Structural Analysis (Sort Of and Not Really)

Spending a week in a place where I do not know a word of the language (even if it it doesn’t really matter from a tourist perspective) and many hours in flight with bad (Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer bad) movies as entertainment gave me some motivation and time to think about phenomenology and structuralism. At some point during a ginger ale and rice crackers fueled state I thought it might be a good idea to perform a “structural” analysis of structuralism and phenomenology. Perhaps reflecting on the language I know that describes each concept will enhance my understanding.

I further developed this exercise to try and restrict myself to other “philosophical” words that I see used in the discussions of phenomenology and structuralism. Some concepts may not quite fit because I either don’t understand them or the category, but it’s a learning exercise and those are impervious to wrong answers. Unless it’s graded and it’s not.

Finally, language is seemingly infinite so I tried to limit myself to related terms and or other “philosophical” concepts.


  • Postmodern
  • Real (Stolterman usage)
  • Subjective
  • Hermeneutics
  • Relativism
  • Deconstuction


  • Modern
  • Positivist
  • Rational
  • True (Stolterman usage)
  • Objective
  • Deterministic

I see a lot of antonym pairs in the list. I know the concepts are not necessarily opposites, but I think I’m internalizing them as such which is probably a bad thing. How can this be avoided?

What words do you use to describe phenomenology and structuralism? Let’s put the community hive mind to good use.

About Tyler

PhD Student, Human-Computer Interaction and Design School of Informatics @ Indiana University
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