The Bare Necessities – “The Jungle Book”
Phenomenology is a philosophical discipline that focuses on the study of conscious experience and the subjective aspects of human existence. It seeks to understand the nature of phenomena as they are directly given to us in our immediate experience, without imposing any preconceived theories or interpretations.
The term “phenomenology” was coined by the German philosopher Edmund Husserl in the early 20th century. He believed that philosophical inquiry should be grounded in the examination of the phenomena themselves, rather than relying on assumptions or theories about the external world. Phenomenology aims to describe and analyze the structures and meanings of subjective experiences, such as perception, thought, emotion, and intentionality (the directedness of consciousness toward objects).
Central to phenomenology is the concept of “intentionality,” which refers to the inherent directedness of consciousness toward objects or experiences. According to phenomenologists, our conscious experiences are always directed toward something and carry meaning in relation to the objects or phenomena we perceive. Phenomenology seeks to elucidate these intentional structures and the ways in which they shape our understanding of the world.
Phenomenology also emphasizes the importance of “bracketing” or “epoché,” which involves suspending judgment and bracketing off assumptions about the external world in order to focus purely on the phenomena as they appear in our subjective experience. This reductionist method allows for a more detailed examination of the structures and essences of experience.
Phenomenology has had a significant influence on various fields of study, including philosophy, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and even some branches of natural science. It has provided valuable insights into the nature of consciousness, subjective experience, perception, embodiment, social interaction, and the lived experiences of individuals. Notable phenomenologists include Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Alfred Schütz, among others.