Introduction to Phenomenology

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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 between these two attitudes is fundamentally necessary to the practice of phenomenology, the two attitudes are also interdependent of each other and cannot exist without the other.

Through the doctrine of intentionality, phenomenology portrays the idea that everything we do is based on intentions. Every minute that we spend in our natural attitude is based on intentionality. When we walk into a room we intend and we perceive what we see to be true at that moment. Sokolowski states that "the manner in which we accept things in the world, and the world itself, is one of belief…doxa" (45). It is this fundamental belief in the reality of the things that we perceive that fills the natural attitude. Another idea presented by Sokolowski stems from the idea of the Ur-doxa. This is "the belief we have in the world as a whole…not just a belief but the basic belief…[which] is not subject to correction or refutation the way any particular belief is" (45). Here Sokolowski begins to discredit the Cartesian and Lockean belief in the public-ness of mind or the bias against the reality of the appearance of things. Through the natural attitude and the Ur-doxa and doxa, we are able to perceive the things presented to us as being true and...
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