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The Implications of Applying Husserl's Theory

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Chris Gooden

20th-Century Philosophy

Professor McMahon

The Implications of Applying Husserl's Theory

Phenomenology is the study of things as they appear to consciousness; "Phenomenology denotes a new, descriptive, philosophical method..." (Twentieth Century Philosophy 4). Husserl grasps the above definition and unites it with psychology to derive a method by which humans can reflect on experiences they have had, will have, or are currently having. This is because, "We are accustomed to concentrate upon the matters, thoughts, and values of the moment, and not upon the psychical 'act of experience'" (p. 5). Why would we want or need to do this? The answer is: to see if one can "reach a really pure self-experience and purely psychical data" (P. 7). Husserl sets up his claim that one can; however, we must practice an epoche . Husserl effectively illustrates that one can reach this pure psychological standpoint; however, it is not easy. The work that Husserl did can still be implicated today though it is both the case that it is not happening and also many do not want to even try this epoche.

Husserl gives a definition of Phenomenological psychology: "{It's} comprehensive task is the systematic examination of the types and forms of intentional experience, and the reduction of their structures to the prime intentions, learning thus what is the nature of the psychical, and comprehending the being of the soul" (P. 7). The problem is that our self-consciousness is mixed with everything in the world. So this is clearly shaping up to be a difficult task to perform. To be reflexive, which is what Husserl is saying we need to do, is not something we normally do. Husserl says the primary state is the natural standpoint, which is not reflexive. In this natural standpoint we assume that what we see is true. Husserl suggests the use the phenomenological standpoint, rather than the natural standpoint. This is where an epoche, bracketing "of every objectifying 'position' in an experience" (p. 7), is used. One can bracket absolutely everything, including oneself.

Husserl was correct when he stated that human's primary state of consciousness is the natural standpoint and his idea of an epoche was also quite intriguing. Humans deal with matters of fact, which is exactly what Phenomenological psychology cannot do. Pure psychology can, in fact, only deal with essence, things that are currently being "experienced" or have been "experienced".

This mode of thought can clearly be used today as well. Humans today focus on "matters of fact" and are in their natural standpoint constantly. Phenomenology provides an insight into

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