Create a Book
Enter your search terms
Submit search form
Try it FREE or V.I.P.
It's Quick and Easy!
Forgot your password?
is the internet's
online source for free ebook downloads, resources and authors
Introduction to Phenomenology
This is an HTML version of the ebook and may not be properly formatted. Please view the PDF version for the original work.
Click to bookmark this page.
Click to increase font size.
Click to decrease font size.
Click to translate.
Leave a comment.
Add to Library
Add to Library
READ THIS BOOK AS
PDF Format is ideal for: PC's & Macs, iPhone, and Printing
The Text (TXT) format is the simplest format and can be read in any word processor. Plus it is printable.
The ePub format is ideal for the Sony Reader, Barnes & Noble Nook, BeBook, Bookeen, COOL-ER, Hanlin eReader, Hanvon and many other ebook readers
Mobipocket Format is ideal for: Amazon Kindle, Mobile Phones, Blackberry, Palm, IRex, ILiad, Hanlin, BeBook and other mobile devices
), even as
), whatever assists in elucidating the meaning of the phenomenon in question
without resorting to purely causal or ‘genetic’ explanation (
). Due to its con-
cern to treat the phenomenon concretely in all its fullness, phenomenology stands
opposed to naturalism, scientism and reductionism, and to all forms of explanation
that draw attention away from the manner of the appearance of the phenomena in
question. Or, as the French phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908–1961)
put it, phenomenology seeks to restore the richness of the world as experienced; it
wants to be present at the birth of the world for us.
It is important to grasp the difference between the phenomenological approach and
other kinds of scientiﬁc approach, for example, the psychological, physiological or
causal-explanatory approaches prevalent in the natural sciences. Husserl insisted on
this point, but it still gives rise to endless confusion. First of all, Husserl is emphatically
not challenging the importance, necessity or validity of explanatory scientiﬁc
accounts. Investigations into the physical and chemical nature of the brain and its
processing are a necessary part of science. But that is not the function of a
phenomenological description, which is a mode of approach that can be used in all
areas of science, but which speciﬁcally focuses on the manner objects are constituted
in and for subjects. It focuses on the structure and qualities of objects and situations
as they are experienced
by the subject
. What Husserl calls the
– as the
site of appearance of objectivity
– is its theme.
Phenomenology aims to describe in all its complexity the manifold layers of the
experience of objectivity as it emerges at the heart of
. It is critical of all
that attend only to what appears and not to the relation of the
appearing to the subject. Put in another and perhaps less satisfactory way, phenom-
enology describes, in its own terms, the essential and irreducible nature of the
in the world – less satisfactory, because the appeal to
consciousness can hardly avoid invoking the spectre of Cartesianism, with its ghostly
isolated subject and its problematic dualism (and for this reason Heidegger tended to
avoid the term ‘consciousness’ altogether). In fact, however, in their attempt to do
justice to the essential and irreducible relations between human comportment and the
world, phenomenologists seek to overcome the traditional dichotomies of modern
philosophy, especially the subject–object distinction of traditional epistemology, with
its attendant account of knowledge as a representation of the object immanent in the
Husserl insisted that phenomenology as the fundamental science of all sciences had
, i.e. its descriptions had to avoid the presumptions both
of the modern philosophical and the scientiﬁc traditions. Of course, this claim to a
presuppositionless starting-point is itself highly problematic and soon came under
scrutiny within the phenomenological movement. Given the historically rooted nature
of human knowledge, the total absence of all presupposition would be impossible in a
science, and thus what is aimed at is, at best, as Gadamer has suggested, freedom
prejudices. In fact, the manner in which phenomenological
description had to come to terms with the recognition that some presuppositions are
necessary for any form of understanding led to the fusion of phenomenology with the
older discipline of hermeneutics, the art or practice of interpretation, beginning with
Heidegger, who, as we shall discuss below, drew on the hermeneutical tradition of
Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768–1834) and Wilhelm