I have been diving into phenomenology for my research and it seems very interesting. But coming back to the "practical" world I still don't can't really describe its stance on various phenomenon. I understand that knowledge is positional and related to experience and the meanings which is derived from it. But would this mean that technological progress/development is only a progress/development since we prescribe meaning to technology from our experience of it?

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    Phenomenology is not a unified movement; rather, different authors share a common family resemblance but also with many significant differences. A phenomenologist is emphasizing one's subjective perception and conception. If you regard driving car is better than walking technologically, then this is justified as a firm support and evidence to your stance regarding such comparison. It tries to avoid metaphysical discourse to ontology to further investigate the interaction details of human with driving a car or walking, like mind-body like Cartesian interaction discourse. Commented Apr 5, 2021 at 3:49

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Phenomenology evolved through protest of the 19th century positivist paradigm which asserted that reality was totally logical, causal, and Cartesian (objectivity produces knowledge and is independent of human observation). Conversely, phenomenologists (such as Husserl, Heidegger) believed that knowledge was achieved through interactions between researchers and participants as summarized by Heidegger's Dasein (Being in the world vs knowing in the world) which opposes the Cartesian "abstract agent" in favor of practical engagement with one's environment. So phenomenology was considered subjective, and mainly used outside of traditional science realms, such as psychology and nursing.

Under this context, we can say phenomenology rejects ontological independent quantitative causality like physical laws, while strives to describe phenomena without subjective bias or predispositions, especially in the Husserl's school of thought with his famous "biases bracketing or epoche", and finally tries to identify the structure of consciousness (noesis and noema) and intentionality purely through the intersubjective lifeworld. It's like study of what's within all the available sense data between researchers and participants, not what's behind all the available sense data.

As to the meaning of any phenomenon under phenomenology, Husserl's descriptive philosophy can only give us clear impartial intended themes about the participant's phenomenal experience since participant's self-judgments have all been suspended with this approach. While Heidegger's hermeneutic interpretive phenomenology may give further "interpreted understanding" of participant's meaning by joining researcher's subjective landscape via a priori categories setup and matching with each entry of participants' described experience. So with this interpretive philosophy, meaning can be identified through shared knowledge and shared experiences between researchers and participants, though inherently it's biased but shared with all the people involved. For example, if both researcher and participant subjectively agree and value driving is a moral and attentive artistic activity than simply wanting to do something else while driving as an onerous task so as not to waste one's time, then the new technology of autonomous driving car may not be a progress in this hypothetical case...


A flavour of Heidegger's attitude to technology can be understood from the following quote from The Principle of Reason (1957) in which he seems to allude to AI. The criticism is that we might follow the tech without thinking about the bigger picture.

Accordingly, the representation of human language as an instrument of information increasingly gains the upper hand. For the determination of language as information first of all creates the sufficient grounds [zureichenden Grund] for the construction of thinking machines and for the building of frameworks for large calculations. ...

In order to introduce reflective thinking, we asked whether modern and con­temporary humans hear the demand that speaks from out of the powerful funda­mental principle of all cognition. ... Contempo­rary humanity constantly hears the fundamental principle of reason inasmuch as it becomes increasingly slavish to the principle.

But supposing that this slavishness is not the only or the genuine manner of hearing, then we must yet once more ask the question: do we hear the demand of the principle of reason? (Page 124)

Heidegger likens the Principle of causality, or Principle of reason, to an aspect or dimension of Being, but the capability of language is pushed to describe their deep interoperation.

Perhaps something simple belonging to what is worthy of thought has drawn a bit closer. We name it when we say: being is experienced as ground/reason. Ground/reason is interpreted as ratio, as an account.

Accordingly humans are the animal rationale, the creature that requires ac­counts and gives accounts. According to this determination, humans are the reck­oning creature, reckoning understood in the broad sense of the word ratio—originally a word in Roman commercial language—as already taken over by Cicero at the time that Greek thinking was converted into Roman cognition.

Being comes to be experienced as ground/reason. Ground/reason is interpreted as ratio, as account. Humans are the reckoning creature. This holds in the various transformations, and indeed unequivocally, throughout the entire history of West­ern thought. (Page 129)

So no, at least this phenomenologist does not reject causality.

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