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Cartography of the Phenomenon and the Phenomenon as Cartography


This paper discusses Gilbert Ryle’s image of philosophy as cartography in an attempt to explore the idea of a cartography of the phenomenon, confronting it with the sense it takes in Edmund Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology. Ryle tries to grasp the particularity of philosophical tasks as being about specific sorts of problems, not about specific sorts of objects. What is required both of a cartographer and of a philosopher is, according to him, to look at familiar spaces in wholly unusual terms. Husserlian phenomenology then, with its rediscovery of consciousness as an absolute, unbounded field, meets quite well this demand. The uncovered field of the phenomena is not a new region, opposing that of the objects as faced in the natural attitude. It is rather a completely different attitude, just as a map is not a share of the world, but a distinct orientation towards it. The phenomenon, therefore, would not be something that is there to be cartographed as much as a kind of cartography itself. A phenomenological cartography, however, is one that has its specific marks, different from those of the Rylean conception.