- What is Phenomenology?
- Origin of phenomenology
- History of phenomenology
- Basic concepts of phenomenology
- What is the method of phenomenology?
- What is phenomenological research?
- Martin Heidegger's contribution
- The contribution of Emmanuel Lévinas
- Applications of phenomenology
- Edmund husserl
- Representatives of phenomenology
We explain what phenomenology is, what is its origin, history and basic concepts. The method you use, your research and applications.In psychology, phenomenology is the study of the structures of consciousness.
What is Phenomenology?
Phenomenology is a philosophical movement that originated during the twentieth century and a branch of the philosophy that is governed by its precepts, which have to do with the research Y description of the objects (orphenomena) as they are consciously experienced, that is, as free as possible from theories, presuppositions and preconceptions regarding their origin.
The word phenomenology is made up of the Greek voicesphainomenon ("Appearance", "manifestation") andlogos ("Treaty", "study"), from which it can be defined as the study of manifestations. This applies in different ways to the fields of knowledge, so the phenomenological approach encompasses very different and diverse elements depending on what subject it is applied to.
For example, in the field of psychology, phenomenology involves the study of the structures of consciousness from a perspective of the first person to experience them. While discipline philosophical, phenomenology is related to ontology, epistemology, the logic and the ethics.
Origin of phenomenology
The term phenomenology has a long history, as it began to be used in the 18th century by the Swiss-German mathematician and philosopher Johann Heinrich Lambert, who applied it to his theory of knowledge as a method to distinguish the truth of illusion and error.
However, the modern meaning of the word is derived from the workA phenomenology of the spirit by the German philosopher George Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), in which he attempted to trace the development of the human mind from the mere sense of experience to knowledge absolute.
However, the philosophical movement of phenomenology did not exist until the beginning of the 20th century, when the work of the German philosopher and mathematician Edmund Husserl (1859-1938) founded the Transcendental Phenomenology, and with it a whole line of thought philosophical still in force in the XXI century.
History of phenomenologyHusserl proposed a renewal of the concepts of philosophy and science.
Since the diffusion and appreciation of Husserl's work, phenomenology has not been a homogeneous movement, but it has been a fertile and popular one, which has been applied to the most diverse fields of knowledge.
Husserl's search aspired to a "pure phenomenology" or "phenomenological philosophy", since at bottom he proposed a renewal of the concepts of philosophy and of science; and in that sense it was the engine of future and important lines of philosophical thought of the 20th century such as the existentialism, deconstruction, poststructuralism and postmodernity.
Basic concepts of phenomenology
Although phenomenology is always difficult to define and complex to characterize, it is possible to identify at the heart of the concept Husserl's idea of going "to things by themselves", that is, devoid of reasonings previous and preconceptions, and try to describe them as accurately as possible. This is based on the idea that it is possible to perceive the essential structures of a matter and its essential relationships from the careful study of concrete examples from experience or imagination.
From there, the methods can diverge towards interpretative approaches (called "heuristics") of the phenomenon, or the exploration of genetic aspects, which requires, according to Husserl, a prior "suspension of credulity" (epochē).
What is the method of phenomenology?
The phenomenological method, as proposed by Husserl, starts from the assumption of nothing (absolutely nothing: neither common sense, nor psychological experiences, etc.) and encompasses a series of stages that are:
- Examine all the contents of consciousness, that is, be aware of the object as a sensible thing.
- Determine if such contents are real, ideal, imaginary, etc., that is, have self-awareness.
- Suspend phenomenological consciousness, to deal with what is given in its "purity".
Many times this method is accused of being subjective and, therefore, of elaborating descriptions that have more to do with the phenomenologist than with the phenomenon; However, this method somehow aspires to be a synthesis between an objective and a subjective perspective. It is, moreover, a qualitative method, not a quantitative one.
What is phenomenological research?Phenomenological research tries to explain what the experience of something is like.
A phenomenological investigation is, understood the previous, an attempt to understand the perceptions, perspectives and interpretations that people make of a given phenomenon, that is, an attempt to answer the question of "what is the experience of something like?"
Thus, from the collation and revision of the multiple perspectives reviewed, it can tend towards generalization and towards the elaboration of a perspective that starts from "inside" the experience and not from the theories. hypothesis or reasons external to it.
Martin Heidegger's contribution
Another important author in the history of phenomenology was Martin Heidegger, whose theories reformulated what Husserl conceived from two fundamental critiques:
- Heidegger thought that Husserl attached too much importance to the intuition discovered in consciousness, and that this meant that it continued within a paradigm Cartesian of modern subjectivist philosophy. In other words, he accidentally fell into subjectivity.
- He also thought that Husserl did not commit himself to the world enough, so he chose to see man involved in his world: "being-in-the-world," as Heidegger called it, meant that the thinker must commit himself as much as possible. possible with the salvation of the world and not sin of intellectualism.
The contribution of Emmanuel LévinasLévinas proposed a more radical overcoming of the modern duality between object and subject.
Another crucial name for the development of phenomenology was that of the Lithuanian Lévinas, who introduced the phenomenology of Husserl and Heidegger to France, as part of his commitment with the restoration of ethical thinking in Europe after the spiritual disaster that the WWII.
However, it seemed to Lévinas (like Heidegger) that Husserl remained within what was dictated by the Cartesian "I", for which he proposed a much more radical overcoming of the modern duality between object and subject, including experience as a fundamental contribution of the other. For Lévinas, phenomenology will be the radical foundation of ethics.
Applications of phenomenology
The phenomenological method is not only of philosophical importance, but has also contributed to other related disciplines, such as psychology, sociology, the anthropology and above all the education and the pedagogy, based on works such as those of Hans-Georg Gadamer (1900-2002) on the phenomenology of understanding, among many other authors.
The founder of phenomenology was a Moravian Jewish philosopher and mathematician, one of the most influential of the 20th century, whose training in math in Leipzig and Berlin they served as the basis for a philosophical and psychological training in the classes of the philosopher and priest Franz Bentano, who was together with Carl Stumpf one of his teachers and guides.During his lifetime, he published numerous and voluminous works (whose complete works exceed 45,000 pages) and died of pleurisy in 1938 in Freiburg.
Representatives of phenomenologyDavid Hume was a Scottish philosopher who advocated skepticism.
Apart from Husserl, some important representatives of this school of thought are:
- Friedrich Oetinger (1702-1782). Who used the term in his study of the "divine system of relationships."
- David Hume (1711-1776). A Scottish philosopher supporter of skepticism, who takes a phenomenological approach in his Treatise on Human Nature.
- Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). One of the greatest modern philosophers and author of Critique of Pure Reason, where he distinguishes between objects as phenomena (formed and assimilated by human sensibility) andnoumenos (things-in-themselves).
- Max Scheler (1874-1928). Who developed Husserl's method to encompass the scientific method.
- Gaston Bachelard (1884-1962). French epistemologist and author of literature, who redefined the concept of symbol thanks to his phenomenology of material imagination.
- Martin Heidegger (1889-1976). Philosopher critical of Husserl's theory, who attempted to develop a theory of ontology in Being and time.
- Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961). Existentialist philosopher who studied the phenomenology of the body in perception and society, in Phenomenology of perception.