The surprising experience of vertigo puts fundamental aspects of our everyday life at stakes, such as space, our body, and movements, in the incommunicable seclusion of one’s bodily experience. Suddenly, our habitual perception is in crisis: the familiar stable sensation, the sensation of gravity and the whole conscious experience appears, so to speak, by other coordinates. What is happening there? The real challenge here, rather than giving an explanation of its cause, pertains to the way in which we may uncover such lived experience and how the fundamental problem of psychology, namely, the nature of the psyche, still remains open. What is consciousness? If we pay attention to the different scientific approaches to vertigo, we can easily see how their explanatory scientific purpose turn the lived experience into the darkness, erasing the key traces that can guide us to its living origin. Undoubtedly, the purpose of science is noble. It seeks the way to classify and quantify the empirical determinations that cause it, by trying to fix the epistemological gaps between empirical symptoms and psychological motivations. However, the problem is that the conscious origin of the lived experience of vertigo and also the origin of conscious life as such remain unknown. As a consequence, these theoretical interpretations overshadow the experience and lead us to make assumptions, which are simply beliefs of a particular cause but without a robust certainty.
Taking this into account, the aim of this article is to address the psychogenic vertigo of heights from a phenomenological perspective, which means, from the epistemological approach that tries to recover the subjective lived experience itself, by unveiling the first basic level of the intentional constitution of vertigo. In order to achieve this purpose, we want to offer three main tasks: (i) a methodological definition of the kind of analysis that we will do, by indicating the requirements for the appropriate phenomenological intentional analysis, (ii) a descriptive reconstruction of vertigo’s lived experience in the first person approach, based on the remembering of it, following Husserl’s achievements and also some contemporary scholars of the same line, and, (iii) a reconsideration of the current clinical point of view based on the phenomenological descriptions that we will have already indicated – because of time constraints, maybe it is convenient to let this last task open for discussion later.
Verónica Arís and Francisco Parr
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Presented at: The 17th International Conference on Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology. Frutillar, Chile. October 31st, 2015