He argues that the two have become disconnected because we misunderstand our own scientific past—we confuse mathematical idealities with concrete reality and thereby undermine the validity of our immediate experience. Keywords: Husserl , philosophers of science , Nazi dictatorship , life-world , everyday human experience , mathematical science , scientific past , concrete reality , intentionality , qualia.
Forgot password? Don't have an account? All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in SSO for personal use for details see www. OSO version 0. University Press Scholarship Online. Sign in. Not registered? Sign up. Publications Pages Publications Pages. Search my Subject Specializations: Select Herein lies the introduction to a historical turn in Husserl's thought, a turn that is both important for phenomenology, intriguing, and also contains numerous perplexing elements.
Some treat this "novelty" as a reaction to the historical crisis of the s, and also imply that the proximity and popularity of Heidegger should not be ignored; see Paul Ricoeur, "Husserl and the Sense of History" in Paul Ricoeur, Husserl: An Analysis of his Phenomenology Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, , Other commentators see a definite continuity in Husserl's thought, a continuity which is not broken by the thorough reflection on history in the Crisis.
Mohr, , ; Truth and Method, trans. Barden and J.
Cumming New York: Crossroad, , Two further concepts are often used in relation to the main two: namely, new establishment Neustiftung and final establishment Endstiftung. In the following discussion, the focus is on the first two concepts, though reference to the second two is unavoidable at points. It must be admitted that Husserl does not always maintain a precise technical usage of these terms. This not only has to do with the fact that there is a degree of interchangeability among them, but also with certain ambiguities in Husserl's view of the moments in history which concretize these concepts.
Primal establishment might best be called a moment of original authenticity. In this sense, the primal establishment is truly a new establishment; it constitutes a break with the past and the establishment of a novel form of thinking and being. This primal establishment is perhaps best grasped as an individual moment, for it involves in the first place the struggle of the individual to become disengaged from traditional ways of thinking, the individual struggle to gain truth for oneself.
Still, it carries with it the possibility not only to influence others present, but in opening up a new type of consciousness, of functioning as a model for future generations. In no way does this imply an absolute or necessary determination of the future; rather, the primal establishment is the creating of a new possibility for the future. This freedom is a breaking away from the past.
It is a freedom from the past which allows one to gain for oneself the insight of the past. In this form of religious culture, absolute norms put forth by the gods or God govern everything, and the social will is organized around these norms. It is for the individual an unreflective, passive life, lived in the acceptance of religious law and priestly dictates.
It is essentially a life governed by the tradition. As concrete examples of this stage of religious culture, Husserl cites Babylonian religion and Judaism. At a particular point, there can arise the individual who assumes a critical posture regarding the tradition. This individual forges an original relationship to God and seeks to discover the intuitive meaning which has been covered up by the thoughtless, unreflective acceptance of divine norms.
This is a new type of religious consciousness, one that is rational, critical, active and, essentially, free. This type of authentic religious individual occurred for Husserl in the person of Christ. The form of this religious consciousness is now available to future generations; the attitude contained therein can be freely and deliberately assumed. To emphasize once again: it can have nothing to do with mere repetition or simple external adoption of a particular posture taken by Christ.
There is for Husserl no absolute assurance that this will be the case. Husserl takes this to be what occurred in the Middle Ages. A hierarchical, imperialistic form of religious culture emerged, the very form of which negated the religious posture it claimed to preserve. It would lead far afield to raise some obvious difficulties with certain details of Husserl's history of religion for example, his stereotypical grasp of the Middle Ages, or his surprisingly naive understanding of Judaism.
In doing so, we see in a formal way what a crisis situation is for Husserl. This definition, in turn, makes eminently clear why an historical investigation is necessary in order to fully grasp the crisis in all of its manifold forms of separation from an original truth. Thus, both the understanding of the crisis and the overcoming of the crisis demand historical reflection.
A rational faith in rationality begins to sound circular, and the restoration of a rational faith in rationality by means of science strikes one indeed as a peculiar project. Of course, everything hinges on what one means by faith , and this is no easy question in Husserl. In the fifth Kaizo piece, I have suggested that a clue is yielded in the discussion of religious faith by the identification of authentic religious faith with the critical aspect of the phenomenological attitude.
In the next section, I will try to approach this question obliquely by asking about the social and political aspects of this call for renewal. How does it come about in a large—scale, communal sense? What is the philosopher's role in this over—all renewal? My intention is not to suggest that one finds in these Kaizo articles a concise and clearly expressed political philosophy. Nowhere in Husserl's work does one find such a philosophy. Nevertheless, it would be a false understanding of phenomenological reduction to think that phenomenologists, and more specifically Husserl, have nothing to say about social phenomena.
For Husserl, the crisis has a societal dimension, and nowhere is this more evident than in the Kaizo articles. Phenomenological reduction is required, not because of a lack of interest in the social and political world, but rather because Husserl wants to approach these phenomena in a new, unhindered way. Before we can talk about acting rationally in the political and social realm, we must re—establish the belief that humanity itself is rational.
Politics are by no means excluded from the project of renewal; to the contrary, the spiritual renewal which Husserl seeks may have far—reaching political consequences. Neither of these relationships is without difficulty in Husserl.
Texte aus dem Nachlass, hrsg. Here we cite Hua XIV, The subject can be seen as a completely self—sufficient, self—actualizing, and self—subsisting entity. Through such relations the monads do indeed seem to have windows! To be sure, the subject never has access to the subjective life of other monads in the same way that it has access to its own inner life. There is, nevertheless, an awareness of other subjects within one's own subjectivity.
Just as individuals have a will, so too is there a community—will. It is crucial to remember, however, that to speak of the community as a subjectivity is indeed to speak analogously. The personality of higher order is founded in the individuals who also form the basis for the analogy. Higher—order does not mean better, or first, but founded.
Thus, the community is something different from the individuals who make it up, it is more than the mere sum of the individuals who make it up, 37 Hua XXVII, An authentic community, for example, cannot exist without the willing of the individuals who make up the community.
One is reminded of the nature of categorial acts which, on the one hand, are something truly new, but which are founded and only exist on the basis of individual acts of perception. The founded nature of the community is important to stress, for it goes against any notion of pre—existent communal structures wherein the individual is viewed as a mere part or where the individual finds his true being.
Husserl does understand, however, that communities can diverge into an inauthentic form. This happens precisely when there is a loss of the radical independence, self—responsibility, and willingness to be critical on the part of the individual member. In the fifth Kaizo article, in which Husserl compares and contrasts religious and scientific culture, he gives as the prime example of such an imperialist unity the mediaeval Church.
Power over others is fundamentally irrational for Husserl, because it takes away the very basis of true rationality: self—determination, self—judgement, autonomy, and seeing for oneself. The mere acceptance of the insights of others, the mindless taking over of the tradition or the dictates of the community, this attitude makes possible an imperialistic community. The authentic community, therefore, does not consist of either an overwhelming central will, or of a group of lazy individuals.
The unity of will Willenseinheit which makes up the authentic community is not derived from above , but is arrived at from below. This arriving takes place through the process of sharing insights, insights that are valid and obtainable at least, in principle for everyone, but that are first won by the hard phenomenological work of the individual.
James Hart points out both the role played by Husserl's intuitionism and the inter—subjective nature of true phenomenological activity when he says: although phenomenology is negated when regarded as solipsism, i. The ideals of the institutionalization of a phenomenological culture and radical democracy draw near to one another. This citation brings us back directly to our question of communal renewal, for what Husserl intends by renewal is nothing less than phenomenological culture.
Who is responsible for renewal? Those who have not yet lost sight of the goal of rational life, of philosophy as a rigourous science, namely, phenomenologists; in the first place, individual phenomenologists undertaking their own struggle for insight. Husserl clearly recognizes, however, that while such individual efforts may bring personal satisfaction, they are insufficient to renew culture.
Science and the Life-World: Essays on Husserl's Crisis of European Sciences - Stanford Scholarship
An important stage of general cultural renewal is therefore for phenomenological philosophers themselves to form an authentic community. There are, however, several difficulties with this movement from individual renewal to large—scale renewal. First, and rather obviously for those familiar with philosophical communities such as departments of Philosophy , there is the difficulty of philosophers themselves forming what Husserl calls an authentic community.
Husserl gives no account of the possibility of the authentic conflict that does indeed seem to mark philosophical activity. Husserl certainly has a theory of inter—subjective correction. Through the comparison of believed insights the possibility of illusion is ruled out and the proper justification of true insights is discovered. It is these insights, shared by individuals and justified in common, that form the very basis for the unity of will that is essential to authentic community. While it is true that this process of inter—subjective correction plays a crucial role in communal philosophical life, it is also obvious that there can exist a plurality of well—justified insights that do not coincide in a common will.
Husserl's view of the unicity of universal reason precludes the possibility of unsolvable rational conflict. The existence of two or three The struggle that seems to characterize philosophical engagement can only be viewed as authentic by Husserl if it is interpreted as part of the process of inter—subjective correction within the already established framework of the scientific rationality founded by the Greeks. Any suggestion that true philosophy might diverge from, perhaps even negate, this fundamental form of scientific rationality could only be seen as a deepening of the crisis by Husserl.
Yet it could be asserted that the admission that there might be totally different and still valid views on a question is the Stellungnahme that perhaps best prevents the philosopher from becoming a tyrant. In this case, of all possible communities, philosophers seem to be the group least likely to fulfil Husserl's view of an authentic community. The next question is how the renewed faith in rationality possessed in common by this group is to be passed on to the larger community. A possible answer, not unknown to the tradition of philosophy, is to speak of the authority of philosophy.
In the tradition, this authority was usually based on philosophers having insights that the majority was deemed to lack. For the rest of the world simply to accept the insights and attitudes of philosophers clearly goes against Husserl's emphasis on personal freedom and his view that insights must always be gained for oneself.
Indeed, it would be rather surprising for Husserl to suggest that a type of argumentation that is based on power and authority, a type of argumentation excluded from philosophy, could then be applied by philosophers to the world at large. A further possible account of how the life of rationality lived by philosophers contributes to a rational culture is found in the functionalism that can be detected at various places in Husserl's thought.
This functionalism is particularly evident in the Kaizo articles. Here, the cause of the crisis is described as a loss of faith in rationality that is precipitated primarily by the lack of a proper science of human rationality. This faith will be restored when the scientists of rationality philosophers re—establish their own method and principles. If philosophers were to fulfil their function properly, then the entire network of sciences and scientific culture in general would operate in a manner more in keeping with the scientific character that they claim.
Husserl had a great deal of affinity for the functionalist approach, even within philosophy itself. It is worthwhile to recall that within his scheme for phenomenology, Husserl sees phenomenologists as being occupied with a particular region of being. Hence, each phenomenologist is to direct his or her efforts towards one specific realm of phenomena, be it towards religion, history, art, or other realms. Husserl is a great promoter of division of labour within philosophy.
Such an approach seems also to be suggested when discussing large—scale renewal. Still, the mechanics of how a well—functioning philosophy actually entails well—functioning sciences and a well—functioning culture remain unclear. The difficulty is that the meaning of these sciences has been lost; their ultimate rationality is no longer evident.
This ultimate rational sense is to be recovered by re—discovering in a rigourously scientific way the origin of all science in human subjectivity. Yet it is not altogether evident how the re—discovery of the meaning of scientific activity by philosophy will actually restore the meaning within the sciences themselves, let alone within the entire culture affected by those sciences. It is possible to imagine that the insights of phenomenology would at least have some impact on the human sciences since both phenomenology and the human sciences are concerned with subjectivity.
But the ultimate effect of phenomenology on the natural sciences remains difficult to spell out ahead of time. Simply to inform biologists, physicists, chemists, or even mathematicians that philosophers have re—discovered the original and ultimate meaning of their tasks does not seem to achieve the profound renewal that Husserl seeks. The functionalist approach appears even less palatable when the crisis of culture is considered. A group of philosophers living in perfect rationality does not make a philosophical culture.
Indeed, the functionalist interpretation of the mechanics of overcoming the crisis, just as the authoritarian interpretation, seems to go against Husserl's radical individualism and the requirement of seeing for oneself. Thus, an even more radical view is required to account for large—scale renewal. In short, everyone must become a phenomenologist. It does seem to be the case that if everyone were to become a phenomenologist, a phenomenological culture would arise. This culture would be truly philosophical, and, therefore, the true re—establishment of the Greek—origin.
The suggestion that everyone become a phenomenologist can be understood in at least two ways. A rather extreme understanding would posit that everyone must actually engage in philosophical activity, each person inquiring back into the origin of all knowledge and truth in subjectivity. Everyone would have to conduct the type of constitutive analyses of consciousness that led Husserl to produce such an extensive Nachlass.
As unlikely as this universal phenomenological existence might be, it also is not what Husserl expects. In the first place, Husserl believes that to be a philosopher is a highly personal vocation to which only a few are called.
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He is also very well aware that a certain forgetfulness is necessary within the sciences. In order to function well as a physicist, one cannot continually be focusing on the constituting origin of the world that one studies. The physicist must have a certain blindness and must maintain a certain naive accepting of the objective world in order to make any progress at all.
Science and the Life-World
Yet, in a certain sense, it is this blindness that Husserl hopes to overcome, since it is this blindness that lies at the root of the crisis. In a remarkable passage located in an early manuscript from , we find Husserl's assessment of the narrowness that allows the mathematician in particular, and the scientist in general, to pursue interests without paying attention to questions of foundation and meaning: This limitation to ever more specialized fields [that is characteristic of modern science in general] is nothing that constitutes value or worth.
It is only a necessary evil. The complete researcher who strives to be a complete human being as well should never lose sight of the relation of his science to the more general and higher epistemic goals of humanity. Professional restriction to a single field is necessary; but it is reproachable to become fully absorbed in such a field. And [the researcher] must appear even more reproachable, who is indifferent even to the more general questions which concern the foundation of his science, as well as its value and place in the realm of human knowledge in general.
Sections of this manuscript are published in Husserliana XXI. This citation is found on Hua XXI, The ambiguity of Husserl's approach to the scientist is clearly felt here. This is perhaps possible if everyone becoming a phenomenologist is interpreted slightly differently: it is not as if everyone must do phenomenology, but rather, everyone must proceed as a phenomenologist does. This narrower understanding of what it means for individuals to form a philosophical culture can be viewed as a fourth understanding of the mechanics of renewal.
It is thus not a question of philosophy giving authoritarian instruction, nor of philosophy functioning well on its own, nor of the entire population of the world undertaking a purely philosophical existence. It is rather that phenomenological philosophers can be seen as exemplars of how life is to be lived rationally; they are the models that show how one strives for a rational existence. A rational life involves having insight into what one is doing; it means determining for oneself a life on the basis of reason.
For Husserl, the philosopher must be the example of such rational living, of such responsible behaviour. The philosopher is thus a model to be emulated, by the natural scientist, by the politician, by the banker, by the baker, by the sociologist and by the lawyer. Philosophers as a group must be an example of rationally—determined communal life to the society at large.
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In their common endeavour of working towards the establishment of the goal of rational existence, philosophers are to be the example of what a community, united in the task of determining a rational societal existence, could achieve. While it remains dubious whether philosophers, both individually and through their work in common, have lived up to their vocation as role—model, it is also dubious whether such responsible behaviour on the part of philosophers would be noticed; if noticed, whether it could be widely implemented; and if implemented on a large—scale, whether this would be sufficient to cure the crisis that Husserl has depicted with such accuracy.
In the first place, it must be admitted that philosophy occupies, at least formally, a more marginal position than it did in the past.