Journal of Philosophical Investigations

Document Type : Research Paper


Associate professor, Art University of Isfahan


Thinking which is a distinctive aspect of mankind from other human beings is a reason to call human culturally. Thinking is not merely a closed step, but is a coherent »way», and yet is a deep-seated process. When the need to »being-in-the-way», not to be institutionalized and spontaneous in the presence of the scholar, cannot be exploited by its brightness and its deep consequences. Originally phenomenology is a way to think and goes beyond that summariz merely as a philosophical school or »method».  Phenomenology is a decisive attempt to enrich the world of human experience, a world in which the various aspects of being considered less, or has been put in the shadow, and gradually had been lost its shape. The mission of the »way» is to retrieve and disclose some of the other things that exist in the world and we have neglected to do so. In present article, the author, with an ontological concern and familiarity with the damages in the field of research, addresses the phenomenology as steps of the »way» of thinking (not as a method) to have a multifaceted and comprehensive perspective to the phenomenon in order to abide to them and through this, enters into clarify the differences between »way» and »method» based on the intellectual foundations of phenomenology.



As Martin Heidegger declares, teaching is much harder than learning. Realizing and understanding as a subset of thinking, has always been a subject to philosophers. As Aristotle mentioned realizing means not only knowing some facts, but also realizing the relationship between them. Realizing needs to understand all the facts and to be able to classifying them into exact and easy-understanding system of thought. Realizing needs to put facts in right place in a larger data base because it is closely related to roots and relations. As we may know, science is a tool in human hand but thinking and realizing is related to Logos and is elusive of being a tool only. This article aims to put distinction between way and method in the idea of phenomenologist.

Phenomenology, thinking in the way:

Real thinking is not a one-aspect looking at the things that brings a dogmatic result. It is an endeavor to unveil different aspects of a subject, because the truth will never reveal itself at once and to a single person. Thinking must be in the way of roots and ratios since the truth draw itself back and hide its origin. Thinking does not stop at a certain point and start over and over again. Thinking in its high position stands next to art because art with a metaphoric language tries to get show some aspects of the truth. We are in the middle of the way now and no certain way has been established yet. The one-aspect thinking and deducing of the modern era cannot be called true way of thinking. We should learn to listen to the logos itself. Way of thinking is asking questions and seeking the answers that will not unveil at once. Be-wegung in Heidegger's idea means being in the way and moving forward without any certain destination at the beginning. This means a dynamic move in the way that is not fit the meaning of method. In this way the stereotypes of thinking will fade away and restless researcher starts moving forward. This way demands putting aside all the pre-knowledge and point of views and letting the logos itself to speak. This can be the easiest job ever and the hardest at the same time since it asks to become like a child and experience everything again and of course this child must be sharp and aware. The first step of the phenomenology is perception that lead the researcher into the way. The core of phenomenology for any phenomenologist is putting aside all pre-knowledge and letting the object to show themselves. This consideration is a tough job and need to search all aspects of the phenomena as a gestalt. Realizing any object or subject is closely related to its historical origin. Everything has a meaning in history and that is why all researcher need etymology to uncover the historical course of things.

The differences between way and method

Method is the basis of any research these days and the way of true thinking is not considered widely. Method is different from the way. Method is the result of science and its formulas and dominance of logic on logos. That is why way as we described it before has been put aside. Nowadays method is misunderstood as the true way of thinking; however, it is only superficial and does not show the profundity of truth. This problem came from our mathematical mind that has been given to us by modernity and scientific point of view. Thinking is far different from methods and its subjects. According to Heidegger truth does not belong to method territory. It is from a much higher level that calls the thinking to unveil it. That high level is being itself and works as a home to thoughts. Thinking moves toward this home and try to discover its truth. On the other hand this home brings an open territory to thinking and let it to figure its truth out. This home is truly the home of thinking and the way that we talked about is headed toward it. The function of the way is to take us to this home, being, as the origin of the thoughts. In this point of view method only tear truth apart and try to focus on these slices separately. This will take us away from the home and truth in it. In using method and its categorizing point of view, no phenomenon will be considered deeply. As soon as a phenomenon is known, it will be categorized under a subject and move to the next one hastily. Phenomenology is obsessed with truth and way not method, because it is concerned with being in its generality. Method is a tool in science hand but way is not a tool. It is a beginning to thinking and realizing.

Steps on the way

When we want to talk about steps of the way, we may first look at some papers that claim to be phenomenological but fail in their goals. One of the mostly used term in papers these days is comparative study that is a subset of phenomenology. In these papers the name of comparative in only used to flourish their title but has no use in their research. The researcher focuses on one similarity that has found and ignore the complex system of similarities and differences that may appear in next thinking. The result of this anti dynamic point of view can be surmised from the beginning. In true phenomenology you are not allowed to bold some aspects of the phenomenon and ignore other ones, since the aim is to unveil all aspects of it. Phenomenology does not through away all formulas or scientific methods but tries to suspend them for some time in order to see other aspects of the phenomenon. This is what epoche means. Epoche and phenomenology lets neglected aspects to come up and be seen fairly as any other aspects that were bolded before. This will guide us to a round that leads to a common core. Sometimes the mind may reject this round because it is against logic but we should keep in mind that it is not a null round but is a hermeneutic round that will lead us to a truth, a core. In this round the wholeness and its components get their meaning from each other. Names are the very first signs that show us the truth of things since names has been chosen due to listening to being carefully in a mythical time. That is why terminology and etymology of names are very important. From this the researcher will understand the historical appearance of phenomenon. In hermeneutic round the fundamental aspects of the phenomenon that without them the phenomenon will fall apart. In phenomenology the main core of phenomenon is not apart from its aspects and components.

As a case study we will consider architecture of a house. At first step we may find some similar buildings as house like cottage, mansion, palace, hotel, etc. some buildings are exactly in the opposite of house according to their function such as bank, university, bazaar, office, etc. next step is to study etymology and terminology of the word house in order to find its fundamental elements that are protection, companionship, peace and friendliness. Then other aspects that were considered basic will fade away. Then the researcher can start studying house in different cultures and in different nationalities to find out the meaning of house to them. Then the way shows us an important thing, the main goal of building the house was dwelling in the being itself. No step is separated from others in phenomenological point of view. The way is consist of all these tiny steps. The conclusion that the way shows us is not the end of the story, it is only the beginning of a totally new concept.


In this article the focus was on the way of thinking that leads to realizing not just knowing. Phenomenology as a way of thinking suggest the way as the main concept of its idea and this way of thinking can be used in field of art too. Phenomenology is not a magical way of thought. It only tries to stick to the way of wisdom and cognition and stay away of any kind of negligence and to reach this goal it has many tools in its hand as epoche, Hermeneutic Round, consideration, Linguistic analysis, Drawing Gestalt ratios, considering ways of advent and interpretation of meanings. Phenomenology is not a method in its new meaning but is a roll-back to take stronger steps in upgrading the knowledge and awareness. 


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