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phenomenon +‎ -logy, from Ancient Greek φαινόμενον (phainómenon, thing appearing to view), hence "the study of what shows itself (to consciousness)".

According to Heidegger's Introduction to Phenomenological Research, "the expression “phenomenology” first appears in the eighteenth century in Christian Wolff’s School, in Lambert’s Neues Organon, in connection with analogous developments popular at the time, like dianoiology and alethiology, and means a theory of illusion, a doctrine for avoiding illusion." (p.3)


  • (UK) IPA(key): /fɪˌnɒmɪˈnɒləɡi/
  • (US) enPR: fĭ-nä'-mə-nälʹə-gē, IPA(key): /fɪˌnɑməˈnɑləɡi/


phenomenology (countable and uncountable, plural phenomenologies)

  1. (philosophy) The study of structures of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view.
    • 1994, Herbert Spiegelberg; Karl Schuhmann, “Introduction”, in The Phenomenological Movement: A Historical Introduction, 3rd rev. and enlarged edition, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, DOI:10.1007/978-94-009-7491-3, →ISBN, page 8:
      A similar and more influential use of the term can be found in William Whewell's Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences (1847), where phenomenology occurs in the context of the "palaetiological sciences" (i.e., sciences which deal wih more ancient conditions of things), as that branch of these studies which is to be followed by aetiology and theory. Among such phenomenologies Whewell mentions particularly phenomenological uranology, phenomenological geography of plants and animals, and even a phenomenological glossology.
  2. (philosophy) A movement based on this, originated about 1905 by Edmund Husserl.

Derived terms[edit]