Transpersonal psychology has at times critiqued the broader psychology field for perpetrating a somewhat arbitrary Cartesian subject-object divide. Some phenomenologists claim that reframing this purported divide as an experienced phenomenon can defuse its philosophical impact. If subjective experiences are viewed as continuous with the lifeworld out of which objective phenomena are abstracted, the divide between these is revealed as a somewhat arbitrary, if useful, construction. This, in turn, challenges psychology to engage with subjective phenomena in a more substantive way. In this paper based on excerpts from a protracted email conversation held on the American Psychological Association’s Humanistic Psychology (Division 32) listserv, two academic psychologists with transpersonal interests explore this extraordinary claim of phenomenology, one being a proponent and the other being a skeptic of the claim. Two other academic psychologists with transpersonal interests who participated in this dialogue comment on its relevance for transpersonal psychology. The conversation focuses on the ideas of Husserl and Heidegger, and emphasizes how phenomenology might reconcile the subject-object divide through exploring intentionality, the meaning of noetic/noema, and thinking itself, while the discussion serves as an example of an adversarial collaboration in which disagreeing parties seek deeper understanding through dialogue.
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Robbins, B. D., Friedman, H. L., Johnson, C. V., & Franco, Z. (2018). Subjectivity is no object: Can subject-object dualism be reconciled through phenomenology?. International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 37 (2). https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.24972/ijts.2018.37.2.144