The role of umwelt in Husserl's aufbau and abbau of the natur/geist distinction

Human Studies 32 (3):313 - 333 (2009)
In this essay I argue that Husserl’s development of the nineteenth century Natur/Geist distinction is grounded in the intentional correlate between the pre-theoretical natural attitude and environing world ( Umwelt ). By reconsidering the Natur/Geist distinction through its historical context in the nineteenth century debate between Wilhelm Dilthey and the Neo-Kantians from the Baden or Southwest school, it is possible to understand more clearly Husserl’s appropriations and novel contributions. One of Husserl’s contributions lies in his rigorous thematization and clarification of the constitutive features proper to the natural and human sciences as they arise from the pre-theoretical experience of an environing world. This ordinary lived experience between the lived body and environing world is presupposed by and forms a unity with both Natur and Geist , thereby acting as the unified ground that is inclusive of naturalized Geist and a geistig nature. This unbuilding ( Abbau ) of the Natur/Geist distinction is necessary, according to Husserl, for the radical clarification of the respective methodologies of the natural and human sciences.
Keywords Husserl  Environing world  Nature   Geist  Dilthey  Rickert
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DOI 10.1007/s10746-009-9122-4
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