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A Phenomenology of Nature: Transcendentalist Explications of the Phaneron

Peirce’s phenomenological categories of firstness, secondness, and thirdness have great value in their positive vagueness. In their capacity as the most general features of lived experience, they may provide an experiential ground for the conclusions of philosophy and science. Yet, as they appear in Peirce’s writings, they remain somewhat abstractly defined with minimal examples to illustrate their meanings. On Peirce’s recommendation to further develop them “under the hot sunshine of hard thought, daily, bright, well-focused, and well-aimed thought,” I attempt to flesh out their meanings experientially by applying them to our immediate encounters with nature. My goal in doing so is the construction of a Transcendentalist phenomenology of nature, a phenomenology that resembles the interests and methods of the New England Transcendentalists who found confirmation of their ideas in direct encounters with the natural environment.

Nicholas Guardiano
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
United States

 

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