Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology (book review) Edmund Husserl

David Carr (translator)


260616: this is a later addition: looked at this review and realized i have once again relayed more 'how' i took it, why i liked it (phenomenological judgement), rather than 'what' it is (positivistic assertion)... i do not know how often i will apologize for not being a philosopher... this is not an error. though hs is more 'style', more 'how', than some positivistic argument, it is possible to see how his insights animated so many other thinkers. hs is of his time, is concerned to delineate his thoughts eg. phenomenological 'bracketing' (epoche), eidetic reduction, as born of long engagement with traditional european, first greek then german and french thinkers, though he has little on scots/anglo 'empiricists'. but he does not come out of nowhere, he does offer some commentary against the sort of 'existential phenomenology' of heidegger, but the most powerful, fruitful, concept he uses here is the 'lifeworld', and through it feels he escapes threat of solipsism... it is wonderful that even now in the 21st century, his thought can be so inspiring...


first review 260616: i am not a professional philosopher. in the sense, that is, of someone whose close inspection of this or any other text, whose deconstruction, whose guiding passion, is to examine and logically explicate or argue with given ideas. on the other, i do like to read philosophy texts- mostly 'continental', mostly 'phenomenology', such as [book:Early Twentieth-Century Continental Philosophy|12973401] so far often on (2015) rather than by the big names, Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty... and perhaps prefer having their ideas explained sympathetically more than logically dissected...


i think i can follow and understand critique resonant in this text, can find here and there what i had previously read in books on hs- but would hesitate to first here find these thematic areas myself, to decide he is saying this or that idea, to decide he means specific lines of thought, to decide i could create one of those books on hs. i enjoy not entirely closed or systematic reading. having read several books previous to this, rather quickly as a piece of literature, my 'philosophical/logical' impression is probably lacking, but this reflects why i read this or any philosophy...


it has been many years since i took a survey philosophy course at u, and when i continued later i started at the difficult and somewhat modern end with [book:Being and Nothingness|511340] by Sartre, only then turning to rather more introductory texts of various subjects philosophy of... language, religion, mind, art, science. then i read the series by copleston that presented a historical overview of the history of western philosophy. then i read intros to big names eg. kant, descartes, hegel... then i read an introduction to- and read a reader of phenomenology, by moran. then i read and continued the continental european philosophers series by mcgill-queens. by this point i had started to read texts on chosen thinkers, eventually by chosen thinkers. i am not studying philosophy. nobody marks my reading. this is for me 'fun'...


'fun'? well i might have a different conception of 'fun'. this work by husserl surprises me- i had read a little by him that was very dense and possibly inaccessible to 'cold' readers, i had heard hs was particularly difficult to read of all phenomenologists, i had the idea hs was better as inspiration than reading. and of all of these i was surprised. perhaps it is having read so much phenomenology, so much of the 'epoche', so much on his ideas, so much that i read this in a 'literary' manner and not directly as a 'logical' text, and maybe this last great work by the man is actually most accessible of all his work... but i found this work lucid and fascinating. if you want long, long, complex sentences that often wander through clauses, through time, through this sense, that emotion, the answer is simple: read marcel proust...


maybe it is the translation? this was great to read: hs investigates, thinks over, questions not rhetorically but earnestly- never abandons thinkers, never refuses questions. offers not necesarily a 'system' but a 'style', where it is not 'what is' in any 'positivistic' way, but 'how is' in conscious ways. so he is not as fluid a writer as say [author:Henri Bergson|67070] or Sartre... but the ideas are great. had the idea 'phenomenology' is supposed to be independent of time and place, well this might have been originally so, here hs gives the history of philosophy, his sense of how it is greek and 'european', his certainty there is a crisis particular to its history, his certainty of logical, rational validity over purely existential, irrational, thinking ascendent in his times (mid 1930s Germany)...


as mentioned i am not a philosopher. as mentioned i have read on if not by a lot of philosophers. so i can follow the history of philosophy hs offers: i can see once again the importance of descartes' original technique but also how it did not go far enough for hs. i can understand dismissal of extreme skepticism and the creation of 'fiction' by empiricists such as hume, the inadvisable 'sham' philosophy of certain logical positivists, all the ways the 'world' is 'real' but this is only the beginning, how there are in the 'real' in all of us humans not merely 'idealistic', not finally 'materialistic', how intersubjectivity is basic to human being... there are many great ideas and once again, the author did not live to complete it...


text is about 265 pages, useful appendices about 135 pages... so there are a lot of texts to integrate in texts read, and you cannot help but be sad hs never finished it, sad for its incompleteness, but truly inspired by what is there... it is not surprising 'phenomenology' became such a major 'style' of thought in continental philosophy of the 20th century... this is a great book...


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