PHIL 115 Lecture Notes - Gabriel Marcel, Existentialism

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Published on 17 Apr 2013
School
Queen's University
Department
Philosophy
Course
PHIL 115
Professor
Philosophy 115 Week Eleven
Existentialism and Phenomenology:
- Marcel explores a branch of philosophy called existentialism, essentially the study
of the human condition and our purpose/existence.
- Phenomenology is the method of describing what one sees in the most painstaking
and detailed manner while “bracketing” as many of your beliefs and cultural ideas
as possible.
- Phenomenology is the philosophical study of the structures of subjective
experience and consciousness.
- Phenomenologists are supposed to focus solely on clear and distinct ideas and are
not to allow personal bias to cloud their judgment this is not possible.
- The object of awareness anything a person is conscious of is a phenomenon.
Gabriel Marcel (1889-1973):
- Abstraction which is always abstraction from an embodied, concrete existence
can overcome our concrete existence.
- We may come to view abstracted elements of existence as if they were
independent.
- Gabriel Marcel’s “Spirit of Abstraction” refers to his conception that the mind,
yielding to a sort of fascination, ceases to be aware of these prior conditions that
justify abstraction.
- The mind deceives itself about the nature of what is, in itself, nothing more than a
method.
- Marcel argues that the spirit of abstraction is inherently disingenuous and violent,
and a significant factor in the making of war.
- The soldier views the opponent as the enemy this is an abstraction.
- There is a sense in which his whole philosophical project is an obstinate and
untiring battle against the spirit of abstraction.
- Marcel makes the distinction between a mystery and a problem problems can be
solved, mysteries cannot.
- Mortality is a mystery.
- A problem is something external to a person, some kind of obstacle; the only way
to remove a problem is to solve it.
- Then there are things that demand to be thought on such as death, love and
friendship.
- These are mysteries; they are a part of an individual. They are to be
thought on, but cannot be solved.
- One can try to come to terms with a mystery, but it remains impossible to
eradicate.
- Marcel uses the term mystery to refer not only to what is unknowable, but also to
what is unsolvable.
-
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Document Summary

Marcel explores a branch of philosophy called existentialism, essentially the study of the human condition and our purpose/existence. Phenomenology is the method of describing what one sees in the most painstaking and detailed manner while bracketing as many of your beliefs and cultural ideas as possible. Phenomenology is the philosophical study of the structures of subjective experience and consciousness. Phenomenologists are supposed to focus solely on clear and distinct ideas and are not to allow personal bias to cloud their judgment this is not possible. The object of awareness anything a person is conscious of is a phenomenon. Abstraction which is always abstraction from an embodied, concrete existence can overcome our concrete existence. We may come to view abstracted elements of existence as if they were independent. Gabriel marcel"s spirit of abstraction refers to his conception that the mind, yielding to a sort of fascination, ceases to be aware of these prior conditions that justify abstraction.

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