Gadamer on experience

Many seek to investigate experience(s). Experience is one of the keywords that demarcates qualitative from quantitative research. However, if we will attempt to investigate it and represent it for others, we must ask, ‘what is experience’? I fear that many never pause to consider this but ways ought to be found to trouble the surface of our assumptions before we default to techniques and methods, such as slicing and dicing interview transcripts.

Gadamer notes that in the continuity of experience, just as music is more than the notes, but also the motifs which they support, experience as a whole, “…is not an act (a becoming conscious) and a content (that of which one is conscious). It is, rather, indivisible consciousness. Even to say that experience is of something is to make too great a division.” (p226 2013ed)

In the very act of observation, experience is already fractured.

Shattered

Photo credit: CC Michael J

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