A term used by Edmund Husserl to refer to suspending judgment about the natural world (precedes analysis). This is written about in bracketing phenomenology on Wikipedia:

Bracketing involves setting aside the question of the real existence of the contemplated object, as well as all other questions about its physical or objective nature; these are left to the natural sciences. For example, the experience of seeing a horse qualifies as an experience, irrespective of whether the horse appears in reality, in a dream, or in a hallucination. By bracketing the horse as object of this experience (and, ordinarily, the entire objective world to which the horse belongs if it is real), the phenomenologist puts aside all questions concerning its objective existence or non-existence and considers only the experience that he or she has of it.

The concept can be better understood in terms of the phenomenological activity it is supposed to make possible: the “unpacking” of phenomena, or, in other words, systematically peeling away their symbolic meanings like layers of an onion until only the thing itself as meant and experienced remains. Thus, one’s subjective perception of the bracketed phenomenon is examined and analyzed in its purity.

Phenomenological Reduction
According to the Husserl’s Ideas on a Pure Phenomenology webpage, “Husserl explains that phenomenological reduction is the process of defining the pure essence of a psychological phenomenon”.

Empirical subjectivity is suspended by the process of bracketing described above. By bracketing this data from investigation, one is able to get at the “pure” phenomena from the users point of view. It brings about the question of assumption. If I assume I understand the sound of a tree falling, I may (as a researcher) fail to get at that experience from another’s perspective. Sometimes we take the simple things in life for granted – in fact, I would argue we make assumptions and judgments constantly about the way the world works. It seems we can only speak for ourselves in phenomenology – not assume a bang and crash I hear is the same experience as the person standing next to me.

According to the webpage, “Husserl uses the term epoche (Greek, for “a cessation”) to refer to this suspension of judgment regarding the true nature of reality. Husserl argues that bracketing is a neutralization of belief.”

I personally think the process of bracketing could never be accomplished fully – as we are humans with much unconscious subjectivity. I plan to talk about subjectivities later, but for now realize writing a subjectivities statement will be essential in any reliable phenomenological study.

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