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PHILOSOPHY 439: PHenomenology — fall 2009

General Information


Course Description

Phenomenology has been a dominant intellectual force in continental Europe, influencing such diverse areas as psychology, sociology, anthropology, theology, aesthetics, and literary criticism. Its philosophical foundations are primarily due to the German philosopher Edmund Husserl (1859-1938), and our course will focus on his work. By coming to understand phenomenology as presented in Husserl’s philosophy, we may hope to obtain a perspective from which other phenomenologists, and also the extra-philosophical appeal of phenomenology, can be appreciated.

Husserl’s phenomenology is partly an epistemological program, which attempts to work out a distinctive methodology for investigating traditional philosophical questions and clarifying the foundations of knowledge in general. (Phenomenological methods are typically thought of as contrasting with the methods of natural science and analytic philosophy.) Husserl’s phenomenology is also a philosophical theory about the nature of human consciousness and experience, centering on the concept of intentionality and the role of meaning in human experience. After discussing these two aspects of Husserl’s philosophy, we will consider some of the important modifications and developments of it made by his most famous student, Martin Heidegger (1889-1976).



The course presupposes some familiarity with issues in epistemology and metaphysics, especially as represented in the tradition from Descartes through Kant. The official prerequisites are 6 units of philosophy, including either Phil 350 (Epistemology and Metaphysics) or Phil 355 (Mind and Reality).



No textbooks must be purchased. Selected readings from various sources, including Husserl’s Logical Investigations, Ideas I, and Cartesian Meditations and Heidegger’s The Basic Problems of Phenomenology and Being and Time will be made available through WebCT or library reserve.


Official Course Website: Web CT

The official website for students enrolled in the course is on WebCT (https://webteach.csun.edu). WebCT will house many essential course materials, including readings and assignments, schedule revisions, announcements, and class notes.

Course Specifics

Requirements & Grading

Schedule of Topics and Assignments (See WebCT)

Policy on Late or Missed Assignments

Policy on Academic Honesty


Deadline for Withdrawals

The deadline for dropping a course without a petition is Friday, September 11. Except in extraordinary circumstances, the University will not permit withdrawals after Friday, September 18. For details on University policy, click here.



If you have a disability that may call for accommodation, please let me know. You must register with the CSUN Center on Disabilities, which will approve accommodations and provide you with any forms that I may need to sign. The Center on Disabilities is located in Bayramian Hall, Room 110; the phone is 677-2684.



The course specifics -- including course requirements, grading, and the schedule of assignments -- are subject to change at my discretion. All changes will be announced in class and by email. Unless due to circumstances beyond my control, changes in the schedule will be announced at least one week in advance.