Phenomenology

Phenomenology can be defined as the philosophy of experience. For this field of study, the source of all meaning and value for human beings is their own lived experience. All philosophical systems, aesthetic judgments, or scientific theories have the status of abstractions from the everyday flow of the lived world. The task of the philosopher, as per phenomenology, is to describe the structures of experience, especially particular consciousness, relations with other persons, the situatedness of the human subject in society and history, and the imagination of the individual. Phenomenological theories of literature consider works of art as mediators between the reader and the consciousnesses of the author, or as a means of disclosing aspects of the being of humans and their worlds. 

The German philosopher Edmund Husserl is the man considered the modern founder of phenomenology. He sought to make philosophy what he considered a rigorous science by returning its attention to the things themselves. By this, what he meant was not that philosophy should become empirical in nature, but facts need to be determined objectively and absolutely. He argued that the road to a presuppositionless philosophy starts with suspending the natural attitude of everyday knowledge which assumes that things exist quite simply in the external world.

Phenomenologists who came later have been skeptical of the contention Husserl describes when he says that description can occur without presuppositions because of Husserl’s own analysis of the structure of knowledge. According to him, consciousness is composed of intentional acts that can be correlated to intentional objects. The intentionality of consciousness is its directedness toward objects, which it constitutes. `

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