21st century education
About Sarah Campbell

About Sarah Campbell

Hello, hello.

view all posts by Sarah Campbell

I’m Sarah, a student of philosophy and artist (in a beginning sort of way) living on the very eastern edge of Canada.

I’m happy to be here, to learn from all of you and share with all of you, to have conversations, and hopefully grow all of our practices.

A lot of what I’ve been working on lately has been about listening. To myself, to the world around me, to other people.

And documenting this at the same time, as a way to help me understand it. And for the fun of creating things! That’s pretty good too.

Today I was out in the snow, hanging out with a maple tree:

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  1. Welcome, Sarah! Listening is an art, as it’s often said, and it’s one that takes a lot of practice. I think it will be interesting to pay attention to how we listen to one another as we continue to explore our practices on this blog.

    Since you’re a philosopher, may I ask you a (philosophy-related) question? I was trying to explain Phenomenology to a friend today in normal, layperson’s terms. I told her that it was a philosophical lens that paid attention to what was happening in the moment and using that moment/those moments to inform the larger meaning of a thing/idea/concept. I have studied phenomenology in graduate school and just did an exercise in PBRA using phenomenology to articulate my practice, and I still have no real idea what it’s about. And in some ways, I feel like THAT’S part of what it’s about. But, obviously, IDK for sure. It seems pretty slippery.

    How would you define phenomenology if you were describing it to my 8 year old daughter?

  2. Thanks Christa! I’ll give it a try! 🙂 I’d agree with what you said, and would add that I think phenomenology tries to overcome the problems with studying the human mind from the outside – which tend to be very scientific, chalking everything up to neurons, and chemical reactions – by doing a rigorous study of the mind from the inside. Paying attention to the way the mind works, and the way we experience things in order to say something more about it than more science-based approaches.

    But then you get the philosophers who think that by studying the mind like this we can deduce the truth about metaphysics and time and that sort of thing… and that’s where things get dicey for me 😉

    I like the way you put it, though, that these observations, paying attention to phenomenological experience, can inform our understanding of a thing/idea/concept. Experience is underrated in philosophy sometimes – it’s all ideas, ideas, ideas – and sometimes those ideas need a bit of experience to set them straight, or make them make sense in the context of our lives.

    But that’s my empiricist bias coming through. 😉

    Do you know the Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy? Their article on phenomenology is here: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/phenomenology/

  3. I love your explanation! Thank you. “Paying attention to the way the mind works, and the way we experience things in order to say something more about it than more science-based approaches” — this is helpful for my understanding!

    1. Welcome to .Re/search Sarah!

      In my own, not studied nearly enough, or hardly at all, way, I feel like Phenomenology connects to the idea of Qualia: the redness of red, the painfulness of pain. Sarah’s probably right that this might not be the WAY to get to the neurobiological basis of consciousness… on the other hand… it is ultimately what that quest for consciousness is about. How these billions of neurons can ultimately give rise to that experience of the redness of red.

      Also as Sarah says, phenomenology can be an alternative to all those “ideas.” That it focuses on the Phenomenal realm. Of visceral experiences that come in through the 5 senses. Instead of “I think therefore I am,” rather “I experience therefore I am alive.”

      Oopsy… the 8 year-old left the room before I got through half of that! 😛

  4. Yes, Van. “I experience therefore I am alive,” sounds like what I remember of Phenomenology. When I was in graduate school, we studied Phenomenology (Lois Zamora, Ph.D. instructed us) through the lens Julio Cortázar, the Argentinian writer. The narratives in his stories reflect experience’s idiosyncratic nature (or the idiosyncratic nature of a narrator’s experience). My final project for the course was an interview with my alter-egos, all named Esperanza (Hope). My (unpublished) poetry manuscript is still titled Phenomenal Days.

  5. Oh, we like alter egos!

    Esperanza = Надежда = Nadezhda = Hope — nice!

    BTW my virtual performance art career started in April 2009 with a commission by an avatar named Esperanza who taught a graduate course on virtual culture at Kansas State University!

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