Northern Phenomenology Network (UK) Event

Register now for our annual Northern Phenomenology Network meeting on 6th July 2021.

St George's church

All talks will be held online using Google Meet. If you would like to attend, please register via this google form. Details on how to join the meeting will be emailed to you a few days before the event. Your contact details will not be stored beyond the date of the meeting. Any questions, please contact Komarine Romdenh-Romluc:


09.30 - 10.30: Jonathan Mitchell (Manchester) ‘The Phenomenal Contribution of Attention’

Strong or Pure Intentionalism is the view that the phenomenal character of a conscious experience is exhaustively determined by its intentional content. Contrastingly, impure intentionalism holds that there are also non-content based aspects or features which determine phenomenal character. Conscious attention is one such feature: plausibly its contribution to the phenomenal character of a given conscious experience is not exhaustively captured in terms of what that experience represents, that is in terms of properties of its intentional object. This paper attempts to get clearer on the phenomenal contribution of conscious attention. In doing so it considers and rejects two prominent impure intentionalist accounts, namely the ‘phenomenal structure’ account of Sebastien Waltz, and the ‘demonstrative thought’ account provided by Wayne Wu. As an alternative I propose that we should think of the phenomenal contribution of conscious attention in terms of modifications of intentional consciousness.

11.00 - 12.00: Emily Hughes (York) ‘The Manifold Temporalities of Grief’

Grief in bereavement can involve significant disruptions to temporal experience. In this paper I will draw upon questionnaire data collected as part of the ‘Grief: A Study of Human Emotional Experience’ project at the University of York in order to demonstrate the manifold ways in which the mourner can be ‘desynchronized’ from the lived flow of ordinary time. Specifically, I will demonstrate that grief can involve the experience of time slowing down; time speeding up; time both expanding and contracting; time stopping or freezing; or time collapsing altogether. As I will argue, these various disruptions to time have important implications for the paradoxical experience of the deceased loved one as being both profoundly present and painfully absent, as well as for the ‘timely’ resolution of this tension in the process of recovery.

13.30 - 14.30: Jacob Kingsbury Downs (Sheffield) ‘Auditory Flooding and Sonorous Confinement: Headphones, Sonic Violence, and Carceral Acoustics’

In this paper, I present a phenomenological account of recent and contemporary practices of sonic violence and torture. Through analysis of survivor testimony, I foreground sound’s plural mediations of power and spatial control in contexts of detention. At the core of the argument is the contention that the instrumentalization of headphones to violent ends represents a calculated subjugation of multiple dimensions of experience, including normative perceptions of bodily space and dimensionality, access to thought, and engagement with the intersubjective acoustic lifeworld.

15:00 - 17:00: Lisa Guenther (Queens University, Canada) ‘Six Senses of Critique for Critical Phenomenology’

The meaning of critique for critical phenomenology has at least six senses: 1) the art of asking questions, moved by crisis; 2) a transcendental inquiry into the conditions of possibility for meaningful experience; 3) a quasi-transcendental, historically-grounded study of particular lifeworlds; 4) a (situated and interested) analysis of power; 5) the problematization of basic concepts and methods; and 6) a praxis of freedom that seeks not only to interpret the meaning of lived experience, but also to change the conditions under which horizons of possibility for meaning, action, and relationship are wrongfully limited or foreclosed. While the first two dimensions of critique are alive and well in classical phenomenology, the others help to articulate what is distinctive about critical phenomenology.


Jonathan Mitchell 

Jonathan Mitchell works in philosophy of emotion, value, and mind, with a strong interest in Nietzsche and the Phenomenologists. His research focuses on the intersection between philosophy of mind, emotion and value. His research on emotion is to be published as a book, titled "Emotions as Feelings Towards Value: A Theory of Emotional Experience” with Oxford University Press. He is also working on papers on pain experiences, visual content, and imagination.

Emily Hughes

I am a postdoctoral research associate in philosophy at the University of York working on the AHRC-funded project ‘Grief: A Study of Human Emotional Experience.’ I completed my PhD at the University of New South Wales. My research is situated in the intersection between existential phenomenology and the philosophy of psychiatry and psychology, with a particular focus on phenomenological interpretations of affect and the way in which emotions modify temporal experience.

Jacob Kingsbury Downs

Jacob Kingsbury Downs is completing a doctorate at the University of Sheffield under Professor Nicola Dibben (Music) and Dr Komarine Romdenh-Romluc (Philosophy). His project, funded by the AHRC via WRoCAH, considers headphone listening through a phenomenological lens, with emphasis on individuals’ experiences of embodied space, mediated social relations, and the materiality of technology. Forthcoming publications include articles in leading journals exploring acoustic violence (Body & Society) and the sonic constitution of embodied space (Journal of Sonic Studies). He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Oxford. 

Lisa Guenther

Lisa Guenther is Queen’s National Scholar in Political Philosophy and Critical Prison Studies at Queen’s University in Canada. She is the author of Solitary Confinement: Social Death and its Afterlives (2013) and co-editor of Death and Other Penalties: Philosophy in a Time of Mass Incarceration (2015). From 2012-17, she facilitated a discussion group with men on death row in Tennessee called REACH Coalition. She is currently a member of the P4W Memorial Collective, and she is working on a critical phenomenology of prison abolition and decolonization on Turtle Island. 

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