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Glossary of Literary Theory
by Greig E. Henderson and Christopher Brown


A system of "presuppositionless" philosophy developed by Edmund Husserl, who sought to investigate the pure data of human consciousness -- its Lebenswelt, or "lived world." According to Husserl's key concept of intentionality, consciousness is always consciousness of something; it is always directed to an object. Bracketing external reality (epoché) and making neither epistemological assumptions about the foundations of knowledge nor ontological assumptions about the nature of being, the phenomenologist examines the intentional objects of consciousness without making reference to any external objects or real existence.

© Greig E. Henderson and Christopher Brown,
University of Toronto
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University of Toronto English Library
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Last modified: March 31, 1997