Proceedings of The 10th International Conference on Humanities, Psychology and Social Sciences
Relativity of Justification: Reginald Rose’s Twelve Angry Men within the Phenomenological Context
Nilay Erdem Ayyıldız
Reginald Rose’s Twelve Angry Men (1954) is a courtroom narrative, written for television and then revised for screen and stage several times. In the play, twelve unnamed jurors from different socioeconomic backgrounds are confined to a courtroom to reach a unanimous verdict on a murder trial. It portrays how relativity obstructs the jury to reach a consensus. Juror 8 stands alone against the other eleven members of the jury, who resolve about the criminality of the defendant on the basis of assumptions and presupposition, not a fair judgment. He adopts a Socratic manner and proceeds to provoke doubt amongst the others slowly and patiently questioning a series of arguments, statements and pieces of evidence from the trial. Thus, he promotes them to strip their consciousness of subjectivity and approach to the phenomenon objectively as much as possible by focusing on merely the essential elements, pertaining to the case. In this regard, the present study suggests that the character in question assumes the Husserlian phenomenological approach throughout the play. Therefore, the study intends to first introduce the phenomenology philosopher David Husserl’s key concepts in the phenomenological method including “directed intentionality”, “bracketing/epoché” and “reduction”. It then aims to examine the phenomenological steps, which Juror 8 follows, and discuss to what extent the jury can achieve making a fair judgement about the case through a phenomenological approach.
Keywords: “bracketing/epoché”; “directed intentionality”; phenomenology; “reduction”; subjectivity.