I would like to ask whether there are any concrete end-to-end examples that you are aware of, and ones that I can go through that are considered correct transcripts of the transcendental reduction method.

I am confused with regards to the Phenomenological method; most of the examples from the books are very limiting. For instance, these typically end on the angles and shapes of the bracketed object, like a cube, considering aspect, profile and moment. Are there good examples that are more thorough?

In regards to practicality, what should I also include in studying the object philosophically? Our moods, emotions and connotations also taken into consideration? Does awareness of picturing and remembering count? For example, is this a valid reduction wherein the colour of the red label on the PEPSI bottle points me to the image of a rose?

Again, what appliance does this have in real life? After reading Dan Zahavi I understand that Phenomenology is inherently about "seeing things through", meaning that dynamically, in real life, without taking reality for granted I can see my subjective imprints on the things; noesis that keeps leading me through to different noema. The result is a somewhat artistic and picturesque experience of reality, but is this necessarily correct?

P.S. I was myself considering to read Gaston's Poetics of Space in order to get an end to end example(s), but I am not sure it's a good candidate.

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    – Geoffrey Thomas
    Commented Jul 2, 2019 at 17:02
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    Try Don Ihde's Experimental Phenomenology for some pretty solid concrete examples. For example from Husserl himself, you need to go to the posthumously published works and the unpublished manuscripts. All of Husserl's works published during his lifetime were introductions to phenomenology and as such are very programmatic. Check out Thing and Space, Experience and Judgment for examples of in-depth reductions and analyses. Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 20:57
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    See Robert Sokolowski, Introduction to phenomenology.
    – user39744
    Commented Dec 31, 2019 at 16:05

3 Answers 3


Transcendental reduction in Phenomenology is possible only after the first stage of phenomenological reduction, and after this first reduction we can more clearly see without judgement and have a first-person givenness about the central intentionality of our mental activities, self-awareness and phenomenal consciousness. Then in the transcendental stage we can uncover the formal principles such as ‘retentional-protentional’ structure of our consciousness of time according to Zahavi's paper here:

First, transcendental phenomenology focuses not on what things are, but on the ways in which things are given. For Husserl, this means focusing on phenomena (appearances) and the senses or meanings they have for us, and asking how these meaningful phenomena are ‘constituted’... Things show up, as it were, having the features they do, because of how they are disclosed and brought to awareness, given the structure of consciousness. Such constitution is not apparent to us in everyday life, but requires systematic analysis to discern. Consider, for example, our experience of time. Our sense of the present moment as both simultaneously opening into the immediate future and slipping away into the immediate past depends on the formal structure of our consciousness of time. The present moment manifests as having temporal breadth, as a zone or span of actuality, instead of as an instantaneous flash, thanks to the way our consciousness is structured.

Second, to address this constitutional problem of how meaningful phenomena are brought to awareness or disclosed, transcendental phenomenology tries to uncover the invariant formal principles by which experience necessarily operates in order to be constitutive. A fundamental example of this type of principle is the ‘retentional-protentional’ structure of time-consciousness...


I think some food for thought can be acquired through this article here:

The Jhanas in Theravada Buddhist Meditation by Henepola Gunaratana https://accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/gunaratana/wheel351.html#ch3

The process that the Buddhists undergo here do include moods, emotions and connotations, etc. They lay out a process here where they concentrate on an object, a kasina disk in this article, long enough unto the point where they are capable of seeing it with their eyes closed like one would an after-image of, say, a neon-green surface. They then concentrate on the after-image and claim that the result of focusing on that long enough leads to the perception of an eidetic form of that image. So, it goes: object > after-image ("learning sign") > eidetic form ("counterpart sign").

In the article it says: "With continued practice the learning sign gives rise to a purified luminous replica of itself called the counterpart sign (patibhaganimitta), the manifestation of which marks the complete suppression of the hindrances and the attainment of access concentration (upacarasamadhi)." and the hindrances they are referring to are: sensual desire, ill will, sloth and torpor, restlessness, worry and doubt. They are hinderances because they affect ones ability to concentrate and they elaborate a bit more as to how and why it is important to keep them at bay. It doesn't stop there and the succession of the states they mention require the abandonment of the factors that had lead up to them step by step; as they explain it anyway. Hope this helps.


John Drummond is a contemporary phenomenologist in the Husserlian tradition. He argues that respect is a moral emotion. It's hard to get through if you're newer to the study of phenomenology (like I am), but he explains our experiences of others as worthy respect are phenomenological constituted. He adds on to this in a second paper on sympathy and respect.

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