Reduction, externalism and immanence in Husserl and Heidegger

Synthese 160 (3):375 - 395 (2008)
Abstract
This paper argues that the Husserl–Heidegger relationship is systematically misunderstood when framed in terms of a distinction between internalism and externalism. Both philosophers, it is argued, employ the phenomenological reduction to immanence as a fundamental methodological instrument. After first outlining the assumptions regarding inner and outer and the individual and the social from which recent epistemological interpretations of phenomenology begin, I turn to the question of Husserl’s internalism. I argue that Husserl can only be understood as an internalist on the assumption that immanence equates with internal. This, however, is not the case as can be seen once the reduction is understood not as setting aside the existence of the world, but rather a reflection on its meaning. Turning to Heidegger, I argue that his commitment to a form of the phenomenological reduction precludes him from being either a semantic or a social externalist. The place of authenticity and the first person perspective in his work derive from his phenomenological commitments, which can be seen in his accounts of discourse and language and of falling (Verfallen). I then go on to briefly outline a more plausible basis for understanding the difference between Husserl’s and Heidegger’s phenomenologies in terms of their respective emphases on logic and on poetics.
Keywords Phenomenology  Husserl  Heidegger  Reduction
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