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Bracketing (also called epoché or the phenomenological reduction) is a term derived from Edmund Husserl (1859-1938) for the act of suspending judgment about the natural world that precedes phenomenological analysis.

The concept can be most easily understood as "unpacking" phenomena, or, in other words, systematically peeling away their symbolic meanings like layers of an onion until only the thing-in-itself remains. Thus, one's subjective perception of the bracketed phenomenon is the truest form of experience one can have in perceiving it.

In other words, bracketing involves setting aside the question of the real existence of the contemplated object, as well as all other questions about its physical nature; these are left to the natural sciences. 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.

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