Human Experience: Philosophy, Neurosis, and the Elements of Everyday Life / Edition 1

Human Experience: Philosophy, Neurosis, and the Elements of Everyday Life / Edition 1

by John Russon
5.0 2
ISBN-10:
0791457540
ISBN-13:
9780791457542
Pub. Date:
08/28/2003
Publisher:
State University of New York Press
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Human Experience: Philosophy, Neurosis, and the Elements of Everyday Life 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book serves as an outstanding point of entry into the study of phenomenology, with nothing else out there quite like it. I highly recommend it for those looking for Continental texts that can be brought into the study of Philosophy of Mind. It is both an immediately engaging teaching text for students as well as a serious and comprehensive argument synthesizing the phenomenological approach with other aspects of Continental thought. As an introduction to phenomenology, it works particularly well precisely because of its novel approach: to show the relevance of phenomenology to an understanding of concrete, everyday human experience in a way that is directly meaningful especially to undergraduate students of philosophy. My students connected immediately with discussions of everyday thingly relations, of the power struggles characterizing family dynamics, and the interweaving of sexuality with personal identity. In this respect it goes farther than texts like Don Ihde's *Experimental Phenomenology* and Hubert Dreyfus' *Being-in-the-World*, with which it might be compared. I recommend it as an introduction to phenomenology that will awaken student interest and insight into the real heart of what phenomenology is and does, perhaps better than more standard introductory texts like Dermot Moran's *Introduction to Phenomenology*. The emphasis on the structure of personal identity from a phenomenological perspective functions as a powerful counterpoint to dualism, materialism and contemporary discussions of personal identity such as John Perry's. Beyond all this, it is most importantly a thoroughly compelling account of human experience as a whole, and I recommend it highly.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best introduction to the themes, results and approach of phenomenological philosophy available in the English language. Written so as to be accessible to students or readers with little or no background in philosophy, Russon¿s book is at once a lucid, compelling and comprehensive account of the problems of human life, and a novel, cogent synthesis of central concepts of contemporary European philosophy. Beginning with a superb discussion of interpretation, embodiment and memory as central to experience, the book then shows how our experience turns on our relations to others, in family and civil society; how such experience leads to dissociations that turn into neuroses; and how therapy, education and philosophy can help us learn to handle neuroses. It is a perfect book in its genre, and its genre is perfect for our time: a book for the general reader that shows how philosophy provides deep insights into human experience and everyday life.

Having taught the book as the first segment of a third year (24 week) course on phenomenology at Trent University (Peterborough, Ontario), I can say that it is superb as a way of introducing students to the phenomenological tradition. First, it gives students a clear sense of the ambitions and scope of phenomenology. Second, it gives students enough facility with the phenomenological attitude (as dispensing with everyday prejudices) to discuss and develop phenomenological themes on their own. It prepares students for noticing the important results being worked out in the core texts of the tradition, and inspires engagement with those texts. For example, Russon¿s concept of the self-transcending body gives a very compelling framework for making a transition to Husserl¿s study of intentionality and Husserl¿s attempt at retrieving the sense of a transcending world from within the phenomenological epoché.

Most of all, students liked reading this book. It takes up traditional phenomenological themes in contemporary language, with familiar examples, and at the same time points to a broader horizon of ideas. It is both accessible and provocative. And that makes for a good teaching and learning experience.

This book could also be used to great effect in a course on existentialism, a course on philosophical psychology or mind, or a first year course, esp., in the context of discussions of human nature or sociality, or as an introduction to existential or phenomenological philosophy.

Finally I would recommend Human Experience to anyone seeking philosophical or psychological insight into the human situation. It is the sort of book you can read on your own, and I think there is a great deal to be learned from it.