phenomenology

phenomenology, modern school of philosophy founded by Edmund Husserl. Its influence extended throughout Europe and was particularly important to the early development of existentialism. Husserl attempted to develop a universal philosophic method, devoid of presuppositions, by focusing purely on phenomena and describing them; anything that could not be seen, and thus was not immediately given to the consciousness, was excluded. The concern was with what is known, not how it is known. The phenomenological method is thus neither the deductive method of logic nor the empirical method of the natural sciences; instead it consists in realizing the presence of an object and elucidating its meaning through intuition. Husserl considered the object of the phenomenological method to be the immediate seizure, in an act of vision, of the ideal intelligible content of the phenomenon. Notable members of the school have been Roman Ingarden, Max Scheler, Emmanuel Levinas, and Marvin Farber.

See E. Husserl, Ideas: General Introduction to Pure Phenomenology (tr. 1931, repr. 1989) and Cartesian Meditations (tr. 1960, repr. 1970); M. Farber, The Foundation of Phenomenology (1943, repr. 1967); R. Zanes, Way of Phenomenology (1970); M. A. Natanson, ed., Phenomenology and the Social Sciences (2 vol., 1973); H. Spiegelberg, The Phenomenological Movement (1981); R. Grossman, Phenomenology and Existentialism (1984).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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