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Origins of Phenomenology: Husserl and Early Heidegger (PH955)

Much Much of 20th century continental European philosophy arose either from Husserlian phenomenology or from a critical confrontation with it. In either case, the relevant concerns and methods are bound to remain largely inaccessible or misunderstood without an adequate knowledge of the phenomenological background.

This module in the first instance offers an introduction to central aspects of Husserl’s ‘classical’ phenomenology. Due to the wide range of issues treated in Husserl’s writings a selection will need to be made. Topics will include: the phenomenological reduction as a method; the concept of intentionality; pre-predicative experience and judgement; time consciousness as the basis of intentional object constitution; Husserl’s analysis of ‘absolute’ pre-objective subjectivity; the role of intersubjectivity.

In the second half of the module we will explore Heidegger’s seminal transformation of phenomenology into ‘existential’ phenomenology, beginning with his critique, in the 1925 lectures on the concept of time, of the phenomenological reduction and of Husserl’s understanding of consciousness. We will then move on to an exploration of selected aspects of Heidegger’s analysis of human being in the world in his ground-breaking Being and Time (1927), partly in relation to the themes addressed earlier, but also giving due weight to those Heideggerian concerns regarding ontology, and further to those concerning an ‘authentic’ existence, which have no clear counterpart in Husserl.

Module director

Peter Poellner


This module is worth 20 or 30 CATS depending on your programme of study.