This book review in a scholarly journal was originally published as: Morrison, G. J. (). Book Review: John Russon, Human Experience: Philosophy. John Russon’s Human Experience draws on central concepts of contemporary European philosophy to develop a novel analysis of the human. Traversing the meaning of being and reflecting upon the world of everyday human experience, John Russon has introduced a heartening perspective of.

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Russon has clearly challenged many prejudices. It is widely used in courses in philosophy and psychology.

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Buy the selected items together This item: Ships from and sold by Amazon. Customers who bought this item also bought. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. Civilization and Its Discontents. Bearing Witness to Epiphany: The Trial and Death of Socrates. Review “The book is persuasively insightful and an excellent translation of phenomenological-hermeneutical ideas, resonating with the works of Hegel, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and others, into a practical application concerning the nature of therapy.

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Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Read reviews that mention human experience russon book heidegger and merleau-ponty therapy and education john russon nature of human hegel phenomenology human condition recommend this book course students ethics lives process sense introduction text ways development introductory.

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Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. I first uhman Russon’s excellent Human Experience: Philosophy, Neurosis, and the Elements of Everyday Life as a beginning graduate student, when Experirnce already had some formal acquaintance with texts in the Continental philosophical tradition but when I had not yet, as D.

Winnicott says of the child coming to be at home in the world, made them my own. Human Experience has been invaluable in this ongoing process. Russon writes in the experisnce, which situates Human Experience within the history of Western Philosophy generally expdrience within the Continental European philosophical tradition more specifically, experiecne this book is most deeply an engagement with G.

Rather than being a book about these texts, however, Russon promises an exploration of the fundamental form, substance, and processes of human experience in the spirit of thinkers like Hegel, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty. He delivers, in a manner that at once offers profound insights of hyman own into various existentially-gripping phenomena of experience as it is lived and transforms how these texts by Hegel, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty can be read.

The subject matter of Human Experience ranges from the fundamental forms that lived experience qua lived experience takes, to the manners in which human experience is developed in the interpersonal contexts of the family and the larger social world, to the manners in which the quality of lived experience can be transformatively approached through therapy, education, and philosophical study. This is a work that has incorporated serious philosophical achievements from throughout the history of philosophy and from the phenomenological tradition to address matters that should be of substantial concern to individuals seeking to understand themselves and the world in which they live.


Human Experience has the second merit of demonstrating what it takes to properly read philosophical texts.

Human Experience teaches us to approach our own lives philosophically, and to approach philosophical texts through live philosophical engagement rather than academic detachment. I have been using this text is my undergraduate courses for nearly ten years. But this book is neither about these philosophers nohn is it dependent on them for its justifications. Russon offers here a unique view into reality that makes sense of, what is commonly called, the existential-phenomenological tradition.

I highly recommend this book. One person found this helpful. A rigorous update of the philosophical quest for self-knowledge and excellence. Self-help books are usually premised on the idea that we know more or less how we’d like to turn out, and just need some good advice on how to get there. We want to huma rich, have people like us, get more done in less time, overcome depression, lose weight, or maximize our pleasure.

Even if the practical instruction were sound usually it just amounts to a series of platitudes like: We need to begin the process of rigorous self-examination, that was first proposed by the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates as essential to a life worth living.

John Russon Research Papers –

In that process it would be difficult to find a better guide than John Russon, who has absorbed the pivotal insights on the question to be drawn from the history of philosophy from Plato and Aristotle through Freud and Marx to Heidegger and Sartre and Merleau Exeprience, and distilled their essence into the form of a rigorous but readable treatise on the nature of human experience, and especially on what it takes to be healthy and whole in the face of diverse and contradictory demands imposed on expegience by ourselves, our families and our worlds.

Several other reviewers have noted that the book is informed by and works in the philosophical tradition of 20th Century phenomenology, and constitutes an important contribution to contemporary Continental philosophy.

What is perhaps most distinctive about the book is that, like Aristotle’s ethics, the explicit aim of the book is not merely to help us understand ourselves but to assist in the process of actually becoming better.

Aristotle’s ethics amounts to an effort to fulfill the human potential. Notoriously, though, he claimed that this fulfillment was only possible for those who had already been raised well, with roughly the right set of habits or characteristic dispositions to act.

The reason for this seemed to be that when we reach the age of reason, and acquire the capacity to reflect on what we do and how to do it better, it is already too late to modify our basic dispositions unless those dispositions are already more or less self consistent and more or less moderate and amenable to change.

So, presupposed by his ethics is a good social and familial environment for child rearing: Another way to put this was that russin knew his ethics would not be realizable on a large scale without large scale political effort, and he complemented his ethical writings with a political treatise.

The problem is, if this was a problem in the time of Aristotle it is much more obviously a problem today, where individuals and families and religions and communities have nothing close to a consensus about the nature of human beings and the strategies for their education. The habits we develop in expeerience families can easily conflict with those required for performance in school or expected in church or demanded by our relationships within the larger community.


And we can’t really expect that to change, and can’t wait until it does to implement a plan for individual development. Russon’s text can be considered an update of Aristotelian ethics that takes the modern social and political world as its context, and therefore cannot presuppose an ideal jobn who is more or less already “well adjusted” with the approximately right set of habits that would allow her to attune these through the application of practical wisdom.

The basic argument of the text can be summarized fairly quickly in a series of theses that build upon epxerience other: Part of the process of the book is not merely to come to an intellectual understanding of what life is like, but to develop a whole new way of talking and thinking about life experience that actually transforms the way our experience unfolds. Like some of the other reviewers here, I used this book in the classroom to teach students about phenomenology. They learned a lot and really enjoyed the book but what was most notable was the way that writing about it clearly gave them the tools to reflect upon their lives in new and empowering ways.

I can’t recommend the book highly enough — though be warned that it is a challenging book, both in the sense that it requires careful attention and slow digestion, and in the sense that it aims to challenge a number of our most basic prejudices about the nature of reality and experience.

This book was purchased for my son’s college class.

He said it was perfect, and I liked the price! See all 12 reviews. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run huamn giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway. Set up a giveaway.

John Russon

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Last modified: July 24, 2020