Introduction to Phenomenology


Phenomenology : a science of phenomenon

Phenomenology is, in general, descriptive study of a set of phenomena. It often refers to Husserl’s philosophical system and a whole school of thought that claims Husserl’s concepts, or at least the method of Husserl.

Phenomenology derives from a critique of classical metaphysics, and its underlying trend is that of a return to the concrete (“the things themselves” is the major injunction according to Husserl). Indeed Husserl conceives it back as a return to “original intuition” of things and ideas. Husserl considered phenomenology as a rigorous science. He explains this with an mathematical example. He notes, for example, if one can imagine three or four objects intuitively, one can not intuitively represent mile.

Husserl distinguishes two opposite types of relationship to the datum or “intentionality”: the real perception, which originates, and thought, which is only “shoot” the object in an “empty intention”. Developing the distinction between original intuition and thought, full and empty intentionality, phenomenologists hold:

– Or the content of the doctrine of Husserl: they then seek the point of contact between mind and reality, the excess of realism and idealism (Merleau-Ponty is an example: “Phenomenology is the study of species, and all the problems, he says, come to define the essence: the essence of perception, the essence of consciousness. But phenomenology is also a philosophy that puts essences into existence “)

– Or his method, and then they apply the principle of an analysis of intuition to the fields of knowledge of others, rather neglected by Husserl in his texts (Sartre and Levinas)

– Or they seek to justify the metaphysical principle of an analysis of phenomena (Eugen Fink).

A theory of the phenomena can not be defined only in relation to a theory of the Absolute Being, or ontology. On this point, speculative phenomenology of Fichte, in Theory of Science, remains a strength and depth unmatched.

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