- A term that emerged in the 18th century, in the writings of Johann Heinrich Lambert (1728–77) and Kant, to denote the description of consciousness and experience in abstraction from consideration of its intentional content (see intentionality ). In Hegel, phenomenology is instead the historical enquiry into the evolution of self-consciousness, developing from elementary sense experience to fully rational, free, thought processes capable of yielding knowledge. The term in the 20th century is associated with the work and school of Husserl . Following Brentano, Husserl realized that intentionality was the distinctive mark of consciousness, and saw in it a concept capable of overcoming traditional mind–body dualism . The study of consciousness, therefore, maintains two sides: a conscious experience can be regarded as an element in a stream of consciousness, but also as a representative of one aspect or ‘profile’ of an object. In spite of Husserl's rejection of dualism, his belief that there is a subject-matter remaining after epochē or bracketing of the content of experience, associates him with the priority accorded to elementary experiences in the parallel doctrine of phenomenalism, and phenomenology has partly suffered from the eclipse of that approach to problems of experience and reality. However, later phenomenologists such as Merleau-Ponty do full justice to the world-involving nature of experience.
Philosophy dictionary. Academic. 2011.