Review of Metaphysics 37 (3):640-642 (1984)

Robert Sokolowski
Catholic University of America
The first volume of Husserl's Ideen was published in 1913. Until then Husserl was known as the author of Logical Investigations, which had been published in 1900-1901 and which had generated a philosophical movement after its own image: one marked by anti-psychologism, by a detailed analysis of the phenomena of consciousness, by an interest in logic, by a kind of common-sense realism. The developments in Goettingen and Munich were examples of the influence of Husserl's early work. But the appearance of Ideen I in 1913 opened a new dimension in Husserl's thought, one that--as we now know from his posthumous works--had been germinating in the intervening years. To many the new dimension seemed, and still seems, disappointingly idealistic. The new book was an introduction to phenomenology, but it seemed to talk about the world and everything in it as only the achievement of consciousness. Husserl seemed to have become practically a Fichtean idealist. In fact what was at issue in Ideen I was a deeper appreciation of the nature of philosophical reflection and analysis. It was an appreciation that being is essentially intelligible and intendable, and that we give only a partial analysis of an object if we fail to speak, ultimately, about the object's being intelligible and intendable, about its being for consciousness. However in this book Husserl made his case in an apparently obscure way. The terminology, the prose, and the argument are difficult and technical from the start. We do not find the gradual introduction of concepts and problems that can be found in the Investigations. Everything is rigorous from the beginning.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph198437322
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