Method and Experience

A persistent criticism of Edmund Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology is that it begs the question of its own possibiIity as science. In this essay I propose a reading of Husserl which addresses this question and attempts to show that the phenomenological ideal of freedom from all presuppositions, that is, the ideal of radical methodological autonomy, is not dogmatically assumed as valid but rests on a conception of philosophy which, although not explicitly formulated by Husserl, nevertheless informs his thinking on questions of method and, ultimately, the nature of science. According to this conception, phiIosophy, phenomenological or otherwise, is not sui generis the ground of is own possibiIity but is derived from the logic of experience itself and so is immanent to conscious, intentional life in all of its manifold occupations and interests. That is, experience ultimately fulfills itself not in the accumulation of objective facts but in its continued faithfulness to the idea of a more perfect knowledge. Thus, in the end, I hope to show that the question of the status and possibiIity of phenomenological philosophy is not of interest to phenomenologists alone but addresses the enterprise of philosophy itself
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DOI 10.5840/jpr_1991_24
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