A Brief Survey of the Phenomenology of Husserl and Heidegger

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A Brief Survey of the Phenomenology of Husserl and Heidegger Introduction In general terms, phenomenology is a philosophy of experience. It attempts to understand how meaning is made in human experience, and it sees our lived experience of the world as the foundation of meaning. For phenomenology, how the speaking or writing subject uses language is primary both because it is how we experience its rules and conventions, in their use, and because this is the source of semantic innovation. New meaning, novelty in the world, and the possibility of a future different from the past are some of phenomenology's defining values. In this paper I will be sketching a brief survey of the phenomenology of Husserl and Heidegger. Husserl's Transcendental Phenomenology Edmund Husserl is considered to be the modern founder of phenomenology. Though later phenomenology abandoned many of his assumptions and aims, it did so by working through them, criticizing and revising them, so that many of his key concepts are preserved even if in a different form. Even Husserl's own self-critique has led him to abandon his early idealism -- his quest for indubitable, universal structures of knowledge in the cogito -- to see meaning in the "lived world" (Lebenswelt) -- a notion which places consciousness in the body, history, and the social world where existential phenomenology begins. Similarly self-transformative, Husserl's analysis of what he calls "intentionality" lead to theories of knowledge and interpretation that question his original goal of developing a "presuppositionless philosophy" that was purely descriptive in its methods. 1. The Principle of Evidence Husserl finds the leading principle of the development of philosophy's own scientifi... ... middle of paper ... ...sis of a radical suspension of all theories, traditional points of view and interpretations as well as naive assumptions based on the natural institution. Describing the existence of aspects, however, is endless and complex, as a result of the complex character of the conscious experience of sense (Theron, 1995). 8. Acting intention The viewing of the existence of the clear cognition as such reveals its fundamental structure ("ego cogito"). Even though the existence of the real world (at which the natural institution is aimed) is eliminated, it cannot be wiped out without leaving traces in the clear cognition. The cognition of the real world with everything it implies, such as aspects and values, is an absolute given in the area of the clear cognition. And so, even though this reality is in fact eliminated, cognition still retains its bond with this world.

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