Gaston Bachelard and his reactions to phenomenology

Anton Vydra

pp. 45-58

In this essay, I show how the French philosopher of science, Gaston Bachelard, reacted to the idea of phenomenology at different stages of his philosophical development. During the early years, Kantianism (through a Schopenhauerian reading of Kant) had the greatest influence on his understanding of phenomenology. Even if he always considered phenomenology a valuable method, Bachelard believed that the term noumenon is necessary, not for a full description of reality, but for probing possible sources of reality. For him, phenomena are not only static objects or things observed in nature, but dynamic objects that can be produced or even created (hence phenomenotechnique). The noumenal realm lies beyond the structure of the phenomenal world. In his later "poetical" years, Bachelard did not make a strict distinction between noumena and phenomena, but instead situated the poetical (literary) image, a phenomenon of literary consciousness, in specific zones between subjectivity and objectivity; the term phenomenotechnique no longer plays any role in his study of imagination or daydreams. For the later Bachelard, phenomenology became the method or attitude that can best lead us into the unexplored regions of our consciousness (reverie) which remain largely forgotten by Western philosophy, or drowned out by its exclusive concern with other aspects of consciousness, such as rational thought.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/s11007-014-9284-2

Full citation:

Vydra, A. (2014). Gaston Bachelard and his reactions to phenomenology. Continental Philosophy Review 47 (1), pp. 45-58.

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