The Checkered Legacy of Marvin Farber’s Idiosyncratic Understanding of Phenomenology

In Michela Beatrice Ferri & Carlo Ierna (eds.), The Reception of Husserlian Phenomenology in North America. Cham: Springer Verlag. pp. 107-129 (2019)
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I endeavor to explore Farber’s work leading into the Foundation in order to construct an understanding both of his idiosyncratic interpretation of Husserl, and of what lead to Farber’s break with phenomenology. A great irony of Farber’s career may turn out to be that a scholar so deeply bothered by presuppositions and so committed a methodological pluralist may have discarded phenomenology because of his own philosophical commitments, a fact noted by Farber’s former student, Sang-Ki Kim. In an essay in Farber’s memory, Kim questions whether Farber himself was subject to the limitations and prejudices inherent in his commitments to scientific Marxism and naturalism. Farber’s pervasive interests in naturalism are likely influenced, in part, by consideration for the cancer research of his brother, Sidney. This work will first examine Farber’s attitudes towards metaphysics and naturalism. Second, it will turn to an examination of his interests in logic – which largely prompted his interests in phenomenology. Farber’s methodological pluralism is driven in part by his understanding of logic and in part his other interests. Further disagreements with Husserl will be reappraised in the concluding section of the essay.



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Eric Chelstrom
St. Mary's University, Texas

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