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Erwin Straus

suggestion and hypnosis

Stephen Rojcewicz, James Beshai

pp. 197-213

Despite his major contributions to phenomenology, the writings on suggestion and hypnosis by Erwin Straus (1891–1975) have been underappreciated. In his German language publications of 1925 and 1927, Straus argues that we cannot elucidate the phenomenon of suggestion solely or even primarily through experimental design, a narrow natural scientific viewpoint, or an emphasis on abnormal or special states of dissociation. In contrast, a phenomenological study that begins with everyday experience demonstrates that suggestion is part of normal experience, and its understanding must include the possibility both of acceptance and of rejection. Straus’s arguments in these essays are enhanced by his later books and articles developing the I-Allon relationship, the process of we-formation, and the distinction of pathic and gnostic moments of sensation and perception. By fully situating the phenomenon within the Lebenswelt, Straus’s analysis of suggestion is a major contribution to phenomenology.

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