What Is Meant by the Term Phenomenology?


Vincent White

Phenomenology is a philosophical method that aims to describe and interpret the subjective experience of human consciousness. It was developed in the early 20th century by Edmund Husserl, a German philosopher, and has since become a key concept in both philosophy and psychology.

One of the fundamental principles of phenomenology is the idea that we can gain knowledge about the world through our experiences. Husserl believed that by focusing on our conscious experiences and suspending our assumptions and preconceptions about the world, we could arrive at a more objective understanding of reality.

The essence of Phenomenology

The essence of phenomenology lies in its focus on the subjective experience. Rather than trying to explain what things are objectively, phenomenologists are interested in how things appear to us subjectively. The goal is to describe these subjective experiences accurately and in detail.

The Method of Phenomenology

When practicing phenomenology, one starts with a particular experience or phenomenon and then tries to describe it as accurately as possible. This process involves setting aside any preconceived notions or biases one may have about the phenomenon and instead focusing solely on what is being experienced.

Phenomenologists often employ a technique called “bracketing,” which involves suspending judgment about external reality while investigating subjective experience. By bracketing external assumptions or beliefs, it becomes possible to explore how things appear directly to us.

Applications of Phenomenology

Phenomenology has been used across various fields like psychology, sociology, anthropology, and literature studies. In psychology, for example, Phenomenological psychologists use this method to understand how individuals perceive their world around them.

In sociology and anthropology, researchers may use this method to study cultural differences across societies or groups. They aim at understanding how people construct meaning around certain events or practices based on their lived experiences.


In conclusion, Phenomenology is a philosophical method that focuses on subjective experiences and consciousness. Through this method, we can gain a more objective understanding of reality by exploring our experiences without preconceptions or assumptions.

Phenomenology has wide applications across various fields and continues to be an essential concept in philosophy and psychology. By paying attention to subjective experiences, we can gain insights into what it means to be human and how we make sense of the world around us.