What is Phenomenology? Introduction and Summary
Phenomenology and Existentialism
Definition: Phenomenology (from the ancient Greek φαινόμενoν, ‘appearance’, ‘ phenomenon ‘, and λογος, ‘study’, ‘treat’) is the philosophical study of the world as it manifests itself directly in consciousness; the study of the structures of subjective experience. Another way of Defining Phenomenology is as seeing the origin of knowledge gain in immediately given appearances, the phenomena .Phenomenology is distinguished from science by not attempting to explain phenomena in terms of objects external to the subject, but is limited to describing and understanding them in their own terms. In other words, the focus is on not on what thing are but on the manner in which the appear to us.
Though the terms was used earlier (e.g. Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit), what’s called Phenomenology in philosophy is a broad philosophical movement founded in the early years of the 20th century by Edmund Husserl , who described it as "descriptive psychology". It was in his first major work, Logical Investigations (1900-1901), that Husserl, breaking with psychologism and in opposition to metaphysics , founded phenomenology as a science intended to give a foundation to the natural sciences , that he considers insufficient to “elucidate the relationship of man to the world This philosophy later spread to France, the United States, and elsewhere. These non-German adaptations of Phenomenolgy often in contexts far removed from Husserl’s early work.
As a philosophical field, Phenomenology has many variations and branches. However, all phenomenologists share the search for knowledge that appeals exclusively to evident experience, lacking hypotheses and conceptual models of the world. The various phenomenological approaches in literature, philosophy or natural science differ in the way they deal with phenomena. What they have in common is the claim to describe phenomena as appearances of something immediately given. This is reflected in Franz Brentano’s motto "Back to the things themselves!", where by "things" is meant mental objects.
Some influential phenomenologists aside from Edmund Husserl include Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Max Scheler, Emmanuel Levinas, Alfred Schütz and contemporary philosopher Jean-Luc Marion.