To aid student’s working through Val Dusek’s chapter on “Phenomenology, Hermeneutics, and Technology,” p. 71-72, I have copied a key paragraph in the chapter and added hyperlinks to all the technical terms used in it. Think of this as a model for how to read a difficult philosophy text by looking up the concepts, terms or thinkers that you do not know. While working through Dusek, it might be helpful to use these wonderful online resources here, here, and here. A helpful summary site of phenomenology in particular can be found here. If you are away from your computer or smart phone while reading, circle the key concepts you don’t know and look them up later.
“In the 1960’s American followers of the French philosophers influenced by Heidegger’s phenomenology (Jean-Paul Sartre and Maurice Merleau-Ponty in their writing in the period of the 1940’s and 1950’s) dubbed the new movement “existential phenomenology.” Although this label misses some of subtleties and complexities of Heidegger’s thought, it does give a characterization of the dominant new approach to phenomenology. Existentialism, to use Sartre’s slogan, takes existence as prior to essence. It emphasizes the concrete, unique individual rather than general forms of natures. In this it resembles nominalism and empiricism despite the great differences in styles and topics. Existentialism focuses on personal life, while empiricism mainly focused on empirical science. But all these trends reject’s Plato’s forms and extreme rationalism. Existential phenomenology is more concrete than the original form of Husserl’s phenomenology. Heidegger’s own work is more properly called hermeneutical phenomenology,” because it incorporates insights from the theory of interpretation of texts and culture (see more on hermeneutics below.)”