Looking at Mark Spencer’s Essay (2021) “The Many Phenomenological Reductions” (Part 1 of 4)

0001 What is Phenomenology?

Phenomenology belongs to (what John Deely calls) the Age of Ideas, starting with the Western civilization’s turn from scholasticism towards mechanical philosophy.

0002 Mechanical philosophers, such as Rene Descartes (1596-1650 AD) say, “Forget final and formal causation.  Think in terms of material and instrumental causalities.  Attend to phenomena, the observable and measurable features of our world.  Then, build mathematical and mechanical models using well defined terms.”

0003 Later, Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) codifies a reaction against this fixation, arguing that we must not forget the thing itself (the noumenon).  Sure, phenomena are crucial to scientific observations and measurements.  But, the noumenon cannot be objectified as its phenomena.

0004 Then, Edmund Husserl (1856-1939) declares, “I have developed another way to situate phenomena.  By consciously focusing on phenomena, while bracketing out all this measurement business, along with other distractions, I can identify the noumenon, what the thing itself must be.”

0005 Now, there are two ways to situate phenomena.

First, scientists directly situate phenomena through observations and measurements.  They build models.  They are not interested in the thing itself.

Second, phenomenologists virtually situate phenomena through a method of bracketing assumptions, such as the empirio-schematic judgment, to end up with a noumenon, what the thing itself must be.