Invitation to submit a book chapter

Phenomenology’s relationship with the concept of transcendence – the wholly other – the numinous – is complex and problematic. Phenomenology is a philosophy of givenness, restricting itself to describing carefully and without prejudice whatever is given to experience in the manner in which it is given. But if phenomenology is restricted to givenness, then what do we make of that which does not presence itself in that givenness? If the epoché brackets the transcendent, how can phenomenology lead to change by imagining and committing to that very transcendent? We do see in Sartre a complex relationship between the self as ego and the pre-reflective self, with the possibility of transcending present ego formations. Yet, in our present world, which is strongly structuralized from the outside, there is a difficulty of reaching the transcendent in a way that facilitates change and transformation. Transcendence means to go beyond toward Otherness – – other than one’s self. Thus, phenomenology is a philosophy of otherness. More trenchantly, transcendence is a going beyond toward a deeper experience of the self, thus transcendence is discovered in immanence and never in transcendence as such. More simply, whatever our commitments that have been actualized, they cannot totalize our-selves as future possibility. Thus, the very self is a transcending and transcendent process, but not egoistic in its originary nature. However, this is not to say that the self is not subject to enclosure, oppressive structuralization, and de-presencing through social mechanisms and self-infliction. Instead, the self by its very nature is always a reaching toward the Other, ineluctably transcendent though not without peril or limit. Transcendence, therefore, can only be experienced through the immanent. In contemporary culture, we see serious restrictions on the transcendent, both individual and cultural, which may preclude access to alternative world structures. Thus, this book series, through the discourses of psychoanalysis, existential phenomenology, and critical theory, will seek to clarify the problem of closure – what operates as the inert – along with possibilities for genuine transcendence through an exploration of immanence. The editors at EPIS Press therefore seek book chapters that explore this serious problem, and phenomenon – clinical, theoretical, and practical.

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