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Visual by Karen Coelho

It is one thing to proceed with the perception of the world through an a-priori principle and another thing to reflect on the structures underlying that perception without such a principle. The latter would be the basic idea behind phenomenology with the former being the approach of the experiential science, in an Husserlian outlook.

Experiential science concerns itself with the natural attitude, which Husserl describes as the attitude of experience, and special givens which constitute the external world that is experienced. However, phenomenology extends beyond the mere constituents of experience and extends itself towards the “description of that which is experienced”. While phenomenology does strongly acknowledge the immediacy of experience, it primarily inquires into the way a subject is conscious of its experience and surroundings.

Drawing on the aspect of consciousness, the “I” to which we all relate to while referring to the mode of being conscious, is the one having the experiences of the world and it finds itself in the natural attitude, in which we all live and which serves as the ground for our philosophical viewpoints. It is important to clarify that the “I” however, is not an experience but the one experiencing or the “I” is not a character trait but the bearer of a particular trait.

Every “I” finds itself located in an organic body situated in the objective space where it gains awareness of the other bearers of the “I” and lived bodies, which it consequently distinguishes from its own. The “I” is also conscious of its immediate surroundings as being part of an objective space which it understands to be a system of objective spatial relations. It is valuable to think of it in terms of water zorb balls where the ball can be taken for the body’s immediate surrounding. These relations make the “I” aware that the temporal space it occupies as being only a piece of the endless chain of what is to unfold.

The pressing question for Husserl was based on this mode of consciousness which he thought could not be explained as objectively as the givens of the natural attitude. Phenomenology therefore seeks to understand perception in its pure sense by bracketing (or epoché), and removing all empirical apprehensions that are related to experiential sciences. Bracketing helps us set aside the a priori and pre conceived notions that are typical to the natural attitude. This is the process of eidetic reduction , when we arrive at that which remains after being bracketed off and which can only be known through experience.



1. Husserl. Edmund. 2006. The Basic Problems Of Philosophy, Springer

2. Stanford Encylopedia Of Philosophy

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