PHIL 180 -- Phenomenology
Fall 2008

Instructor:    Clinton Tolley
   office:   HSS 8061
   hours:   2-4pm, Thurs
   phone:  2-2686
   email:   ctolley [at]

Teaching Assistant:   {to be determined}
   office:   ---
   hours:   ---
   phone:  ---
   email:   ---


Time:        Tuesday / Thursday, 11:00am-12:20pm
Location:  Faustina Solis Hall [SOLIS] 111 [map]

Required textbooks

{available at Groundwork Books}

Husserl, Ideas pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology
  tr., Kersten (Springer, 1983)

Heidegger, Being and Time
  trs., Macquarrie and Robinson (Harper, 2008)

Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception
   tr., Smith (Routledge, 2002)

** additional required readings to be made available on WebCT from:

Brentano, Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint [1874]

Heidegger, History of the Concept of Time [1925]

Recommended textbooks

Dermot Moran, Introduction to Phenomenology (Routledge, 2000) [google]

{also available at Groundwork Books}

Course description

It is hard to overestimate the extent of the influence of phenomenology upon 20th century American and European philosophy.  For this reason alone, phenomenology merits our attention.  Moreover, insofar as phenomenology itself is still very much alive and flourishing, it demands to be evaluated as a possibly still-viable philosophical point of view in its own right.

In this course, we will investigate phenomenology by tracing out its  historical development, from
its roots in the writings of Franz BRENTANO (1838–1917) and in the emerging field of empirical psychology, through the official introduction of a pure phenomenological method in the work of Edmund HUSSERL (1859–1938), and on through to its transformation into existential phenomenology by Martin HEIDEGGER (1889–1976) and (what might be called) its organic elaboration by Maurice MERLEAU-PONTY (1908–61).

As its name suggests, phenomenology attempts to provide the 'logic of phenomena', which is to be achieved through the rigorous analysis of what it means for something to 'appear' to a mind.  In this regard, phenomenology shares much of its subject-matter with psychology, though after Husserl, it purports to proceed by way of a method distinct from that of empirical psychology -- namely, a method of non-empirical reflection upon and intuition of the essence of consciousness and appearance as such.  Through this method, phenomenology aims to exhibit a unified picture of the ontology of consciousness, the nature of its intentionality (i.e., its directedness toward something beyond itself), and the fundamental forms that this intentionality can take.  At its most ambitious moments, phenomenology intends to identify what it means to be conscious, to be (something that has) a mind -- ultimately, what it means to be human.

Our goal, then, will be to achieve a critical understanding of the method, findings, problems, and prospects of phenomenology, by working through the major texts of its key proponents.

Prerequisite: upper-division standing or consent of instructor.

: May be repeated for credit with change in content and approval of the instructor.

Course requirements

mid-term exam (1500 words); due 11am, Thurs, 5th week
final paper (2500 words); due 2:30pm, Weds, exam week

Schedule of readings


Reference links

Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy entries (requires sign-in)

Overview of the phenomenological movement
Franz Brentano
Edmund Husserl
Martin Heidegger
Maurice Merleau-Ponty
Overview of existentialism

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entries

Overview of phenomenology
Franz Brentano
Edmund Husserl
Maurice Merleau-Ponty
Overview of existentialism

Course URL

last updated: September 24, 2008