Transcendental is a term that is widely used in phenomenology. It is used to describe a type of inquiry that seeks to uncover the underlying structures and conditions of human experience. In this article, we will explore what transcendental means in the context of phenomenology.
What is Phenomenology?
Before we delve into the meaning of transcendental in phenomenology, it is important to understand what phenomenology is. Phenomenology is a philosophical approach that focuses on the study of subjective experience. It seeks to describe and analyze human experiences without making any assumptions about their objective reality.
Phenomenologists believe that by examining subjective experience, we can gain insights into the fundamental nature of reality itself. This approach was developed by German philosopher Edmund Husserl in the early 20th century.
The Transcendental Turn
In the early days of phenomenology, Husserl believed that it was possible to study subjective experience directly, without having to make any assumptions about its underlying structure or conditions. However, as his work progressed, he began to realize that there were certain conditions that were necessary for human experience to occur.
This realization led Husserl to what he called the “transcendental turn” in his work. He began to focus on uncovering the underlying structures and conditions that make human experience possible.
Transcendental vs. Transcendent
It is important to note that transcendental should not be confused with transcendent. While both terms deal with aspects beyond ordinary experience, they are fundamentally different.
Transcendent refers to something that exists beyond or outside of human experience altogether. It is often associated with religious or spiritual concepts like God or an afterlife.
Transcendental, on the other hand, refers to something that is essential for human experience itself. It is concerned with uncovering the fundamental structures and conditions that make subjective experience possible.
The Transcendental Ego
One of the key concepts in Husserl’s transcendental approach is the idea of the “transcendental ego.” This is the underlying structure or condition that makes all human experience possible.
According to Husserl, the transcendental ego is not an actual person or individual, but rather a set of conditions that must be present for any individual to have subjective experiences. These conditions include things like time consciousness, intentionality, and self-awareness.
The Role of Transcendental Inquiry
So what does all this mean for the practice of phenomenology? Essentially, transcendental inquiry is concerned with uncovering these underlying structures and conditions of human experience.
By doing so, phenomenologists hope to gain a deeper understanding of how subjective experience works. They believe that by uncovering these fundamental structures and conditions, they can develop a more accurate and comprehensive picture of reality itself.
In conclusion, transcendental is a term that is used in phenomenology to describe a type of inquiry that seeks to uncover the underlying structures and conditions of human experience. By doing so, phenomenologists hope to gain insights into the fundamental nature of reality itself.
While it can be a complex and abstract concept, it is an important one for anyone interested in understanding how subjective experience works. By studying the transcendental aspects of human experience, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the complexity and richness of our inner lives.