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Phenomenological Method

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University of Ottawa
Sonia Sikka

Phenomenological Method - Husserl and Heidegger Husserlian phenomenology - general statement of method: Phenomenology is the science of the general structure of appearances, where appearances are not opposed to reality. Husserlian phenomenology - specific elements: A. Phenomenology requires bracketing the beliefs that make up what Husserl calls the 'natural attitude'. Husserl names this bracketing "epochē." Epochē involves: 1. suspension of assent to "prejudices," meaning prejudgments about how phenomena should be interpreted or explained, including the prejudgments of the natural sciences; 2. suspension of assent to the existence of an external world of objects; 3. a reduction to thought, to the realm of pure consciousness. B. Phenomenology attempts to uncover and isolate the essential nature of things as they appear to us; it analyzes the "eidos" or "essence" of appearances. In Husserl's words, phenomenology is not "a science of facts, but . . . of essential being . . . which aims exclusively at establishing 'knowledge of essences'" (Ideas: General Intro to Pure Phenomenology - Collier Macmillan, 1962, p. 40) C. Two forms of the epochē, the bracketing of beliefs, a weaker and a stronger one. Weak form: involves suspending the prejudgements of the sciences in order to look instead at the life-world ( Lebenswelt ) as we ordinarily experience it, the common, shared world in which we live our everyday lives. Strong form: involves bracketing not only the presuppositions of science and the existence of the external world, but also the existence of the self, that is, of the existing self which is individual, historical, co
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