What Happened to Epistemology In Our Tradititon?

Review of Metaphysics 59 (3):553 - 576 (2006)
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WHY HAS CONTEMPORARY PHENOMENOLOGY apparently dropped the discipline of epistemology from the rostrum of philosophy? I find it strange in the highest degree, because the philosopher generally acknowledged as the father of phenomenology, Edmund Husserl, introduced it by way of emphasizing the universality of the problem of knowledge. Facing up to the latter, he argued, will lead us to phenomenology in its full philosophical significance. Here I am, of course, thinking of the lectures of 1907, later published in the collected works as The Idea of Phenomenology. Nowadays, however, an account of phenomenology that emphasizes the theory of knowledge of Husserl and later philosophers who declared their indebtedness to him, for example, Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, encounters the charge that such an account distorts everything in the phenomenological tradition. Apparently epistemology is out, and ontology is in. Even knowledge itself is spoken of in ontological language, for example, as a mode of being. How did phenomenologists get from one to the other? In the light of the so-called transcendental-phenomenological reduction and the usual argumentation surrounding it, it is a bit counterintuitive to have phenomenology end up as an ontology.



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