Phenoscopy 1

Look around, ahead, behind, within,
with all your senses
and thoughts
and memory
and imagination
to whatever appears.
Study the nature of appearing itself,
its ways of happening.

That study is called phenoscopy in the Century Dictionary Supplement (1910, p. 981):

phenoscopy (fe-nos’ko-pi), n. [Irreg. < Gr. (φαίνεσθαι, appear, + σκοπεῖν, contemplate, examine.] That study which observes, generalizes, and analyzes the elements that are always or very often present in, or along with, whatever is before the mind in any way, as percept, image, experience, thought, habit, hypothesis, etc. C. S. Peirce.

(Peirce apparently coined this term but did not often use it; his writings on the subject mostly call it phenomenology or phaneroscopy. Some of Peirce’s thoughts on the subject can be found by searching his works (or my Turning Signs) for those terms, or for “firstness”, “secondness,” “thirdness” or “categories.”)

This post begins an irregular series intended to start phenoscopy “from scratch” and record the results of my own phenoscopic investigations. No prior knowledge is required for this study, and no special training or equipment. You can study very distant things with a telescope, and very tiny things with a microscope, but you can only study what’s in front of or under your nose with a phenoscope, which is nothing but your control of your attention. But you must be willing to set aside any ideas that you normally take for granted.

Consider: whatever you know must appear
before you know it.

One thought on “Phenoscopy 1”

  1. “There was always more in the world than men could see, walked they ever so slowly; they will see it no better for going fast. The really precious things are thought and sight, not pace.” John Ruskin

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