IEP 405: Phenomenology and Environment

AWAYMAVE - The Distance Mode of MA in Values and the Environment at Lancaster University

Aims and Objectives

Aims of the Module

Phenomenology aims, by its own distinctive method, to examine the relationship between humans and the world, making explicit those features of the relation which, it claims, are not adequately represented by positivist science or by philosophy, at least since Descartes. One central aspect of the relation is that we are 'situated' in the world, dependent upon it, not just contingently for sustenance, but 'essentially': we are what we are because of where we are. A second aspect is that we are in a world which is 'meaningful', 'significant', features which phenomenology seeks to articulate. It should already be clear how phenomenology seems relevant to environmental issues: it invites us to re-think the basic philosophical questions of how we do and how we ought to relate to the natural world - an invitation which the current environmental 'crisis' might be thought to make somewhat pressing. We shall study the work of three phenomenologists: Husserl, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty, who offer rather different methods and different conceptions of the human subject and the natural world. We shall also examine the idea of phenomenology as a method that can be applied and through practical experiments arrive at a considered conclusion of whether phenomenology is a) possible and b) useful.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module students should be able to:

  • expound the work of one or more of the authors studied
  • write a structured phenomenological description
  • explain the phenomenological challenge to orthodox distinctions between subjects and objects - self and world
  • show how key phenomenological concepts relate to each other
  • apply phenomenological methods and concepts to an environmental issue
| AWAYMAVE Home | 405 Home | Aims and Outcomes | Module Description |
| Tutor Details | Biblio | Assessment | Resources | discussion |