JOURNAL OF PHENOMENOLOGY AND HERMENEUTICS
The condition of humanity at the beginning of the third millennium demands a renewed self-reflection not only in the field of philosophy, but also in the fields of culture, art, religion, and science. The scientific journal Phainomena wishes to open the space for a novel dialogue from the phenomenological and hermeneutical perspective.
The journal Phainomena was the first specialized journal for phenomenological and hermeneutic philosophy in the Central and Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Today, its primary role remains to unite philosophers from these geographical regions, whilst, at the same time, opening also the global perspectives of phenomenological and hermeneutic philosophy in collaboration with philosophers from North and Southern America, Eastern and Southern Asia, as well as Africa.
The journal publishes predominantly original papers and translations from the fields of phenomenology, hermeneutics, social hermeneutics, philosophy of religion, theory of science, philosophy of art, history of philosophy and philosophy of culture.
The journal is published quarterly.
The journal Phainomena is indexed in:
The Philosopher’s Index; Scopus; Sociological Abstracts; Social Services Abstracts; Worldwide Political Science Abstracts; Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts; Internationale Bibliographie der geistes- und sozialwissenschaftlichen Zeitschriftenliteratur; Internationale Bibliographie der Rezensionen geistes- und sozialwissenschaftlicher Literatur; Social Science Information Gateway; Humanities International Index; Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory; EBSCO; ProQuest; Digitalna knjižnica Slovenije; Revije.si (JAK).
HISTORY OF THE JOURNAL
FROM THE HISTORY OF PHENOMENOLOGY IN SLOVENIA
Phenomenology not only finds itself inscribed in the history of contemporary Slovenian philosophy, but also takes an active part in it.
The very beginning of phenomenological research is marked by an important event for Slovenian science and culture. Upon the establishment of the University of Ljubljana in 1919, the chair for philosophy was taken, on the recommendation of Alexius Meinong, by one of his most talented students France Veber (1890–1975), who was of Slovenian origin. Taking the object-theoretical doctrine (Gegenstandstheorie) of his teacher as his springboard, he began to develop his own philosophical line of thought. He expressed his affiliation to the phenomenological movement in one of his last articles in 1943, where he speaks of Martin Heidegger:
Heidegger is one of the youngest and most successful students of the renowned Husserl school. His thought is undoubtedly one of the contemporary hallmarks of the “new philosophy” in Europe as well as the world. Its basis was laid by two men: Bernard Bolzano (1781–1848) and Franz Brentano (1839–1917). We need not hesitate to call the former the real father of the truly new and modern logic (Wissenschaftslehre, 1837) and the latter the real father of likewise new and modern psychology (Psychologie vom empirischen Standpunkte, 1874). As Meinong’s student I am myself a member of this school, which has till this very day preserved the genuine spirit of Bernard Bolzano and Franz Brentano. This spirit is such that its followers are first and foremost expected to meet the demand for their own personal growth. It is a school that expects its followers to think and not just possess knowledge, to undertake continuous research and not just accumulate already established facts.
In the 1920s, in the heyday of his power, Veber published fourteen books and several articles for journals. His last published book, The Question of Reality, dating from 1939, which opens up a heated debate with Meinong and Husserl, clearly exposes the question of reality as the inner impulse of Veber’s approach to the problem of intentionality or directedness—as Veber renders it in Slovenian language—, taken in psychological, cognitive, ethical, religious, anthropological, and, finally, ontological sense. The analysis of the problem of intentionality marks the shift of Veber’s thought from the “theory of the object” to the “question of reality,” or, in his own terminology, from “analytical psychology” to “dynamic ontology.” In the latter, the subject of intentionality seems to have reached its true fulfillment and completion. In Veber’s own words:
That we should always feel and observe something when we feel and observe and furthermore, that every thought is a thought of something and directed towards something that can be placed at an optional distance, in short: that we should have “experiences” which are by their very nature “directed” towards this or that; all these and similar issues in the new and old psychology point only to the outlined, objective, objectological type of this inner, psychological directedness, regardless of the question as to the way any of the older or younger psychologists understand it, be it according to the ancient Aristotle or the later Thomas Aquinas or even Franz Brentano or the later Meinong and Husserl. However, we can now see that this object-objectological directedness of life in the narrowest sense of the word has to be completed with its specific, i.e. dynamic or spheral directedness, and that this second directedness of life is even superior to the first one.
The first of Veber’s student to be mentioned here is Anton Trstenjak (1906–1996), who is probably one of the most convincing advocates of Veber’s thought, not only in Slovenia, but also in the German-speaking milieu. Trstenjak was an internationally recognized expert in the field of psychology, especially psychology of colors, where he used the phenomenological approach. Generally speaking, none of Veber’s students had ever reached the level of their teacher’s expertise. Klement Jug (1898–1924), who had already been appointed as Veber’s assistant, died before reaching philosophical maturity. He is considered the founder of Slovenian alpinism. His personal philosophical bearing exerted a powerful influence on his fellow students, especially on Vladimir Bartol (1903–1967). Bartol enriched his philosophical reflection with psychoanalysis, and with this he critically confronted Veber’s philosophy, though he was more directly interested in literary creation. The true artistic value of his novel Alamut from 1938 was only given its full recognition in the postmodern 1980s. Fortune did not smile upon Cene Logar (1913–1995), Veber’s talented student, who also studied in Prague under the tutorial of Kraus and who in 1939 published a study The Analysis of Consciousness, in which he primarily tackles Brentano’s and Husserl’s concept of intentionality. In 1949, he was sent to the concentration camp Goli Otok being charged with advocating Stalinism. The only student after 1945 to more or less successfully carry on with lecturing philosophy at the Department of Philosophy in Ljubljana was Veber’s devoted assistant Alma Sodnik (1896–1965). Contrary to her teacher, she paid special attention to the history of philosophy; her major philosophical work Historical Development of Aesthetic Problems was written in 1928. In 1972, Ludvik Bartelj (1913–2006) published the first bibliography of Veber’s works and tried to carry on with the work of his teacher particularly in relation to the philosophical questions about God.
After the Second World War, the dialectical materialism prevailed as the only adequate “philosophy,” while all the other philosophies were treated as reflecting the crisis of the so-called capitalist world. With Veber’s untimely retirement and expulsion from the Slovenian Academy of Science and Art, phenomenology in Slovenia was for a long time denied the freedom of development, which shows irreparable damage even today.
The main characteristic of the second breakthrough of phenomenology in the 1960s was its close development with the then neo-avantgarde artistic movements. From the middle of the 60s onwards, this connection was given its main support by the magazine Problemi, which was at one point subtitled “The Journal for Thought and Poetry.” The man of merit for bringing thought closer to poetry was undoubtedly Dušan Pirjevec (1921–1977). Not only was his influence on the formation of the Slovenian culture at that time very powerful—it can be felt still today—, he also succeeded in paving a new way for phenomenology. It is important that Pirjevec did not take over phenomenology as an already established method of thinking, but as an uncertain path of thinking towards that which concerns man in his existent openness into the world. For the Slovenian phenomenology Dušan Pirjevec introduced a wide range of yet unexplored philosophical topics. First, the crisis of the modern self-understanding of man as subject, which he explicated mainly in his studies on the European novel—these are of unique value within the phenomenologically oriented literary theory today. The issue of the crisis of the modern subject leads to the questions of power, ideology, nihilism as revealed through the technocratic mastering of the world, and to considerations of steppingstones in contemporary art and nation as a cultural and political formation. In his last comprehensive study written in 1976, dedicated to The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor M. Dostoevsky, he explicitly developed the thought of active love as letting-be of being, and it was within this context that he indicated the question of God. With this multifaceted thought of the letting-be of being, Pirjevec paved the way to the postmodern experience of humanity beyond the subjectivity of personality, and to the world-experience beyond the objectivity of reality. A special place in his aesthetical and literary-theoretical discussion is given to his attempt at interpreting Veber’s Aesthetics, which he associated with Hegel’s idealistic and Ingarden’s phenomenological aesthetics, as well as with Heidegger’s thinking of being. This discussion already points to the beginning of a critical dialogue between Pirjevec, Ivan Urbančič (1930–2016), and Tine Hribar (1941). There is an underlying preoccupation in their thinking; each in their own way holds a critical dialogue with Pirjevec’s thought, developing it further in line with their own philosophical interests.
It is the merit of the mentioned thinkers that in the 1960s and 1970s a phenomenological and hermeneutic approach shaped itself in the field of research of Slovenian philosophy, of broader cultural and social issues, and of the history of philosophy in general. In this context we should point to the works of Valentin Kalan (1943).
The second half of the 1980s again sees Slovenian phenomenology fully engaged in political events, but this time as the collaborator of democratic changes. Understandably, the problems that at that time came to the foreground within the sphere of “pure theory” were those of human rights, civil society, the phenomenon of totalitarianism, the relationship between culture and politics, etc.
The stirring political events of the so-called Yugoslav crisis witnessed an entirely apolitical engagement in phenomenology. In 1990, on the initiative of Dean Komel (1960), Tine Hribar, Ivan Urbančič, and Andrina Tonkli-Komel (1961), the Phenomenological Society of Ljubljana commenced its work on the premises of the Nova Revija publishing house. Between 1991 and 2011, the society published the book series entitled “Phainomena” (eds.: Tine Hribar and Dean Komel). Since 1992, it also publishes the journal Phainomena (editor-in-chief: Andrina Tonkli-Komel).
The establishment of the Phenomenological Society of Ljubljana has given Slovenian phenomenology a fresh impetus, so that we can now speak of the third period of its development, which exceeds the boundaries of social activities. In the last decades, phenomenology has been officially recognized at the faculties of the humanities of the University of Ljubljana. We should also not forget to mention the pronounced and growing interest in the relationship between phenomenology and cognitive sciences of analytical philosophy representatives, as well as the broad interest for phenomenology and hermeneutics among the literary and artistic theoreticians, sociologists, culturologists, and philosophers of religion.
Journal of Phenomenology and Hermeneutics
Institute Nova Revija for the Humanities
Vodovodna cesta 101, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenija
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The website of the journal Phainomena operates under the auspices of the Institute Nova Revija for the Humanities. The operation of the website is effectuated within the framework of the research program P6-0341, the research project J7-8283, and the infrastructure program I0-0036, which are financially supported by the Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS).