Phenomenology (V5004)

15 credits, Level 5

Spring teaching

Over 50 years ago, Merleau-Ponty began his great work The Phenomenology of Perception with the words: "what is phenomenology?" It may seem strange that this question has still to be asked half a century after the first works of Husserl appeared. The aim of this module is to continue to ask that question about the nature of what has become one of the most important philosophical movements in the last hundred years, and it does so by examining some of the key texts of the philosophers most influenced by, and most critical of, the founder of that movement, Edmund Husserl (1859-1938). These philosophers include Heidegger (1889-1976), Sartre (1905-1980), Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961), Levinas (1906-1995), and Derrida (1930-2004), and they cannot be properly understood unless their relationship to Husserl's philosophy is examined.

Overall, phenomenology attempts to focus on "how" things appear to us rather than simply asking "what" these things are. Themes to be discussed include the nature of perception, the role of the sciences, the impact of emotions, the body and intersubjectivity.

A reader with photocopies of the most important texts for this module can be purchased in the first session.


50%: Lecture
50%: Seminar


100%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 22 hours of contact time and about 128 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2023/24. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: