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Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning (Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy) Paperback – 31 Oct 1997

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Product details

  • Paperback: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press (31 Oct. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810114275
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810114272
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 505,187 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Eugene T. Gendlin received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Chicago and taught there from 1963 to 1995. His philosophical work is concerned especially with the relationship between logic and experiential explication. Implicit intricacy cannot be represented, but functions in certain ways in relation to philosophical discourse. The applications of this "Philosophy of the Implicit" have been important in many fields.


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Format: Paperback
This is a very detailed and thorough explication of the functional relationships between felt sense and its articulation/conceptualisation. Gendlin's work seems to me fairly unpopular, perhaps because of the trendy tide of postmodernism which has tended to eclipse the further development of existential phenomenology, and yet this work anticipates much that might be of great importance to the fields of narrative and constructionism, even developing beyond it. Using felt sense as a touchstone it is possible to refer to and symbolise it time after time, even as it changes in the process, bringing the ongoing processes of conceptualisation and experiencing together, or "in nearness" to each other in a relationship that can be handled. This is not so different to the methods employed in narrative therapy to gain clearer experience-near accounts of experience. Gendlin anticipated this methodology not through social constructionism but by his grounding and insights in existential phenomenology. This is a good book for both phenomenologists and psychotherapists (especially those who wish to find a more penetrating way to track the therapeutic process) to read, although I would not say that all the detail involved here is necessary in the former case.
Gendlin is very exacting in his descriptions, careful with his definitions and wording and precise about what is and is not his subject matter, making this a very dry read at times, and somewhat repetitive, although Gendlin does pepper the work with a few examples and exercises.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At last, exactly what I was looking for. Gendlin and Descartes sitting around the same fire and the very visionary Gendlin looking far ahead to what we need to give attention to in education today. Very good reading.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars 9 reviews
51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interested in Philosophy, Psychology -- Must Have Book 30 Jun. 2004
By Alvin L Humphrey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I first read this book in 1974 (approximatly). I have reread it several times and continue to marvel and dispair at how little circulation or acknowledgement it has been given. Current work in areas of the philosophy of language, and philosophy and cognitive science, especially in their emphasis on metaphor, are anticipated by this work. I have been told by one of the leading authors in the above areas, that he was familiar with this book but could not reference it as it from a phenomenological line of thought and his audience would reject it (paraphrased). There are methods for the productive conduct of discourse, on any subject, contained in this work that are still not utilized anywhere execept for a small number of people. A pity if we really want to arrive at living truths rather than the sterile shells rendered buy logic or empiricism. This book is not an easy read for most (I'm guessing), as the ideas -- the point of viewing it explicates is so uncommon. So If you read it, it may take some work. And still I cannot recommend it highly enough. Thank you.
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tough Read, Vital Read.... 25 April 2008
By David C. Young - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Gene Gendlin is best known as a psychologist, especially for his book,Focusing, which has achieved near-cult status. Focusing & Gene, a student of Carl Rogers, have also received broad respect within the psychology/psychotherapy community, too -- for many years he edited "Psychotherapy: Theory, Research & Practice", and he received numerous awards, starting with the first Distinguished Psychologist award from the American Psychological Association to, most recently, the Viktor Frankl award. I came to this book, his first full statement of his philosophy, through Focusing, as my wife & I were trainers in Gene's Focusing workshops through the 1980's.

Gene, however, thinks of himself, first & foremost, as a philosopher, and with good reason. Yes, "Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning" came, in part, from his many years of training and work with Carl Rogers. But even more, it came from his philosophy studies. Indeed, Focusing, itself, is an outgrowth of this philosophy. Anyone who knows Focusing can see, in this book, that his philosophy implies Focusing.

And therein lies the rub. What makes this book tough is that understanding it so often needs an ability to touch in with your own, everyday and personal experience of "the implicit" -- that rich source of bodily-felt meaning always within us. Rejecting a dichotomy of logical & illogical or chaos, Gene talks of an implicit dimension, which he calls "experiencing", and which is "more than logical" -- vague in the sense of not-yet-formed, yet capable of transcending all logics, while it also implies them, while it includes them implicitly. For all its being vague, felt meaning, "experiencing", is actually more precise than standard meanings. The interaction words/logic and "experiencing" or the felt sense creates all new & fresh meanings.

"Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning" isn't just a philosophy. It's about where philosophies come from.

To give you a brief taste of simple experiencing: Remember a time when you knew you'd forgotten something. Well, logically, how can you know what you've forgotten? But this feeling, this "experiencing of knowing" is very definite and very precise. While trying to remember, for example, you might recall something you've forgotten. But your bodily feel, your implicit experiencing, or as Gene calls it later, your felt sense (different from an emotion), can agree that, yes, you had forgotten that. But your felt sense lets you know that what you just remembered isn't the right "what I've forgoten".

"Experiencing" is not only "where" philosophers philosophize from. It's also where poets, composers and musicians create from. (I know, because I used to be a conductor & composer; I'm now a psychotherapist.) This is "where" all creativity and many other good things, such as the healing of psychotherapy, "come" or create from.

While "Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning" does have many practical examples, it's an enormous help to be able to Focus. So you may want to read and do Focusing, even if you're a philosopher. (I've worked with philosophers who couldn't "get" what Gene was saying until they had done some Focusing.) Other lead-in introductions, making understanding this book easier, are some of his short on-line articles, freely available in the Gendlin Online Library at [...] In particular, read, "The Primacy of the Body, Not the Primacy of Perception," "The Responsive Order" and "Crossing and Dipping". There, too, is Gene's new "Introduction" to the 1997 edition of Experiencing -- well worth the read, and a much better introduction to his book than my review.

I don't invite, I don't even urge you to read this book and learn to Focus: I beg you. It takes work, even hard work. But you'll always be glad that you did.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow. 2 Aug. 2011
By Michael Deane Adams - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a visual artist, and not student of philosophy, it's difficult for me to put this work in a proper philosophical perspective, however I do have to say it's an amazing book! Gendlin refuses to get trapped in typical philosophical tail-chasing by using the creation of meaning through experiences as the ultimate goal. I read this just after I read John Dewey's "Art as Experience," which blew my mind. "Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning" can be seen as a kind of follow-up to Dewey. I would highly recommend Gendlin's book to anyone who is interested in how symbols function in both art and everyday life. Not an easy read, but it oozes brilliant ideas.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Important Book 7 July 2007
By Citris1 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a profound and important book. It reveals the basis of all philosphical thinking. I don't understand why it is not more widely acclaimed.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An in depth look at the problem of meaning which integrates a psychological and philosophical perspective 14 Oct. 2013
By gary w. reece, ph;d; - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first used this book as an important source in my research when writing my doctoral thesis. It is a comprehensive look at how psychological experience influences and is involved in the way we create meaning. I found it particularly helpful because it speakss to the issue of what happens when traumatic events affect meaning and how events are constructed during the search for meaning post trauma. Making sense of events is crucial to recovery. I am interested in how people go about making meaning out of their experience. And how experience interacts with meaning.
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