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Husserl's hermeneutical phenomenology of the life-world as culture reconsidered

Nicolas de Warren

pp. 133-154

In this essay, I argue against Sebastian Luft 's recent interpretation of the "final and ultimate shape' of Husserl 's thinking as a phenomenological philosophy of culture. I argue that this image of Husserl is narrow and untenable on the basis of Husserl 's own thinking. I further suggest that this image of transcendental idealism is equally foreign to Kant , for whom transcendental philosophy (in all three critiques) does not centre on or "envision' a critique of culture. Given the extent and degree of my reservations, I also attempt to track within the development of Luft 's argument the sources for his misrepresentations and give special attention in this regard to his discussion of Gadamer . My overarching claim is that Luft 's "final and ultimate' Husserl reflects a post-Hegelian and specifically Neo-Kantian conception of enlightened philosophy. Luft effectively proposes to recover a hidden Neo-Kantian axis in Husserl 's thinking or, in other words, another form of Neo-Kantianism in Husserlian phenomenology. I do not suggest that Luft considers Husserl as belonging to an established school of Neo-Kantian thought; but that in a more complex fashion, Husserlian phenomenology represents, for Luft , a departure from the grand narrative of Neo-Kantianism that at the same time stakes out an original position within the horizon of Neo-Kantianism in fulfilling one of its driving ambitions (and, to be sure, not shared by all forms of Neo-Kantianism): a philosophical critique of culture. Husserlian phenomenology would thus represent a kind of "subculture' within Neo-Kantianism; and as with every subculture, it lives both from and against a dominant culture.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-09828-9_9

Full citation:

de Warren, N. (2015)., Husserl's hermeneutical phenomenology of the life-world as culture reconsidered, in L. Učník, I. Chvatík & A. Williams (eds.), The phenomenological critique of mathematisation and the question of responsibility, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 133-154.

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