International Studies in Phenomenology and Philosophy

Journal | Issue | Article

The phenomenological reduction

From natural life to philosophical thought

Rudolf Bernet

pp. 311-333

Phenomenologists continually discuss the nature of a phenomenological reduction that must continuously be performed anew. Before one can elucidate how a phenomenological epoché or reduction relates to an eidetic or transcendental reduction, one must clarify how philosophical thinking (in general) relates to natural life. The author claims that the relation between philosophical questions and questions belonging to natural life involves both continuity and a radical rupture. The phenomenological reduction concerns this rupture in both its negative and positive aspects: it liberates the philosopher from the constraints of a natural way of thinking and gives her new freedom to think speculatively (and not just describe) phenomenological phenomena. This freedom entails a new kind of responsibility that concerns both rigorous philosophical thinking and its relevance for natural life. When accounting for how phenomenological philosophy can possibly chang enatural life, one should keep in mind how the phenomenological reduction marks their difference.

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