Husserl, Edmund: Philosophy and the Crisis of European Man

41. Im Geiste der Unendlichkeit: The expression, scarcely translatable into English, bespeaks a spirit that refuses to stop short of infinity in its pursuit of truth. In Husserl himself, one hesitates to see it as a plea for a metaphysics, but in a Scheler, a Heidegger, a Conrad-Martius, it becomes just that; cf. Peter Wust, Die Auferstehung der Metaphysik (Leipzig, 1920).

42. In Formale und transzendentale Logik Husserl calls philosophy the “science of all sciences”, which is to say, it provides the norms whereby any science can be worthy of the name.

43. Husserl’s constant plea has been for a return to the “rationalism” of Socrates and Plato (cf. “Philosophy as Regorous Science”, p. 76 supra), not to the rationalism of seventeenth – and eighteenth – century Europe. His own inspiration, however, is traceable far more to Descartes, Hume, and Kant than to Socrates and Plato.

44. The philosophia perennis that, like a Platonic Idea, is eternally changeless amid the varying participations that we can call “philosophies”.

45. One is reminded of Husserl’s insistence in the Cartesian Meditations (pp. 121-35) that a successful phenomenological philosophy must being as solipsism, moving on to an intersubjectivity only after it has been established on a solipsistic basis. In this Husserl once more derives his inspiration from seventeenth – and eighteenth – century rationalism.

46. The theme is familiar from the whole first part of “Philosophy as Rigorous Science”.

47. Democritus, who flourished two hundred years after Thales, was a contemporary of Socrates. Thus he belongs more properly to the “golden age” of Greek philosophy than to the “early stages”.

48. Regulae ad directionem ingenii, Rele 1. The quotation is verbally inaccurate (probably from memory), but the sense is the same.

49. For Husserl, real has a distinctively different meaning from reell. The former is applied only to the material world of facts; the latter belongs to the ideal world of intentionality. Cf. Ideen I, pp. 218-20.

50. Cf. Husserl’s Encyclopaedia Britannica article, “Phenomenology”, where he develops the notion of a “pure” psychology independent of psychophysical considerations.

51. The play upon the word Not is impossible to render here. The situation of modern science is described as a Notlage, which can be translated as a “situation of distress”. By itself Not can mean “need”, “want”, “suffering”, etc. The word is used three times, and there is a shade of difference in meaning each time it is used.

52. The work of Werner Heisenberg and Niels Bohr has shown how quantum mechanics and nuclear physics have high-lighted precisely the problem Husserl brings out here.

53. It is axiomatic for Husserl that only insight can reveal “essences” and that only a knowledge of essences can be ultimately scientific. That this insight should be at once intuitive and constitutive is peculiar to the Husserlian theory of intentionality; cf. my La phénoménologie de Husserl, pp. 31-34.

54. Husserl’s judgment of “phychologism” was no less severe at the end of his life than it was when he wrote “Philosophy as Rigorous Science”.

55. “Dualism” and “monism” are terms whose meanings are not easily determined. As a convinced “idealist” Husserl considered himself a monist, and he criticized Kant strongly for remaining a dualist. Hegel, on the other hand, criticizes Fichte (whom Husserl resembles closely in this) for not having escaped dualism. One might well make a case for designating as monism a theory that accepts only one kind of reality, to which both matter and spirit (of the “factual” and the “ideal”) belong. By this criterion Husserl’s distinction would be “dualistic”. Perhaps the best that can be said is that Husserl is, in intention at least, epistemologically a monist. Spirit alone is being in the full sense, because only of spirit can there be science in the full sense. One conclusion from all this, it would seem, is that the terminology involved bears revision.

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