Phenomenology as a discipline is distinct but related to other key disciplines of philosophy, such as ontology, epistemology, logic, and ethics. In this way, Phenomenology has been practiced in various forms for centuries, but it prevailed in the early 20th century in the works of Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, and others. The central structure of an experience is its intentionality, its being directed towards something. It is an experience of or about some object. An experience is directed toward an object by virtue of its content or meaning (which the object represents) along with the appropriate enabling conditions.

What is phenomenology?

Phenomenology is commonly understood in two ways: as a disciplinary field in philosophy or as a movement in the history of philosophy. Also, Phenomenology studies the conscious experience experienced from the subjective or first-person point of view. These include ontology (the study of being or what is), epistemology (the study of knowledge), logic (the study of valid reasoning), ethics (the study of right and wrong action), etc.

The discipline of phenomenology

Phenomenology studies the structures of conscious experience as experienced from the point of view of the first person. Include the relevant conditions of the experience. That is, the central structure of an experience is its intentionality, the way it is directed through its content or meaning towards a certain object in the world. We all experience various types of experience, including perception, imagination, thought, emotion, desire, volition, and action.

Therefore, the domain of phenomenology is the range of experiences that these types (among others) include. The experience includes not only a relatively passive experience such as in vision or hearing, but also an active experience such as walking or driving a nail or kicking a ball. Also, the range will be specific to each species of being that enjoys consciousness; our focus is on our own human experience. Not all sentient beings will or will be able to practice phenomenology like us.

Historical background

The historical movement of phenomenology is the philosophical tradition started in the first half of the 20th century by Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jean-Paul Sartre, et al. In that movement, the discipline of phenomenology was appreciated as the proper foundation of all philosophy. This in opposition, say, to ethics, metaphysics or epistemology. The methods and characterization of the discipline were widely debated by Husserl and his successors, and these debates continue to this day.

Also, the definition of phenomenology offered above will therefore be debatable, for example, by Heideggerians, but it remains the starting point for characterizing the discipline). In recent philosophy of mind, the term “phenomenology” is often restricted to characterizing the sensory qualities of sight, hearing, etc. what it is like to have sensations of various kinds. However, our experience is typically much richer in content than mere sensation. Consequently, in the phenomenological tradition, phenomenology receives a much wider range. Also, It addresses the meaning that things have in our experience, in particular, the meaning of objects, events, tools. It also includes the flow of time, the self and others, as these things arise.

Phenomenology and Philosophy

Phenomenology as a discipline has been central to the tradition of continental European philosophy throughout the 20th century. However, the philosophy of mind has evolved in the Austro-Anglo-American tradition of analytic philosophy that developed throughout the 20th century. Also, the fundamental character of our mental activity is pursued in overlapping ways within these two traditions. Consequently, the perspective on phenomenology presented in this article will be adapted to both traditions.

Phenomenology and Intentionality

Basically, phenomenology studies the structure of various types of experience ranging from perception, thought, and memory. Includes imagination, emotion, desire, and will to body awareness, embodied action, and social activity, including language activity. The structure of these forms of experience typically involves what Husserl called “intentionality.” That is, the direction of experience towards things in the world, the property of consciousness that it is an awareness of or about something.

According to classical Husserlian phenomenology, our experience is directed toward —represents or “tries” —things only through concepts. This includes thoughts, ideas, images, etc. They constitute the meaning or content of a given experience and are different from things. present or want to say. The basic intentional structure of consciousness, which we find in reflection or analysis, involves other forms of experience. Thus, phenomenology develops a complex explanation of temporal consciousness (within the stream of consciousness) and spatial consciousness (notably in perception). Also, It includes attention (distinguishing focal and marginal or “horizontal” awareness) and awareness of one’s own experience (self-awareness, in a sense).

It also studies self-awareness (self-awareness), self in different roles (such as thinking, acting, etc.), embodied action (including kinesthetic awareness of one’s movement). It also deals with the purpose or intention in the action (more or less explicit). This includes awareness of other people (in empathy, intersubjectivity, collectivity), linguistic activity (implying meaning, communication, understanding of others). Also, it also deals with social interaction (including collective action) and everyday activity in our surrounding world of life (in a particular culture).

Recent Phenomenology

In a different dimension, we find various foundations or conducive conditions — conditions of possibility — of intentionality, including incarnation and bodily abilities. It also deals with the cultural context, language and other social practices. It also studies the social origin and contextual aspects of intentional activities. Thus, phenomenology leads from conscious experience to conditions that help to give experience its intentionality.

Recent philosophy of mind has focused especially on the neural substrate of experience. That is, in how conscious experience and mental representation or intentionality are based on brain activity. It remains a difficult question how many of these foundations of experience fall within the field of phenomenology as a discipline. Therefore, cultural conditions seem closer to our experience and our family self-understanding than the electrochemical functioning of our brain. Much less our dependence on the states of quantum mechanics of the physical systems to which we can belong. The cautious thing to say is that phenomenology somehow leads to at least some background conditions of our experience.

Conscious Experiences

There are some things in the world that we can observe and participate in. But we do not experience them, in the sense of living or executing them. This experiential or first-person characteristic, that of being experienced, is an essential part of the nature or structure of conscious experience. That is, how do we say, “I see / think / wish / do …” In this way, this characteristic is both phenomenological and ontological. This is the feature of every experience. It is part of what it is for the experience to be experienced (phenomenological) and part of what it is for the experience to be (ontological).

How will we study conscious experience? Normally we do not characterize an experience at the moment we are doing it. In many cases we do not have that capacity. A state of intense anger or fear, for example, consumes one’s entire psychic focus at that moment. Rather, we acquire a background of having had a certain type of experience, and we seek our familiarity with that type of experience: listening to a song, watching a sunset, thinking about love, trying to jump an obstacle. The practice of phenomenology assumes such familiarity with the type of experiences to be characterized. It is important, too, that it is the types of experience that phenomenology pursues, rather than a particular fleeting experience, unless its type is what interests us.

Classic Methods

Classical phenomenologists practiced about three distinguishable methods. Husserl and Merleau-Ponty spoke of a pure description of lived experience. We interpret a type of experience relating it to relevant characteristics of the context. Along these lines, Heidegger and his followers spoke of hermeneutics. That is, the art of interpretation in context, especially in social and linguistic context. We analyze the form of a type of experience. In the end, all the classical phenomenologists practiced the analysis of experience, factoring out notable characteristics for further elaboration.

We specify the conditions of truth for a type of thought (say, where I think dogs chase cats) or the conditions of satisfaction for a type of intention (say, where I intend or will to jump that obstacle). For example, where a brain scan shows electrochemical activity in a specific region of the brain that is believed to serve a type of vision or emotion. or motor control. This style of “neurophenomenology” assumes that conscious experience is based on neural activity in embodied action in an appropriate environment. It mixes pure phenomenology with biological and physical science in a way that was not entirely pleasant to traditional phenomenologists.

Inner Consciousness

This form of inner consciousness has been a subject of considerable debate. Even centuries after the problem arose with Locke’s notion of self-consciousness on the heels of Descartes’s sense of consciousness (consciousness, co-knowledge). Does this awareness of experience consist of a kind of inner observation of experience, as if two things were being done at the same time? Brentano argued no. Is it a higher-order perception of the operation of one’s mind, or is it a higher-order thought about one’s mental activity?

Recent theorists have proposed both. Or is it a different form of inherent structure? Sartre took this line, drawing on Brentano and Husserl. These results of the phenomenological analysis shape the characterization of the study domain and the appropriate methodology for the domain. Because awareness of experience is a defining feature of conscious experience. It is the feature that gives the experience a character lived in the first person. Also, it is that lived character of the experience that allows a first-person perspective of the object of study. In this way, experience, and that perspective, is characteristic of the methodology of phenomenology.

Conscious Experience

Conscious experience is the starting point of phenomenology. As Husserl and others pointed out, we are only vaguely aware of things on the margin or periphery of attention. And we are only implicitly aware of the broader horizon of things in the world around us. Furthermore, as psychoanalysts have emphasized, much of our intentional mental activity is not conscious at all. We must then allow the domain of phenomenology – our own experience – to extend from conscious experience to semi-conscious and even unconscious mental activity.

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The Discipline of Phenomenology

The Discipline of Phenomenology

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