Phenomenology Online

A Resource for Phenomenological Inquiry

Epistemology of Practice describes the forms of knowledge and modes of knowing that inform or animate our actions.

How does phenomenology contribute to our practices and experiences of everyday thinking and acting? What is phenomenological knowledge and understanding? We can make three kinds of distinctions: knowledge as text (product), knowledge as participation (understanding), and personal knowledge (being):


  1. Knowledge as text: We can speak of phenomenological texts as knowledge in the same sense that we refer to other bodies of knowledge contained in books and documents. It is important to see, however, that the phenomenological text differs in the manner that meaning is embedded in the text. Phenomenological knowledge-as-text has cognitive and pathic, conceptual and poetic, informative and formative dimensions.
  2. Knowledge as understanding: Phenomenology is the active and reflective participation in meaning. The notion of phenomenological knowledge as understanding aims at special form of discursive and embodied understanding.
  3. Knowledge as being: The end of phenomenological reflection is the achievement of a personal, formative knowledge. The practical import of the phenomenological text and understanding is not primarily useful theory and techniques that one can apply to solve problems in practical situations. The connection between phenomenological knowledge and practice is not a technical relation. Phenomenology does not provide us with “information” in the usual sense of the term. Instead, the practical significance of phenomenological knowledge is formative in nature: It enhances our perceptiveness, it contributes to our sense of tact in human relations, and it provides us with pathic forms of understanding that are embodied, situational, relational and enactive.