with respectively seventy-​five articles (Baker & Roberts, 2011; Hietanen & Sihvonen, 2020) and 102 articles (Cunningham, 2003; Henning, 2011). On the other hand, Schütz (Nilsson, 2015; Cardon et al., 2017) and Dreyfus (Nayak et al., 2020) seem to have received more attention in AMR than other phenomenologists. Finally, the comparative table for the second circle of MOS journals (Table 12.2) provides other insights. For example, it highlights the presence of Merleau-​ Ponty in articles from journals such as ML (Cunliffe, 2018; de Vaujany & Aroles, 2019), C&O (Küpers & Statler, 2008), and GWO (Vitry, 2020). While we cannot analyse those results further in this chapter, it raises the question of whether the logic of journals or the logic of cited authors is most prevalent in conducting this type of investigation. Focusing on the last category, ‘phenomenological themes and expressions’, we identified how MOS scholars from our article database incorporated and exploited

248    Bancou, de Vaujany, Pérezts, and Aroles Table 12.1 Number of articles per phenomenologist (mentions) in first circle of MOS journals Author /​ Journals








ORM Org. Total

Max Scheler














Henri Bergson














Gaston Bachelard














Maurice Merleau-​ Ponty














Jean-​Paul Sartre














Emmanuel Levinas














Hannah Arendt





22 102








Alfred Schutz














Paul Ricoeur














Michel Henry














Hermann Schmitz














Hubert Dreyfus














Peter Sloterdijk














Total (per journal)





162 334






175 1243

typically phenomenological concepts such as ‘embodiment’, ‘being-​in-​the-​world’, ‘flesh’, or ‘affect’. After finding that there was no significant difference in treatment between the two circles of MOS journals, we looked for research articles that explored these themes regardless of their sources’ assigned circle. For example, searching for ‘embodiment’ within our database led us to identify articles that use a phenomenological perspective to develop arguments on ‘embodied ethics’ (Dale & Latham, 2014; Perezts et al., 2014; Tyler, 2019) or ‘gendered embodiment’ (Haynes, 2008). This is highly related to a sub-​group of feminist-​oriented scholarly work in MOS that refer to Ahmed’s (2006) ‘Queer Phenomenology’ (Jack et al., 2019; Vitry, 2020) or to Diprose’s (2002) notion

Phenomenological Venture of Management    249 Table 12.2 Number of articles per phenomenologist (mentions) in second circle of MOS journals Author /​Journals







POM Total

Max Scheler










Henri Bergson










Gaston Bachelard










Maurice Merleau-​Ponty










Jean-​Paul Sartre










Emmanuel Levinas










Hannah Arendt










Alfred Schutz










Paul Ricoeur










Michel Henry










Hermann Schmitz










Hubert Dreyfus










Peter Sloterdijk



















Total (per journal)

of ‘corporeal generosity’ (Hancock, 2008; Pullen & Rhodes, 2014). In searching for articles focused on ‘corporeality’ or ‘inter-​corporeality’, we also found several MOS publications that employed a phenomenological lens to explore new materialities (Dale & Latham, 2014; Bell & Vacchani, 2019) or to address organizational experiences as relational, situated, and intersubjectively lived (Adamson & Johansson, 2016; Mandalaki & Perezts, 2020). We have also looked for concepts specific to certain phenomenologists including Merleau-​Ponty’s ([1945] 2013) notions of ‘flesh’ and ‘flesh-​of-​the-​world’. This enabled us to understand how MOS researchers could harness and reframe a phenomenological concept for different purposes, e.g. to highlight the ‘transcendence of flesh’ in organizations (Ford et al., 2017: 14), to study empirical phenomena through a ‘fleshy ontology’ (McConn-​Palfreymann et al., 2019: 254), or to understand care relationships as ‘flesh work’ (Cluley, 2020). Moreover, we explored the MOS literature for articles using expressions of Heideggerian terminology, in particular ‘being-​in-​the-​world’, ‘dwelling’, and ‘life-​world’. We discovered such expressions in methodological debates in MOS through articles on interpretative and hermeneutic methods of analysis (Gill, 2014) or on ‘phenomenology-​ based’ ethnography (Vom Lehn, 2018). This has also enlightened us concerning the role of Heideggerian perspective and terminology in the development of ‘strategy-​as-​ practice’ (Chia & Holt, 2006; Chia & MacKay, 2007) or practice-​based views in MOS (Schatzki, 2005; Sandberg & Dall’ Alba, 2009; Yakhlef & Essen, 2012). On the other hand, as we searched for terms such as ‘becoming’ and ‘intuition’ in the literature, it

250    Bancou, de Vaujany, Pérezts, and Aroles became clear that process-​oriented works in MOS drew on phenomenology, especially Bergson and Bachelard, to approach organizational phenomena in a processual manner (Tsoukas & Chia, 2002; Clegg et al., 2005; Nayak, 2008). This is especially the case in recent studies that draw on processual approaches to explore temporal and spatial dimensions of organizations, thus also revealing the centrality of phenomenological views in such streams of research (Petani & Mengis, 2016; Shortt, 2015; Helin, 2020). Finally, the notion of ‘affect’ is central to the phenomenologies of Henry or Schmitz, for example. Searching for this notion within our database enabled us to highlight phenomenology-​inspired articles that focused on the writer’s reflexivity (Letiche, 2009), on ‘affect-​based’ learning (Painter et al., 2020), or that explored ‘affective atmospheres’ in the context of organizational life (Michels & Steyaert, 2017; Jørgensen & Holt, 2019). To conclude, we have attempted to reveal the presence of phenomenological thought in MOS through looking at occurrences of keywords—​authors’ names, terms, and expressions—​in a selection of journals and within a specific time frame. While we do not claim that this literature review is systematic or exhaustive, our assumption is that it introduces the reader to this volume’s topic in a detailed and original way. More specifically, we believe that our attempt at mapping the ‘invisible college’ of phenomenologies in MOS will help scholars appreciate the diversity of phenomenological approaches and encourage them to engage in these debates. It also informs the reader with regards to the editorial policies of certain MOS journals as well as their impact on the emergence and diffusion of this invisible college. Yet, we acknowledge the shortcomings of our literature review, especially its circumscription in terms of historical period, the geographic location of the selected academic journals, and that some analysis decisions were biased and arbitrary. We would also like to point out the limitations of the bibliometric methods we have used for identifying scholarly work in MOS that are related to phenomenological approaches. It is obvious that an academic article’s author may have been influenced by the ideas of phenomenologists or may have unwittingly used phenomenological rhetoric. On the other hand, we noticed in many articles that researchers adopted phenomenological views to study empirical phenomena without citing a specific author or reference that would allow us to label them as ‘phenomenologically inspired’. Thus, it reduced our ability to study the literature through bibliometric methods and led us to use primarily our interpretive capacity. In addition, we join Vogel in observing that since such methods ‘focus on the formal and tend to neglect informal communication’ (Vogel, 2012: 1021), our literature review misses out on members’ informal communications although considering social actors’ relations and institutional environments seems necessary to understand the depth and extent of invisible colleges (Zuccala, 2005). That would have required us to complement our bibliometric analysis through conducting ethnographic fieldwork, which was not possible in the frame of this chapter. Finally, while results from citation analysis and other bibliometric methods provides us with information relative to historical trends and collective behaviours, our interpretation of them may lack objectivity. For example, the resurgence of certain terms in the literature does not necessarily imply a revival of interest. It could have something to do with a change of institutional barriers or the

Phenomenological Venture of Management    251 switching of editorial teams, which are not directly related to the emergence or popularity of phenomenologies in MOS. Nevertheless, we consider the above-​mentioned research articles, both in terms of quantity and contents, as signs of the discipline’s opening up to phenomenological views.

12.2.2 Exploring the Relations between Phenomenology and other Philosophical Streams in the Context of MOS To continue our exploration, it is important to recall that phenomenology holds a particular place in the MOS landscape because of its strong and differential ontological positioning. In their now-​famous piece, Holt & Sandberg remind us that: ‘As a movement, it has been peculiarly influential precisely because of this vivid variety, particularly its persistent refusal to reduce understanding of ourselves and our world to representations of isolated things through definitive methods governed by generalized theories’ (2011: 216). Having mapped an overarching view of the presence of phenomenology in the MOS literature, we would now like to focus more on the existing relationship between phenomenology and other philosophical currents or schools of thought commonly found within MOS. In fact, there are a number of overlaps between phenomenological thinking and other theoretical approaches. We shall briefly focus on four of them: Neo-​ institutionalism, pragmatism, process philosophy and Marxism, and critical theory. By investigating those overlaps and their emergence in MOS, we aim to identify the intersections and cross-​fertilizations between phenomenologies and other streams, thus highlighting how phenomenology has permeated the field of MOS research in less explicit, but no less important, ways. While presented separately for clarity, it must be noted that sometimes the separations are not as clear-​cut in practice, and that other possible overlaps between and across the four theoretical approaches presented are also infused with phenomenological insights and sensibilities. The Influence of Phenomenology on Institutionalism and Neo-​Institutional Theory In his development of an interpretive approach in sociology, Alfred Schütz ([1932] 1972) heavily relied on Husserl’s phenomenology and more specifically the Husserlian concept of ‘life-​world’ to consider the meaning of everyday interactions that constitute social reality. This laid the phenomenological foundations for interpretive sociology, which had a major role in Berger & Luckmann’s elaboration of the social constructionist interpretive (SCI) perspective (Berger & Luckmann, 1966; see also Searle & Willis, 1995). Building on Schütz and thus on Husserl’s phenomenology, their theory of social construction formed a centerpiece in the development of institutional theory (Meyer & Rowan, 1977; Zucker, 1977), which is frequently used in MOS (Barley &

252    Bancou, de Vaujany, Pérezts, and Aroles Tolbert, 1997; Deetz, 2000). In their article, Meyer & Vaara further present this phenomenological foundation of institutional theory as the ontological basis for placing ‘communicative (inter-​) action at the heart of the social construction of reality in the dialectical processes of externalization, objectivation, and internalization’ (2020: 899). The authors thus argue that the communicative essence of institutionalism stems from the co-​constitution and co-​construction of social actorhood and agency. The social phenomenology of Alfred Schütz was also very influential in Neo-​ Institutional Theory although this phenomenological heritage was rarely recognized (Powell & DiMaggio, 1991; see also Greenwood et al., 2008). Yet, scholars have recently returned to phenomenology to question traditional conceptions of actorhood in (neo-​) institutional theory. For example, Voronov & Weber have encouraged ‘a turn to people in institutional analysis’ to account for the ‘non-​institutional part of everyday life’, which includes a human being’s sense of self and capacity for self-​reflection (2020: 874). Coming back to Schütz’ social phenomenology, they refer to the Husserlian concept of ‘life-​world’ to recentre ‘institutional analysis in people and their life-​world, rather than in institutional spheres and fields’ thus bringing back to the forefront the interrelation between person-​centric experiences and institutions, especially through the process of ‘personnification’ (Voronov & Weber, 2020: 876). In a similar vein, but drawing on the works of Cornelius Castoriadis (e.g. 1997), scholars are also seeking to ‘re-​inhabit institutions’ by showing how institutions are rooted in the radical and dynamic force of the imaginary (Klein, 2014; Bouilloud et al., 2020). This provides the standpoint for countering the tendency to analyse institutions and the dynamics therein, by separating the static or functionalist elements from the legitimation and institutionalization processes. By conceiving of institutions as the joint result of a dialectic process between permanent instituting processes and temporally fixed instituted forms, scholars are reinterpreting the importance of indeterminacy (apeiron) when accounting for organizational phenomena. This is crucial when we consider the role of values in institutions, as shown by Klein (2014), who draws on dialectical phenomenology to discuss the limitations of institutional logics perspective (Thornton, Lounsbury, & Ocasio, 2012). This dialectical approach with strong phenomenological underpinnings is also what drives the clinical approach of institutional analysis (Bouilloud et al., 2020) to bridge the ontological divide between structure and agency, and reembedding theories of institutions with a neglected critical dimension, rooted in the social imaginary. Thus, it offers useful insight to see how organizational scholars rely on phenomenological thinking to put forward novel, more experiential approaches to institutions and institutional dimensions such as ideals, ethos, and values (Pratt et al., 2006; Fotaki, 2013; Klein, 2014), identity (Ashorth et al., 2020; Patriotta, 2020), institutionalization as a process (de Vaujany & Aroles, 2018), the imaginary as a dialectical and critical force (Bouilloud et al., 2020), or aesthetics (Creed et al., 2020). This helps to show us how the phenomenological roots of institutionalism and neo-​institutional theories in MOS can be reemployed by scholars to question traditional conceptions and to advance contemporary debates about institutions and legacy or institutionalization and legitimation.

Phenomenological Venture of Management    253 Phenomenology and Pragmatism in MOS Historically, Phenomenology and Pragmatism appear to have developed as entirely independent philosophical traditions. Pragmatism, whose origins can be traced back to Descartes, Kant, and Hegel, as well as to Heraclitan and Aristotelian thought, proposes an epistemology based on common sense and scientific experimentation. The movement, which emerged around 1870 in the United States of America, was initiated by thinkers such as Charles Sanders Pierce, George Herbert Mead, William James, and John Dewey. For them, authentic knowledge can only come from inquiry and science while philosophical objects of study—​such as language, reality, and truth—​must always be considered in terms of their practical uses and how they influence habits. As Bourgeois (2002: 569) points out, this emphasis on science has ‘led phenomenologists to view pragmatism as reductionistic, psychologistic, and naively realistic in its interpretation’. At the other end, pragmatists have, in some cases, rejected the phenomenological approaches of experience and intuition as ‘leading to idealism, to subjectivism, or to mysticism’ (Bourgeois, 2002: 569; see also Rosenthal, 1980). Nonetheless, more and more scholars point to the strong convergences between the two streams of research. In the context of MOS, both phenomenology and pragmatism have had a real success in terms of how scholars used their authors and concepts in their theoretical frameworks to study various aspects of organizational life. Yet, to this day, the success of Pragmatism has been more obvious. In contrast to Phenomenology, Pragmatism was ‘never completely absent’ from the field of MOS (Wicks & Freeman, 1998). Farjoun and colleagues also explain that ideas from the classical pragmatists ‘have had a profound if sometimes unrecognized influence on institutional theory, the behavioral theory of the firm, practice theory, sense-​making theory, and competence-​based strategy models, to name but a few’ (Farjoun et al., 2015: 12). Pragmatist focus on experience, habit, trans-​action, and inquiry has inspired Karl Weick’s sense-​making theory (Weick & Roberts, 1993; Weick et al., 2005) as well as Michael Cohen’s work on routine action (Cohen, 2007, 2012). The interplay between these four pragmatist themes informs their ‘temporal view of social practice in which selves and situations are continuously constructed and reconstructed through experimental and reflexive engagement’ (Elkajer & Simpson, 2011: 55). In a similar way, the phenomenologists’ original intention of returning to the lived, embodied experience of everyday life fosters a view of organizations as ‘life-​worlds’ in which activities take place through essentially shared, experiential processes (Husserl, [1936] 1970; Merleau-​Ponty, [1945] 2013). Therefore, phenomenological approaches share with pragmatists a view of experience and organizations that is fundamentally anti-​dualist, relational, process-​ oriented, and focused on action and activities. Indeed, while their approaches may differ, it seems that the pragmatist emphasis on action echoes Merleau-​Ponty’s phenomenological conception of the gesture: Our view of man will remain superficial as long as we fail to return to the source, to find, beneath the chatter of words, the primordial silence, and as long as we do not

254    Bancou, de Vaujany, Pérezts, and Aroles describe the gesture which breaks this silence. The spoken word is a gesture, and its meaning, a world. (Merleau-​Ponty, 2010: 871)

In his book, Lorino thus argues that Pragmatist thought is inherently and radically tied to action in that, for pragmatists, ‘meaningful action is the only way for human beings to be present in the world’ (Lorino, 2018: 58). The pragmatist rejection of thought/​action dualism has influenced organizational scholars to further consider the role of (social) action in human work and management (Simpson, 2009; Llewellyn & Hindmarsh, 2010) while phenomenological conceptions of gesture also formed the basis of recent studies (Bazin, 2013; Reinhold et al., 2018). In their article, Yanow & Tsoukas (2009) build on Donald Schön’s phenomenology and pragmatist inclinations to develop a theory of ‘reflection in action’ in which reflection and practices are intermingled. Although there haven’t been many opportunities for Phenomenology and Pragmatism to converge in the context of MOS, it seems that the study of practices constitutes a potential bridge between these two traditions. This can be exemplified by Küpers’ study of creative practices in organizations analysed through a hybridization of phenomenology and pragmatic inquiry—​a ‘pheno-​pragmatic approach’—​to reconsider practice ‘as an always already embodied and experiential event’ (Küpers, 2011: 122). The compatibility between phenomenological and pragmatist approaches to practice primarily stems from their shared orientation towards process and relationality. Recently, organizational scholars have made visible this ontological proximity between phenomenology and Pragmatism through articles that reconsidered specific themes in MOS. For example, Sandberg & Tsoukas (2020) build on existential phenomenology to question sense-​making’s prevailing ontology, thus showing the possibility for taking a phenomenological approach to pragmatist-​inspired topics in research on management and organizations. To conclude, we find it relevant to point out that one of the characteristics shared by Pragmatism and Phenomenology is that they both developed as changing movements, each proposing a method of inquiry rather than unbreakable doctrines. In that sense, the Pragmatist tradition, like Phenomenology, constitutes ‘a living, evolving philosophy that is still very much a work in progress’ (Elkjaer & Simpson, 2011: 58), thus helping us to further understand their peculiar relationship and its development in the frame of MOS. Moving in between Phenomenology and Process Philosophy: Issues of Temporality and Events in MOS Of all the different philosophical streams in the field of MOS, process philosophy qualifies in many ways as being closest to the phenomenological movement, since it regroups thinkers that appeal to processes rather than substance. We have, to name a few, Alfred North Whitehead, Samuel Alexander, Henri Bergson, Gilles Deleuze,

Phenomenological Venture of Management    255 Nicolas Rescher, Tim Ingold, Bruno Latour, Isabelle Stengers, Hartmut Rosa, and Peter Sloterdijk. Not tied to a specific method of philosophical inquiry, process studies scholars rely on a wide range of approaches to build their arguments, from conceptual analysis to scientific intuitions, and phenomenological investigations often relying on in-​depth longitudinal studies, but also semiotic analysis, or ethnographic approaches. In short, process organization scholars are inspired, to a certain extent, by phenomenology, in particular by Heideggerian hermeneutics, by Bergsonian conceptions of time and becoming or by Merleau-​Ponty’s indirect ontology and metaphysics of history. So much so that process organization studies are interwoven with phenomenologies, either as key constituents or as key responses to limitations appearing in Cartesian, subjectivist, or analytical philosophies (Helin et al., 2014). Building on the works of Bergson, Whitehead, Bohm, and Deleuze, MOS process theorists such as Chia (2002), Shotter (2005), and Hernes (2014) insist on the constitutive nature of temporality, and advocate for an ontology of becoming. Likewise, most phenomenologies and post-​phenomenologies invite us to think of individuals and organizations in terms of representing constant change, situated in a continually evolving temporality. The processual view of a past immanent in the present described by Whitehead is found in Merleau-​Ponty when he considers that ‘each present reaffirms the presence of the whole past [ . . . ] and anticipates that of the whole future’ ([1945] 2013: 495; see also Chapter 6 of this volume). Thus, Merleau-​Ponty’s conception of time echoes with Hernes’ when he describes the ‘living present’ perspective as ‘what distinguishes a living present from an event is that, whereas a living present is defined by the process that takes place, an event is a temporal experience marked by closure’ (Hernes, 2014: 89). This definition informs a view of organizations as inscribed within a continuous agency of interrelated processes across past, present, and future. In that sense, processual and phenomenological approaches in MOS both focus on understanding lived experiences as flows of relationships, allowing for ‘everyday acts of practical adaptation, interpretation, and meaning-​making’ (Nayak & Chia, 2011: 289). Departing from substantialist views, process-​oriented studies thus recognize the changing, unfolding nature of organizations, which is very much in line with the phenomenological approach (Chia, 2002; Nayak, 2008; Langley et al., 2013). This is reflected through the key processual concepts of ‘becoming’ (Tsoukas & Chia, 2002), ‘fluidity’ (Cunliffe & Locke, 2020), and ‘relationality’ (Cooper, 2005), which are highly phenomenological themselves. In the frame of MOS, the interrelation of phenomenology and process philosophy is also present in institutional and neo-​institutional theories. As Meyer points out, the phenomenological understanding of institutions is inherently linked to the role of processes: ‘Processes are built irremovably into its framework. Hence, on a conceptual level, phenomenological institutional theory already is highly processual’ (Meyer, 2019: 33). Following a phenomenological logic, institutions and processes are inherently intertwined in the happening of organizational life. For Meyer, ‘institutions are “alive” in their enactment, that is the performance of the scripted

256    Bancou, de Vaujany, Pérezts, and Aroles activity; they are literally “in action” ’, thus leading the internalization of institutions by actors to turn into a process of meaning-​making across past, present, and future dimensions (Meyer, 2019: 36). This type of overlap (or harmonization) between different theoretical approaches seem to fall under what Cloutier & Langley (2020) call ‘conjunctive style of process theorizing’ based on Tsoukas’s (2017) terminology. According to the authors, papers in that category ‘deliberately break down pre-​established distinctions and dualism inherent to the mainstream literature [ . . . ] in order to formulate explicit strong process theoretical contributions’ in organization studies (Cloutier & Langley, 2020: 14). For example, Introna (2019b; see also Mousavi Baygi et al., 2021) proposes a reconception of sense-​making based on Bergson’s and Heidegger’s works on temporal flow as well as Ingold’s (2011) idea of ‘meshwork’. Other ‘conjunctive style of process theorizing’ papers include other attempts by scholars to merge process philosophy with phenomenology or post-​ phenomenologies (Yakhlef, 2010; Tomkins & Simpson, 2015; Lamprou, 2017; see also in this volume Chapters 16, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28), thus providing more opportunities to move in between the two streams across MOS. Phenomenology, Critical Theories, and Post-​Marxism in MOS First of all, it is important to notice that some phenomenologists have been influenced themselves by Marxist thought. For example, the ‘metaphysics of history’ of Merleau-​ Ponty (see Revel, 2015) is partly inspired (among other sources) by the early Marx and Marxist philosophy. The views of dialectics, history, conflicts are undoubtedly rooted within a Marxist heritage, such as in Adventures of Dialectic (Merleau-​Ponty, 1955) and the lectures about Institutions and Passivity (Merleau-​Ponty, 2003). This is hardly surprising since traces of Marxist thought, were ‘in the air’ of the hallways of the École Normale Supérieure d’Ulm in Paris where many phenomenologists and post-​ phenomenologists roamed as students or as professors. Some post-​Marxist streams as the philosophy of space elaborated by Lefebvre (1990) have been in conversation and sometimes, in reaction to (Heideggerian) phenomenology. The critique of space, the domination processes inside urban lived and perceived spaces are obvious experiences for Lefebvre. More recently, Rosa5 (2019) has elaborated a theory of resonance which also draws on phenomenological constructs, in particular the indirect ontology of the late Merleau-​Ponty. Lack of resonance appears as an embodied problem, a broken spatial and temporal reversibility with dramatical societal implications on the macro level, but also deep affective implications at the subjective level. In the field of MOS, both Lefebvre (see Kingma et al., 2018) and Rosa (see Küpers, 2021) have had an influence on ongoing discussions. Likewise, discussions about performativity, gender, embodiment, feminism, posthumanism are also influenced by phenomenological and, most of all, post-​phenomenological thought


Often seen as the third generation of the Frankfurt school. For this chapter, we linked Rosa both to the critical school and to process philosophy.

Phenomenological Venture of Management    257 (further detailed in the next section; see, e.g., Forester, 1992; Faÿ & Riot, 2007; Cunliffe, 2009; Gill, 2015). More recently, the field of phenomenology itself has become explicitly critical with the development of the stream called ‘Critical Phenomenology’ (see, e.g., Childester, 1994; Salamon, 2018; Kinkaid, 2020). This new sub-​ stream represents a cross-​ conversation between phenomenology and post-​Marxist thought. This intersection tends to appear in the field of MOS itself (see Vitry, 2021) both as an invitation for more criticism in organizational phenomenology and as a call for more discussions between Critical Management Studies and organizational phenomenology (Vitry, 2021; see also Chapters 27, 28, and 31 of this volume). Thus, through this exploration we have been able to analyse the presence and absence of phenomenology within the MOS field as well as its points of connection with other equally influential philosophical currents. Far from being incompatible, these theoretical currents share important commonalities with phenomenological thought, so much so that their trajectories are somehow interwoven. More surprisingly, we noticed through this literature review that the ontologies on which these streams rely on are often, in essence, continuities and discontinuities of phenomenological thought. If such associations show anything, it is the strong permeability of phenomenological thinking. Consequently, in addition to developing our understanding of the history of organizational thought, examining further the literature has the potential to prevent potential misunderstandings of phenomenology. Therefore, contrary to a circumscribed and immediately sizeable doctrine, phenomenology seems to show an unexpected philosophical and ontological openness. In the context of MOS, this allows us to examine new objects of study or to approach old topics with a novel, alternative perspective, including by considering phenomenological traditions outside of the Western canonical contributions mentioned above (see for instance in this volume the fruitful links that tie phenomenology to African thought in Chapter 28).

12.3  The Presence of Phenomenology in Key Debates in MOS As we analysed how phenomenology intersects with other streams of thought in MOS, it became clear to us that phenomenologists and phenomenological concepts are at the heart of many debates and major topics shaping the field of MOS. While it is not often used as a stand-​alone framework, phenomenology seems to have had a considerable influence over some of the key theoretical issues and debates in the field, among which theories of knowledge, business ethics, socio-​materiality, and practice-​based views. In that sense, exploring the presence of phenomenology and how it appears in those themes enables us to further describe the interrelation between the different phenomenologies and organizations studies.

258    Bancou, de Vaujany, Pérezts, and Aroles

12.3.1 Contributions of Phenomenological Views to Theories of ‘Embodied Knowledge’ and ‘Embodied Learning’ Many theories of knowledge creation and management used by management scholars, in particular those stressing the importance of ‘embodied knowledge’, borrow key concepts from phenomenologists. Nonaka & Toyama’s (2005) theory of ‘knowledge-​creating firm’ thus refers to Merleau-​Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception ([1945] 2013) to recognize the dialectical nature of human beings who ‘interact with each other to transcend their own boundaries, and as a result, change themselves, others, the organization and the environment’ (Nonaka & Toyama, 2005: 421). Organizational scholars have also called on phenomenological views of the body to ground the knowledge-​construction process within embodied, material life (Pullen & Rhodes, 2015; Prasad, 2016). For example, Segarra & Prasad (2018) draw on posthumanists such as Grosz ([1994] 2020), Barad (2003), and Diprose (2012)—​who themselves build to some extent on Heidegger and Merleau-​Ponty—​to describe theorizing as an outcome of corporeality. According to them, ‘theorizing is very much situated within the province of corporeality’, thus acknowledging the ‘influence of corporeality on all matters of the social’ (Segarra & Prasad, 2018: 560). More recently, scholars have considered how the nakedness of bodies shapes the development of ‘embodied knowledge’ that stems from essentially phenomenological experiences of the field understood through the lens of relationality and eros (Mandalaki & Pérezts, 2020). They largely draw on the knowledge of the flesh, in both a perceptual Merleau-​Pontian sense and in the sense of a phenomenology of life following Henry’s notion of corpropriation or the embodied subjective appropriation of one’s body as traversed by the immanent flow of life. Recently, scholars have also shown the potential contributions of phenomenology in approaches to learning and pedagogy as highly relational, situated, and embodied practices. In line with the practice-​based view that learning is fundamentally a ‘social and precipitative activity rather than merely a cognitive activity’ (Gherardi, 2000: 251; see also Yakhlef, 2010), Tomkins & Ulus (2016) reframe EL as fundamentally relational. They draw on Husserl and his notion of ‘phenomenological attitude’ in their framework to build a novel approach to EL ‘as a space where bodies, feelings and ideas move and develop in intimate relationship with one another; where expertise and experience are not antithetical but complementary’ (Tomkins & Ulus, 2016: 172). In line with a phenomenologically inspired approach to pedagogic activities and management education, Michels et al. (2020) have described the students’ on-​campus experiences as learning atmospheres. Building on embodied and imaginative approaches to learning (Cunliffe & Coupland, 2012), the authors—​in the frame of their experiment—​encouraged students to explore their campus by way of ‘dérive’ in the sense of paying close attention to how their bodies ‘affect and are affected by organizational spaces and their atmospheres’ (Michels et al., 2020: 560; see also Beyes et al., 2017). Moreover, organizational scholars have explored ways in which affective-​based methodologies can be a fruitful

Phenomenological Venture of Management    259 phenomenological path to relearning differently. In that sense, Painter et al. (2020) revisit Stakeholder Theory (SHT) through drawing on Michel Henry’s ([1965] 1987) phenomenological views of ethics and praxis as being rooted in affective subjectivity. Doing so, they show that ‘weaving a phenomenological approach to affect into an experiential pedagogy of SHT can foster affective relationality and normative engagement at the individual, relational and systemic levels’ (Painter et al., 2020: 218). Finally, the increasing digitalization of educational practices through distance learning, online degrees, and MOOCs (massive open online courses) has led organizational scholars to reconsider the role of embodied experiences in ‘post-​digital education’ (Jandrić et al., 2018) and new collaborative spaces (de Vaujany & Aroles, 2018). To investigate the interconnected challenges posed by digitally mediated and remote education formats, Aroles & Küpers (2021) harnessed the Heideggerian concepts of enframing (Gestell) and releasement (Gelassenheit). They show how a phenomenological lens is ‘helpful for exploring how digitalized technologies alter and reconfigure relations and experiences of (embodied) place’ before encouraging a move towards (re)embodied or integral pedagogic and learning activities (Aroles & Küpers, 2021: 2). Therefore, it seems that phenomenology-​ inspired approaches are relevant to reimagining student and faculty experiences given the ongoing shift in higher education and business school to non-​physical and blended learning environments.

12.3.2 Phenomenological Theories in Business Ethics In MOS, past and present debates about ethics, values, norms, and morality have drawn on phenomenological theories from Heidegger (after Kehre), the later Merleau-​Ponty, Levinas, Jonas, Henry, or Diprose. This is especially true for Levinas ([1961] 1991) whose philosophy of alterity has been progressively used by organizational scholars over the past decade, in particular to renew their approach to business ethics (Bevan & Corvellec, 2007; Painter-​Morland, 2010; Dale & Latham, 2014; Rhodes & Badham, 2018; Rhodes, 2019). As explained by Bruna & Bazin (2018: 2), the ‘emergent mobilization of Levinas’ philosophy in management studies constitutes an invitation to practice an ethics of otherness at work’. While business ethics has been traditionally framed as a set of actions that can be judged in light of certain moral criteria and external factors, the Levinasian approach favours a ‘benevolent management’ as well as an ‘ethics of managers’ rooted in ‘the recognition of alterity and trust’. More broadly, phenomenological perspectives and insights have allowed scholars to conceive ethics as practice, i.e. more as ongoing organizational phenomena (Clegg, Kornberger & Rhodes, 2007; Painter-​Morland, 2008; Pérezts, 2012; Pérezts et al., 2015; Rhodes & Badham, 2018). Moreover, organizational studies on ethics have also tapped into Diprose’s (1994) idea of corporeal generosity (Hancok, 2008; Küpers, 2014) or Michel Henry’s phenomenology on ethics as being ‘co-​extensive with life’ (Henry, [1987] 2012: 96) to renew their understanding of ‘endogenous embodied ethics’ as organizational phenomena, which are experienced in the constitution of a collective esprit de

260    Bancou, de Vaujany, Pérezts, and Aroles corps (Pérezts et al., 2015: 219) or in the difficulties of financial controllers to make sense of the demands of their work (Puyou & Faÿ, 2015). Finally, key management theories linking organizing with broader political and societal productions also rely on Arendt ([1959] 1998) and her view of public spaces, freedom, agora, work, action, or politics (Segarra & Prasad, 2018; Gardiner, 2018; Shymko & Frémaux, 2021).

12.3.3 The Influence of Phenomenology on Spatial, Temporal, and Material Approaches in MOS Socio-​materialism is best known for considering the social and the material as being inherently entangled in everyday life (Barad, 2003; Orlikowski, 2007). According to Barad (2003), all artefacts, tools, and technologies result from complex and continuous processes and practices that are socially and historically constructed on the one hand and ‘entangled’ on the other. She defines ‘performativity’ as the process happening through the actual inter-​(or intra-​)actions of these heterogeneous assemblages, thus making it a central theme for scholarly works that embrace an ontology of becoming. Also, we have found that many studies, in line with socio-​materialist views, refer to phenomenological conceptions (mainly Heideggerian and Merleau-​Pontyan) of the embodied subject to approach issues of politics and control (Dale, 2005) or to examine the material dimensions of learning and working (Edenius & Yakhlef, 2007; Hindmarsh & Pilnick, 2007; Yahlef, 2010). Indeed, to go beyond dualistic pre-​conceptions and to consider socio-​materiality in organizational control, Dale asserts the necessity of ‘developing a sociological and phenomenological understanding of ‘embodiment’ [ . . . ] it is the social-​and-​material embodied actor who enacts social control’ (Dale, 2005: 655). Socio-​material approaches to organizational spaces and the spatial dimensions of organizing also have some roots in the phenomenological tradition (Dale & Burrell, 2007; de Vaujany & Vaast, 2014; Bell & Vacchani, 2019; Crevani, 2019; Newlands, 2021). Many spatial theories mobilized in MOS (e.g. Lefebvre, 1990, or de Certeau, 1988) have been influenced, one way or another, by phenomenologies and post-​phenomenologies and their view of space and spacing as experience (see Kingma, Dale, & Wasserman, 2018). Therefore, the aforementioned studies constitute an important body of socio-​ materialist works that claim a more or less direct association with phenomenology to inspect the spatial, material, and more mundane aspects of organizational life. Likewise, the temporal turn of MOS has also been fed by phenomenological research about time and temporality and their relationships with instruments, materiality, and embodiment. In this direction, organization scholars have explored topics such as narrative temporality and its relationship with experience (Cunliffe, Luhman, & Boje, 2004), transduction and instruments (Styhre, 2010), entrepreneurial events and their material becoming (see Chapter 22), managing and temporality (Hernes, Simpson, & Soderlund, 2013), temporality and playfulness at stake in organizing processes (Bakken, Holt, & Zundel, 2013), silences as events ordering socially and materially the life of makers (de Vaujany & Aroles, 2018), time as a force beyond organization (Holt & Johnsen, 2019), temporality and subjectivation from the materiality of the present (see Chapters 6, 12, and 23).

Phenomenological Venture of Management    261 Yet, temporal concepts offered by phenomenologies and post-​phenomenologies seem to have been rarely imported till now in MOS to study instruments or materiality, but more frequently to explore issues of bodies and embodiment. Notions such as Ereigniss in Heidegger’s thought (see Chapter 4), openness (of the present) and depth in Merleau-​Ponty’s work (see Chapters 6 and 23), or Romano’s (2009) event could be promising ways to explore the instrumental and material expression of organizational experience in relationship with subjectivation. Lastly, in recent years, academic papers that take new-​ materialist or feminist orientations have explicitly relied on phenomenologists like Merleau-​ Ponty and Heidegger to tackle issues of identity building or identity work (Knights, 2006; Alvesson et al., 2008; Tomkins & Nicholds, 2017; Knights et al., 2021) and gender performativity (Tyler & Cohen, 2010; Harding et al., 2021). For example, in their article, Ford et al. (2017) challenge the dominant discursive approaches to leadership. Instead, they advocate taking leadership as a fundamentally ‘corporeal practice’ where leaders materialize themselves as leaders through their bodily presence. Ford and colleagues build on Bollas’ phenomenological conception of ‘character’ and ‘personality’ as ‘woven into one’s physical presence’, which includes their voice, speech, and gestures but also the ‘texture added when occupying spaces and the shape of their absence after they leave’ (Ford et al., 2017: 1564). They also refer to Barad’s posthumanism (2003) and Ladkin’s (2013) phenomenological account of experience to present a view of the leader as emerging as a material presence through ‘inter-​actions between the subject and non-​ sentient actors such as the business suit and the mirror’ (Ford et al., 2017: 1564). In a socio-​materialist perspective, the embodied subject is irreducibly corporeal and social but also ‘in relation to self and others, social representations, psychological projections and cultural images’ (Dale, 2005: 655). In that sense, key debates on the socio-​materialist approach to visual affordances and aesthetic aspects of organizations are also still very connected to their phenomenological roots (Bell et al., 2013; Boxenbaum et al., 2018). For us, debates in MOS about socio-​materiality (or new materialities), posthumanism, and feminist studies would gain from the perspective of phenomenology in order to highlight their central added values, as certain chapters in this volume seek to advance (see for instance Chapter 16).

12.3.4 Phenomenology and Practice-​Based Views in Management and Organizational Research Practice-​based approaches are a distinct yet very pervasive stream of thought in MOS, as what ties them together is the grounding of knowledge in concrete, practical situations (Gherardi, 2000; Suchman, 1987; Strati, 2007). In what has been considered a ‘re-​turn to practice’ (Miettinen et al., 2009), practice-​based views have permeated the field of MOS through different areas of research including Strategy-​as-​Practice (SAP), studies on organizational learning, knowledge management or ethics, as mentioned earlier (see also Gherardi & Laasch, 2021, for a recent incorporation of a posthumanist approach to responsible management as practice). For the phenomenological tradition, practice,

262    Bancou, de Vaujany, Pérezts, and Aroles taken as one’s interaction with the environment, constitutes a key aspect of Heidegger’s ‘being-​in-​the-​world’ or Husserl’s ‘life-​world’ perspective, which has inspired many features of practice theory (see also Schatzki, 2002; Cetina et al., 2005; Holt, 2020). As pointed out by Willems (2018), a phenomenological approach ‘urges us to “turn to the things themselves”, thereby offering opportunities to understand the temporality of knowing and how it emerges through our practical and embodied engagement with the world’ (Willems, 2018: 24). Therefore, we find many studies that draw on both phenomenological and practice-​based approaches to examine how organizational practices are constituted and performed (Sandberg & Dall’Alba, 2010; Yanow & Tsoukas, 2009; Gherardi, 2016; see also Schatzki, 2005, 2006), to adopt a relational view on human agency in everyday life (Chia & Holt, 2006), or to study knowledge through the lens of practice-​based learning (Yakhlef, 2010; Küpers, 2017; Willems, 2018; de Vaujany & Aroles, 2018). As one will notice, many of these approaches are far from being incompatible. On the contrary, numerous studies in MOS are associated with both socio-​materialism and practice-​based views, or they claim to be grounded in processual ontology and practice theory or pragmatism. Because many of these studies have a more or less direct link with phenomenological thinking, we can see how—​through those approaches—​ phenomenology is either clearly visible or more discretely appearing in the field of MOS. Through the exploration of the presence of phenomenology in key debates and topics in MOS, our objective was to highlight the fractures and discontinuities in current phenomenological thought in MOS. More specifically, it allows us to consider how MOS scholars, who rely in one way or another on phenomenological tools, concepts, or perspectives, contribute to a push towards onto-​epistemological debates and ontologies of organizing. Understanding these continuities is particularly interesting for the scholarly community, being at the heart of this tension or oscillation between appearance and ontology, as it may even be a way to keep affects, emotions, and sensibilities while exploring new materialities and posthuman stances.

12.4  The Realized and Future Potential Contributions of Phenomenology in the Exploration of Contemporary Trends and Practices in Management and Organizing 12.4.1 Remote Work, Decentered Management, and the Flow of Work Practices To present the realized and potential contribution of phenomenology in the frame of MOS, we must first introduce some of the main trends and transformations happening in the world of work and management.

Phenomenological Venture of Management    263 One of the most visible trends consists in the normalization of remote and telework with the Covid-​19 pandemic forcing hundreds of millions of workers into teleworking. This has encouraged organizations to embrace even more new hybrid ways of working, enabled by digital technology, and this has multiple consequences on autonomy, control, social relations, separation of work and private lives, and the sense workers and people struggle to make of all these changes while trying to keep some form of connection (Cozza et al., 2021; Vartianien, 2021). In that sense, the world of work has become increasingly remote and decentered (Leonardi, 2020; Aroles et al., 2021), a long-​term trend that emerged with mobile technologies and networked societies, which has accelerated with the pandemic. In that context, the notion of work as being inscribed in a specific time and space is more and more irrelevant for numerous work practices. Instead, while work is becoming a set or bundle of micro-​activities mediated by digital and artificial-​ intelligence-​driven platforms, individuals seem to be all the more captured in a ‘transformative flow of agentic possibilities’ (Hultin et al., 2021: 595). These evolutions may have led certain MOS scholars to move beyond actor-​centric views of work and organizing. Instead, many have started to adopt more posthumanist approaches decentering the human as mentioned earlier, or processual and relational ontologies that enable them to account for the indivisible flow of time and the possibility of multiple agencies in the happening of organizational life (Manning, 2016; Introna, 2019a). For example, Hultin and colleagues (2021) draw on Ingold’s (2015, 2017) notions of flow and ‘meshwork’, i.e. a multiplicity of practices, to conceive a decentered view of work and organizing: ‘By attending to this conditioning flow—​as we go about our daily work practices—​we also undergo our work as we respond to this conditioning flow—​in the way our feet and body attentionally respond to the terrain, when we walk’ (Hultin et al., 2021: 595). This trend of decentered management is inherently linked to how most aspects of contemporary societies have become increasingly mediated by digital technologies, making our personal and work lives even more fluid and dynamic (Mousavi-​Baygi et al., 2021). Therefore, in a world that is obviously becoming more liquid (Bauman, 2013), object and subject of surveillance (Zuboff, 2019), more connected (Catells, 2011), and ever more techne-​grounded (Heidegger, 1977), everything is explicitly, visibly, and sensibly in flow. Phenomenology, which was originally the particular event of a consciousness activated by the idea of an intention towards something, becomes the surface of our entire world, a continuous enactment central to our process of becoming. Appearance surfaces eventfulness. Consciousness then is just the consequence of events, a possibility sometimes opened by events more than its constituent.

12.4.2 Centrality of Time, Space, Instruments, Embodiment, Meaning, and Sense-​Making Given that this Handbook focuses on contemporary trends and practices in work and management, we believe it is important to associate it with the emergence of new ways of working, which we define as ‘a wide range of practices placed on a continuum of work flexibilization and diversification, from remote work to collaborative entrepreneurship and digital nomadism’ (Aroles et al., 2019: 286). In that context, issues such

264    Bancou, de Vaujany, Pérezts, and Aroles as time, space, instruments, embodiment, meaning, and sense-​making are central to new ways of working; while questions of governance, management, and organizing are interwoven with them. Describing these issues as an experience, understanding what they express and their historicity, and exploring these new modes of relationship with the world is key to showing us the realized and potential contribution of phenomenology to MOS. In the following paragraphs, we aim to present some of these main issues in new ways of working and organizing while highlighting the benefits of applying phenomenological thinking to explore them. As mentioned previously, one of the main consequences of Covid-​19 on the world of work has been the accelerated adoption of more flexible modes of working, especially remote, tele-​, and hybrid work. Thanks to the increasing use of virtual networks, mobile devices, and other information-​communication technologies (ICTs), many types of occupations—​especially those referred to as ‘knowledge work’—​seem to be no longer bound to a specific place or time, enabling collaborators to work across geographical contexts and time zones (Felstead et al., 2003; Sewell & Taskin, 2015). And while it was already underway, the pandemic has intensified the ‘virtualization of business information in order to enable a space-​and time-​independent mode of working’ (Kingma, 2019: 391). As the times and spaces of work are less clearly defined, flexibility, asynchronicity, and blurred boundaries between professional and private lives are increasingly becoming defining features of this ‘new world of work’ (Fayard, 2021; Aroles et al., 2021; Leclercq-​Vandelannoitte, 2021; de Vaujany et al., 2021). As with new ways of working, issues of time and space are central in phenomenology or post-​phenomenology, where a conception of experience requires a renewed awareness and reflexivity regarding these dimensions. In that context, many studies in MOS about the transformation or explosion of the spatial-​temporal unity of work and management activities draw on phenomenological or post-​phenomenological analysis to analyse consequences on organizational and individual experiences or practices (Introna & Ilharco, 2004; Hafermalz, 2020). For example, Jørgensen & Holt (2019) use the term ‘atmosphere’ to describe the organization as a ‘technologically mediated spatial struggle to reconcile interior coherent with outward exposure’ (Jørgensen & Holt, 2019: 2). To frame their conceptualization, they rely on phenomenologists Böhme & Schmittz’s approach of space as an existential experience that ‘concerns a sensory-​ affective attunement to moods’ (Jørgensen & Holt, 2019: 4). More generally, all work experience tends to become ‘atmospheric’ in its enactment by managers (de Vaujany et al., 2019). Increasingly, this atmospheric move tends to be part of new managerial practices and new business models valorizing the general atmosphere of a ‘place’ more than a ‘space’ and clear-​cut services linked to a fair paid by stable customers (de Vaujany et al., 2019). Here, phenomenology is particularly relevant to approach complex spatial-​ temporal phenomena in today’s new digitalized, porous, liquid, unbounded forms of organizations and modes of organizing (see Chapter 26 in this volume). Another consequence of the flexibilization of work and management concerns how people in organizations relate to their colleagues, managers, and work communities. During the pandemic, many remote workers experienced feelings of social isolation or

Phenomenological Venture of Management    265 a loss of psychological proximity with their colleagues due to the lack of shared space (Whittle & Mueller, 2009; Waizenegger et al., 2020), leading to a ‘breakdown in the texture of social practices’ including in academia (Plotnikov et al., 2020; Cozza et al., 2021). Despite being hyper-​connected through digital tools, collaborators in distributed settings may struggle in their efforts to maintain informal connections, which may result in a reducing ‘commitment to, and the social cohesion of, the organization’ (Kingma, 2019: 402; see also Aroles et al., 2021). In many ways, digital technologies have changed the fabric of organizations in that ‘value production in the digital age is no longer carried out only by organizational members but increasingly among loose social collectives and flexible networks that are mediated by technology’ (Endrissat & Islam, 2021: 2). In response to the issue of rebuilding a sense of communalization and community among dispersed social collectives, management and organization scholars have recently called for a reimagining of ways of being together and relating to each other from a phenomenological or post-​phenomenological perspective (Cunliffe & Locke, 2020; Cunliffe et al., 2020) and reconnecting with the relational and embodied ethics of the commons despite or beyond its inherent difficulties (Greco & Floridi, 2004; Fournier, 2013; Federici, 2019; Mandalaki & Fotaki, 2020). Beyond the historical moment we are currently experiencing, which could be interpreted by many as an existential crisis of our contemporary societies, the very logic of communalization and togetherness of our ‘organic’ or ‘post-​organic’ societies (following a Durkheimian logic) is in movement. Consequently, this opens a range of possibilities to ‘imagine or even recreate shared existence through phenomenological explorations of what togetherness might mean or become, intellectually but also practically’ (Cunliffe et al., 2020: 1). At a time when digitality immerses our ways of living, working, and theorizing, we believe that phenomenologies and post-​phenomenologies can enable scholars and practitioners to formulate and experience new forms of shared existence in finding new ways to relate to others, to researching the field and writing of organizations (Mandalaki & Pérezts, 2020). If, in a dualistic approach, management consists of organizing passive objects integrated into activities and managerial instruments, a phenomenological perspective would instead need to escape the age of ‘excarnation’ that we currently live in and that ‘makes us lose touch with our senses as our experience becomes ever more mediated’ (Kearney, 2021: 2). Phenomenology on the contrary helps us to consider management as organizing reversibilities that could transform each gesture into a solidary and responsible action for the shared future. In this sense, phenomenology’s attention to the flesh is of particular metaphorical importance, because of all the senses, touch is particularly reversible and reciprocal: one cannot touch without being tangible/​touched in return (Kearney, 2021). To conclude, the exploration of phenomenology and phenomenological thinking enables us to develop new ways of becoming that are more sensible and receptive to the roles of bodies, relations, sensations, and emotions in the everyday life of organizations and the conduct of organizing and managing activities. In that sense, phenomenological perspectives resonate more and more with the concerns and issues of our times. The development of artificial intelligence raises issues of perception and cognition that

266    Bancou, de Vaujany, Pérezts, and Aroles are explored in some phenomenological works. The ecological crisis requires a radically new conceptualization of nature, which is also a key topic for phenomenologists. Emotions, efforts, affects, and embodiment are increasingly at stake in work and managerial practices, and also represent key topics for phenomenological and post-​ phenomenological perspectives. Technology and the ways it enacts presence and existence are also at the crossroads of phenomenological and socio-​material theories. Likewise, important contemporary topics such as communities, space, time, materiality, meaning, aesthetics, and sensibility are also strong phenomenological topics. Ultimately, our capacities to engage in, resist, and deploy organizational life are experienced phenomenally.

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Chapter 13

‘In the Fu tu re, as Rob ots Be c ome More Wi de spre a d ’ A Phenomenological Approach to Imaginary Technologies in Healthcare Organizations Jaana Parviainen and Anne Koski

13.1  Introduction Temporality is an essential element in the functioning of all organizations and their institutional environments (Butler, 1995; Fleischer, 2013). In phenomenological approaches to time in organizations, temporality is frequently understood as the medium and the conditions of organizational practices (Chia, 2002; Langley & Tsoukas, 2010). Adopting a processual lens of temporality, organizational phenomenologists have explored the flow, fluidity, repetition, rhythms, cycles, and long-​and short-​term temporal activities in organizations related to the character of changes (e.g. Langley et al., 2013). Inspired by Husserl’s (1991), Heidegger’s (1996), and Merleau-​Ponty’s (1989) views of time, phenomenological discussions on organizational time have stressed the embodied and experiential qualities of organizational life, addressing differences between subjective and objective time spans. So far, the politics of organizational time have attracted little interest among organizational phenomenologists, although the time window created by crisis situations, for example, is often used effectively in the implementation of managerial reforms in organizations (Fleischer, 2013). A politically oriented phenomenological perspective on organizational time is needed to illuminate the dynamics of temporal relationships, interdependencies, and embeddedness that concern anticipation in organizations. In Husserl’s phenomenology, anticipation is called ‘protention’ and refers

278    Jaana Parviainen and Anne Koski to ‘immediate anticipation’ of what will be perceived ‘soon’.1 Applying Husserl’s concept in the institutional and political context, we use the term ‘protentional anticipation’. When protentional anticipation, such as reaching out into the future, becomes a normalized condition, it can be understood as forming a new layer of the unconscious organizational structure and its politics. When protentional anticipation dominates the functions of postmodern organizations, most people do not necessarily notice how managerial acts are primarily intended to control the future. From the managerial perspective, the central aspect of organizational time is future orientation that includes strategies of risk assessment, investments in emerging technologies, and other actions to reduce external uncertainty and move towards an enhanced capacity to cope with potential challenges. Adopting emerging technologies at an early stage and participating in their development have been seen as key solutions to handling an uncertain future in public organizations as well. The future horizon set by emerging technologies is not just a random factor in the operation of organizations; rather, the promise of a ‘better future’ is largely a built-​in feature in all new technologies. We assume that protentional anticipation has become a common state when it comes to the regimes of technology politics that are shaping innovation and technological investments in public organization. Discussing temporal modalities, Barbara Adam (2009) suggests that the domain of the ‘not yet’, which she calls ‘futurity’, has become the main capacity to create and control modern politics. If we consider Adam’s argument from a technology perspective in healthcare organizations, the regime of futurity is strongly linked to imaginary technologies and technological visions in medicine and nursing. Piloting artificial intelligence (AI)-​based tools and care robots have been used extensively in healthcare in recent years. According to Accenture’s (2020) report, 69% of healthcare payers and providers have been involved in experiments. Still, only a few solutions are implemented in healthcare practices. Thus, it can be argued that AI and care robotics in healthcare are still, in large part, extended ‘imaginary technologies’. From the historical perspective, novel technological solutions have often followed the imaginary technologies of science fiction, materializing authorial imagination decades later (or longer; Jasanoff & Kim, 2015). In Mary Shelley’s novel, published in 1818, Dr Frankenstein famously reanimates dead flesh by manipulating muscles with electricity. The defibrillator that sends a high-​energy electric shock through the heart was invented by electrical engineer William Kouwenhoven in 1930. Admittedly, not all imaginary technologies in science-​fiction stories have materialized successfully, despite many attempts. The Jetsons, an animated TV programme from the 1960s, included a robot


Husserl’s (1991) discussion of temporality includes two key concepts—​‘retention’ and ‘protention’—​ that describe the fluidity of past, present, and future in intentional acts. While retention is the process whereby a phase of a perceptual act is retained in our memory, protention is our anticipation of the next moment. Retention is a presentation of that which is no longer before us and is distinct from immediate experience. Thus, the present is registered in a short moment of sense perception between retention and protention. Husserl’s original analysis focuses on retention, and his discussion of protention is less developed (Gallagher, 2017).

Phenomenological Approach in Healthcare    279 maid named Rosie who completed regular household tasks, such as cleaning, cooking, and selecting clothes for the family members. Rosie served as a role model for the Wakamaru domestic robot, which was launched by Mitsubishi in 2005. Unfortunately, the Mitsubishi company failed to sell even one of its robots. Still, the visions of new technologies created by science-​fiction literature and film are reflected in the ways in which innovation and research activities in new technologies are developed (Jasanoff & Kim, 2015). Imaginary technologies are related to ‘sociotechnical imaginary’, the concept made famous by Sheila Jasanoff. Socio-​technical imaginary refers to imaginary futures that states or unions of states hope to achieve with technological development. Jasanoff & Kim posit: ‘As an analytic concept, “sociotechnical imaginary” cuts through the binary of structure and agency: it combines some of the subjective and psychological dimensions of agency with the structured hardness of technological systems, policy styles, organizational behaviors, and political cultures’ (Jasanoff & Kim, 2015: 35). Policy programmes based on socio-​technical visions influence technological design, channel public budgeting, and justify the needs of citizens in terms of technology. They are national or transnational strategies and visions for the future that guide massive technology and science programmes. The recent national and multinational strategies for robotics and AI, so-​called ‘white papers’ or roadmaps, are recent examples of the socio-​technical imagination formulated. Langdon Winner reminds us that equipment and technologies should be assessed not only for their efficiency and productivity, but also for how they are constructed through power and authority. While technological innovations are understood as a key governing force in society, ‘what matters is not the technology itself, but the social or economic system in which it is embedded’ (Winner, [1980] 2010, 20). This chapter discusses the kinds of challenges that imaginary technologies place on healthcare organizations related to care robotics and automated decision-​making (ADM). We use the term ‘imaginary technologies’ to consider how strategies for robotics and AI guide expectations of how medical assessments and nursing work will be performed in the future. It is essential to recognize that existing technologies cannot yet achieve the goals set out in the visions. Instead, imaginary futures based on robotics and AI will help justify new investment in research and development (R&D) projects and the digitization of the public sector, which in turn is believed to strengthen the state’s ability to responsibly provide public goods. Despite the expectation that robots will revolutionize human care, the role of robots in care has, so far, remained marginal. One of the indications of this limited role is the very small figures for the world trade of service robots. According to the International Federation of Robotics’s (IFR) recent report, the worldwide sales of assistance robots for elderly or handicapped persons was only US$91 million in 2019 (IFR, 2020). Since the most promising care robots are still in the prototype stage, it is justified to call care robots imaginary technologies. In this discussion, we suggest that this imagination is not neutral but puts pressure on healthcare professionals, organizations, and their development.

280    Jaana Parviainen and Anne Koski Many healthcare professionals and experts agree that AI has the potential to transform the healthcare industry, but AI-​based ADM systems are not seen as mature enough to technically diagnose patient conditions or replace healthcare professionals’ judgements (Palanica et al., 2019). IBM introduced its AI platform (Watson) into the healthcare industry in 2011 with high expectations, but very few collaborations between IBM and healthcare institutions around the world have led to commercial products (Strickland, 2019). One of the reasons is that complex AI systems do not fit the messy reality of today’s healthcare system (Wachter, 2015). However, the emergence of the Covid-​19 pandemic has significantly advanced collaboration between healthcare organizations and the technology industry to scale up solutions based on complex algorithms used in chatbots (Parviainen & Rantala, 2021). Medical experts have been concerned about the situation, identifying many risks with the use of AI-​based tools in healthcare, including patient safety, trust, transparency among participants, data use, privacy, and integration problems with technological systems in other healthcare institutions (McGreevey et al., 2020). One of the biggest threats is that the large-​scale deployment of AI-​based applications could push healthcare into systemic change in which a domino effect brings about massive changes across the system. Central to the politics of protentional anticipation in organizations is the possibility of moving away from current problems within an organization by shifting rhetoric towards the positive promises and manageable risks of emerging technologies. Typically, managerial rhetoric emphasizes ‘known unknowns’ in terms of risks, which refers to the ability to identify and control the unknown. However, researchers have begun to recognize that potentially harmful consequences of emerging technologies cannot be established reliably in advance by investigation, experiments, and risk assessments (cf. Böschen et al., 2010; Gross, 2019). This applies in particular to the deployment of technologies with significant potential for systemic change. In the literature on ignorance, this type of situation is characterized as ‘unknown unknowns’, or nescience, and has traditionally been considered outside the scope of risk management, only to become known in retrospect (Kerwin, 1993; Gross, 2019; Parviainen, Koski, & Alanen, 2022). In this sense, the real benefits or serious problems of large-​scale deployment of AI can become apparent when or if these systems have been implemented in socio-​ technological practices. The chapter is organized as follows. Focusing on ADM and care robots as imaginary technologies in healthcare, we shed light on how phenomenological conceptualizations in organizational contexts can be useful in understanding the complexity of unknowns that emerging technologies bring to organizations. First, we introduce a phenomenological notion of information infrastructure and discuss how technological devices are employed in work. Challenging neutral and external perspectives on technology we consider bodily dimensions within technological systems. In the next section, we consider how AI-​based systems are believed to be able to automate the complex judgement of physicians and what kind of pressure this puts on physicians’ work. Then, we discuss how the repetitive and difficult labour tasks of nurses are to be replaced by care robots.

Phenomenological Approach in Healthcare    281 Through the examples provided, we concretize how the line between imaginary and existing technologies becomes increasingly volatile in healthcare organizations.

13.2  The Phenomenological View of Embodied Information Infrastructures in Organizations In traditional engineering, technology is frequently treated as neutral instruments and tools not dependent on human goals, intentions, interests, or power relations. The phenomenological discussions on technology, including those offered by Winograd & Flores (1986); Dreyfus & Dreyfus (1986); Introna, Ilharco, & Faÿ (2008); and Viscusi et al. (2012), have challenged the many conceptualizations of information technology as formal systems and external, neutral tools in organizations. Technology shapes society and its institutions, not only on the macro level but also on the micro level, modifying embodied practice and relationships with other beings. Winograd & Flores’s seminal perspective on computers in the work context before the internet era indicated how the implementation of equipment produces new social embodied practices in organizations. They stated, The computer, like any other medium, must be understood in the context of communication and the larger network of equipment and practice in which it is situated. A person who sits down at a word processor is not just creating a document, but is writing a letter or a memo or a book. There is a complex social network in which these activities make sense. It includes institutions (such as post offices and publishing companies), equipment (including word processors and computer networks, but also all of the older technologies with which they may coexist), practices (such as buying books and reading the daily mail), and conventions (such as the legal status of written documents). (Winograd & Flores, 1986: 5–​6)

Applying Martin Heidegger’s existential phenomenology, Winograd & Flores recognized the revolutionary impact of computers on work and interpersonal relationships in organizations. Using Heidegger’s concept of being-​ in-​ the-​ world highlights how humans are always already immersed within specific socio-​material worlds and their practices, namely, within relational ensembles involving people, objects, and tools, which give meaning to what they do and who they are (Sandberg & Tsoukas, 2015). After Winograd & Flores, many phenomenologists have criticized the ways in which management systems and leadership are implemented through information systems so that both management and technology appear as a neutral system (Ciborra, 2004; Viscusi, Campagnolo, & Curzi, 2012; Tomkins, 2020; Aroles, Vaujany,

282    Jaana Parviainen and Anne Koski & Dale, 2021). Ciborra (2004) criticized the strategies of information and communication technology (ICT) in organizations whose main principles are to accelerate data and to redesign business processes at the expense of meaningful work and the well-​ being of employees. He shows how taking a phenomenological approach in considering ICT in organizations allows us to challenge reified notions in technological systems (Ciborra, 2004). The adoption of a ‘phenomenological stance’ allows us to go beyond the traditional idea where ‘neutral’ ICT tools (computers, mobiles, social media platforms, etc.), work tasks, managerial acts, and professionals are seen as different but intersecting phenomena. A post-​phenomenological discussion of technology, inspired by Don Ihde’s philosophy, has emphasized the mediating role of technological artefacts in the sense that the interplay between humans and the world grants things the degree of independence that artefacts deserve (Verbeek, 2005). Technical mediation is localized precisely in these relationships. However, one of the challenges posed to this post-​phenomenological stance is the current forms of digitalization—​complex algorithms and data are rooted in the information-​intensive work where data are produced in the practice, during the practice, and for the practice itself. Data as both technical mediation and artefacts are increasingly controlling the ways in which relationships between people and objects are shaped. As digital devices and the complex algorithms of applications and their data collection dominate people’s daily lives, it becomes increasingly difficult to identify what artefacts are and what the technical mediation is between them and people. It seems that embodied practices and digital devices form a complex ‘messy’ living system without any clear borderlines. Since the current environment of information technologies is constructed as a complex comprehensive living and knowing habitat in work organizations, it makes sense to discuss ‘information infrastructure’. Changing the perspective from networks, relationships, and systems to infrastructure allows for a global and emergent perspective on technologies and information systems in organizations. Ciborra & Hanseth define information infrastructures in organizations in the following way: ‘Information infrastructures can, as formative contexts, shape not only the work routines, but also the ways people look at practices, consider them “natural” and give them their overarching character of necessity. Infrastructure becomes an essential factor shaping the taken-​ for-​grantedness of organizational practices’ (Ciborra & Hanseth, 1998: 321–​2). For this reason, it makes sense to talk about ‘embodied information infrastructures’ in which corporeality is inherent in part of the formation of infrastructures (Parviainen & Ridell, 2021). This also means that information infrastructure not only concerns material artefacts but also embodied habitual practices and routines. Lived bodies, intentionally and unwittingly, individually and jointly, are shaped by and contribute to information infrastructures in work spaces. Thus, for instance, embodied practices formed through computer-​aided desk jobs cannot be detached from the power of global information infrastructure (Parviainen & Ridell, 2021). This posthumanist stance in information infrastructure faces the dilemma that has been central in the (classical) post-​phenomenology, namely, the human-​centred idea that the lived body is the centre

Phenomenological Approach in Healthcare    283 of the world of perception (e.g. Merleau-​Ponty, 1962). Some phenomenologists might find uncomfortable the idea that artefacts are not treated as the environment for lived bodies but that they have been seen to have agency when, for example, algorithm-​driven social media platforms influence users’ voting decisions in elections. In an information-​infrastructure-​based approach, we explore how these particular technologies embed a view of interaction, society, and organization that may challenge core assumptions of human-​centred notions of technology. Thus, current information technology is characterized, as Kallinikos (2012: 69) puts it, ‘by its remarkable ability to deeply penetrate the social fabric and increasingly induce the framing of life issues in terms of data availability, and sensemaking based on data, assembled into meaningful categories and structures by machines’. Furthermore, we aim to identify and exhibit the generic attributes of a work environment, including healthcare organizations, that cut across specific contexts of social and institutional life, namely, the prominence of cognition over perception and the preponderance of information and computational principles in defining reality, as in the case of ADM. The computational principles define the unedited role of representations as outcomes of technological advances of complex algorithmic systems far beyond any human capacity. While non-​human agents play a key role in information infrastructure, this does not mean that human experiences, feelings, or corporeality have become irrelevant. One of the key aspects of the phenomenological approach to information infrastructure is that it highlights unique relations with space, temporality, embodiment, and materiality. Thus, it differs from Latour’s (2005) and his colleagues’ principal idea of Actor-​ Network Theory (ANT). ANT grants human and non-​human actants equal amounts of agency within webs or actor networks. The core of this theory is the principle of radical symmetry between human and non-​human actors, which dissolves modernist demarcations between, on the one hand, living, consciously acting subjects and, on the other, merely instrumental deaf-​mute objects (Müller & Schur, 2016). In the phenomenological approaches, material things become meaningful to us within an intelligible ensemble of other meaningful things (Spinosa et al., 1997; Küpers, 2017). Orlikowski (2007) has stated that ‘bodily-​mediated socio-​materialities’ play a key role in how human agents, objects, and practices come together. For a surgeon in an operating room, instruments, equipment, and specialized colleagues are not a set of externally related objects, but a meaningful, cohesive entity whose joint efforts can lead to a successful operation. In post-​bureaucratic organizations, labour processes have been thought to depend upon a ‘collaborative community’, which is a new kind of social bonding emerging between collaborating actors, for example, in teamwork and in co-​creating activities enabling innovation (Adler, 2015: 452). While demanding cognitive work tasks, such as surgery, are facilitated by support arising from ensembles of meaningful agents, a specific ‘tuning-​up’ effect is needed. From the vitalist, ontology collaboration can be understood as an intercorporeal and intersubjective between-​ space where pre-​cognitive, somatic, and affective attractions and aversions between the collaborators guide the co-​acting (Coole, 2007, 2013). Thus, the socio-​material environment can also be understood as an affective space in the sense that a special kind

284    Jaana Parviainen and Anne Koski of atmosphere, concentration, or affective tuning are required to perform demanding work tasks, such as brain surgeries. Emotions and atmospheres between members of an organization allow them to perform work tasks (or not), to be gatekeepers to knowledge, or to respond (or not) in a certain way. A further specific aspect of global information infrastructure is that our experience of the here and now in dealing with them has increasingly lost its immediate spatio-​ temporal referents and has become tied to and contingent on actors and actions at a distance. We are not just talking about remote connection; in terms of temporality, the development of healthcare technologies is determined by many visions of the future and different aspirations about what the technologies are intended to do. Understanding spatio-​temporal referents as rooted in emerging technologies provides a way to overcome the above-​mentioned ‘neutral view’ of technology and recognize how embodied practices are shaped by the future visions of information technologies at work. Taking these issues into account, we next consider how the deployment of imaginary technologies in healthcare organizations modify working conditions.

13.3  Rationality Drives AI-​Based Imaginaries in Healthcare Organizations Hospitals and healthcare institutions have faced turbulence caused by New Public Management and New Public Governance, bringing managerialism and the notion of patient-​centred care forward. Both doctors and nurses have adopted managerial responsibilities besides their medical duties (Martin et al., 2021). Doctors have often resisted the professional hybridization more persistently, while nurses have adopted more easily micro-​manageable and various information systems integrated into work processes, which has also increased the power of nurses in healthcare organizations (Rivard, Lapointe, & Kappos, 2012; Carvalho, 2014). Various clinical information systems and electronic medical records (EMRs), which transform the division of work between the medical, nursing, and managing professions, have often first been introduced into organizations under the pretext of economic savings or as a solution for the lack of staffing. Though the line organization model, hierarchically organized and governed by formal procedures in the healthcare sector, has changed in recent years, the rational core of clinical practices has hardly diminished in medicine. In medical diagnosis and clinical work, one of the main goals has been to develop mathematical and statistical probabilities to achieve optimal medical triage and treatment outcomes. Since the 1950s, there have been efforts to make models for physicians’ diagnostic problem-​solving and to systematize physicians’ medical knowledge (Fischer & Lam, 2016: 24). In the 21st century, AI is expected to improve diagnostics

Phenomenological Approach in Healthcare    285 and treatment by developing systems that could automate clinical work. The design principles of statistical probabilities are based on the idea that AI technologies should mimic human decision-​making by improving data processing and inconsistencies. These systems are computer programs that are ‘programmed to try and mimic a human expert’s decision-​making ability’ (Fischer & Lam, 2016: 23). In the guidelines, provided by the European Parliament, ADM refers to the process without any human involvement by making a final decision based on the data it receives (Article 29 Working Party (A29WP): 20). Although automated systems in healthcare, such as consulting chatbots, are not reliable enough to be left to operate independently, the pursuit of automation in physicians’ diagnostics and treatment can be seen as one form of imaginary technology in the health sector. The European Union (EU) has signalled its willingness to invest heavily in the adoption of AI technologies in the healthcare sector (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, 2017). In a resolution on ADM, the European Parliament noted that it: welcomes the potential of automated decision-​ making to deliver innovative and improved services to consumers, including new digital services such as virtual assistants and chatbots; [it also] believes, however, that when consumers are interacting with a system that automates decision-​making, they should be properly informed about how it functions, about how to reach a human with decision-​making powers, and about how the system’s decisions can be checked and corrected. (European Parliament, 2020: 3)

The usefulness and problems of AI technologies are usually viewed from the perspective of citizens and services, whereas, for example, the effects of AI on the work of professionals are ignored. The AlgorithmWatch Association (2020: 19) criticizes this resolution in its report by saying that, ‘throughout the whole document, risks associated with AI-​based technologies were more generally labelled as “potential”, while the benefits are portrayed as very real and immediate’. The emergence of the Covid-​19 pandemic has significantly advanced the development of telehealth and the use of existing health-​oriented chatbots in the diagnosis and treatment of the Covid-​19 (AlgorithmWatch, 2020; McGreevey, Hanson, & Koppel, 2020). Before the Covid-​19 crisis, discussion about the benefits of ADM in healthcare in general concerned the efficiency that novel emerging technologies could potentially achieve. For instance, in the case of a digital health tool called Buoy or the chatbot platform Omaolo, users enter their symptoms and receive recommendations for care options. Both chatbots have algorithms to calculate input data and become smarter when people use these platforms; they are currently still being developed. More advanced ADM systems in healthcare are promoted by arguments that algorithm-​driven systems can free up time for overworked professionals (Topol, 2019), reduce the risk of errors (Paredes, 2018), provide predictive analysis based on historical and real-​time data (Pryce et al., 2018), and increase overall efficiency in the public sector (Accenture, 2018). Algorithms are said to make more objective, robust, and evidence-​ based

286    Jaana Parviainen and Anne Koski clinical decisions (in terms of diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment recommendations) than humans can ever provide (Morley et al., 2019). There are practices of logical reasoning and formal modelling, such as playing chess, that are relatively easy to turn into algorithmic forms. Medical diagnosis is not one of those practices since decision-​making requires ‘prudence’, which is regarded as ‘a mode of reasoning about contingent matters in order to select the best course of action’ (Hariman, 2003: 5). Clinicians make diagnoses in a complex manner that they are rarely able to logically analyse (Banerjee, Jadhav, & Bhawalkar, 2009). Phronesis, prudence, and practical wisdom refer to the flexible, interpretive capacity that enables physicians to determine the best course of action when knowledge depends on circumstances (Dreyfus & Dreyfus, 2005; Montgomery, 2006). Experienced doctors as prudential actors are capable of working under the pressure of the complex medical information infrastructure that requires them to follow precise embodied routines and strict ethical standards and to apply the wide pool of scientific knowledge. Powell (2019: 2) explains this by saying that ‘what doctors often need is wisdom rather than intelligence, and we are a long way away from a science of artificial wisdom’. As the information infrastructure of healthcare is becoming increasingly complex due to AI, presumably physicians are concerned with the rise of ethical issues in patient care, worried about the additional burden of emerging technology, and dissatisfied with the limited respect for their work. The Physician’s Charter on Medical Professionalism, launched in 2002 for the new millennium, identified several threats to physician professionalism, including technology, market forces, healthcare system strain, and broader sociological shifts in the role of physicians in society (ABIM Foundation, 2002). When physicians anticipate the future regarding the potential effects of AI tools on their decision-​making, they consider the information system as a whole (i.e. information infrastructure and its potential changes) as part of their work. It is not easy for them, or even for specialists, to assess how the implementation of new technologies into existing technological infrastructure will transform its dynamics and their work conditions; the mere lack of knowledge of the upcoming changes can increase their stress levels. In a recent study, Dzeng & Wachter (2020) found evidence of insidious moral distress resulting from physicians’ inability to act in accordance with their individual and professional ethical values due to institutional and societal constraints. One of the reasons for the causes of healthcare professionals’ burnout is the rapid adoption of EMRs. These constraints have been exacerbated by changes in healthcare and society. This discontent amplifies a growing rift between the profession’s ethical ideals and reality, and possibly also regarding an imaginary future with more complex technologies. When it comes to AI technologies and their increasingly rational standards and automation that are being implemented in healthcare organizations, it is easy to conclude that new solutions fit perfectly into existing ideals of rationality and information technologies in hospitals. Belief in the superiority of AI and technological solutions produced using ADM systems, including many semi-​automated chatbots, can amplify the project of rationality and automation in clinical practices and alter traditional decision-​making practices based on epistemic probability and prudence.

Phenomenological Approach in Healthcare    287 AI and complex algorithmic systems represent a growing resource of interactive, autonomous, and often self-​learning (in the machine-​learning sense) agency, potentially transforming cooperation between machines and professionals by emphasizing the agency of machines (Morley et al., 2019). Since AI systems are involved in cognitive-​discursive-​oriented technological systems, embodied practices remain less prominent. Decision-​making in medical practices is a partly embodied and partly cognitive process. It is an embodied process insofar as the body forms a sensorimotor loop with patients, colleagues, and objects with which the agent interacts in the unfolding situation at hand (Sandberg & Tsoukas, 2015). Expertise, in general, requires intersubjective circulation of knowledge, that is, a pool of dynamic knowledge as well as intersubjective criticism of the data, knowledge, and processes. The deployment of chatbots in healthcare, such as consultation, may impoverish the performance of work routines and diminish face-​to-​face interaction between clinicians and patients. Insofar as routine activities have been sufficiently bodily practiced, people have come across enough cases and, thus, their body schemas and shared organizational understandings are likely to have been well-​developed. Insufficient consideration regarding the implementation of ADM in healthcare can lead to poor professional practices, creating long-​term side effects and harm for professionals and their patients.

13.4  Care Robots as Imaginary Technologies in Nursing When AI-​based systems are believed to be able to automate the complex judgement of physicians, care robots will likely replace the repetitive and hard-​labour tasks of nursing, either autonomously or semi-​autonomously, while also growing emotional interactions with patients. Over twenty years ago, robotics guru Joseph Engelberger (1997) forecasted that a multitasking care robot for replacing nursing work tasks and assisting older people at home could soon be developed and manufactured (Engelberger, 2000). Despite the vast amounts of effort and money invested in the development of and research on care robotics over the last twenty years, no such robots have been created that could supersede nursing labour in assisting disabled or older people in their everyday activities. One of the main bottlenecks in developing useful care robots is the lack of sophisticated robotic limbs that could help people with, for example, dressing, bathing, and toileting (Van Aerschot & Parviainen, 2020). One barrier is related to the safety criteria established for health technology in which all kinds of moving or lifting robotic limbs are inspected from the perspective of the risk of injury to vulnerable patients. The problems in developing the robot’s kinematic capabilities to meet the safety standards of multitasking robots have led designers to simplify their goals. Social robots are designed to elicit human emotions and perform emotional reactions to bond with human users (Turkle, 2011), applying the principles of affective computing (Picard, 2015). Examples

288    Jaana Parviainen and Anne Koski of such robots used in care sectors are the pet-​like robot, Paro, and the humanoid robot, Pepper. When a Pepper robot was placed in the lobby to guide customers in Kalasatama, a new health centre opened in Helsinki, Finland, in 2018, the director of Health and Substance Abuse Services of the City of Helsinki reminded visitors that the acquisition of a robot was related to Helsinki’s strategy on improving the quality of public services for residents and visitors (Helsinki City, 2017). The director stressed that renewable services should be produced digitally with the support of AI and robotics (Nelskylä, 2018). The purpose of using a Pepper robot was to discover what kind of value the robot can bring to customer service in healthcare and social work. Pepper was programmed to guide customers to use check-​in machines, direct customers to the correct waiting area, receive feedback, and hint at the location of the nearest restroom. The director defended its high price (€50,0000 plus €1,000 per month), though its benefits for customers remained obscure in the opening ceremony: ‘In the future, as robots become more widespread, prices will certainly fall. You have to start somewhere if you want to be on the crest of digitalization and take it forward’ (Nelskylä, 2018). The director’s utterance exposes how protention and futurity have become a common state when it comes to robots or AI-​driven technological investments in healthcare organizations. The domain of the ‘not yet, but soon’ has become the main way to justify the rationality and functionality of equipment that is constantly being developed as part of the operations of organizations. In other words, the devices do not need to be ready-​made or their intended use entirely clear at the time of purchase, but with sufficient experimentation and development, the devices will take on their final shape and become embedded in the organizational environment (Parviainen & Coeckelbergh, 2021). This is convenient for the technology industry, as it can produce ‘semi-​finished’ devices in the sense that embodied practices around these devices are developed by professionals and customers through a so-​called ‘culture of experimentation’ (Lindgren & Münch, 2016). However, such an experiment can become very costly if it erodes existing (good) work practices but does not build new ones, especially if robots are ultimately not profitable to deploy. Social robots like Pepper can hardly provide significant help in automating or supporting the physical work of nursing. Instead, they seek a place and way of operating within customer interfaces of health organizations. Still, for instance, the Guardian reported in 2016 that ‘a robot could be grandma’s new carer’, using the Pepper robot as the illustrative photo. This type of robot does not have a motor ability that is fine enough to assist elderly people in their daily activities. Using the Pepper robot to illustrate helping the old creates a false impression of the care robot’s abilities. Another example of providing fallacious views on the capabilities of today’s care robots is to illustrate news stories using images of robot prototypes, as was the case in another Guardian story published in 2018. They stated, ‘Japan lays groundwork for boom in robot carers’, and used—​perhaps accidentally—​the photo of a suspended robot project, a Japanese prototype known as ‘Robear’, which was depicted lifting a woman for a demonstration at RIKEN-​TRI in Nagoya. The robot prototype was developed to transfer frail patients from a wheelchair to a bed. However, the newspaper did not state that RIKEN-​TRI and

Phenomenological Approach in Healthcare    289 its Center for Human-​Interactive Robot Research (RTC) finished its scheduled research term and was dissolved at the end of March 2015.2 Thus, the development of the robot had already been suspended three years before the Guardian story was published, and it was clear when the photo was run that the lifting robot would never be launched on the market. The challenges caused by the small number of care robots are clearly visible in experiments and the research design of care robots for the elderly. It is likely that research teams will acquire robots for experiments if affordable and functional equipment become available. Instead of physical robots, they use ‘imaginary robots’ in inquiring about nurses’ and patients’ attitudes towards robotics, known as robot-​acceptance surveys. Most researchers utilize pictures of robots, narratives, audio-​video material of robots, and robot prototypes to elicit respondents’ opinions of care robots (e.g. Pino et al., 2015; Hall et al., 2017; Khosla et al., 2017; Pew Research Center, 2017; Coco et al., 2018; D’Onofrio et al., 2018). For instance, a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center (2017) shows how the narratives used in the questionnaire lean on Engelberger’s futuristic vision without providing concrete examples of care-​robot solutions. In this case, respondents were asked to read and reply to the following scenario: Today, many older adults move into assisted living facilities when they can no longer live independently. In the future, people could be provided with a robot caregiver that would allow them to continue living in their own home as they age. This robot would be available 24 hours a day to help with household chores, test vital signs and dispense medication, or call for assistance in an emergency. It would also have conversational skills and could serve as a companion for people who live alone.

This narrative of imaginary care robots shows that there is a vast gulf between the visions of future robotics and the existing complex and hectic environment in which nurses do their work. The complexity of social, emotional, and physical human needs and processes seem to be somewhat distant or difficult to capture in the design of robots. The neediness, frailty, and vulnerability that come with decreasing physical and cognitive capacity are not easy, or perhaps not at all possible, to meet with care robots. Professionals who have learned from experience how to respond to patients in vulnerable conditions have developed embodied and affective capacity and tacit knowledge to estimate how to use their bodily skills in collaboration with patients. When they need to learn bodily practices while using equipment, bodily inscribed tacit knowledge sometimes makes it harder to switch off or unlearn these skills compared to cognitive skills (Hindmarsh & Pilnick, 2007; Wright, 2019). In addition, nurses suffer from ethics stress when they have been challenged by value-​laden decisions related to technology, such as, the limits of interventions, patient autonomy, and quality-​of-​life issues (Raines, 2000). Ulrich et al. (2007) found that nurses encounter difficult ethical issues in patient care and feel frustrated or angry when they cannot resolve an ethical issue due to the 2 

For more information, see http://​rtc.nag​​index-​e.html.

290    Jaana Parviainen and Anne Koski bureaucratic system in healthcare organizations. It is likely that the potential entry of new devices, such as care robots, will not reduce but rather increase ethics stress.

13.5  Conclusion This chapter has used a phenomenologically informed approach to show that the implementation of new technologies in an organization is a complex process in which—​ particularly during crises—​new technologies are introduced into professional work. Based on phenomenological insights, the constitutive roles of situated embodiment and interrelational connections for performance have been outlined. Such extended understanding offers new perspectives on bodily as well as pre-​conscious expectations that are relevant to imaginary technologies. When professionals are engaged in performing their work, their bodies are always actively involved, no matter how demanding the cognitive effort is. Healthcare professionals conduct their work tasks from within the framework of ‘practical rationality’; they seek to grasp how sense-​making is accomplished by situating it within the ‘unfolding relational whole’ of the primary purpose of the organization (Sandberg & Tsoukas, 2011: 352). The phenomenological view of embodied information infrastructure allows us to consider the complex technologies that are intertwined with clinical practices in healthcare professionals’ work. Such an approach can help to clarify questions such: how justified is the rhetoric of the cost-​effectiveness and high-​quality requirements associated with AI technologies if existing healthcare technology systems are burdening staff? Paradoxically, potential consequences of emerging technologies cannot be reliably confirmed by research or risk analysis, thus, they remain in the category of the unknowable. We have argued that protentional anticipation dominates the functions of public healthcare organizations, but not all people necessarily recognize how managerial acts are primarily intended to control the future. Using the concept of imaginary technologies, we suggested, first, that existing technological infrastructure shapes professionals’ work; and, second, that the strategies of future technologies reconfigure our conceptions of the consequences that the use of emerging technology in health organizations may have in the future. Professionals do their work under the pressure of different visions and expectations for the future, feeling ethics stress regarding these potential changes. To offer a more coherent and integrative conceptualization of what defines this implication process and how it is connected with professional work, we used two examples: ADM systems and care robotics. Their potential impact on reconfiguring the information infrastructure helps us to more effectively recognize and understand the multiple, emergent, and shifting socio-​material assemblages entailed in contemporary organizing. National governments, the EU, and other international actors are important players in building the socio-​technical imagination of robotics and AI, but they need other actors to steer funding in the desired way and to shape citizens’ perceptions in favour

Phenomenological Approach in Healthcare    291 of their visions. The media has an important role to play in this task, as it presents to the public the astonishing possibilities of the technology of the future. The ‘hype’ and ‘hope’ built around new technologies, with their potential and their horrific images, have a significant performative dimension in shaping citizens’ perceptions. We argued that, in the media, the presentation of care robots as the saviour of care for the elderly is common even though no devices are available that would bring significant benefits to care. When the media frequently report on individual care-​robot experiments or uncertain prototypes under development, the purely speculative possibility that robots may eventually be of some use in the care of the elderly begins to be understood by the public as fact. The presentations of imaginary technologies based on prototypes and real technologies in use are easily confused in people’s minds. Socio-​technical imagination has proven particularly useful for decision-​makers who believe that technologies solve societal problems. Where appropriate, it serves both as a policy objective and as a tool to build its legitimacy. It is difficult to oppose this prediction because, based on socio-​technical imagination, one cannot prove it to be false. Visions of alternative futures in human care without the support of emerging technologies are rarely provided in white papers or roadmaps. Given the political attractiveness of socio-​technical imagination and the risks and instabilities that inevitably accompany it, an understanding of socio-​technical imagination is an essential part of R&D initiatives in robotics and AI. The discussion of imaginary technologies in the context of healthcare organizations thereby sharpens the focus and extends the scope of the emerging-​technologies perspective, helping us to clarify conceptual ambiguities and to better locate the visions of roadmaps and white papers on public healthcare and our expectations for it. It is hoped that the phenomenological approach proposed in this chapter will contribute to a more comprehensive understanding and critically oriented research on robotics and AI in healthcare organizations.

Acknowledgements This work forms part of the ‘Struggling with Ignorance: Negative Expertise and the Erosion of the Finnish Information Society at the Turn of 2020ʹ (NEGATE) research project, which is funded by the Academy of Finland (Grant No. 316112).

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Chapter 14

M ax Schel e r’ s Ph enomenol o g y of Per sonalism and Pa ra d ox Implications for Leadership Relations Leah Tomkins

14.1  Introduction: Max Scheler in the History of Phenomenology Max Scheler (1874−1928) is not always included in anthologies of phenomenology, but he was once considered one of the most brilliant phenomenological thinkers in Europe. Husserl appointed him as one of the founding editors of his Jahrbuch für Philosophie und phänomenologische Forschung (Yearbook for Philosophy and Phenomenological Research), although the relationship between Scheler and Husserl proved to be a complex one (Staude, 1967; Zahavi, 2013). Heidegger reputedly considered Scheler one of the very few who really appreciated the radical reformulation of metaphysics in his analysis of Dasein (Gorevan, 1993). Scheler also had significant influence on later phenomenologists, notably Stein, Schütz, Merleau-​Ponty, and Sartre. Sartre (1983: 88) credits Scheler for having introduced him to the significance of values and the ‘given-​ness’ of morality: Reading Scheler made me understand that there existed values. Basically, until then, quite absorbed by the metaphysical doctrine of salvation, I’d never really understood the specific problem of morality. The ‘ought-​to-​be’ seemed to me to be represented by the categorical imperative; and since I rejected the latter, it seemed to me that I rejected the former with it. But when I’d understood that there existed specific natures, equipped with an existence as of right, and called values; when I’d understood that these values, whether proclaimed or not, regulated each of my acts and

298   Leah Tomkins judgements, and that by their nature they ‘ought to be’: then the problem became enormously more complex. . . The only thing left was to begin everything over again.

Sartre’s beginning over again chimes with Glendinning’s (2007) view of the phenomenological tradition as a whole. Glendinning suggests that what unifies the various strands of phenomenology is a concern for the question of where and how to begin. The leading phenomenologists were all addressing the issue of what had been lost with the modern Western preoccupation with the methods and achievements of the natural sciences, and the resultant alienation of human beings from themselves. As Glendinning (2007: 2) puts it, ‘the question of how, in our time, even to begin in philosophy is one which phenomenology is particularly alive to, particularly shaped by’. Phenomenologists are thus searching for the entry point to a philosophical analysis of what we in some sense already know, minus the baggage of theoretical frames and explanations. Husserl’s ‘back to the things themselves’ is frequently cited as the rallying cry for this movement. Heidegger’s ontology of Dasein shifts the philosophical gaze towards the being of Being, that is, towards the originary conditions for human beings being encountered in the first place. The question of where and how to begin is thus a grounding concern in the phenomenological tradition. For Scheler, it is with ethics, values, and feelings that our philosophical inquiry begins. These are not an adornment or an afterthought of human experience; they have a priori status. As he explains: The emotive elements of spirit, such as feeling, preferring, loving, hating, and willing, also possess original a-​priori contents which are not borrowed from ‘thinking’, and which ethics must show to be independent of logic. There is an a-​priori ordre du coeur (system of the heart) or logique du coeur (logic of the heart). (Scheler, 1973: 63)

With Scheler, phenomenology becomes focused on the bearer of ethics and the experiencer of feelings, namely the person. This is a move which is indicated in the subtitle of his most ambitious work, Formalism in Ethics and Non-​Formal Ethics of Values: A New Attempt Toward the Foundation of an Ethical Personalism (Scheler, 1973). It highlights one of the key axes of tension between Scheler and Husserl; whereas Husserl was inspired to investigate ‘pure’ consciousness, Scheler argued that consciousness has no life other than that bestowed by and through the person. Underpinning much of Scheler’s work is a ranking of human values, ranging from holiness through values of the mind and the spirit (geistige Werte), vitality, utility, and finally sensibility. Each of these values has a corresponding set of feelings. In modern society, the lowest values of utility and sensibility dominate, with their corresponding motivational dimensions of success-​failure and comfort-​discomfort. Indeed, Karol Wojtyla, Pope John Paul II, drew extensively on Scheler’s system of values to highlight what is lost when society defines what is good solely in relation to what is either useful or pleasurable (Colosi, 2008). This is not to say that utility and sensibility are bad; rather,

Phenomenology of Personalism and Paradox    299 that they offer much more transient fulfilment than the higher values. Moreover, the lower values tend to work against human togetherness which, for Scheler, is the human race’s highest hope and orientation (1973). In short, in Schelerian phenomenology: ‘It is the ranks of values that are the polar star of mankind’ (1987: 142). Scheler is a philosopher of considerable breadth and vitality, and he is therefore not always easy to pin down. His work can be classified as philosophy, sociology, anthropology, psychology, ethics, theology, political theory, inter alia. This resistance to easy categorization may help to explain why Scheler has not featured very prominently in organization studies, despite the fact that his work is relatively accessible and lends itself well to application.1 Scheler seems to have lived his life embodying, not just theorizing, phenomenology’s emphasis on what is given to us in intuition. Drawing on accounts from Scheler’s own students, Staude (1967: 255) suggests that ‘what Scheler lacked in consistency he had in immediacy, and herein lay his appeal’. In this chapter, I take a more complimentary view of Schelerian ‘inconsistency’, suggesting that it provides a powerful framing for the phenomena of organization when understood as paradox. Zucker (1927) relates that much of Scheler’s teaching approach was based on an explicit engagement with paradox, and the ways in which the tensions of paradox might (or might not) be relieved through the different mechanisms of intellect and intuition. In this chapter, I use an understanding of paradox as an either/​and (as opposed to either/​or and both/​and) approach (Jing & Van de Ven, 2014). I thereby point to a potentially fruitful relationship between Scheler and organization studies, especially in light of the success of ‘paradox theory’ (Cunha & Putnam, 2019). I explore three Schelerian themes: The phenomenon of ressentiment; the connection(s) between exemplars and leaders; and the relationship(s) between self and others. I propose that Scheler offers valuable insights for the intersection of ‘pure’ phenomenological philosophy and the more ‘applied’ discipline(s) of organization and leadership studies. I endeavour to orientate these insights towards some of the key themes of phenomenology, principally those of Husserl and Heidegger.

14.2  The Dynamics of Ressentiment Ressentiment is more intense and more enduring than its closest English equivalent, resentment; and the use of this French word is deliberately designed to conjure up something slightly dubious because it is foreign. Ressentiment hinges on a bitter and malevolent impotence, fuelled by a sense that one is on the receiving end of life and that others are in some way to blame for this. Scheler was greatly influenced by Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morality (1887), in which ressentiment is a key feature of slave morality.

1  Scheler’s

manuscripts have also not attracted the same scholarly editorial attention as those of his more famous phenomenological colleagues. See Frings (1997).

300   Leah Tomkins This is not related to the physical slavery of antiquity, but a more contemporary slavery which involves having one’s values, instincts, and urge for self-​expression repressed, i.e. the Nietzschean slave is not free to truly be himself/​herself. Whilst those who fare well in the world are able to say ‘yes!’ to themselves, to others, and to life itself, the Nietzschean slave ‘says “no” on principle to everything that is “outside”, “other”, “non-​self ”: and this “no” is its creative deed’ (Nietzsche, 1887: 20). The bile of ressentiment is directed not just against concrete others, but against everything that can be constructed and denigrated as Other. Its ‘no!’ involves an inversion of values in which everything that is Other is reconstructed as bad in order for the self to be experienced as good in comparison. In this way, the slave’s ‘creative deed’ converts impotence and self-​sacrifice into virtue and accomplishment. Paradoxically, the identity that results may feel liberating and empowering even whilst it locks the enslaved self in a permanent incarceration. Scheler’s ressentiment both develops and challenges a number of Nietzsche’s themes, not least because he insists that Nietzsche’s attack on Christianity for fostering slave morality represents a fundamental misreading of the Christian Gospel. Scheler’s own take contains a number of interesting ideas for organization studies, including his insistence that ressentiment is not just something experienced by those who are socially and/​ or institutionally disadvantaged, but something that can and does afflict the supposedly powerful, too. Scheler’s ressentiment directs our attention not just to conflicts between overtly powerful and powerless people (as, for instance, in a genealogical reading of Nietzschean nobles and slaves), but also to other forms of conflict and discrepancy, including those between prevailing and receding ideas and between rhetoric and reality.2 As Scheler (1915: 28) explains, ressentiment operates according to an: ‘Important sociological law that this psychological dynamite will spread with the discrepancy between the political, constitutional, or traditional status of a group and its factual power’. Thus, Scheler urges us to be alert to discrepancy between actual and assumed power, because any such discrepancy lends itself to a vindictive comparison—​the ‘creative deed’—​which both reflects and fosters ressentiment. This is especially the case if the discrepancy is unmentionable, i.e. if it goes against dominant discourses of what is right and proper to say. This is because ressentiment can burn itself out if it finds a healthy outlet, but it festers within if it cannot. Interestingly, Scheler’s ressentiment presages the contemporary ‘cancel culture’. Of particular importance for his status as a phenomenologist is Scheler’s view of how ressentiment is fuelled when there is no direct experience of the world. In a sense, he inserts the notion of ressentiment in between the Husserlian phenomenological and natural attitudes. This is one way in which the morality of our emotions addresses the question of where and how to begin. As he explains (1915: 41):


In passing, it is worth noting Scheler’s foreshadowing of Foucault’s power/​knowledge.

Phenomenology of Personalism and Paradox    301 Whenever convictions are not arrived at by direct contact with the world and the objects themselves, but indirectly through a critique of the opinions of others, the processes of thinking are impregnated with ressentiment. The establishment of ‘criteria’ for testing the correctness of opinions then becomes the most important task. Genuine and fruitful criticism judges all opinions with reference to the object itself. Ressentiment criticism, on the contrary, accepts no ‘object’ that has not stood the test of criticism.

Of all of Scheler’s main themes, ressentiment seems to have attracted the greatest interest in organization studies, especially in relation to leadership. For instance, Ciulla (2020) suggests that former US President Donald Trump nurtured ressentiment strategically in his followers, directing its passions against Trump’s denigrated Other, particularly liberals, the educated, and the Washington elite. Capriles (2012) draws on Scheler to explore how former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez systematically cultivated ressentiment in his people, resulting in Venezuelans voluntarily engaging in a values-​inversion in which they supported policies that seriously disadvantaged and disenfranchised them in exchange for the comforting fantasy that Chávez really cared about them. Turning from followers to leaders, I myself have used Schelerian ressentiment to explore the impotence of leaders, suggesting that it is precisely with the pleasant-​ and progressive-​sounding leadership approaches that the risk of ressentiment is at its greatest, especially those which emphasize the significance of relationship (Tomkins, 2021). I argue, for instance, that caring leadership, based on the appealing ideology of ‘care ethics’, makes leaders especially vulnerable to ressentiment. This is because the qualities associated with care, namely, attentiveness and responsiveness to other people’s needs and desires can be seen as a values-​inversion which transforms self-​sacrifice into virtue and allows one to be dictated to by the needs of others. Those leadership models that emphasize ‘doing unto others as they themselves would want to be treated’, rather than ‘doing unto others as you would have them do unto you’, risk ceding control over, and responsibility for, the self to forces beyond the self. For Scheler, this is a profound threat to the ethics of personalism, because the individual human being: Turns away from his [sic] personal quest for the good and seeks support in the question: What do you think? What do all people think? What is the ‘general’ tendency of man as a species? Or what is the trend of ‘evolution’ so that I may recognize it and place myself in its ‘current’? (Scheler, 1915: 104)3

3  There is a strong connection here between Scheler, Nietzsche, and Heidegger. Nietzsche (1908) argues that slave morality involves a critical threat to a person’s centre of gravity and an enslavement to the will of others. Heidegger (1962) warns against the suppression of self in favour of ‘the one’ or ‘the They’ (das Man), and a concomitant threat to the possibility of authenticity. For Scheler, the discrepancies between real and assumed power, and between rhetoric and reality, fuel the conditions for the loss of one’s sense of self.

302   Leah Tomkins The discrepancies between actual and assumed power that foster ressentiment therefore affect leaders just as much as followers. As one of the modern classics in leadership studies suggests, we should not suppose that leaders’ actual power equals their reputed power, for ‘power wielders are not free agents. They are subject—​even slaves—​to pressures working on them and in them’ (Burns, 1978: 15). Highlighting the impotence of leaders goes against the grain of ‘common sense’ assumptions, and against much of the critical as well as the mainstream business literature on leadership. More than a century ago, Scheler warned that just such a paradox of either empowerment and enslavement might be a breeding ground for ressentiment.

14.3  Exemplars and Leaders In his essay on Exemplars of Person and Leaders, Scheler (1987) elaborates the dynamics of exemplarity, providing possibly the most overt connection between Schelerian philosophy and the key concerns of organizational studies. Alongside his ranking of human values (holiness; values of the mind and the spirit (geistige Werte); vitality; utility; sensibility), Scheler offers a corresponding ranking of exemplars (saint; genius; hero; leading mind of civilization; and master in the art of living, or bon viveur). Each represents a particular version of personalism and the values that inspire and animate it. As Scheler (1987: 140) suggests: If it is the case that the soul of all history is not to be seen in actual history but in the history of ideals, systems of values, norms and forms of ethos by which human beings measure their practical actions—​so that this soul of history brings to full understanding all actual history—​then the history of exemplars, their origins and transformation, makes up the very centre of this soul of history.

Exemplars touch us in an a priori way, moving us both individually and collectively.4 We are attracted and drawn to them before there is any sense of us actively choosing them. Thus, exemplarity is an important component of Scheler’s answer to the question of where and how to begin (Glendinning, 2007), for: ‘What has a forming and grafting effect on our souls is not an abstract, universal moral rule, but always, and only, a clear and intuitive grasp of the exemplarity of the person’ (Scheler, 1987: 134). Crucially, the power of exemplars relates to a person’s self-​development, for being touched by an exemplar is a free following, not a form of imitation or blind obedience. Experiencing oneself in relation to an exemplar is thus not the same as ceding control over, and responsibility for the self to forces beyond the self, i.e. Scheler’s exemplarity is not a form of the slave morality which can foster ressentiment. With exemplars, the person’s aim is not to replicate, 4  I

do not have space to do justice to it here, but there are striking connections between Scheler’s taxonomies of values and exemplars and Jung’s work on archetypes and psychological types.

Phenomenology of Personalism and Paradox    303 but rather, to achieve an equivalent relationship with the value embodied therein. In a sense, Scheler’s exemplars provide boundary conditions for a Heideggerian search for authenticity, i.e. for that which is own-​most (eigentlich). Moreover, whereas imitation and obedience tend to be orientated towards specific actions, exemplarity moves and inspires the whole person (a key Schelerian theme to which we will return). For Scheler, there are important differences between exemplars and leaders. The leadership relationship is concrete and conscious; leaders are real people, and they know and accept that they are leaders. The exemplarity relationship operates more in the realm of the imaginary, the intuitional, and the ideal. A personal exemplar may not realize that he/​she is performing this function for others; and indeed, exemplars need not be real people at all. Whereas leaders direct and inspire action and achievement, exemplars direct and inspire our being. And whereas a Schelerian leadership has nothing much to do with values, exemplarity is a primary mechanism through which values are embodied, activated, and communicated. Despite (and because of) these differences between leaders and exemplars, there are crucial points of intersection and interrelationship between these two forms of authority. On the one hand, exemplars provide the value-​structures that motivate our own self-​development as human beings (whether we are leading or led or, as we shall touch on later, both), and our hopes and expectations within society and institution. On the other hand, exemplars are realized in and through personal and social experience. Exemplars alone provide mere schemata, which: ‘Are, by themselves, completely insufficient to nurture our minds and moral lives in a vivid and powerful manner. These tender and shadowy casts must drink the appropriate blood from the wells of the experience of history’ (Scheler, 1987: 142). We should not, therefore, mistake an actual leader for a saint, for instance (and then cut him/​her down when he/​she inevitably disappoints us); but neither should we ignore the interrelationship between leaders and saints. For Scheler, the sources of power that emanate from leaders and exemplars are paradoxically either different and closely interrelated. They represent a coming together of ‘both a being and an ought’ (Scheler, 1987: 134) in the space between phenomenological and natural experience. Exemplars exercise their effect on us because of a combination of pure and experiential power, and their corresponding temporal hues (Scheler, 1987). Pure power is orientated towards the future and, as such, prevents the exemplar from merely inspiring imitation. The future orientation is thus in Scheler, as in Heidegger, a vital component of developing one’s own path through life, and using exemplars as equivalent, not direct, inspiration. Experiential power, on the other hand, points towards the past and to the ways in which our present world is created and infused with what has come before. For Scheler (1987), it is this experiential power of the having-​been that guards against the risks of both emptiness and utopia. Exemplarity is thus one of the ways in which Scheler engages in dialogue with Heidegger’s Dasein (Heidegger, 1962). For Dasein, the components of existence are Verstehen (understanding), Befindlichkeit (attunement), and Verfallen (absorption), and they have corresponding temporal emphases of future, past (the having-​been)

304   Leah Tomkins and present. Only for a creature who understands and is forward focused; who is attuned to the world which he/​she inherits; and who is absorbed and immersed in the affairs of the world, can the possibilities of life fully unfold. Like Heidegger’s ontology, Scheler’s ethics uses temporality not as chronology but as a core structure and dynamic of personalism. Without the future orientation of pure exemplarity and the having-​been of experiential exemplarity, our lives in the present are merely swept along in the ‘current of evolution’ (Scheler, 1915) and, in Heideggerian terms, doomed to inauthenticity. Given its explicit connection with leadership and obvious implications for the notion of role modelling, it is somewhat surprising that Scheler’s exemplarity has received so little attention in organization studies. A notable exception is Harter (2006), who uses Scheler to help unpack what it might mean to ‘lead by example’. This involves understanding the interdependencies between real leaders and exemplars to surface some of the ethical tensions of leadership, such as those that arise when leaders think of themselves as exempt from normal behaviour and develop an exceptionalist sense of self in which the rules that apply to others are simply irrelevant to them. Such unethical behaviour reflects the dangers of discrepancy between ‘a being and an ought’ (Scheler, 1987: 134) that are either different and intimately interrelated. Furthermore, the interplay between exemplarity and leadership emphasizes that followers’ experiences of the power dynamics of organization are not homogenous. Role models (and, for that matter, anti-​role models) come from the realms of either concrete and intuitive experience, exercising either pure and experiential power. This, in turn, reminds us that the power relations of leadership say as much about us (members of society and institution, and both real and potential followers/​stakeholders) as they do about those individuals in overtly leaderly roles. As the discrepancy between the being and the ought of organizational authority grows, we become more affected by the projections of leadership. Scheler is thereby in dialogue not just with other phenomenologists, but also with a rich seam of literature on the projections of leadership from a broadly psychoanalytic perspective (for notable examples, see Gabriel, 1997; Hoggett, 2006).

14.4  Relations between Self and Other People The final theme of this chapter is Scheler’s take on sociality and intersubjectivity. This connects back to the previous sections via a central concern for the phenomenon of social comparison. As Frings (1997: 75−6) explains, ‘the act of spontaneous interpersonal comparing is one of the central acts in Scheler’s phenomenology’. A negative manifestation of such a comparison is the ‘creative deed’ of ressentiment; and a potentially more positive manifestation is exemplarity.

Phenomenology of Personalism and Paradox    305 Sociality is given many different hues in Scheler, including different aspects of the emotions we might cluster together under the heading of ‘empathy’ (Zahavi, 2010, 2013). For Scheler, sociality is an essential feature of our emotional life and hence fundamental to human ethics. In relation to the phenomenological question of where and how to begin (Glendinning, 2007), one aspect of Scheler’s answer to this question relates to the givenness of others. As we shall see, however, such Otherness can take many forms, each with their own implications for ethics, feelings, and what Scheler calls (in a very Heideggerian-​style framing) ‘the person of persons’ (Scheler, 1973: 534). Scheler (1973) traces four main forms of human togetherness—​the mass; the life community; society; and, finally, Gesamtperson (usually translated as ‘collective person’ or ‘encompassing person’). These four forms have different implications for the relationship between self and others, and for the ethical and emotional quality and potential of these relations. Thus, in the mass, the feeling state is often one of emotional contagion. The individuality of the person (whether self or other) becomes negligible, and there is neither self-​responsibility nor co-​responsibility. In the life community, all persons are fellow members of the collective. There is a moral co-​responsibility with others, but only limited self-​responsibility. In the society, the relationship between self and others becomes contractual; the other person is recognized as different from self, but also controllable. Here there is self-​responsibility but little co-​responsibility. In relation to the ranking of values, society is where the lower values of utility and sensibility tend to reign. Finally, the Gesamtperson is the highest form of human togetherness, which involves an instinct towards unification of the other three. As Frings (1997) highlights, Scheler’s Gesamtperson is nigh on impossible to translate; and this is by no means accidental, for he is reaching towards something that we can probably only glimpse rather than fully grasp. Whilst the conventional translations are ‘collective person’ or ‘encompassing person’, I suggest that Gesamtperson also has undertones of ‘whole person’.5 Such wholeness refers to a unity and intensity of experience in both person and relationship. Whilst the person in the life community has co-​responsibility but little self-​responsibility, and the person of society has self-​responsibility but little co-​ responsibility, the Gesamtperson instates and embodies both self-​and co-​responsibility. Connecting with the motif of paradox, therefore, Gesamtperson is Scheler’s attempt to explore personalism as either independent and dependent, orientated towards either the self and the collective. In short, self and other are either different and same.6 Zahavi sees Scheler as having made a significant contribution to the phenomenological debate about the relationship between self and others via the experiences of fellow-​feeling, and in particular, the question of whether one can have a direct experience of another person’s state of mind. Reflecting on the similarities and differences between Scheler, Husserl, and Stein, Zahavi (2010: 295) suggests that all three reflect the


Moran & Mooney (2002) also point in this direction. the purposes of this discussion, I am not focusing on Scheler’s institutionalized forms of Gesamtperson, namely church, culture, and nation. See Frings (1997: esp. pp. 114−19) on this aspect. 6 For

306   Leah Tomkins possibility of an intersubjectivity which recognizes and requires both similarity and difference, for: The fact that my experiential access to the minds of others differs from my experiential access to my own mind is not an imperfection or shortcoming. On the contrary, it is a difference that is constitutional. It is precisely because of this difference, precisely because of this asymmetry, that we can claim that the minds we experience are other minds. (Zahavi, 2010: 295)

Zahavi’s choice of the word asymmetry is highly pertinent to the possibilities of a Schelerian contribution to organization studies. Often, the notion of asymmetry is used to flag an inequitable relationship between leaders and followers—​one which privileges leaders and disadvantages followers (Collinson, 2005; Tomkins et al., 2020). Scheler’s elaborations of intersubjectivity point to a more nuanced and more constitutive understanding of asymmetry in organizational life. They signal the possibility of an asymmetry qua difference as the very basis of ethical understanding and as a commitment to collective enterprise amongst persons. A Schelerian paradox of intersubjectivity requires an engagement with others who are either the same and different to me. Despite these possibilities, Scheler’s work on sociality appears to have had little impact on organization studies. This is a shame, since his explorations of the different modes of togetherness, and his attempts to integrate a non-​individualist self into these, might provide an interesting framing for the various strands of what Denis et al. (2012: 211) call ‘leadership in the plural’. A range of models have been proposed for a leadership which does not rely on an individual person, but distributes the processes of leading more broadly amongst organizational members. Well-​ known approaches include ‘distributed’ (Gronn, 2002) and ‘relational’ (Uhl-​Bien, 2006) leadership, and a move towards organizations which are ‘leaderful’ (Raelin, 2014). In their various ways, these approaches argue that leadership involves something other than what an individual leader does (or is), directing our attention towards ‘leadership, not leaders’ (Crevani et al., 2010: 77). Across this family of collective leadership approaches, there is a tendency to downplay or even deny the person of the leader. As Grint (2010: 89) suggests, ‘in attempting to escape from the clutches of heroic leadership we now seem enthralled by its apparent opposite—​distributed leadership: in this post-​heroic era we will all be leaders so that none are’. Elsewhere, I have argued that theorizations of leadership that seem to do away with leaders in favour of some sort of undifferentiated collective are problematic, for ‘abandoning leaders because we do not want to understand them as bundles of traits, or as heroic figures in sole control of events, is akin to throwing the baby of both responsibility and experience out with the bath-​water of individualism and essentialism’ (Tomkins, 2019: 69). Whilst not offering easy solutions for retaining the personalism of ‘the baby’ without lapsing into individualism, Scheler’s intersubjectivity offers a potential way to at least frame the problem.

Phenomenology of Personalism and Paradox    307 Furthermore, the issues thrown up by Scheler’s Gesamtperson foreshadow one of the most interesting developments in recent leadership theorizing, namely the construct of ‘the connecting leader’ (Jaser, 2020). This revisits the assumption that leaders and followers are different people, and instead explores the ways in which leadership and followership (and, for that matter, many other ‘-​ships’) combine to make up the ‘whole person’ of organizational experience. This person is defined as one who ‘co-​enacts both roles, behaviors, identities of a leader and a follower, as he/​she is embedded in a multitude of leadership relationships across the organization’ (Jaser, 2020: 21). Like the Gesamtperson, the ‘connecting leader’ carries connotations of being both whole and encompassing—​both integrated and integrative. The ‘connecting leader’ thus has quite a Schelerian feel, for it engages seriously and holistically with issues of personhood, not in order to reinforce romantic and/​or heroic notions of the self, but rather, to explore the significance of the various, and often conflicting, dynamics of togetherness. Interestingly, the concept of the ‘connecting leader’ has recently been explored within the explicit context of paradox theory, with Pradies et al. (2020) highlighting the paradox of either leadership and followership as a potentially generative and empowering space for organizational ethics. In short, Scheler’s explorations of togetherness offer considerable potential for leadership studies. They highlight that the sociality which discourses of ‘leadership, not leaders’ attempt to articulate is not a homogenous phenomenon, but rather, a range of different modes of interrelating, each with different implications for self, relationship, ethics, and feelings. They add nuance to discussions of the asymmetry of organizational relations for, if leaders are either the same (i.e. fellow followers) and different (i.e. leaders, not followers) from those they lead, then notions of an asymmetry that necessarily privileges leaders and disadvantages followers no longer form a constructive basis for understanding organizational power (Tomkins et al., 2020). The dynamics of organizational power and authority thereby revolve around a recognition of either self-​ responsibility and co-​responsibility—​either self-​identity and collective identity—​either difference and sameness—​without subordinating one to the other. Scheler’s (1973: 534) ‘person of persons’ thereby offers a constructive starting point for the inquiry into the ethics of togetherness.

14.5  Final Reflections In this chapter, I have introduced some of the key themes of Max Scheler’s work, and intimated his untapped potential for the phenomenology of organization. I have proposed that his focus on social comparison, grounded in experiences of discrepancy, paints organizational experience as deeply paradoxical, with either/​and qualities. In particular, I have proposed that his ressentiment can reflect and create impotence in either leaders and followers, and involve feelings of either empowerment and incarceration. I have explored exemplarity as a paradox of either ‘is’ and ‘ought’, in which leaders and

308   Leah Tomkins exemplars are either separate and interrelated. I have also introduced Scheler’s highest form of togetherness, the Gesamtperson, to frame the dynamics of power where leaders are either the same and different to those whom they lead, based on an ethics which is either deeply personal and deeply together. This gives the concept of asymmetry an affective hue which is missing in much of the organizational and leadership literature on this topic. Within the history of phenomenology, it is tempting to consolidate philosophical brilliance and originality in the few ‘great men’, namely Husserl, Heidegger, and more cautiously, Merleau-​Ponty and Sartre. This diminishes phenomenology as a movement, fuelled by influences and counterinfluences, clashes and convergences, endorsements and disappointments. It inadvertently nurtures a ‘great man’ fantasy, in which we overattribute agency and exceptionalism to individuals whom we can hero-​worship or decry in a primal black-​vs.-​white simplification of the world (Gabriel, 1997). As we wrestle with the complexities of life both in and beyond organization, Scheler offers us a phenomenological framing for some of the key issues which continue to exercise and befuddle both scholarship and practice, namely ethics, emotions, and the status and potential of the person-​in-​relationship.

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Chapter 15

At the Cros sroa d of Phenomenol o g y a nd F em inist New Mat e ria l i sm A Diffractive Reading of Embodiment Silvia Gherardi

It matters what matters we use to think other matters with; it matters what stories we tell to tell other stories with; it matters what knots knot knots, what thoughts think thoughts, what ties tie ties. It matters what stories make worlds, what worlds make stories. (Donna Haraway, 2011: 4)   

15.1  Introduction Phenomenology has been one of the main streams of philosophy of the 20th century and, together with pragmatism, it has paved the way for theorizing the non-​ distinction between subject and object which in posthumanisms (Braidotti, 2013) and feminist new materialisms (Barad, 2007; Cole & Frost, 2010; Dolphijn & van der Tuin, 2012) becomes an essential predicament for the decentring of ‘Man’ as the subject of reason. Thus, a post-​anthropocentric subjectivity, a relational onto-​epistemology, and a post-​qualitative inquiry is grounded. The already wide movement that, is recognized under the so-​called post-​qualitative inquiry (Lather & St Pierre, 2013; St Pierre, 2011), questions what qualitative inquiry would be possible if we cease to privilege knowing over being and refuse positivist and phenomenological assumptions about the nature of lived experience and the

Phenomenology and Feminist New Materialism    311 world. This strand of research opens a debate on what can be done once the ‘post’ ontologies are put to work, recognizing the limits of Enlightened humanism and phenomenology. In this debate several authors are influenced by Deleuze ([1970] 1988; Deleuze & Guattari, [1980] 1987), and by feminist new materialisms (Lenz Taguchi, 2012; MacLure, 2013; Mazzei, 2016). The ‘post’ critique of epistemology and phenomenology are targeted towards the representational logic that pervades humanist, modernist, ontological thought. Foucault’s ([1966] 1970) and Derrida’s ([1972] 1981) critical thoughts on phenomenology are assumed, both authors being suspicious of its ontology and of any such givenness, essence, and phenomenology’s lived experience expressed in presence. What they critique is the idea that there is a brute reality out there, with an essence that can be immediately perceived, disclosed, and expressed in language. Post-​qualitative inquiry is fascinated by Deleuze’s nomadic empiricism—​his way out of phenomenology. Deleuzian concepts like assemblage and rhizome enable thinking in terms of connections rather than oppositions, movement rather than categorization, and becoming rather than being. This chapter follows those principles and in particular the idea of downplaying critique and oppositional thought and looks for a diffractive reading of texts and authors that will enhance multiplicity. The Deleuzian lesson implies that a binary logic is rejected in favour of a logic of connection, of becoming, a logic of the and: this and this and this and . . . I shall follow Latour’s (2004: 246) remark that critique has run out of steam and that ‘the critic is not the one who lifts the rugs from under the feet of naïve believers, but the one who offers the participants arenas in which to gather’. His invitation to move ‘from matter of fact’ to ‘matter of concern’ and Puig de la Bellacasa’s (2011) invitation to move further towards ‘matter of care’ declares the end of critique as ethos and practice. As others have stressed (Cutcher et al., 2020), in organization studies there is an urgent need for new forms of knowledge where respect and generosity are evident. A diffractive approach, which I will introduce later in more details, ‘opens an onto-​ epistemological space of encounter where a researcher’s task is not to tell of something that exists independently of the encounter (producing the appearance of truth), but to open up an immanent subjective truth—​that which becomes true, ontologically and epistemologically, in the moment of the encounter’ (Davies, 2014: 734). My intention is to open—​through my writing—​an experimental encounter at the crossroad of phenomenology and feminist new materialism in which neither the reader nor the author knows in advance what onto-​epistemological knowledge will emerge from the mix of concepts, bodies, images, and affects, thus following a line that belongs neither to the initiator nor to the reader but happens ‘between them’. The chapter proposes to readers to immerse themselves in several short stories, coming from different sources, and to consider them as resources to think with. The readers are asked to follow the narratives along the logic of the and and and, suspending analytical thought, until they reach the subsequent section in which the process of diffractive reading is illustrated. Only in the subsequent section will the chapter present the interferences generated by the

312   Silvia Gherardi diffractive reading of previous narratives, illustrated through concepts from feminist new materialism. To give a first image of diffraction as a physical phenomenon (Barad, 2007), we can think of the the rolling, pushing, and transformation of waves in the sea, and this image of the interference of waves is that of their combining and amplifying effect when they overlap. The diffraction of narratives, like the movement of the waves, produces six interferences in between the concept of embodiment with ordinary affect, corpomateriality, transcorporeality, virtual embodiment, becoming-​animal, and affective pedagogy. The chapter ends with a discussion of the methodology of reading diffractively one text through another, leaving to the readers a judgement of the richness of positioning embodiment at the crossroad of two philosophical bodies of thought.

15.2  Narratives Without an Evident Order In this section, I offer the reader a selection of short stories that I chose because they hold some kind of affective force that may resonate in between ‘us’: a writer and a reader. The reason is that everyday, practical examples are what animate, resonate, and make possible a theoretical discussion grounded on shared or imagined similar experiences. Narratives, in fact, have a special agentic force to reach out and connect with the reader, for opening up questions and wonderings, thus communicating more than what can be said in so many words. My anecdotical narratives come from disparate sources: retold stories, personal experience, somebody else’s research ‘data’, quotes from well-​known authors. They do not follow any particular logical order, rather they are texts prepared to be later read diffractively with other texts. My rhetorical style has well-​known antecedents in Science and Technology Studies’s use of case studies (Law, 2017); in Stewart’s (2007, 2011) description of fleeting ordinary affects and also in my own writing about affect (Gherardi, 2017); and not-​yet data (Benozzo & Gherardi, 2020; Gherardi & Benozzo, 2021).

15.2.1 Au Café Bec de Gaz We are in 1933, in Paris, rue Montparnasse, on the terrace of the café Bec de Gaz.1 Around the table are Jean-​Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Raymond Aron. The latter is returning from a long stay in Berlin where, as Nazism prepares to seize political

1 I translate here the anecdote that Philippe Cabestan uses in presenting Qu’est-​ ce que la phénoménologie?, a basic text of Ecole Française de Daseinanalyse, attached to archives Husserl in Paris. It is online here: (accessed 25 October 2020).

Phenomenology and Feminist New Materialism    313 power, he discovered a new philosophy which still remains in France very little known. He tries to explain to Sartre what it is and says to him: ‘You see, my little comrade, if you are a phenomenologist, you can talk about this cocktail, and it is philosophy’. Whether the cocktail was an apricot cocktail or a simple beer mug remains unknown. According to Simone de Beauvoir, who tells us about the scene in La force de l’âge (De Beauvoir, 1960: 156−7), Sartre turned pale with emotion, or almost. He discovered, suddenly, what he himself had been looking for years and which would prove to be decisive in his own course: phenomenology. Philippe Cabestan, who retells this anecdote, writes that it was rather naïve, since it recalled those fables from the history of science in which Archimedes found his theorem by taking a bath and Newton formulated the universal law of gravity by seeing an apple falling. It is no less convenient insofar as it enables Cabestan to propose a first definition of phenomenology which overlaps with its etymology: from the Greek phainomenon, what appears, and logos, discourse, science, phenomenology is the science of phenomena. My retelling the same anecdote, as a refrain, allows me to state that we, as researchers, we are all phenomenologists! But then we are in trouble: where/​ what is a phenomenon?

15.2.2 The Mielleux: Where Is the Phenomenon? Jean-​Paul Sartre is acknowledged by Maurice Merleau-​Ponty (2004: 47