Phenomenology and Practical Human Science
I have been primarily concerned with the phenomenology of the human sciences, especially education and health care. Originally I was an American intellectual historian, then became a philosopher focusing on education and recently on health care. Like many American philosophers, I came to phenomenology by a circuitous route. My journey began with the study of William James as a student of American intellectual history. It took a new direction when I joined those academics who, following the leadership of James B. Conant, worked to reform public education in the early 1960’s. However, when I realized that strictly following Conant’s tenet, that current trends in academic disciplines should dictate the course of education, meant adopting an analytic philosophy of education, I chose a different course. Rather than focusing on talk about education, I began applying the insights of existentialism to educational practice. The inadequacies of “popular existentialism” led me to seek a more adequate philosophy of education in phenomenology.