Science and the Life-World: Essays on Husserl's Crisis of European Sciences

Science and the Life-World: Essays on Husserl's Crisis of European Sciences

Science and the Life-World: Essays on Husserl's Crisis of European Sciences

Science and the Life-World: Essays on Husserl's Crisis of European Sciences

Synopsis

This book is a collection of essays on Husserl's Crisis of European Sciences by leading philosophers of science and scholars of Husserl. Published and ignored under the Nazi dictatorship, Husserl's last work has never received the attention its author's prominence demands. In the Crisis, Husserl considers the gap that has grown between the "life-world" of everyday human experience and the world of mathematical science. 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. The philosopher's foundational work in the theory of intentionality is relevant to contemporary discussions of qualia, naive science, and the fact-value distinction. The scholars included in this volume consider Husserl's diagnosis of this "crisis" and his proposed solution. Topics addressed include Husserl's late philosophy, the relation between scientific and everyday objects and "worlds," the history of Greek and Galilean science, the philosophy of history, and Husserl's influence on Foucault.

Excerpt

The essays composing this volume are all concerned with Edmund Husserl's last work, The Crisis of the European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology, a book that was meant to cap Husserl's long and illustrious career, and yet was never published in its entirety in his lifetime. To date, little attention has been paid to the Crisis, which is remarkable when one considers Husserl's reputation during the first half of the twentieth century. Under normal circumstances, its publication would have been greeted with great interest. In fact, few works in the history of philosophy have had such a dismal reception, which begins in neglect, in Nazi Germany, and turns to rejection in the 1950s and 1960s, when both continental and analytic philosophers were opposed to many of its most basic assumptions. What is the source of this aversion? And why should we devote our time to the book now? These introductory remarks provide brief answers to these questions and are followed by a discussion of the individual contributions.

The book was born in a political crisis and, as Eva-Maria Engelen explains in her contribution to this volume, at a time of personal crisis as well. Husserl was invited to give lectures in 1935 in both Vienna and Prague, titled “Philosophy in the Crisis of European Mankind” and “The Crisis of European Sciences and Psychology,” respectively. Thes lectures were later reworked as the first two sections of the Crisis and were published in the journal Philosophia in 1936, shortly before Husserl became ill. They were supplemented by the third section when Walter Biemel finally published them in 1954 in their final, but still fragmentary, form. The original publication was almost totally ignored, although the publication . . .

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