This is episode #9 of the podcast and it’s Thursday, the 13th of January, 2022. Happy New Year, everyone! In today’s show, I am talking to Dr. Allan Køster, a philosopher focussing on applied Phenomenology in investigations of human suffering. He has worked broadly in the field of phenomenological psychopathology, but most recently has done research on the existentiality of grief/bereavement and on COVID-19 patients’ experiences of isolation during admission to intensive care units.
The fascinating topic of discussion today is the felt experience of others, in their absence. Many of us have experienced this. We closed our eyes, relaxed and imagined the loved one’s presence as a warm feeling of love and comfort, their smile, laugh, their touch, even their scent — what the French call ‘sillage’ — and have an acute sense of awareness, a tender and loving feeling. But what about the case where a loved one leaves the physical world and never comes back? This is Allan’s research focus. Our discussion starts with the fundamental definition of phenomenology and how does such a paradigm describe human experience, especially, that of concrete sense of other. Allan believes that this particular kind of felt experience of the other is sensory rather than cognitive — and he calls it “a sensorium of the other”. We discuss the modalities that make out this fundamental sensorium and how these modalities interact to give this sense of embodied felt familiarity. We then shift focus to bereavement and to the abnormal experiences of ICU isolation in COVID patients - discussing how the pandemic has changed the way we interact.
In the second part of the show, we tackle, of course, issues related to the role of technology (esp. immersive technologies) helping one re-experience the felt presence of others. And, of course, we had to close with the ethical implications of such technologies. Here is the show.
- Definition of Phenomenology; how does it describe human experience
- Thefelt experience of the other as a sensorium (and its modalities)
- Phenomenologically structured interview process in research
- How the pandemic has changed the way we interact
- Bereavement and the abnormal experiences of ICU isolation in COVID patients
- Immersive technologies helping one re-experience the felt presence of others
- The ethical implication of such technologies
Note: Allan Køster's forthcoming book: