Literally, ‘the description or study of appearances’.

Any detailed study of a phenomenon can be called a phenomenology, but the theory normally so called is associated with Franz Brentano (1838-1917) and (especially) Edmund Husserl (1859-1938) and their followers, including several existentialists.

‘Phenomena’ for Husserl were the objects of experience or attitudes (in the sense in which even a non-existent fortune can be the object of my wish). These he treated as essences, aiming to give an analysis of them not unlike the ‘conceptual analysis’ of linguistic philosophy.

The analysis, however, was a priori, and he aimed (at any rate in his later works) to avoid psychologism, laying aside (bracketing) ideas derived from empirical science.

Also see: linguistic phenomenology

H Spiegelberg, The Phenomenological Movement (1960)

Phenomenology may refer to:

  • Empirical research, when used to describe measurement methods in some sciences
  • An empirical relationship or phenomenological model
  • Phenomenology (architecture), based on the experience of building materials and their sensory properties
  • Phenomenology (archaeology), based upon understanding cultural landscapes from a sensory perspective
  • Phenomenology (philosophy), a philosophical method and school of philosophy founded by Edmund Husserl (1859–1938)
  • Phenomenology (physics), a branch of physics that deals with the application of theory to experiments
  • Phenomenology (psychology), subjective experiences or their study
  • Phenomenology (sociology)

See also

  • Existential phenomenology, in the work of Husserl’s student Martin Heidegger (1889–1976) and his followers
  • Phenomenology (Peirce), a branch of philosophy according to Charles Sanders Peirce (1839–1914)
  • Phenomenology of Perception, a book by Maurice Merleau-Ponty
  • Phenomenology of religion, concerning the experiential aspect of religion in terms consistent with the orientation of the worshippers
  • The Phenomenology of Spirit, a book by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

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