Updated: Oct 27
This paper is about interpreting two philosophical positions on existential hermeneutic phenomenology.
Phenomenologists seek to depict the experiences of people. Researchers applying Heidegger’s (1962) existential phenomenology and Gadamer’s (1975) philosophical hermeneutics seek to examine and be aware of their own past experiences with “openness and sensitivity” to be open to the meaning of others. Heidegger’s existential phenomenology focused on the importance however, of human existence (lifeworld). He asked about experiencing and understanding: what does it mean to be a person? As a researcher interpreting Heidegger’s existential phenomenology, I understand the person to be a self-interpreting being. As a researcher, I can only make explicit what is already understood. But I can interpret their story using Heidegger’s aspects of existence to gain more profound meaning. The present paper brings forward a reflective account of how I interpreted Heidegger’s existential phenomenology and Gadamer’s hermeneutics and applied them as a methodology to understand the meaning of existence for others living through the illness trajectory of motor neurone disease (MND).
Harris, D.A. (2017) Doing research drawing on the philosophy of existential hermeneutic phenomenology. Palliative and Supportive Care 15, 267–269. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1478951516000377