Phenomenology by Chad Engelland (Book Review)

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Book Review

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The series to which Engelland’s book is a contribution aims to offer nonspecialists points of access to essential knowledge. Phenomenology is philosophically interesting because Engelland takes this pedagogical task seriously. The inaugural systematic works of phenomenology are preoccupied with how to become a genuine beginner in philosophy. But the radicalness of the beginning they seek, and their reflexive concern to show that they begin at the beginning, makes them anything but accessible in the ordinary sense. There is also a sizable academic literature that “introduces” phenomenology as a viable or preferable approach to established problems. These works speak the lingua franca of philosophical scholarship but are not primarily interested in making the phenomenal field visible to someone who has never looked for it. Engelland tries to foster this discovery, presenting the investigation of experience in familiar terms while protecting its transcendental character from empiricist misinterpretation. His strategy is to define and practice phenomenology as the explication of how experience is open to truth in the first place. The book is a teaching tool designed to show the reader that she is already involved in the fundamental dimension from which the great phenomenological thinkers have drawn their topics.


Review of the book Phenomenology, by Chad Engelland.