Kai_RiemerI had an opportunity to meet up with phenomenologist Kai Riemer at SIGGRAPH the place he gave his perspective on what phenomenology is and why it’s holistic strategy might present some important insights for folks working in VR.


The onerous downside of the thoughts/physique cut up and the final word nature of consciousness is an open query within the science neighborhood, and there are a number of philosophies that attempt to deal with this cut up. Cartesian dualists explicitly acknowledge this cut up as totally different realms, however interactions between the thoughts and physique have began to interrupt this down. There’s numerous scientific materialists who’re holding out that consciousness will finally be found to be an emergent property of our neuroscience. Idealism is the other of materialism in saying the subjective experience is major, and it’s much like saying that consciousness is key in that matter may very well be an emergent property of a base reality of consciousness or data. Panpsychism sees consciousness as common in that each photon is aware or carries a sure stage of knowledge processing functionality. College of Sydney professor Kai Riemer says that phenomenology tries to eliminate the entire concept of this topic/object cut up, and that it’s a way more holistic strategy of centering all the pieces across the interconnections of the that means of objects and our direct human experience.

Phenomenologist Gabriella Farina has resisted a precise definition by saying, “A unique and final definition of phenomenology is dangerous and perhaps even paradoxical as it lacks a thematic focus. In fact, it is not a doctrine, nor a philosophical school, but rather a style of thought, a method, an open and ever-renewed experience having different results.”

Talking with Riemer at SIGGRAPH, he talks quite a bit about French thinker Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception guide from 1945 that talks in regards to the position of the physique in notion. He additionally cites George Lakoff’s Women, Fire and Dangerous Things to indicate how numerous our major metaphors for understanding the world come from our direct experience of the world by means of our our bodies. The holistic strategy of phenomenology exhibits that the tales and narratives of direct experience ought to be given equal weight to the objectified knowledge that’s seen as major by reductionists and physicalist materialists. Archeologists want to have the ability to perceive the total story behind what folks thought artifacts meant throughout the full context of a tradition earlier than they’ll absolutely perceive what they’ve found.

What’s clear from speaking to Riemer and different philosophers is that VR gives a embodied experience of philosophical discussions which are in any other case fairly summary and disconnected from our direct experience. Phenomenology is an elusive idea to firmly pin down, however my dialog with Riemer has helped me recognize its holistic strategy to the connection between reality and experience.

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