Academic journal article Indo - Pacific Journal of Phenomenology

In Lieu of a Review of the Latest English Translation of Ideas I: A Reading of Husserl's Original Intent and Its Relevance for Empirical Qualitative Psychology

Academic journal article Indo - Pacific Journal of Phenomenology

In Lieu of a Review of the Latest English Translation of Ideas I: A Reading of Husserl's Original Intent and Its Relevance for Empirical Qualitative Psychology

Article excerpt

Understanding the Role of Hermeneutics

The most recent English translation of Husserl's Ideas I by Daniel Dahlstrom (2014) includes the required corrections pointed to by Smith (1997) of the preceding English translation by Fred Kersten (1982). However, Ideas I is a contentious text that serious students of phenomenology address but that often confuses and frustrates them because of its stylistic complexity. There are multiple senses that have been made of it, with even the influential readings by Derrida and Heidegger able to be shown to be inaccurate with respect to the original aims of Husserl. Contrary to any such claims, there is nothing corrupt about concepts that refer to experience, and, as will be known by those who have read Ideas II (drafted in 1912, but published only posthumously), the complex non-Cartesian relationships between consciousness, natural being and intersubjective contexts are given abundant attention (Husserl, 1956/ 1989, §§50-52). Given that Ideas I explains method and provides an analytic perspective for reflecting on consciousness - the contents of the mind in relation to the mental processes that create them - it can seem that these aims are not communicated sufficiently clearly by the author. With the broader aim of assisting phenomenological psychologists to share their aims, perspective and methods, and review their own justificatory history, the purpose of this paper is to set the scene by re-stating some basic points in order to orient readers towards grasping the importance of Ideas I. For, if the basics are not grasped, then the distinctions that follow about method and stance make no sense.

However, before focusing on the key points of Husserl's Ideas I, it is necessary to explain the process of hermeneutics itself in the particular case of scholarly studies. This is best done by explaining the process of hermeneutics as it originally evolved in Bible studies and the law. The point of understanding the origin of hermeneutics in Christianity is to note the process of arguing for a specific reading of what is available for all to see. This is a use of the history of Christianity as a foil to explain hermeneutics in the specific case of philosophical argument, and therefore not a comment on Christianity, Judaism or Islam. The case of the different readings of the Bible in Christianity is a case in point, for there are many different readings of the Bible, each one spawning the birth of new forms of Christian practice: for instance, Greek Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, the various denominational modes of Protestantism, Quakerism, and so forth. Each official Christian reading of the same text produces religious practice, a culture in itself, in which each participant makes sense of the differing views available. With its emphasis on storytelling, the Bible comprises a set of often complex and contradictory stories. As all lecturers know, it is impossible to make all students receive the teaching points as the lecturer intended them. Even if it were possible to decide on the acceptable set of original Aramaic and Greek texts that constitute the Bible, with agreement amongst all concerned that these were the set of texts to be considered, there would still be no guarantee that all Christians can be taught to accept, or cajoled or coerced into agreeing on, any one meaning of any section of the leading text. Indeed, anyone who can read can get a sense of any of a book's many parts. If there is one strong message from Christianity, then it would be the Golden Rule, "Forget about the wrong things people do to you, and do not try to get even. Love your neighbour as you love yourself" (Leviticus, 19:18), and "Do unto others what you want them to do to you" (Matthew, 7:2). This rule is shared by a number of faiths. Yet the history of Christianity is written in blood, Catholics having fought with Protestants for centuries of intolerance between their differing readings, with Christians self-righteously killing each other in blasphemous contradiction to the Golden Rule. …

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