Edmund Husserl Essay - Critical Essays

Husserl, Edmund

Introduction

Edmund Husserl 1859-1939

(Full name Edmund Gustav Albrecht Husserl) German philosopher.

Husserl was the founder of phenomenology, a philosophical method that seeks certainty about the existence of being and about the authenticity and reliability of knowing. He was a formative influence on twentieth-century thought and methodology, not only in philosophy as one of the progenitors of existentialism, structuralism, and post-modernism, but in literature, music, painting, psychology, and the physical sciences, where his concern for the reduction of investigation to the essential minimum, his identification of the act of perception and the thing perceived, and his postulation of the authority of subjective perception have become standard. Husserl refined phenomenology and its focus throughout his life, moving from a world-based contemplation of actual things and phenomena without presuppositions to a transcendental contemplation of a priori essentials to a philosophy of inter-subjective social relationship in the actual world.

Biographical Information

Husserl was born in Prossnitz, Moravia. His early school career was not distinguished, but he did show aptitude in the sciences and went on to study astronomy, mathematics, physics, and philosophy at the universities of Leipzig, Berlin, and Vienna, where he received his doctorate in philosophy in 1882. A year later he began studying with the psychologist and philosopher Franz Brentano. Brentano's influence was of particular importance because he championed a psychology that described phenomena, rather than the organs deemed responsible for psychological conditions. With Brentano, too, Husserl studied logic and the British empiricists Locke, Hume, and Mill, and developed the belief that philosophy had to be a “strict and rigorous science.” In 1886, with Brentano's recommendation, Husserl became a lecturer at the University of Halle. During his years there, until 1901, his shaping as a philosopher took place, and the fundamental content of his philosophy was formulated. His publication of a theory of arithmetic in 1891 was of particular significance to his thought because it elicited a critical response from the mathematician-philosopher Gotlob Frege, which turned Husserl away from psychologism and toward logic. His 1901 publication of the Logische Untersuchunger (Logical Investigations) was the first full, systematic presentation of phenomenology, and it brought him recognition and esteem. That same year Husserl joined the faculty of the University of Goettingen, where he lectured on the works of other philosophers as well as phenomenology. He also wrote copiously but published only an article titled “Philosophie als strenge Wissenschaft” (1910;Philosophy as Rigorous Science”) and the first volume of his monumental Jarbuch fuer Philosophie und Phaenomenologische Forschung (11 vols., 1913–1931; Ideas General Introduction to Pure Phenomenology). From 1916 until 1928 Husserl was a full professor of philosophy at the University of Freiburg, where he remained until his retirement in 1928. During his Freiburg years, his reputation grew to international proportions: he lectured in London, was published in Japan, became a corresponding member of the Aristotelian Society, and was asked to contribute an entry on phenomenology to the Encyclopedia Britannica. During those years a number of important students gathered around him, including Martin Heidegger, whose work was strongly influenced by Husserl's even when it diverged from it. Husserl retired in 1928 but continued to work vigorously, lecturing in Amsterdam, Paris, Vienna, Prague, and within Germany. In 1933 he was invited to join the philosophy faculty of the University of Southern California, which he declined. After 1935 the Nazi government forbade Husserl, who had been born Jewish, though a convert to Lutheranism, to travel or to lecture. In 1938 one of his students, Herman Van Breda, learned that the Nazis were intending to burn Husserl's work. After Husserl's death in 1938, Van Breda managed, with the help of Husserl's widow, to smuggle all of his manuscripts (more than forty-thousand pages, many written in shorthand) out of Germany to safety in Belgium, where they were archived for transcription, publication, and research.

Major Works

All of Husserl's writings considered together constitute a single work formulating and refining phenomenology. From Logical Investigations, “Philosophy as Rigorous Science,” and the volumes of Ideas, through the Meditations Cartesiennes (1931; Cartesian Meditations) and the later “Die Krisis der europaeischen Wissenschaften und die tranzendeatale Phänomenologie” (1936; The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology,) his work shows phenomenology as a philosophy whose ongoing project is to reconcile the Cartesian division between an objective, concrete reality and the subjective constructions of thought; to reestablish the observational methodology of Aristotle; to provide a reliable basis for attaining authentic knowledge; and by means of clarity of thinking and rigor of perception to provide for the ethical interaction between people necessary for the development of civilization and humane association. The last challenge Husserl felt keenly because of his belief that World War I had marked the end of validity and humanity for European thought. After the triumph of Nazism and what he saw as the mystification of thought, this project became even more urgent. Husserl maintained that the actualization of humanity depended upon the freedom of the mind. Establishing and exercising that freedom, as well as providing the description of fundamental human reality, he believed, were the tasks of phenomenology.

Principal Works

Philosophie der Arithmetik: Psychologische und logische Untersuchungen [The Philosophy of Arithmetic: Psychological and Logical Investigations] (philosophy) 1891

Logische Untersuchungen [Logical Investigations] 2 vols. (philosophy) 1901

“Philosophie als strenge Wissenschaft” [“Philosophy as Rigorous Science”] (essay) 1910

Jarbuch fuer Philosophie und Phaenomenologische Forschung [[Ideas: General Introduction to Pure Phenomenology]] 11 vols. (philosophy) 1913–31

Transzendentale Phänomenologie [Transcendental Phenomenology] (philosophy) 1913

Vorlesungen zur Phänomenologie des innern Zeitbewusstseins [Lectures on the Consciousness of Inner Time] (philosophy) 1928

“Phänomenologie” [“Phenomenology”] (essay) 1929

Meditations cartesiennes: Introduction a la Phenomenologie [Cartesian Meditations: An Introduction to Phenomenology] (philosophy) 1931

“Die Krisis der europaeischen Wissenschaften und die transzendentale Phänomenologie: Ein Einleitung in die phaenomenologische Philosophie” [The Crisis of European Science and Transcendental Phenomenology: An Introduction to Phenomenological Philosophy] (philosophy) 1936

Erfahrung und Urteil [Experience and Judgement] (philosophy) 1939

Criticism

Gottlob Frege (review date 1894)

SOURCE: A review of Dr. E. Husserl's Philosophy of Arithmetic, in Husserl: Expositions and Appraisals, University of Notre Dame Press, 1977, pp. 314-24.

[The following excerpt is a translation (by E. W. Kluge) of Frege's 1894 critical review of Husserl's Philosophy of Arithmetic, which played a significant role in causing Husserl to refocus the direction of his thought.]

The author decides in the Introduction [of Philosophy of Arithmetic] that for the time being he will consider (only) cardinal numbers (cardinalia), and thereupon launches into a discussion of multiplicity, plurality, totality, aggregate, collection, set. He uses these words as if they were essentially synonymous; the concept of a cardinal number1 is supposed to be different from this. However, the logical relationship between multiplicity and number (p. 9) remains somewhat obscure. If one were to go by the words “The concept of number includes the same concrete phenomena as the concept of multiplicity, albeit only by way of the extensions of the concepts of its species, the numbers two, three, four, etc.,” one might infer that they had the same extension. On the other hand, multiplicity is supposed to be more indeterminate and more general than number. The matter would probably be clearer if a sharper distinction were drawn between falling under a concept and subordination. Now the first thing he attempts to do is to give an analysis of the concept of multiplicity. Determinate numbers, as well as the generic concept of number which presupposes them, are then supposed to emerge from it by means of determinations. Thus we are first led down from the general to the particular, and then up again.

Totalities are wholes whose parts are collectively connected. We must be conscious of these parts as noticed in and by themselves. The collective connection consists neither in the contents' being simultaneously in the awareness, nor in their arising in the awareness one after another. Not even space, as all-inclusive form, is the ground of the unification. The connection consists (p. 43) in the unifying act itself. “But neither is it the case that over and above the act there exists a relational content which is distinct from it and is its creative result.” Collective connection is a relation sui generis. Following J. St. Mill, the author then explains what is to be understood by “relation”: namely that state of consciousness or that phenomenon (these expressions are supposed to coincide in the extension of their reference) in which the related contents—the bases of the relation—are contained (p. 70). He then distinguishes between primary and mental relations. Here only the latter concern us more closely. “If a unitary mental act is directed towards several contents, then with respect to it the contents are connected or related to one another. If we perform such an act, it would of course be futile for us to look for a relation or connection in the presentational content which it contains (unless over and above this, there is also a primary relation). The contents here are united only by the act, and consequently this unification can be noticed only by a special reflection on it” (p. 73). The difference-relation, whereby two contents are related to one another by means of an evident negative judgment, is also of this kind (p. 74). Sameness, on the other hand, is (p. 77) a primary relation. (According to this, complete coincidence, too, would be a primary relation, while its negation—difference itself—would be a mental one. I here miss a statement of the difference between the difference-relation and collective connection, where in the opinion of the author the latter, too, is a mental relation because perceptually no unification is noticeable in its presentational content.) When one is speaking of “unrelated” contents, the contents are merely thought “together”, i.e. as a totality. “But by no means are they really unconnected, unrelated. On the contrary, they are connected by the mental act holding them together. It is only in the content of the latter that all noticeable unification is lacking” (p. 78). The conjunction ‘and’ fixes in a wholly appropriate manner the circumstance that given contents are connected in a collective manner (p. 81). “A presentation … falls under the concept of multiplicity insofar as it connects in a collective manner any contents which are noticed in and by themselves” (p. 82). (It appears that what is understood by “presentation” is an act.) “Multiplicity in general … is no more than something and something and something, etc.; or any one thing and any one thing and any one thing, etc.; or more briefly, one and one and one, etc.” (p. 85). When we remove the indeterminateness which lies in the “etc.,” we arrive at the numbers one and one; one, one and one; one, one, one and one; and so on. We can also arrive at these concepts directly, beginning with any concrete multiplicity whatever; for each one of them falls under one of these concepts, and under a determinate one at that (p. 87). To this end, we abstract from the particular constitution of the individual contents collected together in the multiplicity, retaining each one only insofar as it is a something or a one; and thus, with respect to the collective connection of the latter, we obtain the general form of multiplicity appropriate to the multiplicity under consideration, i.e. the appropriate number (p. 88). Along with this number-abstraction goes a complete removal of restrictions placed on the content (p. 100). We cannot explain the general concept of number otherwise than by pointing to the similarity which all number-concepts have to one another (p. 88).

Having thus given a brief presentation of the basic thoughts of the first part, I now want to give a general characterization of this mode of consideration. We here have an attempt to provide a naive conception of number with a scientific justification. I call any opinion naive if according to it a number-statement is not an assertion about a concept or the extension of a concept; for upon the slightest reflection about number, one is led with a certain necessity to such conceptions. Now strictly speaking, an opinion is naive only as long as the difficulties facing it are unknown—which does not quite apply in the case of our author. The most naive opinion is that according to which a number is something like a heap, a swarm in which the things are contained lock, stock and barrel. Next comes the conception of a number as a property of a heap, aggregate, or whatever else one might call it. Thereby one feels the need for cleansing the objects of their particularities. The present attempt belongs to those which undertake this cleansing in the psychological wash-tub. This offers the advantage that in it, things acquire a most peculiar suppleness, no longer have as hard a spatial impact on each other and lose many bothersome particularities and differences. The mixture of psychology and logic that is now so popular provides good suds for this purpose. First of all, everything becomes presentation. The references of words are presentations. In the case of the word “number,” for example, the aim is to exhibit the appropriate presentation and to describe its genesis and composition. Objects are presentations. Thus J. St. Mill, with the approval of the author, lets objects (whether physical or mental) enter into a state of consciousness and become constituents of this state (p. 70). But might not the moon, for example, be somewhat hard to digest for a state of consciousness? Since everything is now presentation, we can easily change the objects by now paying attention, now not. The latter is especially effective. We pay less attention to a property and it disappears. By thus letting one characteristic after another disappear, we obtain concepts that are increasingly more abstract. Therefore concepts, too, are presentations; only, they are less complete than objects; they still have those properties of objects which we have not abstracted. Inattention is an exceedingly effective logical power; whence, presumably, the absentmindedness of scholars. For example, let us suppose that in front of us there are sitting side by side a black and a white cat. We disregard their color: they become colorless but are still sitting side by side. We disregard their posture: they are no longer sitting, without, however, having assumed a different posture; but each one is still at its place. We disregard their location: they are without location, but still remain quite distinct. Thus from each one we have perhaps derived a general concept of a cat. Continued application of this process turns each object into a less and less substantial wraith. From each object we finally derive something which is completely without restrictions on its content; but the something derived from the one object nevertheless does differ from that derived from the other object, although it is not easy to say how. But wait! This last transition to a something does seem to be more difficult after all; at least the author talks (p. 86) about reflection on the mental act of presentation. But be that as it may, the result, at any rate, is the one just indicated. While in my opinion the bringing of an object under a concept is merely the recognition of a relation which previously already obtained, in the present case objects are essentially changed by this process, so that objects brought under the same concept become similar to one another. Perhaps the matter is to be understood thus, that for every object there arises a new presentation in which all determinations which do not occur in the concept are lacking. Hereby the difference between presentation and concept, between presenting and thinking, is blurred. Everything is shunted off into the subjective. But it is precisely because the boundary between the subjective and the objective is blurred, that conversely the subjective also acquires the appearance of the objective. For example, one talks of this or that presentation as if, separated from the presentor, it would let itself be observed in public. And yet, no-one has someone else's presentation but only his own, and no-one knows how far his presentation—e.g. that of red—agrees with that of someone else; for the peculiarity of the presentation which I associate with the word “red,” I cannot state (so as to be able to compare it). One would have to have the presentations of the one as well as that of the other combined in one and the same consciousness; and one would have to be sure that they had not changed in the transfer. With thoughts, it is quite different: one and the same thought can be grasped by many people. The components of a thought, and even more so the things themselves, must be distinguished from the presentations which in the soul accompany the grasping of a thought and which someone has about these things. In combining under the word “presentation” both what is subjective and what is objective, one blurs the boundary between the two in such a way that now a presentation in the proper sense of the word is treated like something objective, and now something objective is treated like a presentation. Thus in the case of our author, totality (set, multiplicity) appears now as a presentation (pp. 15, 17, 24, 82), now as something objective (pp. 10, 11, 235). But isn't it really a very harmless pleasantry to call, for example, the moon a presentation? It is—as long as one does not imagine that one can change it as one likes, or produce it by psychological means. But this is all too easily the result.

Given the psychologico-logical mode of thought just characterized, it is easy to understand how the author judges about definitions. An example from elementary geometry may illustrate this. There, one usually gives this definition: “A right angle is an angle which is equal to its adjacent angle.” The author would probably say to this, “The presentation of right-angledness is a simple one; hence it is a completely misguided undertaking to want to give a definition of it. In our presentation of right-angledness, there is nothing of the relation to another adjacent angle. True enough; the concepts ‘right angle’ and ‘angle which is equal to its adjacent angle’ have the same extension; but it is not true that they have the same content. Instead of the content, it is the extension of the concept that has been defined. If the definition were correct, then every assertion of right-angledness, instead of applying to the concretely present pair of lines as such, would always apply only to its relation to another pair of lines. All I can admit is (p. 114) that in this equality with the adjacent angle we have a necessary and sufficient condition for right-angledness.” The author judges in a similar way about the definition of equinumerosity by means of the concept of a univocal one-one correlation. “The simplest criterion for sameness of number is just that the same number results when counting the sets to be compared” (p. 115). Of course! The simplest way of testing whether or not something is a right angle is to use a protractor. The author forgets that this counting itself rests on a univocal one-one correlation, namely that between the numerals 1 to n and the objects of the set. Each of the two sets is to be counted. In this way, the situation is made more difficult than when we consider a relation which correlates the objects of the two sets with one another without numerals as intermediaries.

If words and combinations of words refer to presentations, then for any two of these only two cases are possible: either they designate the same presentation, or they designate different ones. In the first case, equating them by means of a definition is useless, “an obvious circle”; in the other, it is false. These are also the objections one of which the author raises regularly. Neither can a definition dissect the sense, for the dissected sense simply is not the original one. In the case of the word to be explained, either I already think clearly everything which I think in the case of the definiens—in which case we have the “obvious circle”—or the definiens has a more completely articulated sense—in which case I do not think the same thing in its case as I do in the case of the one to be explained: the definition is false. One would think that the definition would be unobjectionable at least in the case where the word to be explained does not yet have a sense, or where it is expressly asked that the sense be considered non-existent, so that the word acquires a sense only through this definition. But even in the latter case (p. 107), the author confutes the definition by reminding us of the distinctness of the presentations. Accordingly, in order to avoid all objections, one would probably have to create a new root-word and form a word out of it. A split here manifests itself between psychological logicians and mathematicians. The former are concerned with the sense of the words and with the presentations, which they do not distinguish from the sense; the latter, however, are concerned with the matter itself, with the reference of the words.2 The reproach that it is not the concept but its extension which is being defined, really applies to all the definitions of mathematics. So far as the mathematician is concerned, the definition of a conic section as the line of intersection of a plane with a cone is no more and no less correct than that as a plane whose equation is given in Cartesian coordinates of the second degree. Which of these two—or even of other—definitions is selected depends entirely on the pragmatics of the situation, although these expressions neither have the same sense nor evoke the same presentations. By this I do not mean that a concept and the extension of a concept are one and the same; rather, coincidence of extension is a necessary and sufficient condition for the fact that between the concepts there obtains that relation which corresponds to that of sameness in the case of objects.3 I here note that when I use the word “same” without further addition, I am using it in the sense of “not different,” “coinciding,” “identical.” Psychological logicians lack all understanding of sameness, just as they lack all understanding of definitions. This relation cannot help but remain completely puzzling to them; for if words always designated presentations, one could never say “A is the same as B.” For to be able to do that, one would already have to distinguish A from B, and then these would simply be different presentations. All the same, I do agree with the author in this, that Leibniz' explanation “Eadem sunt quorum unum potest substitui alteri salva veritate” does not deserve to be called a definition, although I hold this for different reasons. Since every definition is an equation, one cannot define equality itself. One could call Leibniz' explanation a principle which expresses the nature of the sameness-relation; and as such it is of fundamental importance. I am unable to acquire a taste for the author's explanation that (p. 108) “We simply say of any contents whatever that they are the same as one another, if there obtains sameness in the … characteristics which at that moment constitute the center of interest.”

Let us now go into details! According to the author, a number-statement refers to the totality (the set, multiplicity) of objects counted (p. 185). Such a totality finds its wholly appropriate expression in the conjunction “and.” Accordingly, one should expect that all number-statements have the form “A and B and C and … Q is n,” or at least that they could be brought into such a form. But what is it that we get exactly to know through the proposition “Berlin and Dresden and Munich are three” or—and this is supposed to be the same thing—through “Berlin and Dresden and Munich are something and something and something”? Who would want to go to the trouble of asking, merely to receive such an answer? It is not even supposed to be said by this that Berlin is distinct from Dresden, the latter from Munich,...

(The entire section is 7460 words.)

Dorion Cairns (essay date 1930)

SOURCE: “Mr. Hook's Impression of Phenomenology,” in The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. XXVII, No. 15, July 17, 1930, pp. 393-96.

[In the following essay, Cairns challenges Hook's critique of Husserl.]

In the course of a recent article called “A Personal Impression of Contemporary German Philosophy” (this Jornal, Vol. XXVII, No. 6, March 13, 1930, pp. 141-160) Mr. Sidney Hook says:

Writers of the phenomenological school keep their eyes on the object, for that in a sense is what the phenomenological method is defined to be. Consequently they are the strongest analytical group in Germany and closest to the English and American...

(The entire section is 1545 words.)

Marvin Farber (essay date 1930)

SOURCE: A review of Recent Phenomenological Literature, in The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. XXVII, No. 13, June 19, 1930, pp. 337-47.

[In the following excerpt, Farber illustrates the aim of phenomenology and the method Husserl uses in his phenomenological analysis of time-consciousness.]

Undoubtedly the most prominent philosophical movement of present-day Germany is Phenomenology, of which Professor Husserl is the founder and leader. It is not a unified “school” in point of doctrine, but is due rather to the personal teaching and influence of Husserl. The development of the school has been determined mainly, until recently, by the development of Husserl's...

(The entire section is 4780 words.)

Sidney Hook (essay date 1930)

SOURCE: “Husserl's Phenomenological Idealism,” in The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. XXVII, No. 14, July 3, 1930, pp. 365-80.

[In the following essay, Hook presents an expository critique of Husserl's “Phenomenological Idealism.”]

Husserl's Formale und transzendentale Logik1 marks the end of the most promising movement in recent German philosophy. Starting as a reaction to the psychologized logic of the nineteenth century, it succeeded in reviving the logical realism which had been obscured by too much preoccupation with the empirical descriptions of knowing and gave a modernized version of the Platonic doctine of the autonomy of the purely...

(The entire section is 7375 words.)

V. J. McGill (essay date 1930)

SOURCE: “An Analysis of the Experience of Time,” in The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. XXVII, No. 20, September 25, 1930, pp. 533-44.

[In the following essay, McGill describes Husserl's phenomenological mapping of time in contrast to the models provided by Henri Bergson, J. M. E. McTaggart, and Bertrand Russell.]

Bergson's discovery that the time of inner experience is radically different from the objective time of mechanics, the one being a free-moving undifferentiated unanalyzable stream, the other a fixed correlation of points of space with positions of moving bodies, has done a great deal to focus attention upon the uniqueness and originality of subjective time....

(The entire section is 5502 words.)

Theodore W. Adorno (essay date 1940)

SOURCE: “Husserl and the Problem of Idealism,” in The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. XXXVII, No. 1, January 4, 1940, pp. 5-18.

[In the following essay, Adorno examines the meaning of idealism in Husserl's thought, and the problems it poses with regard to thinking and knowing.]

The merits of a philosopher, that is, his truly philosophical merits, not the merits he may have as a teacher or Anreger, should not be defined by the “results” he has achieved in his thinking. The idea that a philosopher must produce a fixed set of irrefutable findings, an idea which Husserl himself certainly would have shared, presupposes that all the tasks he sets for himself can...

(The entire section is 6483 words.)

Marvin Farber (essay date 1940)

SOURCE: “Edmund Husserl and the Background of his Philosophy,” in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 1, No. 1, September, 1940, pp. 1-20.

[In the following excerpt, Farber traces the precursors to and outlines the development of Husserl's philosophy.]

Nothing in recent philosophy approaches the supreme confidence with which Husserl announced his triumphant beginning of a new science of philosophy, an “absolute” discipline achieved by means of an elaborately worked out method. It was advanced as the real positive outcome of the philosophical efforts of the centuries. In fact, all preceding philosophers were classified by him as either adumbrating or...

(The entire section is 8205 words.)

Maximillian Beck (essay date 1941)

SOURCE: “The Last Phase of Husserl's Phenomenology: An Exposition and a Criticism,” in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 1, No. 4, June, 1941, pp. 479-91.

[In the following essay, Beck criticizes the direction Husserl takes in his last work, arguing that he abandons the methods and principles upon which he first founded phenomenology.]

I. REPORT

1. Concerning the foundations of modern times and its philosophy and science. Husserl's last essay published before his death is entitled “The Crisis of European Science and Transcendental Phenomenology: An Introduction to Phenomenological Philosophy.”1

...

(The entire section is 5289 words.)

Herbert Spiegelberg (essay date 1956)

SOURCE: “Husserl's and Peirce's Phenomenologies: Coincidence or Interaction,” in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. XVII, No. 1, September, 1956, pp. 164-85.

[In the following essay, Spiegelberg compares the phenomenological philosophies of Husserl and Charles Sanders Peirce, and explores the extent of each philosopher's awareness of and influence upon the other's work.]

Until the late thirties, phenomenology in today's sense of the term was for American philosophy a “foreign affair.” To this generalization there is only one possible exception: the phenomenology of Charles Sanders Peirce.1 True, the mere absence of the word from the works...

(The entire section is 9740 words.)

Aron Gurwitsch (lecture date 1959)

SOURCE: “The Kantian and Husserlian Conceptions of Consciousness,” in Studies in Phenomenology and Psychology, Northwestern University Press, 1966, pp. 148-60.

[In the following lecture, originally delivered in 1959, Gurwitsch distinguishes Husserl's conception of consciousness from earlier formulations by Locke, Hume, Leibnitz, and Kant.]

A comparative study of Kant's theoretical philosophy with Husserlian phenomenology could have been attempted, indeed, should have been attempted, as early as 1913, following the publication of the first volume of Husserl's Ideen zu einer reinen Phänomenologie und phänomenologischen Philosophie—the only volume of the...

(The entire section is 5432 words.)

Alfred Schuetz (essay date 1959)

SOURCE: “Type and Eidos in Husserl's Late Philosophy,” in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. XX, No. 2, December, 1959, pp. 147-65.

[In the following essay, Schuetz explores the way Husserl uses the operative concepts of type and eidos (or essential property) in his study of perception.]

In a brilliant paper presented to the “Colloque international de phénoménologie a Royaumont 1957”1 Professor Eugen Fink deals with what he calls the operative concepts in Husserl's phenomenology. He distinguishes in the work of any major philosopher between thematic and operative notions. Whereas the former aim at the fixation and preservation of the...

(The entire section is 8790 words.)

Herbert Spiegelberg (essay date 1960)

SOURCE: “Husserl's Phenomenology and Existentialism,” in The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. LVII, No. 1, January 7, 1960, pp. 62-74.

[In the following essay, Spiegelberg discusses the relationship between phenomenology and existentialism.]

Philosophers do not seem to have had more success than other mortals in reaching centenarian age. This failure has for them the awkward consequence that between their death and the first centennial of their birth their fame has to undergo something like a probationary period during which they are no longer protected by the public's reverence for superannuity and by worshipful societies of disciples.

Outwardly...

(The entire section is 5060 words.)

Maurice Merleau-Ponty (essay date 1964)

SOURCE: “The Philosopher and His Shadow,” in Signs, edited by John Wild, translated by Richard C. McCleary, Northwestern University Press, 1964, pp. 159-81.

[In the following tribute, Merleau-Ponty attempts to find some of the “unthought thoughts” regarding nature, consciousness, and existence which can be generated by Husserl's thought.]

Establishing a tradition means forgetting its origins, the aging Husserl used to say. Precisely because we owe so much to tradition, we are in no position to see just what belongs to it. With regard to a philosopher whose venture has awakened so many echoes, and at such an apparent distance from the point where he himself...

(The entire section is 10907 words.)

Paul Ricoeur (essay date 1967)

SOURCE: “Kant and Husserl,” in Husserl: An Analysis of His Phenomenology, Northwestern University Press, 1967, pp. 175-201.

[In the following study of the differences between Kant and Husserl, Ricoeur endeavors to determine which elements of Husserlian phenomenology can be found in Kantian thought, and how Kant's critique of knowledge and his determination of its limits affect the Husserlian postulation of the existence of “the other.”]

The Goal of This Study is to locate the difference between Husserlian phenomenology and Kantian Criticism with some exactness. This task of differentiation follows from a study of the major works devoted to Kant during the past...

(The entire section is 11727 words.)

Andrea Bonomi (essay date 1970)

SOURCE: “The Problem of Language in Husserl,” in Telos: A Quarterly Journal of Critical Thought, No. 6, Fall, 1970, pp. 184-203.

[In the following essay, Bonomi explores the influence of Husserl's phenomenological principles and methods on the theory and practice of the grammatical analysis of language.]

The aim of this essay is to indicate the basic orientation of Husserl's account of language. First of all, the problem is to distinguish the concept of expression from other semiological concepts such as, e.g., signs. This will allow us to characterize the expression in a positive way which turns out to be founded on unities of an abstract type, i.e....

(The entire section is 9982 words.)

William Leiss (essay date 1970)

SOURCE: “Husserl and The Mastery of Nature,” in Telos: A Quarterly Journal of Critical Thought, No. 5, Spring, 1970, pp. 82-97.

[In the following essay, Leiss discusses the relevance of Husserl's thought to the problem of how we understand science, the natural world, and the relation of the two, especially with regard to the concept of “mastery over nature.”]

A morality, a mode of living tried and proved by long experience and testing, at length enters consciousness as a law, as dominating—and therewith the entire group of related values and states enters into it: it becomes venerable, unassailable, holy, true; it is part of its...

(The entire section is 8000 words.)

Richard Schmitt (essay date 1972)

SOURCE: “Transcendental Phenomenology: Muddle or Mystery?” in Phenomenology and Existentialism, edited by Robert C. Solomon, Harper and Row, 1972, pp. 127-44.

[In the following essay, Schmitt challenges the grounds of phenomenology by calling into question Husserl's distinction between the transcendental and the mundane, and, therefore, the validity of the “phenomenological reduction.”]

Phenomenology is the descriptive science of the transcendental realm. [Husserl, Ideas III, 141]. The realm is accessible only by way of the phenomenological reduction. No one who has not understood what this reduction consists of, who does not know how to perform it and...

(The entire section is 6107 words.)

Marx W. Wartofsky (essay date 1972)

SOURCE: “Consciousness, Praxis, and Reality: Marxism vs. Phenomenology,” in Husserl: Expositions and Appraisals, edited by Frederick A. Elliston and Peter McCormick, University of Notre Dame Press, 1977, pp. 304-13.

[In this comparison of Marxism and phenomenology, originally presented as a lecture in 1972, Wartofsky shows the errors of phenomenology from the Marxist point of view.]

The beginning of phenomenology is the reassertion of subjectivity. The beginning of Marxism is the attack upon subjectivity. To contrast Marxism and phenomenology is to find, in the first place, the common point of departure for each, the common Problematik to which each...

(The entire section is 6660 words.)

Efraim Shmuelli (essay date 1973)

SOURCE: “Can Phenomenology Accommodate Marxism?” in Telos: A Quarterly Journal of Critical Thought, No. 17, Fall, 1973, pp. 169-80.

[In the following essay, Shmuelli explores the degree to which Husserl's phenomenology and Marx's dialectical analysis are and are not compatible approaches to confronting alienation and establishing social change.]

In the last decades serious attempts have been made to bring together Edmund Husserl's phenomenology with Marxist dialectical materialism. Although the phenomenological strain of Marxism could already be found in the thirties, particularly in the writings of Herbert Marcuse, this trend has become more prevalent after World...

(The entire section is 6434 words.)

Francis Seeburger (essay date 1975)

SOURCE: “Heidegger and the Phenomenological Reduction,” in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. XXXVI, No. 2, December, 1975, pp. 212-21.

[In the following essay, Seeburger explores Heidegger's relation to the Husserlian formulation of phenomenology through an analysis of Heidegger's understanding of the “phenomenological reduction.”]

The explications of the preliminary conception of phenomenology point out that what is essential to phenomenology does not lie in its being actual as a philosophical “direction.” Higher than actuality stands possibility. The understanding of phenomenology lies solely in comprehending...

(The entire section is 4024 words.)

Jacob Golomb (essay date 1976)

SOURCE: “Psychology from the Phenomenological Standpoint of Husserl,” in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. XXXVI, No. 4, June, 1976, pp. 451-71.

[In the following essay, Golomb explains the distinctions Husserl makes between psychology and psychologism, and between positivistic and phenomenological psychology, and analyzes the significance of these differences in the development of phenomenology and for the practice of psychology.]

A. INTRODUCTION

The title of this paper, [“Psychology from the Phenomenological Standpoint of Husserl”] which recalls the title of Brentano's major work,1 implies an attempt to examine...

(The entire section is 8132 words.)

Robert Sokolowski (essay date 1992)

SOURCE: “Husserl and Analytic Philosophy and Husserlian Intentionality and Non-Foundational Realism,” in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. LII, No. 3, September, 1992, pp. 725-30.

[In the following review of two books on aspects of Husserl's thought, Sokolowski provides a comprehensive view of the state of the understanding of Husserl's thought at the end of the twentieth century.]

The wish is often expressed for works that would bridge the gap between “continental” and “analytic” thought. The two books under review richly fulfill that wish, and they do so in different ways. Cobb-Stevens' volume [Husserl and Analytic...

(The entire section is 2683 words.)