Phenomenology, understood as a philosophical tradition, begins as an analysis of consciousness and what one is conscious of. This approach undoubtedly derives from the Brentanian distinction between psychic and physical phenomena. Psychic phenomena are characterized by an immanent “referring to something else.” The modalities of referring to something else and the ontological and epistemological problems associated with this have been the subject of study and debate since the time of Brentano’s earliest students and have, for the most part, occupied both philosophers who are recognized as belonging to the phenomenological tradition and analytic philosophers.
For Husserl, phenomenological research is not, however, to be conceived of as a research within the world of the psychic. Rather, he can be said to have, at least initially, sought to probe the “fruitful shallows of experience” that the Kantian and post-Kantian tradition had, in his view, unhappily abandoned in order to speculatively address questions beyond experience.
Within this framework, phenomenological research is “limited” to what one is aware of and the ways in which one can be aware of it. One problem that Husserl himself, and increasingly the phenomenologists who, albeit distancing themselves from him, have taken up with his research program, are objects that do not seem to be able to properly be considered directly experienceable and layers of experience that seem to lie at or below the margins of consciousness.
The questions that most obviously appear to evade phenomenological analysis would be those of the unconscious, on the one hand, and of animality and “superhuman” realities, such as that of God, on the other. Note that the question of God, in this view, should not be understood as a theological problem or from the standpoint of religious experience, but as an epistemological problem relating to the possibility of constituting the divine object. Other issues that concern terrains that lie at the margins of consciousness are those of sleep and dreams, the experience of amnesia, drives and instincts, death, etc.
With the publication of the most recent volumes of the Husserliana, materials have been offered on the basis of which the urgency, even from the Husserlian perspective, to confront and analyse phenomena that apparently lie beyond the limits of phenomenological research becomes evident. As it is easy to understand, these are matters that do not simply constitute a puzzle for phenomenological methodology as such, but rather have relevant implications for ethical, legal, and existential perspectives as well. Just think of the question of animal rights, the legal and moral status of the comatose or amnesiac, etc.
This issue of Discipline Filosofiche is devoted to exploring such issues. Submissions are welcome that deal either with the possibility in general of a phenomenology of such “phenomena,” or offer analyses of any of these phenomena from a systematic or historical-theoretical perspective.
Submission of papers dealing with the following topics is invited:
1) the possibility to phenomenologically investigate sleep and dreams;
2) the animal subject and its rights;
3) the understanding of the unconscious and its effects on consciousness;
4) the phenomenological accessibility of instincts and drives;
5) death and birth as phenomena that cannot be represented in the first person;
6) the legitimacy and, possibly, the modalities of a consideration of God on the basis of and within the limits of the phenomenological method;
7) the experience of amnesia and its implications with respect to the conception of personal and legal identity.
Guidelines for the authors: Submissions should not exceed 9,000 words including abstract, refer-ences and footnotes. Manuscripts may be submitted in Italian, English, French, German, or Spanish. They must be sent as an email attachment in .doc or .docx format, along with a .pdf version, to Andrea Altobrando (firstname.lastname@example.org) and/or Alice Pugliese (email@example.com). Submitted manuscripts will be sent to two independent reviewers, following a double-blind peer review process. The reviewers may ask authors to make changes or improvements to their contributions in view of publication. Authors are kindly requested to attach both an anonymous version of their contribution entitled “Manuscript” and a separate “Cover Page” stating their name, academic affiliation and contact details. Manuscripts must include an English abstract of less than 150 words and 5 keywords. Any property of the file that might identify the author must be removed to ensure anonymity during the review process. A notification of receipt will be issued for each submission. In drafting their text, authors can adopt any clear and coherent style, but should the text be accepted for publication, they will be required to send a final version in keeping with the style guidelines of the journal (please refer to the style guidelines at https://www.disciplinefilosofiche.it/en/norme-redazionali/). Submission of a manuscript is understood to imply that the paper has not been published before and that it is not being considered for publication by any other journal. Should the manuscript be accepted for publication, the author will be required to transfer copyrights to the University of Bologna. Requests to republish the article may be made to the Editorial Board of the Journal.
Deadline for the submission of manuscripts: June 15, 2023
Notification of acceptance, conditional acceptance, or rejection: August 31, 2023
Deadline for the submission of the final draft: October 15, 2023