In Véronique M. Fóti & Pavlos Kontos (eds.), Phenomenology and the Primacy of the Political: Essays in Honor of Jacques Taminiaux. Springer (2017)

Janet Donohoe
University of West Georgia
I would like to investigate in this chapter what at first might seem a difficult position: a phenomenology of nature in an Arendtian vein. It might seem that such a position would be fundamentally anthropocentric given the tendencies of phenomenology to begin from the subject position and, in particular, given Arendt’s focus on how the human being differs from “nature.” What I would like to tease out, however, are the ways in which phenomenology and Arendt can help us to understand nature not as something over against which we formulate ourselves, nor as some thing that is in itself, but as that with which we are intimately intertwined and without which we are not. I will begin by describing generally how we can conceive of a phenomenology of nature through Husserl’s notion of lifeworld. Then, I will examine how Arendt’s notion of the vita activa supports a phenomenology of nature that is neither anthropocentric nor objectifying of nature, but is an interweaving of human and world. Finally, I will show how this phenomenological understanding offers us a richer way to conceive of ourselves in relation to other beings and to the world.
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DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-56160-8_10
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