Essay Introduction to Phenomenology

1319 Words Feb 19th, 2007 6 Pages
The question of what phenomenology is and what it does seems to be a relatively straight-forward question with a rather complex answer. In his Introduction to Phenomenology, Robert Sokolowski states that "phenomenology offers the pleasure of philosophy for those who wish to enjoy it" (15). This is a very fundamental and basic sentence, but nonetheless extremely important in the philosophy of phenomenology. In order to truly understand the importance of this simple sentence however, one must first understand the difference between our two most fundamental and essential attitudes/perspectives that we take on in our lives. These two attitudes are that of the natural attitude and that of the phenomenological attitude. While a distinction …show more content…
Phenomenology is mostly an attempt to relieve the confusion of many modern philosophies that attempt to disprove the realities that we perceive in our world. Its distinction between the natural attitude and the phenomenological attitude is precisely what gives phenomenology the ability to do this. In the natural attitude we perceive and we take things to be true and real: "we intend things, situations, facts, and any other kinds of objects" (42). The natural attitude is our default attitude according to phenomenology. It makes up our everyday actions and intentions. When we see food and eat it, we have intended those objects and actions through our natural attitude. In a way, the natural attitude is simply human nature. We see a fire and intend that it is hot. We do not need to test its heat because we have likely already done that at some point in our lives and no longer need to test the reality of the heat or the fire. In our natural attitude we are able to take things for what they are and act upon our intentions.
The phenomenological attitude, on the other hand, goes beyond these natural instincts or the natural attitude that we spend the majority of our lives in: "[it] is the focus we have when we reflect upon the natural attitude and all the intentionalities that occur within it" (42). The phenomenological attitude allows us to withdraw from the natural attitude and reflect upon what we have perceived or intended in…