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.
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.
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.
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)...
(The entire section is 120 words.)
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...
(The entire section is 7460 words.)
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 school of neo-realism. But latterly Husserl's school has abandoned the standpoint of “pure description” and invaded the field of ontology. For many years, its opponents had maintained that its so-called “presuppositionless analysis” was only a deceptive phrase which concealed many presuppositions about the nature of knowledge, logic, and consciousness with which it was operating. And now Heidegger has come forward, as one crowned by the master himself to reveal what these presuppositions are and where they lead. Husserl had originally attracted notice with his Logische Untersuchungen, a keen attack on all psychological interpretations of the idea of validity. He himself regarded this work as a preface to larger studies which...
(The entire section is 1545 words.)
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 own thought. Beginning as a disciple of Brentano, whose Psychology from on Empirical Standpoint has remained a permanent influence on him, Husserl elaborated his earliest philosophical standpoint in the Philosophy of Arithmetic (1891). Mathematical interests naturally led over to problems concerning the foundations of logic, and to the publication in 1901 of the Logical Investigations, the first volume of which contains a repudiation and refutation of “Psychologism.” This work represents a realistic-ontological manner of investigation, although Husserl later reinterpreted these investigations in the light of his systematically formulated phenomenological method, which leads on to the track of idealism. In its original...
(The entire section is 4780 words.)
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 logical or ideal realm of meanings. All of Husserl's earlier writings with the exception of the very first were not devoted to logic, but rather to prolegomena of logic. The only book on strict logic produced by a member of his school is Pfänder's Logik.2 But this last is not very much different from an ordinary book on formal logic. It is an extended treatment of subjects similar to those taken up, say, in the first part of Joseph's or Keynes' texts; and since it defines logic as the science of thoughts, as a discipline whose task is to analyze “the essence of thoughts, their ultimate elements, their structure, kinds and mutual relations” (p. 30), it is questionable whether recent English logicians who usually take...
(The entire section is 7375 words.)
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 relativity theory, since it implied that the time calculations and measurements of various observers are unavoidably different, that therefore the position and motion of these observers goes to constitute the objective time of physics, also reinforced this interest. Idealists were quick to construe an argument for subjectivism and idealism, and Neo-Kantians, such as Cassirer, were quite as convinced that the acceptance of the new physics implied the Kantian Forms of Intuition.
In the “space-time interval,” however, all subjective differences due to different observers seemed to be transcended. The result of the General Theory was a space-time continuum, from which subjective time had been banished quite as...
(The entire section is 5502 words.)
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 actually be fulfilled, that there can be an answer to every question he raises. This assumption, however, is disputable. It is possible that there are philosophical tasks which, although arising necessarily in a coherent process of thinking, can not be fulfilled; thus, they lead to an impasse which is not the fault of the philosopher, nor an accident which can be accounted for only by the contingencies of the history of philosophy, but which has its roots in inherent antagonisms of the problem itself. It is in this connection that I wish to discuss the problem of idealism. One might define idealism here as a philosophy which tries to base such notions as reality or truth on an analysis of consciousness. It starts with the general...
(The entire section is 6483 words.)
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 falling short of the ideals of phenomenology. There is something majestic and heroic about the tone of Husserl. His is not an opinion hastily advanced. More than fifty years of consecutive reflection and hard work, resulting in numerous superb examples of descriptive analysis, have made it necessary to greet his claim with respect and to give his contentions a hearing. The thought and contributions of one of the most penetrating and thorough of the philosophers of the last century deserve more widespread attention than they have received. A thoroughgoing consideration of his philosophy is now made all the more necessary in view of the insistent claim that his philosophy is still unknown,1 and the philosopher's own repeated...
(The entire section is 8205 words.)
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.]
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
To Husserl the crisis prevailing among mankind today seems to be basically a crisis caused by a self-misunderstanding of reason. This self-misunderstanding has brought about a crisis of the European sciences, has brought about skepticism, irrationalism, and, hence, the domination of inhumanity.2 With the sacrifice of reason, however, mankind and modern European culture are in greater danger than ever before of complete destruction. For modern men and their culture are determined by a conscious opposition to the traditionalism of the Middle Ages which, in Husserl's opinion, were but blind and obedient.3 On the other hand, mankind in modern times has been striving with all its power to mould its practical environs...
(The entire section is 5289 words.)
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 of other American philosophers does not prove the absence of the thing so designated. Thus the psychology of William James and the philosophy of George Santayana contain many phenomenological ingredients without the trademark. On the other hand, the mere presence of the name “phenomenology” in Peirce's writings constitutes no guarantee that it meant the same thing to him as it did to Edmund Husserl. The principal objective of the present paper is therefore to determine whether and to what extent there is common ground between Peirce's and Husserl's ideas, and whether this ground is sufficient to speak of their phenomenology in the singular.2 In so far as such common ground emerges, I shall also discuss the possibility of...
(The entire section is 9740 words.)
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 Ideen to appear during Husserl's lifetime. This work, in which Husserl outlines the program of constitutive phenomenology and indicates the general lines along which this program is to be realized, has a clearly Kantian inspiration. Indeed, the first generation of Husserl's students had already perceived this orientation.1
If one seeks a motto for the whole of Husserl's work, one could not do better than to refer to the few phrases which Kant places at the head of his Analytic of Concepts, when he speaks of his intention to descend into the depths of the mind to discover the notions of the understanding, which are found therein prepared in at least a germinal form. Indeed, in the history of modern...
(The entire section is 5432 words.)
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 fundamental concepts, the latter are used in a vague manner as tools in forming the thematic notions; they are models of thought or intellectual schemata which are not brouught to objectifying fixation, but remain opaque and thematically unclarified. According to Fink, the notions of “phenomenon,” of “constitution,” and “performances” (Leistungen), and even those of “epoché” and of “transcendental logic” are used by Husserl as operative concepts. They are not thematically clarified or remain at least operatively adumbrated, and are merely headings for groups of problems open to and requiring further analysis.
The present paper makes the attempt to show that also the notion of typicality, which,...
(The entire section is 8790 words.)
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 Husserl's prestige has weathered this probationary period surprisingly well. At his death 21 years ago, he may well have seemed headed for total oblivion. His own University of Freiburg—to be sure, under Nazi pressure—had removed his very name from the roster of its emeriti. Moreover, philosophically he seemed deserted by most of his erstwhile students. The remarkable comeback of his fame since then is attested by such events as the foundation of the Husserl Archives at the Universities of Louvain and Cologne, by the edition of seven volumes from his unpublished writings, and by the general ascendency of phenomenology especially in France and in other Latin-speaking countries. This very occasion is living proof that at least the program...
(The entire section is 5060 words.)
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 stood, any commemoration is also a betrayal—whether we do him the highly superfluous homage of our thoughts, as if we sought to gain them a wholly unmerited warrant, or whether on the contrary, with a respect which is not lacking in distance, we reduce him too strictly to what he himself desired and said. But Husserl was well aware of these difficulties—which are problems of communication between “egos”—and he does not leave us to confront them without resources. I borrow myself from others; I create others from my own thoughts. This is no failure to perceive others; it is the perception of others. We would not overwhelm them with our importunate comments, we would not stingily reduce them to what is objectively certified of them, if...
(The entire section is 10907 words.)
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 twenty years (to his metaphysics in particular) and from a thorough reading of the published and unpublished works of Husserl. I would like to show that this difference is not situated where the Neo-Kantians who criticized Ideas I think it is (cf. Natorp, Rickert, Kreis, Zocher). Their criticism remains too dependent upon an overly epistemological interpretation of Kant. The difference should be located on the level where Kant determines the ontological status of the phenomena themselves and not on the level of an exploration of the world of phenomena.
(1) To begin with, taking Husserl as our guide, we shall distinguish an implicit phenomenology behind the Kantian epistemology which Husserl might then be said to...
(The entire section is 11727 words.)
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. on classes of variants. It follows that the general meaning of Husserl's attempts lies in the proposal for a formal analysis of language concerning langue and parole. This orientation can be best seen in the project of a “pure grammar” considered as a complex of an abstract and formal type. Through this, it becomes possible to outline the concept of grammaticity of statements (which raises the problem of the autonomy of syntactics from semantics) and allows practically an infinity of possible statements with regard to the finite series of grammatical devices, among which transformation assumes a fundamental significance. The fact that the multiplicity of statements can be reduced to a limited number of elementary...
(The entire section is 9982 words.)
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 development that its origins should be forgotten—that is a sign it has become master.
The idea of “mastery of nature” is a familiar theme in the intellectual history of the modern West. This and related phrases—the domination of nature, the conquest of nature, and the control of nature—will be found abundantly in social theory, philosophy, utopian literature, and most recently in theories of technological progress. Generally this idea has been used as a shorthand expression for one or more of the following historical developments: The growing scientific understanding of the “laws of nature”; the continued success in turning scientific discovery into...
(The entire section is 8000 words.)
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 has, in fact, performed it can understand what phenomenology is and how to work in it. The fact that the terms employed by Husserl, for instance the word “transcendental”, are familiar must not mislead us as to the novelty of the phenomenological project. More than once Husserl surveyed the history of philosophy in considerable detail to show that earlier philosophers were groping for the insights embodied in the phenomenological programme but failed to achieve them. [Husserl, Krisis 202-203].
Commentators have, on the whole, written about Husserl as if they had found no serious difficulty in understanding the transcendental-phenomenological reduction. For myself, I have never been so fortunate. This paper is an...
(The entire section is 6107 words.)
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 addresses itself. Otherwise we are in the strange position of counterposing two indifferent world views or two incommensurable methodologies, without mediation. It is clear from the history of the subject that Marxism and phenomenology are not alien to each other. First, phenomenological themes lie at the heart of the origins of Marxism in Hegel and Feuerbach.1 Second, there is a major current within Marxist theory which engages phenomenology, if it does not in fact adopt its stance. I refer here to Lukács and to an East-European Marxism, usually characterized as Marxist humanism, as well as to contemporary neo-Marxism of the Frankfurt or Italian variety.2 Third, a major accommodation as well as critique of Marxism...
(The entire section is 6660 words.)
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 War II. In fact, the phenomenological approach became very strong in some communist countries, particularly in Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia. Before the Russians occupied Prague, Karel Kosik's book, Die Dialektik des Konkreten (1967), exercised considerable influence.1 These attempts to build a synthesis out of Husserl and Marx have broken down barriers between two major intellectual trends which were once considered irreconcilable. Husserl's description of the crisis of Western civilization, and his passionate appeal to transcendental reason, intersubjective and universal, in his posthumous work, The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology, especially opened some possible interconnections. Thus...
(The entire section is 6434 words.)
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 it as possibility.1
Ever since the appearance of Sein und Zeit, the question of Martin Heidegger's relationship to the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl has remained open. Heidegger's own statements on the subject, both in Sein und Zeit and in his later writings, are ambiguous. Perhaps the greatest difficulty surrounds the notion of the “phenomenological reduction.”
The reduction occupies a central place in Husserl's developed conception of phenomenology, and the problem of formulating the nature and consequences of the reduction as clearly as possible occupied Husserl to the end of his life. Husserl maintained that the reduction was the only way in which the...
(The entire section is 4024 words.)
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.]
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 relations between phenomenology and psychology from a single, consistent standpoint. Technical limitations apart, this is impossible in principle since it is difficult to find one consistent standpoint in Husserl's works. Ricoeur2 and Farber3, for instance, specify four stages in Husserl's thought to which the Hegelian term Aufhebung can be applied. In developing his thinking, Husserl tends to eliminate some of his previous ideas, to add new elements and to retain some central motifs. In what follows I shall concentrate on the period of his phenomenological thinking in which he emphasized its descriptive aspects, thus turning phenomenology into a philosophical method free of metaphysical assumptions. This...
(The entire section is 8132 words.)
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 Philosophy]1 is wide-ranging, Drummond's [Husserlian Intentionality and Non-Foundational Realism]2 concentrates on a more particular topic.
The center of Cobb-Stevens' book is an exposition of Frege's thought as seen through Husserlian categories. Cobb-Stevens observes that Frege, like Husserl, rejected psychologism, but was not able to explain the being or the origins of propositions. Frege also failed to examine the empiricist presuppositions of psychologism, which holds perception to be the mere acceptance of impressions. Both of these deficiencies, according to Cobb-Stevens, stem from the fact that Frege had an inadequate understanding of perception and could not explain how perception can lead to predication....
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Fuchs, Wolfgang Walter. Phenomenology and the Metaphysics of Presence: An Essay in the Philosophy of Edmund Husserl. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1976, 98 p.
A clearly written, comprehensible, and coherent presentation of Husserl's philosophy.
Grossmann, Reinhardt. Phenomenology and Existentialism: An Introduction. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1984, 278 p.
Explores the influence of Descartes, Brentano, and Kierkegaard in the development of phenomenology and phenomenology's influence in turn on existentialism.
Hines, Thomas J. “Phenomenology and Poetry.” In The Later Poetry of Wallace Stevens: Phenomenological Parallels with Husserl and Heidegger, pp. 29-58. Lewisburg, Penn.: Bucknell University Press, 1976.
Applies a phenomenological approach to the explication of Stevens's poetry.
Kockelmans, Joseph J. Edmund Husserl's Phenomenology. West Lafayette, Ind.: Purdue University Press, 1994, 363 p.
Includes the original text in German and English of Husserl's Encyclopedia Britannica article on phenomenology, as well as synopses, commentaries, and an invaluable introductory chapter.
———. A First Introduction to Husserl's Phenomenology. Pittsburgh, Penn.: Duquesne University Press, 1967, 372 p....
(The entire section is 368 words.)