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Phenomenology: Past, Present, and Future

07/25/12

Permalink 11:06:00 pm, by Brandon Norgaard Email , 420 words   English (US)
Categories: Building Knowledge

Phenomenology: Past, Present, and Future

I believe that phenomenology, which can be concisely defined as the study of the structure of subjective experience and consciousness, is very important for anyone who wants to find answers to the great questions of life. It is unfortunate that this discipline is so poorly understood by most people these days. We all know that science is a powerful tool in our efforts to understand the universe, but even the most advanced science of our time has limitations. I believe that modern phenomenology can complement the knowledge that we have gained from modern science and that the two in conjunction can lead us to the formation of a comprehensive worldview that is based on observation and reason.

How is any of this possible? First, I encourage you to read my prior posts on phenomenology, each of which has been taken from the book I have written. If you take the time to read each of these posts and think about these ideas, you should be able to realize the power of phenomenology in allowing us to form more detailed and reliable knowledge into aspects of life that modern science has only limited application, such as consciousness, mental ideas, free will, and morality.

I recommend starting with this post about the similarities and differences between science and phenomenology. Perhaps the most important aspect of any form of phenomenology is introspection, which is where one personally observes the workings of their own mind.

It is also quite important to understand the history of phenomenology. It is notable that phenomenology existed to some extent prior the twentieth century, but the most important thing to understand regarding the history of phenomenology is Edmund Husserl's contributions to this discipline and also its development after Husserl.

While Husserl and his successors contributions should be honored, I am disappointed that phenomenology has not advanced much in the past 50 years or so. I see a lot of problems with traditional phenomenology, which led me to formulate a methodology for modern phenomenology that is largely based on traditional methods but is also heavily influenced by the methodology of modern science.

My final post in this series is an example of the modern phenomenological method in use. This is a simulated research project that seeks to show how one could use this method to find a reasonable foundation for morality. I am interested to hear your thoughts and feelings regarding these posts. I am also available to answer any questions you might have on any of these posts at brandon@enlightenedworldview.com.

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