What Are the Different Types of Phenomenology?


Vincent White

Phenomenology is a philosophical discipline that concerns itself with the study of subjective experience. It deals with the conscious experience of objects and events in the world and attempts to describe them in their purest form, without any preconceived notions or biases.

There are different types of phenomenology, each with its unique approach and focus. In this article, we will explore some of the most common types of phenomenology.

Transcendental Phenomenology

Transcendental phenomenology is perhaps the most well-known type of phenomenology. This approach was developed by Edmund Husserl, who believed that consciousness is an intentional act that always points towards something outside itself. Transcendental phenomenology focuses on describing how objects appear to us in consciousness and how they are experienced.

This type of phenomenology involves a process called bracketing, where one suspends all assumptions about the world and focuses solely on subjective experience. Through this process, one can arrive at an understanding of the essential structures that underlie our conscious experience.

Existential Phenomenology

Existential phenomenology is a type of philosophy that concerns itself with questions related to human existence and experiences such as anxiety, dread, and despair. This approach focuses on subjective experience as it relates to human existence rather than abstract concepts.

Existential phenomenologists believe that we must understand our own experiences before we can understand anything else in the world. They also emphasize the importance of personal responsibility and choice in shaping our experiences.

Hermeneutic Phenomenology

Hermeneutic phenomenology is an interpretive approach to understanding subjective experience. This type of phenomenology emphasizes the importance of context when interpreting experiences.

Hermeneutic phenomenologists believe that we can only understand subjective experiences by looking at them within their broader social and cultural contexts. They also recognize that language plays a crucial role in shaping our experiences and that different languages and cultures can create different experiences.

Phenomenology of Perception

Phenomenology of perception is a type of phenomenology that focuses on the relationship between perception and consciousness. This approach emphasizes the importance of embodied experience in shaping our perceptions.

Phenomenologists of perception believe that our bodily experiences play a central role in how we perceive the world around us. They also emphasize the importance of the environment and context in shaping our perceptions.


In conclusion, phenomenology is a diverse field with many different approaches and focuses. Each type of phenomenology offers its unique perspective on subjective experience, consciousness, and perception. By understanding these different approaches, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the complexity of human experience and the ways in which it shapes our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.