Husserl, Heidegger, and the Space of Meaning: Paths toward Transcendetnal Phenomenology

Husserl, Heidegger, and the Space of Meaning: Paths toward Transcendetnal Phenomenology

Husserl, Heidegger, and the Space of Meaning: Paths toward Transcendetnal Phenomenology

Husserl, Heidegger, and the Space of Meaning: Paths toward Transcendetnal Phenomenology

Synopsis

In a penetrating and lucid discussion of the enigmatic relationship between the work of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger, Steven Galt Crowell proposes that the distinguishing feature of twentieth century philosophy is not so much its emphasis on language as its concern with meaning. Arguing that transcendental phenomenology is indispensable to the philosophical explanation of the space of meaning, Crowell shows how a proper understanding of both Husserl and Heidegger reveals the distinctive contributions of each to that ongoing phenomenological project.

Crowell identifies the underlying affinities between the work of Heidegger and Husserl, while at the same time sharply outlining their differences. Chiefly, he characterizes Heidegger as a transcendental phenomenologist in a Husserlian vein. Supporting this thesis with a reading of Heidegger's writings, from the early publications and lecture courses through Being and Time -- and considering them in terms of the philosopher's later work -- Crowell offers a comprehensive view of Heidegger's philosophical itinerary. This book calls into question many well entrenched ideas about Heidegger. In contrast to the common view of Heidegger as a mystic or a philosopher of life, Crowell details the important influence of neoKantian transcendental philosophy on the young Heidegger and traces Heidegger's criticism of neoKantianism on the topics of intentionality, Evidenz, logic, and subjectivity. Crowell also challenges the received view that Heidegger rejects the reduction, the transcendental ego, and Husserl's turn to idealism in Ideas I.

Excerpt

The theme of this book is the space of meaning and the path opened up to its philosophical elucidation by Husserl and Heidegger. The space of meaning is familiar to philosophers under many names, reflecting diverse views of what is most important about it. Recently, Wilfred Sellars's name for it—the “space of reasons”—has come into vogue, signaling an interest in distinguishing between explanations that also provide justifications (reasons) and those that do not (causes). Earlier it was common to talk in Wittgensteinian terms of “logical space” in which individual phenomena (or sentences) had their “place.” Earlier still, neoKantian philosophers spoke of the Geltungsbereich, or “realm of validity,” to distinguish the specific theme of philosophy from that of the empirical sciences of nature or the historical sciences. In the tradition that informs the approach taken in the present volume, the space of meaning has also been identified in various ways. Early Husserl (followed by the earliest Heidegger) called it the field of “phenomenological immanence.” Later, he would rechristen it “transcendental consciousness,” while Heidegger preferred simply to speak of “world.” A philosophical topos capable of being approached under so many designations will not be surveyable in a single pass. Indeed, as the messianic faith in something called the “linguistic turn” shows every sign of having receded in late-twentiethcentury philosophy, it becomes possible to recognize that what has distinguished philosophy in the twentieth century is not that it has concerned itself with language, but that, whether through the prism of language or not, it has concerned itself with meaning. The present volume aims to contribute something to this ongoing inquiry. Specifically, it argues that transcendental phenomenology is indispensable to the philosophical elucidation of the space of meaning.

No doubt this argument flouts the spirit of the times—whether measured in “analytic” or “continental” terms—and this along two axes.

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