Rejecting Dreyfus’ introspective ‘phenomenology’. The case for phenomenological analysis

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Abstract
I argue that Hubert Dreyfus’ work on embodied coping, the intentional arc, solicitations and the background as well as his anti-representationalism rest on introspection. I denote with ‘introspection’ the methodological malpractice of formulating ontological statements about the conditions of possibility of phenomena merely based on descriptions. In order to illustrate the insufficiencies of Dreyfus’ methodological strategy in particular and introspection in general, I show that Heidegger, to whom Dreyfus constantly refers as the foundation of his own work, derives ontological statements about the conditions of possibility of phenomena not merely from descriptions, but also from analyses. I further show that deriving ontological statements directly from descriptions entails implausible results. I do so by discussing representative cases. Based on these general methodological considerations, I show that Dreyfus’ work on action, skill and understanding is introspective. First, I demonstrate that Dreyfus’ influential claim that rules and representations do not govern skillful actions is the result of introspection, because it is merely founded on the absence of rules and representations in representative descriptions of skillful actions. Second, I show that Dreyfus’ work on embodied coping, the intentional arc, solicitations and the background is also based on introspection. These ontological structures are merely reifications of descriptions and are not further substantiated by analyses.
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Archival date: 2020-07-29
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2020-07-11

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