and why is it important?
Phenomenology is a philosophical movement which emerged at the end of the nineteenth century in the school of Franz Brentano. It was developed by Edmund Husserl and subsequently modified by his successors Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty and Sarte among many others. It is hard to summarise their shared philosophical beliefs as one as each had differing views on what phenomenology should entail. For the purpose of this essay I will examine phenomenology in general, what it accomplished and why it is important. The birth of phenomenology is said to have begun with Husserl’s book Logical Investigations which was written at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Phenomenology is made up of two Greek words: ‘phainesthai’ which Heidegger takes to mean to make appear and ‘phos’ which is translated as ‘bring into the light’. Phenomenology grasps the essence of phenomena in the manner that it candidly shows itself, without applying external theories to phenomena. Husserl writes that "throughout phenomenology one must have the courage to accept what is really to be seen in the phenomenon precisely as it presents itself rather than interpreting it away, and to honestly describe it. All theories must be directed accordingly." It is the first person’s conscious experience. Primary philosophical issues are looked at through the ways in which things come to light through the first person’s conscious experience. Husserl describes phenomenological description as