Whereas Phenomenology of Perception concludes with a puzzling turn to “heroism,” this article examines the short essay “Man, the Hero” as a source of insight into Merleau-Ponty’s thought in the early postwar period. In this essay, Merleau-Ponty presented a conception of heroism through which he expressed the attitude toward post-Hegelian philosophy of history that underwrote his efforts to reform Marxism along existential lines. Analyzing this conception of heroism by unpacking the implicit contrasts with Kojève, Aron, Caillois, and Bataille, (...) I show that its philosophical rationale was to supply experiential evidence attesting to the latent presence of human universality. It is a mythic device intended to animate the faith necessary for Marxist politics by showing that universal sociality is possible, and that the historically transformative praxis needed to realize it does not imply sacrifice. This sheds considerable light on Merleau-Ponty’s early postwar political thought. But inasmuch as the latter cannot be severed from his broader philosophical concerns, the prospect is raised that his entire phenomenological project in the early postwar period rested on a myth. Not necessarily a bad myth, but a myth nonetheless. (shrink)
There are three interconnected goals of this paper. The first is to articulate and motivate a view of the methodology for doing metaphysics that is broadly phenomenological in the sense of Husserl circa the Logical Investigations. The second is to articulate an argument for the importance of studying the history of philosophy when doing metaphysics that is in accordance with this methodology. The third is to confront this methodology with a series of objections and determine how well it fares (...) in light of them. (shrink)
This paper explores the close connection in early phenomenology between the problem of objectless presentations and the concept of intentional objects. It clarifies how this basic concept of Husserl’s early phenomenology emerged within the horizons of Bolzano’s logical objectivism, Brentano’s descriptive psychology, Frege’s mathematical logicism, Twardowski’s psychological representationalism, and Meinong’s object theory. It shows how in collaboration with these thinkers Husserl argued that a theory of intentionality is incomplete without a concept of the intentional object. It provides a (...) brief history of the concept of intentional objects in the philosophical logic of the nineteenth century that demonstrates its relevance to the problem of objectless presentations in the early phenomenology of the twentieth century. It suggests that Husserl accepts Bolzano’s objectivism and Frege’s logicism, rejects Brentano’s conception of immanent objects and Twardowski’s notion of representational pictures, and ignores Meinong’s theory of objects. Thus the paper employs the formation of Husserl’s concept of the intentional object to enhance the understanding of the historical and philosophical relationships between early phenomenology and contemporaneous philosophical movements. (shrink)
The paper argues that Sartre’s work as both a literary critic and social philosopher is deeply indebted to his early commitment to phenomenology. The first part of the paper examines the nature of reading and writing in the account of literary meaning that is presented in the transitional text, 'Qu’est-ce que la littérature?' While acknowledging the political turn that occurs in Sartre’s work, we then discuss how the theme of history emerges in the later essay, 'Questions de méthode,' (...) as one that opens up a “double reading” of human motivation. Our conclusion maintains that the Marxist phase of Sartre’s work is based on the hermeneutical notion of comprehension, which provides an anthropological grounding for his existential philosophy. (shrink)
Hegel’s Phenomenology is based on the insight into the historic existence of spirit and the historic constitution of truth. Still, the “work of world history” is not exactly the topic of Phenomenology; it is the appropriation of his results in the knowledge of spirit. Thus, Hegel’s work does not directly point to historic experience, but should rather be understood as a systematic arrangement of historically identifying positions.
It is the aim of my paper to explore the chances of a decidedly historical approach to Eugen Fink's involvement in Edmund Husserl's mature philosophy. This question has been subject to much debate recently; but I think that the recently published early notes of Fink have not been sufficiently evaluated by Husserl scholarship. I embed the investigation of Fink's ideas in the contemporaries reactions to them, and argue that Fink's very specific methodological ideas was already formulated in details before he (...) has composed the Sixth Cartesian Meditation and his other much researched assistant writings. Furthermore, I argue that, although it is not possible to draw a clear dividing line between Husserl's own position and the alleged influences by Fink, it is still possible to delineate a specifically Husserlian understanding of the methodology of phenomenological philosophy, especially in the light of Husserl's discussions of the circularity of phenomenological philosophy, which antedate his encounter with Fink. I think that the approach and results outlined here could serve as the basis of a larger investigation of Fink's involvement in the formation of Husserl's notion of philosophy. (shrink)
"This fairly small book must take its place as the best introductory study of Hegel’s Phenomenology available." —Philosophy and Phenomenological Research "Westphal’s book is a comprehensive guide to the argument of the entire phenomenology.... will repay close study by serious undergraduate and graduate students of philosophy." —Choice This detailed interpretation of Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit seeks to show that the unity of this classic work may be found in the integration of its transcendental and sociological-historical themes.