Husserl's transcendental idealism

Husserl Studies 23 (3):247-260 (2007)
Book review of Rollinger & Sowa's 2004 translation of Husserl's own later collection of manuscripts on transcendental idealism (and realism): It has long served the interests of certain partisans to paint Husserl as a Cartesian philosopher of consciousness, as a man who, like his early modern predecessor, was obsessed with demonstrating that the ‘‘data’’ of conscious experience constitute an epistemological fundamentum inconcussum. Husserl thus becomes a stock character in those narratives of modern philosophy which see it as having been dominated by a poisonous Cartesian subjectivism prior to the arrival of one or another of philosophy’s great twentieth-century saviors (typically one chooses either Heidegger or Wittgenstein here). On the other side, it has long been common for Husserlians to brush aside this character- ization of Husserl as a gross oversimplification and indeed fundamental mis- understanding of his thought, one resting on a lack of any real familiarity with his writings and ideas.We are thus presented with the paradox that while many of the most conscientious of Husserl’s expositors could read him as an anti- Cartesian philosopher, other, generally less sympathetic but often not less intelligent readers could come to the exact opposite conclusion...
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