Styles of Piety: Practicing Philosophy after the Death of God

By S. Clark Buckner; Matthew Statler | Go to book overview

3

Suffering Faith in Philosophy

S. Clark Buckner

Since the publication of Heidegger's Being and Time, with its appeal to explicitly religious categories, phenomenology and post-phenomenological thought has repeatedly demonstrated a distinctly religious dimension. In the United States, this religious dimension to phenomenology recently has been celebrated by leading scholars such as John Caputo and Edith Wyschogrod, while, in Germany, it has been recognized by defenders and critics of phenomenology alike since the 1920s. And in France virtually every leading post-phenomenological thinker, from Paul Ricœur and Jean-Luc Marion to Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida, has taken up and explored this dimension to phenomenology. In the work of these authors, the religious aspect of phenomenology is treated as essential to it and to the sense of responsibility that sustains its practice.

In the early 1930s, this religious dimension to phenomenology found expression in an otherwise unlikely source, Edmund Husserl's The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology. Here Husserl, the resolutely sober founder of phenomenology, who was first a mathematician and then a philosopher of mathematics, and who understood phenomenology throughout his life to be foremost a matter of providing philosophical foundations for the sciences, gave voice to a passionate need to believe.

Against those whom he describes as the "scientifically minded," Husserl defends the popular lament over a "crisis in the sciences," as

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