'Geisteswissenschaften' and Phenomenology: The Way From the Human Sciences to Transcendental Phenomenology

Dissertation, Duquesne University (1982)

Abstract
The present study seeks to demonstrate that a shift of emphasis occurs in the development of Edmund Husserl's thought such that an increasingly positive role is assigned to the human sciences. In Philosophy as Rigorous Science, the human sciences, at least at first glance, are viewed primarily as obstacles to the formation of a rigorous scientific philosophy; whereas in the Crisis, Husserl's tacit argument is that the human sciences, if properly conceived and executed, serve to mediate between and effect the turn from the objectivistic to the transcendental attitude. ;The study begins with an elucidation of the role of the human sciences in the project of establishing philosophy as a rigorous science, and with a determination of Husserl's understanding of the human sciences as regards their object and method. The historical Part II of the Crisis is interpreted as an attempt to overcome the deleterious effects of naturalism and objectivism on the human sciences and philosophy by becoming conscious of the historical origin and transmission of these prejudices. The question of the Crisis' radical departure from Husserl's early philosophical program is raised and a careful reading of Philosophy as Rigorous Science is undertaken to demonstrate that Husserl's early critique of historicism and the human sciences is essentially compatible with the view espoused in the Crisis. The life-world, which functions implicitly as a critique of historicism and as a point of convergence between the human sciences and phenomenology, becomes crucial and therefore Husserl's concept of the life-world as a cultural world and Husserl's theory of cultural objects is examined. Husserl's method of historical reflection in the Crisis is also studied as well as his treatment of the role of phenomenological psychology. In conclusion, we argue that ethical and socio-political concerns underlie Husserl's quest for philosophy as a rigorous science and his increased preoccupation with the human sciences.
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