Philosophic Thought in France and the United States: Essays Representing Major Trends in Contemporary French and American Philosophy

By Marvin Farber | Go to book overview

PHENOMENOLOGY IN FRANCE

Jean Hering*

"For myself, Philosophy is a manner of seizing things, a mode of perceiving reality. It does not create Nature, or Man, or God, but finds them and tries to understand them. . . . Philosophy is the ideal reconstruction of consciousness, it is consciousness understanding itself with all that it contains."

Frédéric Amiel, Journal, December 26, 1852.


SECTION 1. INTRODUCTION: PRELIMINARY REMARKS.

If we were allowed to give on these pages a historical sketch of the antecedents of phenomenology in France, we evidently would have to speak of the influence of Bergson's intuitionism which has prepared the ground for a philosophy hostile to any abstract construction and to purely rational deductions. But we cannot undertake such a study here. We shall only point out, on one side, that the theme of the cogito was developed in an original manner by Mr. Edouard Le Roy in his lectures at the Collège de France in 1919/20 (see his Problème de Dieu [Artisan du Livre, 1930], p. 131); on the other hand, we must not forget the fundamental hostility of Bergsonism to the philosophy of essences which separates it radically from phenomenology.1

As concerns the philosophy of Edmund Husserl and of Max Scheler, it became known in France only after 1918,2 not without the agency of the Faculty of Protestant Theology, University of Strasbourg, which once

____________________
*
Born in 1890. Student in philosophy, history, and theology at Strasbourg, Heidelberg, Göttingen, and Paris. Agrégé ès-Lettres, 1914. Graduate of École Pratique des Hautes Études de Paris, 1923. Licencié en Théologie, 1926. Doctor of Theology, 1937. Professor, Protestant Theological School, University of Strasbourg. Author of Phenomenologie et philosophie religieuse ( 1926), Le royaume de Dieu selon Jésus et l'apôtre Paul ( 1937), and Commentaire de la Ire Àpítre de Paul aux Corinthiens ( 1949).
1
On this point, we refer the reader to the elaborate study of the Polish philosopher Roman Ingarden: "Intuition und Intellekt bei Henri Bergson" ( Jahrb.f.Phil.u.phän. Forschg, Vol. VI)
2
The critical study of Victor Delbos on the "Logical Investigations" by Husserl (see Revue de métaphysique et de morale, 1911, pp. 685-698), concerns only the first volume of that work in which there is yet no question of phenomenology.

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