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Vol. 4 No. 2 (2021): Critical Phenomenology at the Collegium Phaenomenologicum

What is Phenomenological about Critical Phenomenology? Guenther, Al-Saji, and the Husserlian Account of Attitudes

  • Mérédith Laferté-Coutu
February 9, 2023


Since Gayle Salamon’s 2018 article “What is Critical about Critical Phenomenology?”, phenomenologists and critical theorists have offered various responses to the question this title poses. In doing this, they articulated the following considerations: is renewed criticality targeting the phenomenological method itself, does it expand its subject matter to marginalized experiences, does it retool key phenomenological concepts? One aspect of this debate that has been left under-interrogated, however, is the word “phenomenology” itself. There is after all another question to ask in this context: what is phenomenological about critical phenomenology? Many avenues of response are of course possible. Phenomenology could most broadly be meant as an approach that concerns itself with what is given in experience in order to describe the structures of that givenness. From a Husserlian perspective, pure phenomenology is the science which concerns itself with phenomena in the full and diverse sense of the word—not as understood by specific natural or human sciences. What is distinctive of phenomenology is thus not what subset or type of phenomena it is interested in but how it relates to them, which, as Husserl introduces Ideas I, happens “in a completely different attitude.”