The Subject Matter of Phenomenological Research: Existentials, Modes, and Prejudices

Synthese 194 (9):3543-3562 (2017)
Anthony Vincent Fernandez
Kent State University
In this essay I address the question, “What is the subject matter of phenomenological research?” I argue that in spite of the increasing popularity of phenomenology, the answers to this question have been brief and cursory. As a result, contemporary phenomenologists lack a clear framework within which to articulate the aims and results of their research, and cannot easily engage each other in constructive and critical discourse. Examining the literature on phenomenology’s identity, I show how the question of phenomenology’s subject matter has been systematically neglected. It has been overshadowed by an unending concern with phenomenology’s methodological identity. However, an examination of recent contributions to this literature reveals that a concern with articulating phenomenology’s subject matter has gradually increased, although such articulations remain preliminary. In light of this, I delineate, define, and illustrate three layers of phenomenological research, which I term “existentials,” “modes,” and “prejudices.” While the delineation of these layers is drawn primarily from classical phenomenological texts, they are defined and illustrated through the use of more contemporary literature. Following the articulation of this subject matter, I briefly consider some of the debates—both foundational and applied—that can be facilitated by the adoption of this framework
Keywords Phenomenology  Phenomenological research  Subject matter  Existentials  Modes  Prejudices
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11229-016-1106-0
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Phenomenology of Perception.Aron Gurwitsch, M. Merleau-Ponty & Colin Smith - 1964 - Philosophical Review 73 (3):417.
Naturalized Phenomenology: A Desideratum or a Category Mistake?Dan Zahavi - 2013 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 72:23-42.
Introduction to Phenomenology.Dermot Moran - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 62 (4):772-773.

View all 17 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Derrida and the Future(s) of Phenomenology.Neal de Roo - 2011 - Derrida Today 4 (1):107-131.
Framing a Phenomenological Interview: What, Why and How.Simon Høffding & Kristian Martiny - 2016 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 15 (4):539-564.
Die phänomenologische Reduktion und ihre Bedingungen.Nicola Zippel - 2008 - Phänomenologische Forschungen:71-88.


Added to PP index

Total downloads
313 ( #13,729 of 2,293,868 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
77 ( #4,292 of 2,293,868 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature