Husserl's transcendental philosophy and the critique of naturalism

Continental Philosophy Review 41 (4):401-425 (2008)
Throughout his career, Husserl identifies naturalism as the greatest threat to both the sciences and philosophy. In this paper, I explicate Husserl’s overall diagnosis and critique of naturalism and then examine the specific transcendental aspect of his critique. Husserl agreed with the Neo-Kantians in rejecting naturalism. He has three major critiques of naturalism: First, it (like psychologism and for the same reasons) is ‘countersensical’ in that it denies the very ideal laws that it needs for its own justification. Second, naturalism essentially misconstrues consciousness by treating it as a part of the world. Third, naturalism is the inevitable consequence of a certain rigidification of the ‘natural attitude’ into what Husserl calls the ‘naturalistic attitude’. This naturalistic attitude ‘reifies’ and it ‘absolutizes’ the world such that it is treated as taken-for-granted and ‘obvious’. Husserl’s transcendental phenomenological analysis, however, discloses that the natural attitude is, despite its omnipresence in everyday life, not primary, but in fact is relative to the ‘absolute’ transcendental attitude. The mature Husserl’s critique of naturalism is therefore based on his acceptance of the absolute priority of the transcendental attitude . The paradox remains that we must start from and, in a sense, return to the natural attitude, while, at the same time, restricting this attitude through the on-going transcendental vigilance of the universal epoché.
Keywords Husserl  Naturalism  Natural attitude  Transcendental philosophy   epoché
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11007-008-9088-3
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 47 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Anthony Vincent Fernandez (2015). Contaminating the Transcendental. Journal of Speculative Philosophy 29 (3):291-301.
Eran Dorfman (2013). Naturalism, Objectivism and Everyday Life. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 72:117-133.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

167 ( #12,229 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

20 ( #41,183 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.