Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Husserl and the Cartesian Meditations (book review) A.D. Smith

211030: another reread on husserl. did not write review first time. this almost inspires me to try [book:Cartesian Meditations: An Introduction to Phenomenology|478234] again, though i think hs's 'ideas 1, 2' are more likely. as it has been years since read, do not know how much is by memory, how much new, but this guidebook certainly elucidates that text. which is, as noted, far from accessible introduction, too compressed, dependent on knowing some of hs other work...


in reviewing this text i will cover meditations in each chapter, as smith does, after brief intro on 'idea' of philosophy, which for hs was the discovery of 'transcendental phenomenology', the only true way, which he contrasted with descartes attempt to 'prove' the existence of the world from his ideas. hs insists there are only ideas....


starting with ch 1, meditation 1, hs describes the 'epoche' (bracketing of all other knowledge than immediate sense of 'things themselves') and resulting 'phenomenological reduction' (things themselves), this is followed by constitution of objects, by relationship to psychology (which is close but also tends to make objects rather than how), then evidenz, intuition, 'the cartesian way'...


ch 2, med 2, hs describes 'intentionality' (that thought is always 'directed' or '-of' something), and necessary concept of horizon (limit of sense interior, exterior), contrast with 'sensualism' and 'sense-datum' both of which have atomistic effecting elements rather than original sense, important section on 'time', and thus genesis of thought experience, and 'hyle', sensory data of all sorts, then 'intentional analysis', which must be guided by those things themselves...


ch3, med 4, mostly. ego, person, monad, hs describes null point of thought, of how ego is clothed in person, is in infinite number of monads with windows (contrast with leibniz), then 'static' and 'genetic' phenomenology, active and passive synthesis (active is genesis based on 'pre-given' sense), then 'eidetic phenomenology and the nature of thought' (eidetic is 'essential', nature of thought is always 'intuition/categorical'), then 'founding', of which cognition is itself mot important, then transcendental instincts and 'drive-intentionality' eg. universal drive of baby to breast...


ch4, med 3, part of 4. hs deals with solipsism in reality and reason, then world, then 'idea' of reality (reality is indefinitely confirmed or not), then reality and objectivity (there is one world), then hs's idealism, which is best seen in 'strong' version. there is great 'proof' of idealism (not hs, he never 'argued' much), which smith offers, in footnotes mentioning his reading is not uncontroversial... then on theoretical science and hs's idea of 'life-world', then hs's metaphysics...


ch5, med 5. hs describes sphere of ownness, empathy, then body. can certainly see how fascinated and inspired was merleau-ponty by this section. hs is concerned not with then 'problem of other minds' but the intersubjectivity he saw necessary to 'community' of monads, not all 'awake', let alone human, so decided on 'pairing-reverse-pairing'. smith addresses more controversies, complaints, that hs is just assuming things but insists this is too shallow reading, that there is yet more of hs to be read...


conclusion: having read this twice, i have decided to up the rating, primarily because it inspires me to read him again. but there are so many books, so little time... (repeat: there are so many books to read and so little time...)

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