From The MIT Press Essential Knowledge series


By Chad Engelland

A concise and accessible introduction to phenomenology, which investigates the experience of experience.





A concise and accessible introduction to phenomenology, which investigates the experience of experience.

This volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series offers a concise and accessible introduction to phenomenology, a philosophical movement that investigates the experience of experience. Founded by Edmund Husserl (1859–1938) and expounded by Max Scheler, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and others, phenomenology ventures forth into the field of experience so that truth might be met in the flesh. It investigates everything as experienced. It does not study mere appearance but the true appearances of things, holding that the unfolding of experience allows us to sort true appearances from mere appearance.

The book unpacks a series of terms—world, flesh, speech, life, truth, love, and wonder—all of which are bound up with each other in experience. For example, world is where experience takes place; flesh names the way our experiential exploration is inscribed into the bearings of our bodily being; speech is instituted in bodily presence; truth concerns the way our claims about things are confirmed by our experience. A chapter on the phenomenological method describes it as a means of clarifying the modality of experience that is written into its very fabric; and a chapter on the phenomenological movement bridges its divisions while responding to criticisms from analytic philosophy and postmodernism.


$15.95 T ISBN: 9780262539319 264 pp. | 5 in x 7 in 5 b&w illus.


  • "Chad Engelland's book, Phenomenology, is both for beginners and about new beginnings; an invitation to re-examine and renew what it means to be a philosopher by analysing how we experience our very own experiences."

    Phenomenological Reviews

  • "There is an understated logic and comprehensiveness to Engelland's ordering of the material. He follows accounts of world, lived-body, and speech with a discussion of the interests, moods, and evaluative attitudes that motivate philosophical questioning itself. With the circle closed, phenomenology appears less as a school of thought than a sublime expression of the very life that it understands. Throughout, the focus is on providing the beginner with a cohesive subject matter that integrates the perspectives of diverse canonical thinkers. Engelland paints in broad but carefully placed strokes, relying upon a few smartly defined, technical concepts (such as “constitution” and “intentionality”) to anchor descriptions that proceed from scenes of everyday life."

    Review of Metaphysics

  • "Engelland succeeds very well in conveying what phenomenology is all about, and readers interested in Continental philosophy, from undergraduates to experienced professionals, will benefit from this comprehensive introduction."

    Library Journal