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Phenomenology (philosophy)

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❶Not all conscious beings will, or will be able to, practice phenomenology, as we do.

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2. The Discipline of Phenomenology
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The science of phenomena as distinct from being ontology. That division of any science which describes and classifies its phenomena. From the Greek phainomenon , appearance. In physics and philosophy of science, the term is used in the second sense, albeit only occasionally. In its root meaning, then, phenomenology is the study of phenomena: Yet the discipline of phenomenology did not blossom until the 20th century and remains poorly understood in many circles of contemporary philosophy.

What is that discipline? How did philosophy move from a root concept of phenomena to the discipline of phenomenology? Immanuel Kant used the term occasionally in various writings, as did Johann Gottlieb Fichte. From there Edmund Husserl took up the term for his new science of consciousness, and the rest is history. Suppose we say phenomenology studies phenomena: How shall we understand phenomena?

The term has a rich history in recent centuries, in which we can see traces of the emerging discipline of phenomenology. In a strict empiricist vein, what appears before the mind are sensory data or qualia: In 18 th and 19 th century epistemology, then, phenomena are the starting points in building knowledge, especially science.

Accordingly, in a familiar and still current sense, phenomena are whatever we observe perceive and seek to explain. As the discipline of psychology emerged late in the 19 th century, however, phenomena took on a somewhat different guise. More generally, we might say, phenomena are whatever we are conscious of: In a certain technical sense, phenomena are things as they are given to our consciousness, whether in perception or imagination or thought or volition.

This conception of phenomena would soon inform the new discipline of phenomenology. Brentano distinguished descriptive psychology from genetic psychology. Where genetic psychology seeks the causes of various types of mental phenomena, descriptive psychology defines and classifies the various types of mental phenomena, including perception, judgment, emotion, etc. According to Brentano, every mental phenomenon, or act of consciousness, is directed toward some object, and only mental phenomena are so directed.

Phenomenology as we know it was launched by Edmund Husserl in his Logical Investigations — Two importantly different lines of theory came together in that monumental work: In his Theory of Science Bolzano distinguished between subjective and objective ideas or representations Vorstellungen.

In effect Bolzano criticized Kant and before him the classical empiricists and rationalists for failing to make this sort of distinction, thereby rendering phenomena merely subjective. Logic studies objective ideas, including propositions, which in turn make up objective theories as in the sciences.

Psychology would, by contrast, study subjective ideas, the concrete contents occurrences of mental activities in particular minds at a given time. Husserl was after both, within a single discipline. So phenomena must be reconceived as objective intentional contents sometimes called intentional objects of subjective acts of consciousness. Phenomenology would then study this complex of consciousness and correlated phenomena. The intentional process of consciousness is called noesis , while its ideal content is called noema.

Thus the phenomenon, or object-as-it-appears, becomes the noema, or object-as-it-is-intended. Is the noema an aspect of the object intended, or rather a medium of intention? For Husserl, then, phenomenology integrates a kind of psychology with a kind of logic. It develops a descriptive or analytic psychology in that it describes and analyzes types of subjective mental activity or experience, in short, acts of consciousness.

Yet it develops a kind of logic—a theory of meaning today we say logical semantics —in that it describes and analyzes objective contents of consciousness: These contents are shareable by different acts of consciousness, and in that sense they are objective, ideal meanings.

Following Bolzano and to some extent the platonistic logician Hermann Lotze , Husserl opposed any reduction of logic or mathematics or science to mere psychology, to how people happen to think, and in the same spirit he distinguished phenomenology from mere psychology.

For Husserl, phenomenology would study consciousness without reducing the objective and shareable meanings that inhabit experience to merely subjective happenstances. Ideal meaning would be the engine of intentionality in acts of consciousness. With theoretical foundations laid in the Investigations , Husserl would then promote the radical new science of phenomenology in Ideas I And alternative visions of phenomenology would soon follow.

Phenomenology came into its own with Husserl, much as epistemology came into its own with Descartes, and ontology or metaphysics came into its own with Aristotle on the heels of Plato. Yet phenomenology has been practiced, with or without the name, for many centuries.

When Hindu and Buddhist philosophers reflected on states of consciousness achieved in a variety of meditative states, they were practicing phenomenology. When Descartes, Hume, and Kant characterized states of perception, thought, and imagination, they were practicing phenomenology. When Brentano classified varieties of mental phenomena defined by the directedness of consciousness , he was practicing phenomenology.

When William James appraised kinds of mental activity in the stream of consciousness including their embodiment and their dependence on habit , he too was practicing phenomenology.

And when recent analytic philosophers of mind have addressed issues of consciousness and intentionality, they have often been practicing phenomenology. Still, the discipline of phenomenology, its roots tracing back through the centuries, came to full flower in Husserl. The diversity of traditional phenomenology is apparent in the Encyclopedia of Phenomenology Kluwer Academic Publishers, , Dordrecht and Boston , which features separate articles on some seven types of phenomenology.

The most famous of the classical phenomenologists were Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, and Merleau-Ponty. In these four thinkers we find different conceptions of phenomenology, different methods, and different results. A brief sketch of their differences will capture both a crucial period in the history of phenomenology and a sense of the diversity of the field of phenomenology.

In his Logical Investigations —01 Husserl outlined a complex system of philosophy, moving from logic to philosophy of language, to ontology theory of universals and parts of wholes , to a phenomenological theory of intentionality, and finally to a phenomenological theory of knowledge.

Then in Ideas I he focused squarely on phenomenology itself. In this spirit, we may say phenomenology is the study of consciousness—that is, conscious experience of various types—as experienced from the first-person point of view.

In this discipline we study different forms of experience just as we experience them, from the perspective of the subject living through or performing them. Thus, we characterize experiences of seeing, hearing, imagining, thinking, feeling i.

However, not just any characterization of an experience will do. Phenomenological analysis of a given type of experience will feature the ways in which we ourselves would experience that form of conscious activity.

And the leading property of our familiar types of experience is their intentionality, their being a consciousness of or about something, something experienced or presented or engaged in a certain way. How I see or conceptualize or understand the object I am dealing with defines the meaning of that object in my current experience.

Thus, phenomenology features a study of meaning, in a wide sense that includes more than what is expressed in language. In Ideas I Husserl presented phenomenology with a transcendental turn. We thereby turn our attention, in reflection, to the structure of our own conscious experience. Our first key result is the observation that each act of consciousness is a consciousness of something, that is, intentional, or directed toward something.

Consider my visual experience wherein I see a tree across the square. In phenomenological reflection, we need not concern ourselves with whether the tree exists: However, we do need to concern ourselves with how the object is meant or intended. I see a Eucalyptus tree, not a Yucca tree; I see that object as a Eucalyptus, with a certain shape, with bark stripping off, etc.

Thus, bracketing the tree itself, we turn our attention to my experience of the tree, and specifically to the content or meaning in my experience. This tree-as-perceived Husserl calls the noema or noematic sense of the experience. Philosophers succeeding Husserl debated the proper characterization of phenomenology, arguing over its results and its methods.

And they were not alone. Heidegger had his own ideas about phenomenology. In Being and Time Heidegger unfurled his rendition of phenomenology. By contrast, Heidegger held that our more basic ways of relating to things are in practical activities like hammering, where the phenomenology reveals our situation in a context of equipment and in being-with-others.

Much of Being and Time develops an existential interpretation of our modes of being including, famously, our being-toward-death. In a very different style, in clear analytical prose, in the text of a lecture course called The Basic Problems of Phenomenology , Heidegger traced the question of the meaning of being from Aristotle through many other thinkers into the issues of phenomenology.

Our understanding of beings and their being comes ultimately through phenomenology. Heidegger questioned the contemporary concern with technology, and his writing might suggest that our scientific theories are historical artifacts that we use in technological practice, rather than systems of ideal truth as Husserl had held.

Our deep understanding of being, in our own case, comes rather from phenomenology, Heidegger held. In the s phenomenology migrated from Austrian and then German philosophy into French philosophy. In the novel Nausea Jean-Paul Sartre described a bizarre course of experience in which the protagonist, writing in the first person, describes how ordinary objects lose their meaning until he encounters pure being at the foot of a chestnut tree, and in that moment recovers his sense of his own freedom.

In Being and Nothingness , written partly while a prisoner of war , Sartre developed his conception of phenomenological ontology. Consciousness is a consciousness of objects, as Husserl had stressed. The chestnut tree I see is, for Sartre, such a phenomenon in my consciousness. For Sartre, the practice of phenomenology proceeds by a deliberate reflection on the structure of consciousness. Sartre wrote many plays and novels and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. In Phenomenology of Perception Merleau-Ponty developed a rich variety of phenomenology emphasizing the role of the body in human experience.

Unlike Husserl, Heidegger, and Sartre, Merleau-Ponty looked to experimental psychology, analyzing the reported experience of amputees who felt sensations in a phantom limb. Merleau-Ponty rejected both associationist psychology, focused on correlations between sensation and stimulus, and intellectualist psychology, focused on rational construction of the world in the mind. Think of the behaviorist and computationalist models of mind in more recent decades of empirical psychology. For the body image is neither in the mental realm nor in the mechanical-physical realm.

Rather, my body is, as it were, me in my engaged action with things I perceive including other people. The scope of Phenomenology of Perception is characteristic of the breadth of classical phenomenology, not least because Merleau-Ponty drew with generosity on Husserl, Heidegger, and Sartre while fashioning his own innovative vision of phenomenology.

His phenomenology addressed the role of attention in the phenomenal field, the experience of the body, the spatiality of the body, the motility of the body, the body in sexual being and in speech, other selves, temporality, and the character of freedom so important in French existentialism.

In short, consciousness is embodied in the world , and equally body is infused with consciousness with cognition of the world. In the years since Husserl, Heidegger, et al. Interpretation of historical texts by Husserl et al. Since the s, philosophers trained in the methods of analytic philosophy have also dug into the foundations of phenomenology, with an eye to 20 th century work in philosophy of logic, language, and mind.

Analytic phenomenology picks up on that connection. For Frege, an expression refers to an object by way of a sense: For Husserl, similarly, an experience or act of consciousness intends or refers to an object by way of a noema or noematic sense: Indeed, for Husserl, the theory of intentionality is a generalization of the theory of linguistic reference: More recently, analytic philosophers of mind have rediscovered phenomenological issues of mental representation, intentionality, consciousness, sensory experience, intentional content, and context-of-thought.

Some researchers have begun to combine phenomenological issues with issues of neuroscience and behavioral studies and mathematical modeling.

Such studies will extend the methods of traditional phenomenology as the Zeitgeist moves on. We address philosophy of mind below. The discipline of phenomenology forms one basic field in philosophy among others. How is phenomenology distinguished from, and related to, other fields in philosophy? Traditionally, philosophy includes at least four core fields or disciplines: Suppose phenomenology joins that list.

Consider then these elementary definitions of field:. The domains of study in these five fields are clearly different, and they seem to call for different methods of study. Historically it may be argued , Socrates and Plato put ethics first, then Aristotle put metaphysics or ontology first, then Descartes put epistemology first, then Russell put logic first, and then Husserl in his later transcendental phase put phenomenology first.

As we saw, phenomenology helps to define the phenomena on which knowledge claims rest, according to modern epistemology. On the other hand, phenomenology itself claims to achieve knowledge about the nature of consciousness, a distinctive kind of first-person knowledge, through a form of intuition.

As we saw, logical theory of meaning led Husserl into the theory of intentionality, the heart of phenomenology. On one account, phenomenology explicates the intentional or semantic force of ideal meanings, and propositional meanings are central to logical theory.

But logical structure is expressed in language, either ordinary language or symbolic languages like those of predicate logic or mathematics or computer systems.

It remains an important issue of debate where and whether language shapes specific forms of experience thought, perception, emotion and their content or meaning. In phenomenology, intersubjectivity constitutes objectivity i. This does not imply that objectivity is reduced to subjectivity nor does it imply a relativist position, cf.

In the experience of intersubjectivity, one also experiences oneself as being a subject among other subjects, and one experiences oneself as existing objectively for these Others ; one experiences oneself as the noema of Others' noeses, or as a subject in another's empathic experience.

As such, one experiences oneself as objectively existing subjectivity. Intersubjectivity is also a part in the constitution of one's lifeworld, especially as "homeworld. Lebenswelt is the "world" each one of us lives in. One could call it the "background" or "horizon" of all experience, and it is that on which each object stands out as itself as different and with the meaning it can only hold for us. The lifeworld is both personal and intersubjective it is then called a "homeworld" , and, as such, it does not enclose each one of us in a solus ipse.

In the first edition of the Logical Investigations , still under the influence of Brentano, Husserl describes his position as "descriptive psychology.

The first volume of the Logical Investigations , the Prolegomena to Pure Logic , begins with a devastating critique of psychologism , i.

Husserl establishes a separate field for research in logic, philosophy, and phenomenology, independently from the empirical sciences. Some years after the publication of the Logical Investigations , Husserl made some key elaborations that led him to the distinction between the act of consciousness noesis and the phenomena at which it is directed the noemata. What we observe is not the object as it is in itself, but how and inasmuch it is given in the intentional acts.

Knowledge of essences would only be possible by "bracketing" all assumptions about the existence of an external world and the inessential subjective aspects of how the object is concretely given to us. Husserl in a later period concentrated more on the ideal, essential structures of consciousness. As he wanted to exclude any hypothesis on the existence of external objects, he introduced the method of phenomenological reduction to eliminate them.

What was left over was the pure transcendental ego, as opposed to the concrete empirical ego. Now Transcendental Phenomenology is the study of the essential structures that are left in pure consciousness: This amounts in practice to the study of the noemata and the relations among them. The philosopher Theodor Adorno criticised Husserl's concept of phenomenological epistemology in his metacritique Against Epistemology , which is anti-foundationalist in its stance. After Husserl's publication of the Ideen in , many phenomenologists took a critical stance towards his new theories.

Especially the members of the Munich group distanced themselves from his new transcendental phenomenology and preferred the earlier realist phenomenology of the first edition of the Logical Investigations. Existential phenomenology differs from transcendental phenomenology by its rejection of the transcendental ego. Merleau-Ponty objects to the ego's transcendence of the world, which for Husserl leaves the world spread out and completely transparent before the conscious.

Heidegger thinks of a conscious being as always already in the world. Transcendence is maintained in existential phenomenology to the extent that the method of phenomenology must take a presuppositionless starting point — transcending claims about the world arising from, for example, natural or scientific attitudes or theories of the ontological nature of the world. While Husserl thought of philosophy as a scientific discipline that had to be founded on a phenomenology understood as epistemology , Martin Heidegger held a radically different view.

Heidegger himself states their differences this way:. According to Heidegger, philosophy was not at all a scientific discipline, but more fundamental than science itself. According to him science is only one way of knowing the world with no special access to truth. Furthermore, the scientific mindset itself is built on a much more "primordial" foundation of practical, everyday knowledge.

Husserl was skeptical of this approach, which he regarded as quasi-mystical, and it contributed to the divergence in their thinking. Instead of taking phenomenology as prima philosophia or a foundational discipline, Heidegger took it as a metaphysical ontology: Phenomena are not the foundation or Ground of Being. Neither are they appearances, for, as Heidegger argues in Being and Time , an appearance is "that which shows itself in something else," while a phenomenon is "that which shows itself in itself.

While for Husserl we would have to abstract from all concrete determinations of our empirical ego, to be able to turn to the field of pure consciousness, Heidegger claims that "the possibilities and destinies of philosophy are bound up with man's existence, and thus with temporality and with historicality. However, ontological being and existential being are different categories, so Heidegger's conflation of these categories is, according to Husserl's view, the root of Heidegger's error.

Husserl charged Heidegger with raising the question of ontology but failing to answer it, instead switching the topic to the Dasein, the only being for whom Being is an issue. That is neither ontology nor phenomenology, according to Husserl, but merely abstract anthropology.

To clarify, perhaps, by abstract anthropology, as a non-existentialist searching for essences, Husserl rejected the existentialism implicit in Heidegger's distinction between beings qua existents as things in reality and their Being as it unfolds in Dasein's own reflections on its being-in-the-world, wherein being becomes present to us, that is, is unconcealed.

Some researchers in phenomenology in particular in reference to Heidegger's legacy see possibilities of establishing dialogues with traditions of thought outside of the so-called Western philosophy , particularly with respect to East-Asian thinking , and despite perceived differences between "Eastern" and "Western". There are also recent signs of the reception of phenomenology and Heidegger's thought in particular within scholarly circles focused on studying the impetus of metaphysics in the history of ideas in Islam and Early Islamic philosophy such as in the works of the Lebanese philosopher Nader El-Bizri ; [37] perhaps this is tangentially due to the indirect influence of the tradition of the French Orientalist and phenomenologist Henri Corbin , and later accentuated through El-Bizri's dialogues with the Polish phenomenologist Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka.

In addition, the work of Jim Ruddy in the field of comparative philosophy , combined the concept of Transcendental Ego in Husserl's phenomenology with the concept of the primacy of self-consciousness in the work of Sankaracharya. In the course of this work, Ruddy uncovered a wholly new eidetic phenomenological science, which he called "convergent phenomenology. James Moor has argued that computers show up policy vacuums that require new thinking and the establishment of new policies.

For the phenomenologist, society and technology co-constitute each other; they are each other's ongoing condition, or possibility for being what they are. For them technology is not just the artifact. Rather, the artifact already emerges from a prior 'technological' attitude towards the world Heidegger For Heidegger the essence of technology is the way of being of modern humans—a way of conducting themselves towards the world—that sees the world as something to be ordered and shaped in line with projects, intentions and desires—a 'will to power' that manifests itself as a 'will to technology'.

However, according to Heidegger this 'pre-technological' age or mood is one where humans' relation with the world and artifacts, their way of being disposed, was poetic and aesthetic rather than technological enframing.

In critiquing the artificial intelligence AI programme, Hubert Dreyfus argues that the way skill development has become understood in the past has been wrong. He argues, this is the model that the early artificial intelligence community uncritically adopted. In opposition to this view, he argues, with Heidegger, that what we observe when we learn a new skill in everyday practice is in fact the opposite.

We most often start with explicit rules or preformulated approaches and then move to a multiplicity of particular cases, as we become an expert. His argument draws directly on Heidegger's account in "Being and Time" of humans as beings that are always already situated in-the-world. As humans 'in-the-world', we are already experts at going about everyday life, at dealing with the subtleties of every particular situation; that is why everyday life seems so obvious. Thus, the intricate expertise of everyday activity is forgotten and taken for granted by AI as an assumed starting point.

It is the assumed, and forgotten, horizon of everyday practice that makes technological devices and solutions show up as meaningful. If we are to understand technology we need to 'return' to the horizon of meaning that made it show up as the artifacts we need, want and desire. We need to consider how these technologies reveal or disclose us.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about phenomenology in philosophy. For phenomenology as a research method, see Phenomenography. For phenomenology as an approach in psychology, see Phenomenology psychology. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.

February Learn how and when to remove this template message. Antipositivism Deconstruction Ecophenomenology Existentialism Geneva School Gestalt therapy Hermeneutics Heterophenomenology Ideasthesia Important publications in phenomenological psychology List of phenomenologists Phenomenography Phenomenological sociology Phenomenological Thomism Phenomenology architecture Phenomenology of religion Phenomenology psychology Philosophical anthropology Poststructuralism Psychodrama Qualia Social constructionism Structuralism Structuration theory Technoethics.

Dialogues in Philosophy, Mental and Neuro Sciences, 7 2: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Consciousness and the Self. New Youk, Dordrecht, London: Retrieved 17 December The fateful separation of transcendental philosophy and psychology".

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phenomenological research an inductive, descriptive research approach developed from phenomenological philosophy; its aim is to describe an .

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Phenomenology definition is - the study of the development of human consciousness and self-awareness as a preface to or a part of philosophy. .

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That's a pattern, and it can tell Ethan something about how parents deal. Essentially, phenomenological research is looking for the universal nature of an experience. Strengths and Limitations. There are several strengths of phenomenological research. For one thing, it provides a very rich and detailed description of the human experience. Phenomenology in business research focuses on experiences, events and occurrences with disregard or minimum regard for the external and physical reality. Phenomenology, also known as non-positivism, is a variation of interpretivism, along with other variations such as hermeneutics, symbolic interactionism and others.

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Definition of phenomenological. 1: This capability will be provided through basic phenomenological research, hardware, and algorithm development of sense-through-wall technology that can directly support tactical expeditionary urban operations in the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). What is phenomenology of practice? So, the aim of a phenomenological research project is to arrive at phenomenal insights that contribute to our thoughtfulness and practical tact, by using the methods of the epoché and the reduction. What is a phenomenon? The instant of the Now?