Phenomenology: an introduction

Course Dates: 20/09/21 - 06/12/21
Time: 12:30 - 14:30
Location: Online
Phenomenology, one of the most influential approaches in contemporary philosophy, asks: how do we constitute experienced reality? Following Husserl and Heidegger, phenomenologists try to understand what it means, if anything, to be in the world.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £239.00 Senior fee £191.00 Concession £146.00

Course Code: HP054

Mon, day, 20 Sep - 06 Dec '21

Duration: 12 sessions (over 12 weeks)

Or call to enrol:020 7831 7831

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

As one of the key philosophical approaches developed in the 20th Century, Phenomenology attempts to understand reality as constituted through individual experience. Whilst this is not inconsistent with naturalistic, scientific/causal approaches it does differ significantly in method and orientation. The aim here will be to attempt to make sense of the phenomenological approach and its applications. This will be done through examining the work of the key ‘phenomenological’ philosophers: Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre and Merleau-Ponty but also taking into account later thinkers, such as Hannah Arendt, as relevant.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

A selection of short readings will be provided which will form the basis for our examination of the key thinkers. Through these brief extracts we will examine core phenomenological concepts such as ‘epoche’ (bracketing), ‘being-in-the-world’, ‘constitutive’ and ‘embodied’ experience, ‘intersubjective’ and ‘hermeneutic’ (interpretative) understanding.

Husserl – extracts from ‘Phenomenology’ (Ency. Britannica entry)
Heidegger – extracts from ‘Being and Time’ and ‘Bremen Lectures: Insight into That Which is’
Sartre – extracts from ‘Existentialism is a Humanism’ and ‘Being and Nothingness’
Merleau-Ponty – extracts from ‘Phenomenology of Perception’
Phenomenological paths – Extracts from Arendt’s ‘The Human Condition’.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Explain, briefly, how phenomenological and scientific accounts of reality differ
- Discuss, simply, the key ideas of Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre and Merleau-Ponty.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This is an introductory course that assumes no specific philosophical learning or ability other than an interest in thinking philosophically. A willingness to engage in thinking-through and discussing ideas will be of benefit – some perseverance in reading the short extracts provided may be required.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The course will run, in the main, in a ‘seminar’ format with brief tutor presentations followed by Q&A and open discussion. There may be some small-group formats for discussion based on topics arising from the short readings. Participants are advised to read the relevant material prior to the sessions. All slides will be available online for later reference.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

No other costs. Participants may wish to take notes with pen & paper, laptop or tablet according to their preference.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

You might be interested in HP100 Being in the world: Heidegger's philosophy, starting in January 2022. Please check our website - - to see the full range of philosophy courses on offer.

John Goff Tutor Website

From reading Philosophy at a young age to the formal study of Cognitive Science, Philosophy & Psychology at the Universities of London and Sussex - after a prior career in video-arts - John Goff has been presenting philosophy courses to adults since the early 2000s. He uses a cross-disciplinary, seminar-based approach in his courses, drawing on Philosophy, Psychology and the wider Humanities & Social Sciences with an emphasis on the intersection of contemporary and classical European and Asian philosophical thought. He is the author of several works of philosophical fiction concerning artificial minds and organisms and alternative-human worlds including the novel 'The Last Days of the Most Hidden Man' and the novellas 'Eidopolis', 'Agents of Erasure' and 'Jupiter|Saturn'. His academic writings can be found on his page at ''.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.