Congress Report

2nd Research Summer School in Genetic Phenomenology

Martina Properzi

22nd October 2019

Martina Properzi

The second edition of the Research Summer School in Genetic Phenomenology has been successfully concluded. As in the first edition (2018), the Research Summer School took place in the suggestive location of Warsaw during the month of September, being hosted by the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology/Graduate School of Social Research of the Polish Academy of Science (IFiS GSSR PAN). The organisation of the event was in partnership with other academic and non-academic institutions (Husserl-Archive of Cologne, University of Cologne, Charles-University of Prague, International Network-Genetic Phenomenology and the Human Sciences, Fundacia Filozofia na Rzecz Dialogu, and EuroPhilosophie). This year too, the scientific direction was assigned to J. Brudzińska (IFiS GSSR PAN, Husserl-Archive of Cologne) in cooperation with K. Novotny (Charles University, Prague) and A. Pugliese (University of Palermo).

The structure of the previous edition has been re-proposed, with morning lectures held by renowned experts and afternoons text-laboratories, research classes, and poster sessions where the effective participation of international scholars and advanced PhD students was amplified. Both the activities were aimed at analysing and discussing Husserl’s texts with the comparison of different sensibilities on associated research topics. The program included also a panel on psychoanalysis and phenomenology headed by H. Weiß – this marks a slight difference from the first edition where a master class on the book Force-pulsion-désir: une autre philosophie de la psychanalyse (Engl. transl.: Force, Drive, Desire. A Philosophy of Psychoanalysis (Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy), Northwestern University Press, Evanston (IL) 2019) was held by the author, R. Bernet. Beyond scientific activities, two enjoyable events were organised both located in the centre of the city, namely a Chopin concert at Nowy Świat Muzyki-Chopin Salon and a social dinner at the Legendarna Restaurancja Kameralna.

The limit problems of phenomenology were the focus of the second edition of the Research Summer School that was concentrated on Husserl’s pioneering genetic exploration of unconscious, instincts, and (un)traditional speculative and ethical topics as limit-phenomena. Phenomenologically speaking, liminality is a meta-experience where the boundaries of the (inter)subjective living experience and hence of descriptive analyses/constitutions are disclosed. In so doing, it provides the phenomenologist with the opportunity to address the systematic nexuses between different phenomenological dimensions (e.g. static and genetic phenomenology) and research areas (e.g. phenomenology and psychoanalysis) as methodological issues (e.g. can descriptively/constitutionally and/or empirically sub-liminal phenomena be accessible through a motivational analysis?). The distinction and mutual relation of the material, systematic, and methodological aspects within Husserl’s perspective on liminal can be seen as the key idea running through the activities performed during the second edition of the Research Summer School.

In particular, liminal materiality was at the core of the afternoons text-laboratories led by K. Novotny and A. Pugliese, which were focused on selected passages of Husserliana XLII (Grenzprobleme der Phänomenologie. Analysen des Unbewusstseins und der Instinkte. Metaphysik. Späte Ethik (Texte aus dem Nachlass 1908 – 1937), R. Sowa, T. Vongehr (Eds.), Springer, New York (NY) 2014) dedicated to the phenomenology of unconscious and instincts in addition to monadology and ethics. The associated research topics were discussed in eight research classes (metaphysics; medical humanities and psychopathology; existential Husserl; ethics; phenomenology and psychoanalysis; constitution, teleology, intersubjectivity; the unconscious; psychoanalysis and French phenomenology) and two poster sessions. The systematic and methodological aspects were mainly treated in the morning lectures starting from in-depth reconstructions of both Husserl’s analysis of the limit-phenomena of self-preservation (R. Walton), birth, death, and sleep (J. Mensch), self and unconscious experience (Brudzińska) and his discovery of the boundaries of affectivity (L. Rodemeyer) and presentification (S. Micali) together with the existential facet of the sense-bestowal (G. Heffernan).

The selected subject matter in combination with the established networked organisation and open structure represent the strongest points of the second edition of the Research Summer School. Its role in advancing the interpretation of Husserl’s contribution to genetic phenomenology and the dissemination thereof towards a wide-ranging academic audience has been consolidated to the extent that the upcoming 2020 event will be accordingly very well received.