Husserl's concept of the future

Husserl Studies 16 (1):41-64 (1999)
Abstract
At first glance, a phenomenological account of the future seems a contradiction in terms. Phenomenology’s focus is on givenness or presence. Attending to what has already been given in its search for evidence, it seems incapable of handling the future, which by definition, has not yet been given since it not-yet-present. Thus, for the existentialists, in particular Heidegger, phenomenology misses the fact that the Da-, the “thereness” of our Dasein, is located in the future. It misses the futurity inherent in our “being-there” in a world.[i] As part of this, it forgets that “values” are inherent in this world. Attending to the constitution of the thing as already given through its visible features, phenomenology leaves out the quality of its desirability, of its being a thing of value. Such desirability, however, is what moves us to possess it. Desire directs us towards attaining what we do not yet possess, i.e., what is not already given. In this sense, it presents the future. Value or desirability, then, must be thought of in terms of our inherent future directedness. Phenomenology, however, is incapable of this. In fact, its indifference to the future is nowhere more apparent than in its assumption that values are constituted after we grasp a sensuously appearing object. Taking them as something “tacked on” to the latter, it misses the role that futurity plays in our intentional life.[ii]
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