HFIB10691U Applied Phenomenology

Volume 2022/2023

The bachelor’s elective studies in Philosophy 2019 


Applied phenomenology

Since its inception, phenomenological philosophy has exerted a strong influence on empirical science. Experimental psychology and psychiatry were among the first disciplines to take inspiration from Husserl's call to attend to the phenomena in their full concreteness, and since then many disciplines, including anthropology, ethnology, comparative literature, linguistics, education, sociology, nursing, psychotherapy, and embodied cognitive science, to mention just a few, have engaged with and drawn on ideas from phenomenology.

The applicability of phenomenology has been part of its enduring appeal, but what is the best way to practice, use and apply phenomenology in a non‐philosophical context? How deeply rooted in phenomenological philosophy must a discipline or practice be in order to make it qualify as phenomenological? How many of the core commitments of phenomenology must it accept?

There is currently no consensus in the field regarding these questions, but based on more than 20 years of work with and on applied phenomenology, this course will provide some answers.

The first third of the course will offer an introduction to core ideas and figures in phenomenology (primarily Husserl, Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty). It will be made clear how phenomenology by offering an account of human existence, where the subject is understood as an embodied and socially and culturally embedded being-in-the-world, is not only addressing specific issues relevant to a number of disciplines from within the humanities and social sciences, but also contributing to the philosophy of the human sciences.

The rest of the course will look at successful applications. We will discuss how the phenomenological method has been used in qualitative research and psychology, in discussions of gender and race, in health care (primarily psychiatry and nursing), in cognitive science (primarily developmental psychology and neuroscience), and in the social sciences (including sociology, anthropology and political science). The course will offer some reflections on what a phenomenological interview might look like and also discuss how ideas from phenomenology can be used in corporations and private companies.



Learning Outcome


Students should refer to the course description for the subject element concerned.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 84
  • Preparation
  • 304
  • Total
  • 388
Not relevant
Type of assessment
Written assignment
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