Continental Philosophy Review 41 (4):401-425 (2008)

Dermot Moran
University College Dublin
Throughout his career, Husserl identifies naturalism as the greatest threat to both the sciences and philosophy. In this paper, I explicate Husserl’s overall diagnosis and critique of naturalism and then examine the specific transcendental aspect of his critique. Husserl agreed with the Neo-Kantians in rejecting naturalism. He has three major critiques of naturalism: First, it (like psychologism and for the same reasons) is ‘countersensical’ in that it denies the very ideal laws that it needs for its own justification. Second, naturalism essentially misconstrues consciousness by treating it as a part of the world. Third, naturalism is the inevitable consequence of a certain rigidification of the ‘natural attitude’ into what Husserl calls the ‘naturalistic attitude’. This naturalistic attitude ‘reifies’ and it ‘absolutizes’ the world such that it is treated as taken-for-granted and ‘obvious’. Husserl’s transcendental phenomenological analysis, however, discloses that the natural attitude is, despite its omnipresence in everyday life, not primary, but in fact is relative to the ‘absolute’ transcendental attitude. The mature Husserl’s critique of naturalism is therefore based on his acceptance of the absolute priority of the transcendental attitude . The paradox remains that we must start from and, in a sense, return to the natural attitude, while, at the same time, restricting this attitude through the on-going transcendental vigilance of the universal epoché.
Keywords Husserl  Naturalism  Natural attitude  Transcendental philosophy   epoché
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11007-008-9088-3
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,008
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Phenomenology of Perception.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1962 - Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey: The Humanities Press.
Logische Untersuchungen.Edmund Husserl (ed.) - 1900 - Felix Meiner Verlag.

View all 73 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Intentionality: Some Lessons From the History of the Problem From Brentano to the Present.Dermot Moran - 2013 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 21 (3):317-358.
Naturalizing What? Varieties of Naturalism and Transcendental Phenomenology.Maxwell J. D. Ramstead - 2015 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 14 (4):929-971.
Phenomenology and Naturalism: A Hybrid and Heretical Proposal.Jack Reynolds - 2016 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 24 (3):393-412.

View all 18 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
337 ( #30,678 of 2,505,219 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
7 ( #102,841 of 2,505,219 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes