What Is Phenomenology? And Other Essays

What Is Phenomenology? And Other Essays

What Is Phenomenology? And Other Essays

What Is Phenomenology? And Other Essays

Excerpt

Phenomenology originated with the profound and creative criticism of British Empiricism that was inaugurated by Brentano and Husserl at the very end of the nineteenth century. Many thinkers, coming from different backgrounds and traditions, participated in this criticism, and among them the American thinker and philosopher, William James, played an especially important role. Husserl himself, for example, was deeply influenced by several suggestions he found in James' important and original work on psychology. The result of this co-operative endeavor was the founding of a new approach to the phenomena of our lived existence, in James' words a really radical empiricism. This new empiricism has already shown that what was called "immediate experience" and presupposed as the starting point for all conceptual philosophy is not a mere succession of disparate impressions received within a "subjective" mind-container, but rather a vast world of wide-ranging scope with distinctive structures of its own which, for their clarification, require methods quite different from those of the objective sciences. Husserl called this moving historical field of our lived existence the Lebenswelt (life-world) and inaugurated the disciplined exploration of this life-world, its essential structures, and its manifestations.

At the present time this disciplined exploration of the life-world is still just beginning. But already enough has . . .

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