Husserl’s Concept of the Vorwelt and the Possible Annihilation of the World

Research in Phenomenology 45 (1):108-126 (2015)


In this paper I explore a curious phenomenon discussed in Husserl’s later manuscripts under the name “pre-world.” This notion arises in the context of his ongoing development of a genetic phenomenology, i.e., a phenomenology that is concerned with the dynamics of conscious life, concerning both the generation of new meaning for consciousness and new dimensions of conscious life. The pre-world is one such dimension. I explore it here in two stages. First, I consider the initial unsavoriness of the very idea of a pre-world, whose metaphysical implications are suspect, on the surface. Nevertheless, I show that the pre-world puts the subject in contact with reality in a very special sense that should remedy this worry. Second, I show how the notion of the pre-world re-opens Husserl’s thought of the possible annihilation of the world from Ideas i. In fact, it explains the possibility, by revealing its experiential ground.

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Matt Bower
Texas State University

Citations of this work

Husserl on Perception: A Nonrepresentationalism That Nearly Was.Matt Bower - 2017 - European Journal of Philosophy 25 (4):1768-1790.

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