In Iulian Apostolescu & Claudia Serban (eds.), Husserl, Kant and Transcendental Phenomenology. De Gruyter. pp. 411-438 (2020)

Garrett Bredeson
University of Colorado, Boulder
It is well known that Husserl’s turn to a form of “transcendental” phenomenology troubled many of his followers in Munich and Göttingen. It was just as perplexing, though, for his contemporaries in the tradition of post-Kantian transcendental philosophy. Cohen had identified the living core of Kant’s philosophy as the “transcendental method,” and Natorp, in particular, had worked extensively to distinguish the principles of the Marburg recovery of Kant from his wayward appropriation by Fichte and others. In this chapter, I consider what the stakes of Husserl’s transcendental turn looked like from the Marburg perspective. Natorp warmly welcomed Husserl’s attempt to steer the nascent phenomenological movement in a “transcendental” direction, but he continued to wonder whether Husserl’s turn towards this tradition was aligned with the true spirit of Kant, or whether, on the contrary, phenomenology would settle into a broadly Fichtean appropriation of Kant’s legacy. Though Natorp’s public position is markedly conciliatory, he barely conceals his suspicion that it was the Kant of Fichte’s Jena, not the Kant of Cohen’s Marburg, to whom Husserl was (perhaps unwittingly) turning. This, I argue, is the background against which the Natorp-Husserl encounter on the eve of World War I must be understood.
Keywords Natorp  Husserl
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DOI 10.1515/9783110564280-019
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