Phenomenology, Existentialism, and Education

Phenomenology and existentialism are philosophic traditions offering unique, albeit abstruse conceptions of reality and “the self.” Both philosophies proffer individualistic perspectives of reality, inquiry, and interpretation that, when interpreted and understood, enable educators, curriculum writers, and policy makers to make sense of the world from an individual point of view. Existentialists believe in autonomous consciousness—because meaning originates from me, I become responsible for the reality of the world. Phenomenologists on the other hand are more interested in how and why reality is perceived. Phenomenology and existentialism are discussed below with particular emphasis on implications of these two philosophies for education.


Phenomenology is one of the class of interpretive designs within the broad rubric known as qualitative research methodology. As a form of educational inquiry it focuses ...

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