Phenomenology and fallibility

Husserl Studies 25 (1):1-14 (2009)
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Abstract

If Husserl is correct, phenomenological inquiry produces knowledge with an extremely high level of epistemic warrant or justification. However, there are several good reasons to think that we are highly fallible at carrying out phenomenological inquiries. It is extremely difficult to engage in phenomenological investigations, and there are very few substantive phenomenological claims that command a widespread consensus. In what follows, I introduce a distinction between method-fallibility and agent-fallibility, and use it to argue that the fact that we are fallible phenomenologists does not undermine Husserl’s claims concerning the epistemic value of phenomenological inquiry. I will also defend my account against both internalist and externalist objections.

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Walter Hopp
Boston University