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The method of critical phenomenology: Simone de Beauvoir as a phenomenologist

Wiley: European Journal of Philosophy: Table of Contents
Johanna Oksala
2022 03 28


The paper aims to contribute to the ongoing conversation on critical phenomenology with reflections on its method. The key argument is that critical phenomenology should be understood as a form of historico-transcendental inquiry and therefore it cannot forgo the phenomenological reduction. Rather, this methodological step should be centered in critical phenomenology, and appropriated in problematized and rethought forms. The methodological assessment of critical phenomenology has implications also for how we read its canon. The paper shows that while Simone de Beauvoir did not adopt the phenomenological reduction in its full Husserlian meaning, her analyses of experience did not remain on the level of personal or experiential description either. The contention is that if we want to read her as a critical phenomenologist, we should focus on her seminal modification of the historico-transcendental method of phenomenology.