Reflections on John Harris’s account of organ procurement
Alastair V. Campbell
offering is a preliminary sketch of an alternative view.
The first source is the Phenomenological school of philosophy. This
approach bases its theories on the lived experience of conscious subjects,
seeking to bracket out the traditional philosophical distinction between
subjective and objective. For example Merleau-Ponty, in Phenomenology
of Perception, dismisses the attempt to describe some kind of Cartesian
From ethics to policy and practice
disembodied rationality floating above experience. All we know is bodily
experience – there is no other knowledge. So
's most infamous passage on
recognition – that which gets all of the attention, that which
brings Johann Fichte's concept of recognition into the light,
radicalizes it, transforms it – is presented in the second section
of The Phenomenology of Spirit ( 2000 ).
There are many different and varied interpretations of this section,
some perhaps more convincing than others. What I
macrosubjects – such as the nation, working class or ‘social system’ –
arguing, instead, for an ‘intersubjective’ conception of it. Rationality is to be
found in the phenomenological lifeworld of social interaction, a reservoir of shared cultural
knowledge, traditions and affiliations (Habermas, 1995 , 1997a ). Against the phenomenology of Husserl, Habermas considers language
to be central to the constitution of the lifeworld and its capacity to renew itself over time.
Indeed, it is in the very structure of linguistic interaction that the
untangle some of its complex operations (the links – and blockages or
‘hesitations’ – between apprehension and action, between feeling and believing, appearing, saying and doing) that makes a creative aesthetics so valuable
to the study of social life.’21 Drawing on literary theorist and poetry scholar
Isobel Armstrong’s scholarship, which draws parallels among theories of affect
in discourses of phenomenology, psychoanalysis and other fields, Bennett also
argues that, ‘Art, like affect itself, inhabits an in-between space and is an agent
of change.’22 By exploring
1996); and Austerlitz, trans. by A. Bell (New York: Random House/Modern
Library Trade Paperback Edition, 2001).
6 Sebald, Austerlitz, 101.
7 M. Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception, trans. by C. Smith (London:
Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1965).
8 Sebald, Austerlitz, 101.
acknowledging the similarities of thinking in both Muslim and Western philosophy (see also Marks 2010 and Sedgwick 2016 ). Throughout the book I return to these philosophies when analysing the differences and similarities of psychiatric healthcare and Islamic exorcism.
In Maurice Merleau-Ponty's ( 2002 ) phenomenology of perception, the invisible is described as an implication and a necessary part of all human perception. Indeed, it is a condition for perception. Merleau-Ponty explores this hypothesis at the level of motor
Black, but also with the wider spread of western liberal thought
which more covertly colludes in the perpetuation of a Manichaean
binary opposition between the West and its others. Discourses of
liberation such as psychoanalysis, the Hegelian dialectic and
phenomenology are adopted as useful tools for prising open the
nature and extent of white oppression but are also exposed as
false universalisms when confronted by the specificities of ‘the
lived experience of the black man’. Aware of the conscious and
unconscious effects of the western gaze, Fanon’s text
epistemologically and politically indispensable for its capacity to
Critical theory and epistemology
A science of practices?
From the beginning (since the Outline of a Theory of Practice), Bourdieu develops theoretical phases through which dialectical strategies produce the science of practices. Bourdieu’s purpose is to formulate a theory of theories that
entails a threefold schema of approaching knowledge that is grasped from
the outside, namely from practice. The three phases that he considers are as
follows: first, phenomenology in close
in which the principle of freedom is embodied and fostered (Aitken,
2006 : 71). The notion of the soul as
immutable a-temporal ‘significant structure’ also
suggests the influence of both Kant and phenomenology: influences
which reached the young Lukács through his association with the
neo-Kantian school at Heidelberg University, and the
phenomenologically inclined school at