Four Phenomenological Philosophers: Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty

Four Phenomenological Philosophers: Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty

Four Phenomenological Philosophers: Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty

Four Phenomenological Philosophers: Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty

Synopsis

Christopher Macann guides the student through the major texts of the four most prominent figures of the phenomenological tradition. Each chapter is devoted to one of these four thinkers:* Edmund Husserl, the founder of phenomenology, whose constantly-evolving ideas are presented by reviewing the three crucial periods of his work.* Martin Heidegger, who broke decisively and controversially with his teacher, Husserl.* Jean-Paul Sartre, who transplanted the tradition from its origins in Germany to the streets of Paris. In Being and Nothingness , he set forth his own version of phenomenology.* Maurice Merleau-Ponty, a contemporary of Sartre, whose career was cut short by his early death. The Phenomenology of Perception was his best and most representative work. Four Phenomenological Philosophers , by presenting each thinker in the light of his most important texts, is the ideal introduction to this important philosophical tradition.

Excerpt

This book has been written for the student, more specifically for students in an English speaking world which, for many years, has been dominated by analytical philosophy. My basic aim is to put into the hands of the reader, and within the compass of a single volume, a work enabling beginning students of phenomenology to find their way through the major texts of what will, I believe, in retrospect, be seen as one of the (if not the) most important philosophical traditions of the century.

My concern with the needs of students has dictated the format of the book. In my estimate, the four figures I deal with count as the most important phenomenological philosophers of this century-with no other figure falling into quite the same category of original, constructive thinking. Three of these four figures (Heidegger, Sartre and Merleau-Ponty) each wrote one major work in which the substance of their phenomenological thinking is represented. In order to keep the cost of this book down to a minimum, I have therefore deliberately chosen to ignore the other, often extensive, philosophical writings of these three figures. With Husserl, however, such a policy cannot be pursued. And so I have tried to cover all the texts which tackle the issues with which the student is required to be familiar.

From personal experience, I know how difficult it is to move from an analytical foundation to a comprehension and assimilation of continental philosophy. If I was ever able to make this shift when I went from an undergraduate training at Oxford to a graduate training in Paris, it was by dint of a deliberate decision, in my second year at Paris, to pretend I knew no

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