ABSTRACT. In this paper, I claim that both being and meaning constitute human actions. We can only apprehend their meaning through our phenomenological experiences of them as being. The methodology to explore and support such a proposal is both a phenomenological approach indebted to Sartre and a version of Panofsky’s iconology grounded in the understanding of the symbolical dimension of human being. The argument put forth is that since every phenomenon within a series responds to a principle that can be considered its essence, it logically follows that the phenomenological images of perceived actions, that is, the actions as they appear to our consciousness (praxical image), are also principled by an essence, and since actions are enrooted within a particular culture, therefore, the principle must be cultural as well; and given that the principle rules the series of phenomenological images from inside as well as from outside, then, it can be held that the principle is a cultural image of human being (anthropical image) which constitutes the essential meaning of the series of actions that accounts for a form of life, and thus, it can be concluded that the phenomenological images are already invested with cultural (symbolical) meaning, which endows the agent with identity.

Keywords: praxical and anthropical images; iconology; phenomenology; actions; Sartre; Merleau-Ponty

How to cite: Rueda Garrido, Daniel (2019). “Towards a Cultural Phenomenology of Actions and Forms of Life,” Review of Contemporary Philosophy 18: 80–118.

Received 12 May 2018 • Received in revised form 14 November 2018
Accepted 13 December 2018 • Available online 28 December 2018


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Hebei Normal University, Shijiazhuang, China

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