What Is Also Known as Transcendental Phenomenology?


Martha Robinson

Transcendental phenomenology, also known as phenomenology, is a branch of philosophy that focuses on the investigation of conscious experience. Phenomenology emphasizes the importance of subjective experience and seeks to understand how people perceive the world around them.

What is Transcendental Phenomenology?

At its core, transcendental phenomenology is concerned with understanding how people experience the world. It aims to uncover the structures of consciousness that underlie our experiences and to examine how these structures shape our perception of reality.

The term “transcendental” refers to the fact that phenomenology seeks to go beyond mere appearances and uncover the underlying structures that give rise to our experiences. This involves examining not only what we experience, but also how we experience it and what this says about the nature of our consciousness.

The Origins of Phenomenology

Phenomenology was first developed by philosopher Edmund Husserl in the early 20th century. Husserl believed that traditional philosophy had become too focused on abstract concepts and had lost touch with the everyday experiences of ordinary people.

To remedy this, Husserl developed a new approach to philosophy that emphasized direct observation and analysis of subjective experiences. He believed that by examining our own experiences in detail, we could gain a deeper understanding of the fundamental structures of consciousness.

The Key Features of Transcendental Phenomenology

There are several key features that characterize transcendental phenomenology:

1. Intentionality: Phenomenologists believe that all conscious experience is directed towards an object or “intention.” This means that every act of perception involves not just seeing or hearing something, but also being aware of it in a particular way.

2. Reduction: In order to uncover the underlying structures of consciousness, phenomenologists employ a technique known as “reduction.” This involves setting aside our preconceptions and assumptions about the world and focusing solely on the raw data of our experiences.

3. Epoché: Another important technique used in phenomenology is epoché, or “bracketing.” This involves temporarily suspending our beliefs and judgments about the world in order to examine our experiences objectively.

The Importance of Transcendental Phenomenology

Transcendental phenomenology has had a significant impact on a range of fields beyond philosophy, including psychology, sociology, and anthropology. By emphasizing the importance of subjective experience, phenomenology has helped to shift the focus of these disciplines towards understanding how people actually experience the world.

In addition, phenomenology has also been influential in shaping various philosophical movements such as existentialism and hermeneutics. Its emphasis on understanding human experience has led to new insights into the nature of consciousness, perception, and reality itself.


Transcendental phenomenology is a fascinating branch of philosophy that seeks to understand how people experience the world. By examining our own experiences in detail and uncovering the underlying structures of consciousness, we can gain a deeper understanding not only of ourselves but also of the nature of reality itself. Whether you are interested in philosophy or simply curious about human experience, transcendental phenomenology is definitely worth exploring further.