Kick Around Phenomenology of Narrative with Me?

This is my first post here. I have been looking for a forum to kick around some things I am working on and it seems there is a positive vibe here with people interested in pushing each other appropriately. I am a grad student at an undisclosed American University which focuses in Continental thought.

I want to get some talk around an issue of developing a Phenomenology of Narrative (PN). There is a bit out there regarding the PN in regards to fictional works, but I have found little connected to the PN in terms of the narrative of the self (a la Ricoeur). For a little project I am trying it out here. I am convinced just writing it out for a community will help me to conceive a bit better about this. Help me think more clearly about this…

For the sake of the work I am following Ed Casey’s method in Remembering and Imagination. He draws on Brentano: “Every mental phenomenon is characterized by what the scholastics of the MA called the intentional (or mental) inexistence of an object, and what we might call, though not wholly unambiguously, reference to a content, direction toward an object…or immanent objectivity. Every mental phenomenon includes something as object which itself, although this does not always occur in the same way.”

Or if you prefer Husserl’s terms of noesis and noema.

Or, simply: the act phase (how) and object phase (what) of consciousness

Granted a major portion of the reflection on narrative (or narrativizing the past) is that it is quite similar to a phenom of memory (see Casey) with extra moves. I will start (for now) with a brief outline. Here goes:

(I will walk through the Act Phase first and then the Object Phase. These, of course, are not successive, rather they develop simultaneously.)

Act Phase:
First, there is the retrieval in consciousness a past event. The event is not a narrative, but an aspect appearing as discrete from other events occurring.
Second, there is a pushing (temporally) back and ahead from the retrieved event to extend the aura (see object phase) toward and into other events surrounding. This can also require the consciousness “filling in” around the conscious experience of event remembered.
Third, there is a connecting and configuring of the seemingly discrete events (as Ricoeur would call into concordant discordance).
Fourth, configuration made whole in retelling/recounting
Fifth, narrative granted meaning and interpreted.

Object Phase:
First, event Remembered (in this there are varying degrees of clarity, density, etc. according to the Mode of Givenness)
Second, included is the Content Frame of the Event (place, time, mood, etc.)
Third, there is an aura to the event (a blurry fringe to the retrieved memory)
Fourth, connected string of events
Fifth, events connected into a larger narrative
Sixth, narrative with meaning

Looking forward to remarks.

I doubt you’ll find very many grad students of philosophy here. Most of us are amateurs.

I think I speak for many of us here when I say we’ve never heard of a “philosophy of narrative”, or understand in any depth Ricoeur, Casey, or Brentano. Husserl I’m a bit more familiar with, but still not in any depth.

You might want to start with some basics, and talk to us like we’re kindergardeners.

hmmm, forgive me.

You’re more than welcome to explain your post in more detail. I’d love to understand it better.

First of all, is every event an individual and independent event? If not, what is it that gives the notion of cause to an event? Where is the place that an effect is given a sense of identity? Actually the answer to the last two questions is thought. Without thought being there, in that moment, there is no content surrounding events, there is no linking up of events.

We link up certain events to make a philosophical issue out of them, or do so to make up a story of our lives. If we accept the fact that every event is an independent event in our lives, it creates a tremendous problem of maintaining what we call identity. And identity is the most important factor in our lives. We are able to maintain this identity through the constant use of memory, which is also thought. That’s what’s going on in you, the ‘self.’ There is nothing there inside you other than that.

Hi there,

Please forgive me for being unfamiliar with Husserl and subsequent phenomenology - but isn’t this speculation about empirical facts (how the memory and narrative-building explanation works)? Is it offered as a hypothesis, or as a suggestion that may be considered useful, or as a consequence of other phenomenological facts/conclusions that aren’t presented?

Perhaps you should read Paul deManns Epistemology of Metaphor. For it looks as though you and these authors are constructing a meta-narrative on the immediacy of experience and reporting of experience (narrative). The problem with that idea, as deMann points out in his analysis of explanation as mere iteration of metaphor, and as Wittgenstein and Kant would note, is that taklng a meta-position of a whole or narrative, isn’t possible or coherent.