From Phenomenon to Noumenon: а Methodological and Methodic Search

From Phenomenon to Noumenon:
а Methodological and Methodic Search

Toshchenko Zh.T.

Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Scientific Director and Head of Chair of Theory and History of Sociology, Russian State University for the Humanities; Chief Researcher, Institute of Sociology FCTAS RAS, Moscow, Russia

ID of the Article:

With RFBR assistance, project No. 17-06-00407.

For citation:

Toshchenko Zh.T. From Phenomenon to Noumenon: а Methodological and Methodic Search. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2019. No 4. P. 3-14


The article analyzes adequacy of the categories and concepts used by modern sociology for the capabilities and needs of cognition from the point of view of searching for new meanings of processes and phenomena under study. It is shown that sociology is still largely limited by traditional approaches based on the analysis of phenomena, i.e. social processes and developments – obvious, quite clearly and relatively simply interpreted concepts. Based on the notion of the sociology of life, it is shown that with all the variety of methodological orientations and methodological techniques, all sociological studies are striving – one way or another – to identify, use and account for such indicators of the life world that are expressed through public consciousness (knowledge, opinion, needs, motives, value orientations, attitudes, interests, etc.), behavior, activities (acts, deeds, actions), macro, meso and micro environment. With this approach, these components of the life world appear to us as phenomena, i.e. perceived in experience as objects of sensual contemplation, as products of empirical knowledge. The article argues that this approach seriously limits capabilities of cognition. On the agenda is transition to methodology and methods of cognition, associated with the use of the category – noumenon, that allows to reveal intelligible, latent essence, becoming apparent through in-depth study and reflection, speculative contemplation. Definition of noumenon is given, its main features (characteristics) are identified, an analysis of prior attempts by sociologists to ascent from phenomenon to noumenon is offered, suggestions are made regarding its use, application and explanation of the studied social reality (life world).

categories and concepts of sociology; methodology; methods; phenomenon; noumenon


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Content No 4, 2019