Agata Bielik-Robson, Daniel Whistler (Eds.): Interrogating Modernity: Debates with Hans Blumenberg

Interrogating Modernity: Debates with Hans Blumenberg Book Cover Interrogating Modernity: Debates with Hans Blumenberg
Political Philosophy and Public Purpose
Agata Bielik-Robson, Daniel Whistler (Eds.)
Palgrave Macmillan
Hardback 96,29 €
XXV, 277

Reviewed by: Bruce J. Krajewski (University of Texas at Arlington)

In a recent review, Kate Hayles praises Catherine Malabou for admitting in Morphing Intelligence that she was “dead wrong” about some scholarly matter. While not begrudging Malabou her applause, most academics would have to admit the low cost of such an admission for a full professor invited to speak across the globe, and treated as a “celebrity,” as Malabou is. More praiseworthy is for younger academics, and those with unsubsidized careers in higher education’s hierarchy, to write that some prominent author is wrong. Those assertions can mean banishment from conferences, withdrawal of speaking invitations, and the like, since professional societies devoted (in the questionable sense) to major authors are understandably controlled almost always by an author’s fans, disciples, and sometimes family members. Speaking truth to yourself (a confession) and speaking truth to power is a distance similar to being winged in a Twitterstorm for your views and being “canceled.” None of this should be compared to the kind of courage, say, Alexey Navalny exhibits. That’s a different realm, but needs to be part of the context, lest academics damaged by schoolhouse politics slip into masochism.

The contributors to Interrogating Modernity demonstrate an inspiring irreverence and willingness to declare that the volume’s star, Hans Blumenberg, has gotten things wrong. That virtue makes for an admirable collection worthy of its subtitle. At this early stage—Blumenberg’s ashes were scattered only a quarter century ago—the scholarly work on Blumenberg has been uncritical, making Interrogating Modernity a refreshing novelty on the Blumenbergiana shelf.

Blumenberg’s followers have fashioned a mythic Blumenberg, portraying him as a mysterious intellectual Colossus, adopting Blumenberg’s own tendency later in his life toward self-aggrandizement. Thus, we have the film The Invisible Philosopher, for example. The followers’ strategy has upped the stakes for anyone who might question or criticize the great philosopher.

Willing to be heretical, the contributors to this volume refuse to be intimidated by The Wizard of Oz scenario fabricated by Blumenberg’s fans to promote knee-bending as opposed to scholarly spinefulness. The volume’s editors charged the authors with “putting [Legitimacy of the Modern Age, the book that arguably launched Blumenberg’s international reputation] into dialogue with later versions of modernity” (vii). The editors insisted on rethinking issues Blumenberg raises in Legitimacy, and the contributors frequently exceed expectations in responding to the call for rethinking.

The first essay out the gate encapsulates all that is good about this book. It’s not a head-on meeting with Blumenberg’s Legitimacy. It’s creative. It takes risks. It could have failed. Here’s a taste of Bielik-Robson’s experimentation: “Although it does not mention Job explicitly, Hans Blumenberg’s reading of Descartes suggests this affinity very strongly” (4). Bielik-Robson resurrects an old-fashioned scholarly recipe: rub any two things together and see what sparks fly.

Bielik-Robson recognizes Job as a figure of “self-assertion,” a topos in Blumenberg. Unable to tie Blumenberg directly to Job, Bielik-Robson uses a side door. Blumenberg’s research counterpart in the Hermeneutik und Poetik group, Hans Robert Jauss, views “Job as the first hero of self-assertion” in his essay “Job’s Questions and Their Distant Reply” (6). This clever move allows Bielik-Robson the opportunity to demonstrate an incompleteness in Blumenberg’s attention to Descartes. In Legitimacy, Blumenberg acknowledges the importance of Descartes: “Descartes appear[s] not so much as the founding figure of the epoch as rather the thinker who clarified the medieval concept of reality all the way to its absurd consequences and thus made it ripe for destruction.” Blumenberg wants to downplay “the founding figure,” the singular Descartes,” in order to promote “the thinker,” synonymous with anyone who employs the method Descartes used to bring about the old reality’s destruction.

The new reality Descartes advocates post-destruction appeals to Blumenberg, because it involves principles of construction to philosophize. That is, Descartes emphasizes the form and conditions of thinking rather than the contingent content. Like Descartes, Blumenberg wants “reoocupation” to function as a transcendental model untainted by historical events, a point fleshed out in the last chapter by Whistler. Historical changes are to be explained by Blumenberg’s ahistorical model.

Descartes studies his “own self” in a room of his own, where it occurs to him “that frequently there is less perfection in a work produced by several persons than in one produced by a single hand.” The primacy of the individual thinker is Job redux. Bielik-Robson describes Job’s situation in memorable prose. Job’s story becomes important when “the anthropological minimum [Job] asserted itself for the first time against … the theological maximum [God]” (15). In a schoolbook, this might be described as individuality versus omnipotence.

Job becomes a synonym for “enough is enough!” (16). For Bielik-Robson, Job’s story is the journey of a patient moving toward health. “According to [Jonathan] Lear, the patient reaches the point of relative health when she is able to exclaim: ‘Oh, this is crap!’—which very nicely corresponds with Blumenberg’s take on Descartes, who may be said to have reacted in a similar way, by simply deciding to cut himself off emotionally from the theological morass and call deus fallax a ‘metaphysical fable’—basically, a very crappy story” (16). Unfortunately, Blumenberg’s focus on the meta-analysis instead of the patient means the trauma of being fed up is not given its due as a revolutionary catalyst (18).

Elad Lapidot’s “Legitimacy of Nihilism” juxtaposes Hans Jonas and Blumenberg. Lapidot argues that Blumenberg rejects Jonas’s critique of modernity as “the return of Gnosticism” (45). For Blumenberg’s taste, that would leave modernity without as radical a break as he wants. Blumenberg needs a way past the logic that “legitimacy enters the world through negation, through illegitimacy” (48). Modernity establishes its own legitimacy apart from the previous historical epoch. According to Lapidot, the New itself “is a category of entitlement and legitimation.”

Opposing not only Jonas but also Martin Heidegger, Blumenberg seeks to jettison a notion of continuity attached to a substance. Lapidot writes, “This original constant substance is the basic assumption of all critiques against any historical age” (45). Blumenberg is uninterested in substantialism. He is after something more radical. “The new has no other foundation but itself, and so its specific form of legitimacy is self-legitimization” (47). This antifoundationalism is partly what attracted Richard Rorty to Blumenberg (Rorty was an early Anglophone reviewer of Blumenberg’s Legitimacy book).

Lapidot’s essay pairs well with Daniel Whistler’s “Modernizing Blumenberg.” Whistler begins boldly: “[Blumenberg] gets modernity wrong” (257). According to Whistler, Blumenberg supplements modernist figures’ arguments for modernity’s legitimation, fashioning a case that the modernist figures themselves did not make.

Like Lapidot, Whistler reports that the continuity between the middle ages and modernity Blumenberg emphasizes is functional, but not substantive. In a way, it’s the old form versus content argument. Rather than seeing the two as dependent on other, Blumenberg elevates form over content, since that’s the airplane ticket out of any historical ruptures at ground level. Forms fly above temporality’s constraints. From such a height, anyone might have anticipated Blumenberg to look down on things. Thus, Whistler writes, “[I]t is hard not to discern a slight tone of condescension in Blumenberg’s narrative of modernity” (259).

By siding with form and functionality, Blumenberg asserts that his account offers a novel stability. Whistler: “[W]henever the content of history changes, the forms stay the same. Forms may themselves be changing slowly, but their inertia is sufficient for them to remain a stable reference point by which to make sense of any novelty in history” (263). Blumenberg is not content with the messiness of mere history. “Like Kant, Blumenberg considers his transcendental apparatus to be immutable, to exist outside of the frame of historical change and epochal transformation” (264). Whistler concludes that this viewpoint makes Blumenberg a “right Aristotelian” (268). Given Blumenberg’s allegiances to far-right ideas linked to Latinate Catholicism, Whistler’s “right Aristotelian” designation rings true. Blumneberg is a “conservative” (267).

In the chapter contrasting Bruno Latour and Blumenberg, Willem Styfhals understands Blumenberg as an “apologist” (77) for the ecological mess we are in, and decides Latour offers better options for the predicted apocalypse. “The apocalypse is an unstable, unbearable position that might be conceptually appealing but not practically endurable. This is what Blumenberg made crystal clear in Lebenszeit und Weltzeit as well as in Legitimacy. The apocalypse is so attractive because it allows us to see the world in a radically different perspective, liberates us from the old world for a moment. But this moment does not give rise to a stable and durable position in the world” (77). Syfhals has missed Frederic Jameson’s insight, cited in Slavoj Žižek’s Living in the End Times, that calls for distinguishing among apocalypses: “[I]t is easier to imagine a total catastrophe which ends all life on earth than it is to imagine a real change to capitalist relations” (334).

Latour does not see capitalism as the problem; it’s religion: “If modernity were not so deeply religious, the call to adjust oneself to the Earth would be easily heard.” (71). Thus, Styfhals says, “[W]e should develop a political theology of the environmental apocalypse” (61).

While Blumenberg published at least one book specifically about technology, it’s difficult to categorize any other of his major writings as confronting environmental issues in the way Styfhals does with his focus on Latour and the Anthropocene. No one would think of Blumenberg as a stand-in for Rachel Carson.

The fourth chapter by Joseph Albernaz and Kirill Chepurin also addresses the theme of political theology. Styfhals’s use of apocalypse in the previous chapter has its place in the fourth chapter. For anyone acquainted with televangelism, the continual announcement of forthcoming apocalypses is a staple of populist Christianity. No matter that a specific date for the rapture is given and then passes. That failure is overlooked while a new date for the end is announced. The misreading of signs can be chalked up to human fallibility rather than an indication of a flaw in “God’s plan.” Albernaz and Chepurin recognize that what becomes important for Christianity is not that the world didn’t end as predicted, but that it continues: “But as Christianity found itself needing to explain the world’s continued existence, it was also establishing itself … as a [worldly] power. As a result, it needed to justify not the end of the world, but its prolongation” (86). The Christian Church sets itself up “as the institution of the not-yet that is the world – as the institution ‘stabilizing’ this not-yet” (86).

Within this context of an ever-delayed apocalypse, Christians fashioned a God with unlimited sovereignty and omnipotence. However, by the late medieval period God’s characteristics became incomprehensible, “alien to consciousness,” according to Albernaz and Chepurin (88). In response to this affront to consciousness, human beings develop their own rationality to give themselves security that is comprehensible (91-92).

The deleterious effects of Christianity’s global power as explored by Albernaz and Chepurin also concern Lissa McCullough. Her essay makes the case that if you thought Martin Heidegger and Carl Schmitt were harmful, then you need to take a second look at John Locke (124). “Locke founded a new religion focused around the sacrality of proprietas in The Second Treatise on Government, while retaining in The Reasonableness of Christianity (1695) as much as was reasonably salvageable of the trappings of Christian faith to give the new religion a respectable pedigree, hitching it to . . . the authority of an apparent continuity with Jewish-Christian tradition (122). If you wonder why some people feel it legitimate to kill others for stealing, you can thank Locke for valorizing property over human lives. McCullough writes that Locke and his advocates managed to persuade numerous capitalists that the individual’s only incentive to consent to “join” society is to protect the property he has” (122).

McCullough sifts through Blumenberg to demonstrate Blumenberg’s allegiance to Locke’s valorization of property, despite Blumenberg’s efforts to make Locke seem insignificant to the massive scholarly buttresses Blumenberg uses to build his cases. Vital matters pivot on a reference to Locke in a footnote, for example. “[A]n extended footnote in Paradigms for a Metaphorology (1960) … proves a vein of gold when mined for its immense implications. This footnote expands on the notion of truth as a product of labour. In it, Blumenberg remarks that this sort of produced [constructed?] truth is truth that is legitimately one’s own. The possession to be taken” (110). McCullough’s hermeneutical attention shows Blumenberg’s participation in Locke’s scheme. Blumenberg contributes to overturning the Horatian view that what is natural is not something one can own: “Nor he, nor I, nor any man, is made/by Nature private owner of the soil” (111).

In addition to articles that confront Blumenberg’s arguments and politics, the collection features authors who affirm Blumenberg’s positions. Zeynep Talay Turner’s “Political Legitimacy and Founding Myths” corroborates Blumenberg’s criticism of Hannah Arendt in Blumenberg’s “Moses the Egyptian,” written around 1978. Turner writes, “As Freud took Moses the man from his people [Blumenberg says Freud “damaged” his people’s “self-confidence”], so Hannah Arendt took Adolf Eichmann from the State of Israel.” Blumenberg does not hide his “indignation” towards this “stealing” (129).

Turner captures the salient features of “Moses the Egyptian” and presents an effective précis of Blumenberg’s use of the term “prefiguration.” Even though Turner seems ultimately to agree with Blumenberg about Eichmann in Jerusalem, Turner notes in his conclusion that Blumenberg may have been venturing outside his area of expertise in taking up the question of “what a Jewish state should do with someone who had sought to destroy the Jews” (146).

According to Turner and Blumenberg, Israel needed Eichmann to take on a mythic role at his trial in order to solidify Israeli nationhood. It’s not clear whether anyone ever laid that task at Arendt’s feet during the trial, since she was writing in the moment, as events unfolded. Unlike Blumenberg, Arendt did not have the luxury of hindsight, nor was she alive in 1978 to respond to such criticism. Furthermore, Turner and Blumenberg do not provide details of how Arendt’s book on Eichmann undermined Israel, then or since. Conceptual damage is of a different order from “stealing” a nation’s legitimacy.

In Chapter 7, Robert Buch concentrates on a “neglected” (153) part of Legitimacy of the Modern Age, the section about theoretical curiosity. Why has it been neglected? Buch: “The reasons for the relative neglect of the third part undoubtedly have to do with its length and more specifically its detail and apparent digressiveness, but above all its sheer material abundance.”

The editors sought to bring Blumenberg into conversation with other thinkers, and Buch chooses Husserl as Blumenberg’s conversation partner. Buch’s aim is “to juxtapose Blumenberg’s account of the genesis of early modern science with Husserl’s Crisis of the European Sciences” (153).

Perceptions of science’s legitimacy have relevance, Buch writes, given “the modern suspicion of science, aggravated dramatically in our times of climate crisis” (164). Husserl questioned the cause of a universal science, a science that adhered to rational structures and objectivity (166). Husserl reacted against the easy division between objectivity and subjectivity. Husserl posits that modern science fails to consider consciousness as a component of its investigations.

In Buch’s account, Blumenberg owes many debts to Husserl’s view of science and technology. The differences are fewer than the commonalities. One important difference appears in Blumenberg’s narrative about the electric doorbell in an essay Buch leans on heavily, “Phenomenological Aspects on Life-World and Technization,” now available in English in The Blumenberg Reader. Blumenberg says the electric doorbell, the workings of which are hidden in comparison to a mechanical doorbell, “is ‘packaged’ in a way that it conceals this history and deprives it from us in its abstract uniformity…. [I]t is legitimized by being … put into operation” (Blumenberg Reader, 386). The “artificial product,” the doorbell, is “shrouded” with “obviousness”; technization produces this unquestioned obviousness (Reader, 387), a point Blumenberg claims shows the limits of Husserl’s commentary on the connection between life-world and technization. Blumenberg aims to show that his account is “more complicated.” To appreciate Blumenberg’s point, think of the unknowability about the functioning of crosswalk buttons in urban centers, many of which remain deliberately unfixed. Even a non-working button gives the illusion of control.

Charles Turner’s chapter on “infinite progress” in science concludes with an exploration of time and the life of the politician (175). In the middle of the two topics is C. Turner’s choice for Blumenberg’s partner in dialogue, Max Weber. The question Weber poses that C. Turner investigates is: [W]hat are the chances that someone whose life is necessarily limited to one arena of activity can achieve something of lasting significance?” (181). Weber directs that question at scholars and politicians.

In making Weber’s question contemporary, C. Turner reminds readers about the fast pace of contemporary life coupled with an increase in life expectancy. In the infinity of time, how are finite individuals to gather meaning for their lives? For scholars, the fear is that one’s work becomes obsolete within the scholar’s lifetime. For the politician, long-lasting glory can come with great success, but few politicians are remembered beyond their lifetimes. As Weber puts it, the scholarly life is chained to progress (thus fear of obsolescence), while the political life is more like art in that multiple spectacular achievements by different artists are possible, though those achievements must be of a stature to escape temporal constraints (184).

Weber’s long view echoes Blumenberg’s considerations of Lebenszeit and Weltzeit, the tension between the individual’s tiny lifetime amidst the ocean of time that is world history. Blumenberg suggests we leave the tension in place, lest the world itself suffer as it did with Adolf Hitler. According to Blumenberg, Hitler’s sin was an effort at melding Lebenszeit and Weltzeit. The evidence lies in a quotation from Hitler: “I … stand under the command of fate to achieve everything within a short human life … That for which others have an eternity, I have merely a few meagre years” (191).

In Chapter 9, Oriane Petteni escorts her readers into the world of art history and optics. This gives Petteni reason to ponder Blumenberg’s preference not to be photographed (202), as if Blumenberg’s own study of optics caused his wish to avoid the medium. Petteni is well aware Blumenberg’s avoidance of selfies is something more than shyness. Petteni sees it as connected to much larger matters, like truth. The visible and the hidden link up with Western beliefs about truth. Petteni writes, “[I]n the modern age, truth no longer reveals itself; instead, it must be revealed by decisive action” (195). That is, we must work for our truth.

The comments on truth correspond to Blumenberg’s views about biology. Petteni sees that Blumenberg derives his anthropology from biology. Petteni turns to The Genesis of the Copenican World for evidence. “The Earth requires both exposure to the Sun for complex lifeforms to arise and protection from direct exposure to sun rays, which would otherwise threaten to consume every living thing. The exposure to light requires—for the Earth as well as for human beings—a kind of filter or screen” (203). Others back up Petteni’s sense that Blumenberg foregrounds the importance of indirection and camouflage, such as the recent biography by Uwe Wolff, who notes multiple times Blumenberg’s penchant for indirect communication.

Petteni finishes her reflections on Blumenberg via a journey through Franz Kafka’s Der Bau. The unfinished Kafka text parallels, for Petteni, Blumenberg’s open-endedness regarding the human impulse to fashion “endless significance” (211). The story about a burrow also fits in with a quotation Petteni cites by Heinz Wisman, “[Blumenberg’s] thought is strongly marked by the worry not to remain at the surface of things” (202).

Chapter 10 might serve readers best read in conjunction with the first and the last chapters where Descartes has a prominent role. One difference about Adi Efal-Lautenschläger’s chapter is the linkage between Descartes and Blumenberg’s book The Legibility of the World. Blumenberg himself points out the parallels between his theme in Legibility and Descartes’s Traité du monde et de la lumière. What does Blumenberg find in Descartes’ book? “The self is to be experienced according to the measure of the world, as compatible or not with its changing conditions” (Legibility, 92). This lesson runs counter to interpretations of Descartes that rely on the celebrated cogito ergo sum and tend to make Descartes a happy solipsist. The lesson also seems a challenge to Whistler’s essay in which Blumenberg leaves behind the messy world for timeless forms and models, though keep in mind that Whistler’s interpretation launches from a different Blumenberg work, Legitimacy rather than Legibility.

Efal-Lautenschläger contributes a useful dichotomy based on the arguments of Legibility: “Blumenberg chooses to put his concept of reality on the side of world-imaging, instead of world-modelling. [R]eality is understood as belonging to the arena of representations or of world-imaging. World imaging – and, with it, reality itself – has an interpretative orientation: the reality that results from the image of the world is designated as an act of reading” (224-25).

Credit the editors with choosing to follow Efal-Lautenschläger’s essay with one that expands Efal-Lautenschläger’s points. Returning to Blumenberg’s Legitimacy of the Modern Age, Sonja Feger dives into another pairing, “reoccupation” (Umbesetzung) and “reality-concepts” (Wirklichkeitsbegriffe). Feger tells readers that Blumenberg uses reoccupation “to explain how epochal change can be grasped. On the other hand, and in other texts, he provides a historical analysis of what he calls “reality-concepts.” “In this chapter, I attempt to bring these two concepts into line with each other” (237).

Reoccupation is up first. Feger: “It is important to note that “reoccupation”, that is, the English term Wallace uses to translate the German word Umbesetzung, does not allude to anything antagonistic; it is not about any kind of (intellectual) conquest or usurpation. Rather, the term brings into focus the process-character of epochal change” (244). Emphasizing the “process-character” of change points to Whistler again, because “reoccupation” is about a perennial question-and-answer model Blumenberg wants to say is at work. Not that a “firm canon” of “great questions” exists. Fegel warns readers not to become fixated on answers or questions in their concrete content. Relying on a quotation from Blumenberg’s essay on secularization, Fegel asks readers to remember that “the historical identity and methodical identifiability of supposedly secularized notions is an illusion created by the identity of the function that altogether heterogeneous contents can assume in certain positions within man’s system of understanding the world and himself” (245).

How do we find out about reality? In some places, like Blumenberg’s famous essay on the possibility of the novel, his response seems to be “sometimes we won’t.” Feger pinpoints his wording: “[I]t is quite natural that the most deeply hidden implication of an era – namely, its concept of reality – should become explicit only when the awareness of that reality has already been broken.” (246). It’s a version of not being able to see the forest for the trees. “The subject as historically situated can only account for earlier concepts of reality, not current ones” (246).

Exiting that reality dilemma depends on reality-concepts. “Making a reality-concept explicit draws on the distinction between an object (i.e. a certain behaviour towards reality) and reflection on that object” (247). While it looks as if Blumenberg’s position is that our reflecting on an object called reality is accurate only for earlier periods, Feger says our access to what’s real about the moment we are in depends on Husserlian transcendental phenomenology. “[T]ranscendental consciousness both carries out and simultaneously reflects upon the process of (reality-) constitution” (248). Problem solved (if Blumenberg is correct).


Bajohr, Hannes, Florian Fuchs, and Joe Paul Kroll (Eds.). 2020. History, Metaphor, Fables: A Hans Blumenberg Reader. Ithaca, NY. Cornell University Press.

Hayles, N. Katherine. 2019. “Review of Morphing Intelligence.” Posted May 17, 2019. Accessed November 1, 2020.

Prisco, Jacopo. 2020. “Illusion of Control: Why the World is Full of Buttons that Don’t Work.” Accessed November 1, 2020.

Wolff, Uwe. 2020. Der Schreibtisch des Philosophen: Erinnerungen an Hans Blumenberg. München: Claudius Verlag.

Žižek, Slavoj. 2011. Living in the End Times. London: Verso.

Martin Heidegger: Logik als die Frage nach dem Wesen der Sprache (Gesamtausgabe 38 A), Klostermann, 2020)

Logik als die Frage nach dem Wesen der Sprache (Freiburger Vorlesung Sommersemester 1934) Book Cover Logik als die Frage nach dem Wesen der Sprache (Freiburger Vorlesung Sommersemester 1934)
Martin Heidegger Gesamtausgabe 38 A
Martin Heidegger. Auf der Grundlage des Originalmanuskripts neu herausgegeben von Peter Trawny
Hardback $102.60
X, 190

Sofia Miguens (Ed.): The Logical Alien: Conant and His Critics, Harvard University Press, 2020

The Logical Alien: Conant and His Critics Book Cover The Logical Alien: Conant and His Critics
Sofia Miguens (Ed.)
Harvard University Press
Hardback $59.95 • £47.95 • €54.00

Jean Luc Marion: On Descartes’ Passive Thought: The Myth of Cartesian Dualism

On Descartes’ Passive Thought: The Myth of Cartesian Dualism Book Cover On Descartes’ Passive Thought: The Myth of Cartesian Dualism
Jean-Luc Marion. Translated and with an Introduction by by Christina M. Gschwandtner
University of Chicago Press
Cloth $50.00

Reviewed by: Elizabeth Drummond Young (University of Edinburgh)

In her introduction, translator Christina Gschwandtner says that that this work represents ‘the pinnacle of the conversation between Descartes and phenomenology in Marion’s work’. Jean- Luc Marion is a foremost French phenomenologist and it should be no surprise that Descartes is, and has been, a source of great inspiration to him. The father of phenomenology, Edmund Husserl, used Descartes’ method of doubt which involved the excluding of all but the most certain propositions about the world, as the starting point for his own methodology of the epoche. The main difference between Marion’s earlier writings on Descartes and this book is that in the earlier writings Marion used both Husserl and Heidegger to throw light on an interpretation of Descartes. Here, he is directly engaging with Descartes’ text to show him in the light of contemporary phenomenology, where Marion has been a major contributor over many years.

In this book, which will be his last on Descartes he declares, Marion explores the sixth Meditation as a central concern, but he also relies on textual analyses of other writings, such as The Passions of the Soul. He defends Descartes from the usual criticisms of a straightforward mind/body dualist position, but more importantly gives a reading of Descartes as a modern phenomenologist, with a view of the embodied self as a thinking and feeling being. It is this being which is capable of the ‘passive thought’ referred to in the title of the book.

Marion is keen to explore the relationships between soul/mind and body, and body and flesh as conceived in the phenomenological sense which emerge in the text of the Meditations. The ‘passive thought’ referred to in the title is the thinking that is experienced both by the combined soul/mind and body of the subject( which is not to be considered as a combintion of two primitive notions, but a completely distinct and self- contained third primitive notion) and by the intellectual ego which is able to reflect on itself.  (A reminder is useful here that the verb ‘penser’ used in the first version of the famous Cogito had a wider meaning in the 17th century French than strict cognition. It was a verb which covered the experience of emotions, feelings and attitudes, for example). In other writings of his own philosophy, Marion has made much of the distinction between ‘my body’ and ‘my flesh’ and he wants to suggest that this important distinction is also implicit in Descartes’ writings, where the third primitive notion of my whole self is effectively ‘my flesh’.  In a further development, Marion, who is known for his key concept ‘the saturated phenomenon’ is able to read examples of such phenomena from Descartes’ Passions of the Soul through this idea of the person as ‘flesh’ combined with the auto-affectivity of the intellectual ego.

In the first chapter, Marion raises the difficulties posed by the sixth Meditation. It seems to stand on its own, rather than being a conclusion or summing up of the previous Meditations. Descartes himself reinforces this idea by suggesting that the first five Meditations and their objections be read together and then, and only then should the reader approach the sixth. The sixth Meditation raises two main issues, the existence of material things in the world exterior to the ‘thinking thing’ on which Descartes has elaborated in earlier Meditations, and the real distinction between the mind and the body and whether there is another notion, a union between these two. Descartes seems to concede that the argument employed in the sixth Meditation is less coherent than in the previous Meditations. Marion wonders whether this is because in the last meditation he has finally faced up to the difficulties posed by his earlier conclusions about the existence of a benevolent God and the separation of body and mind and the implications this might have for this third notion of ‘my whole self’ – the embodied self.

Marion poses the following questions about this sixth Meditation. Firstly, is my body included within the material things whose existence is in question for Descartes? Second, is Descartes trying to establish a distinction between body and mind or a union thereof? Third, what is the nature of this unified thing? Fourth, is the proof given for the existence of material things in the Sixth Meditation of the same nature/quality as those given in earlier Meditations?  He sets about answering these questions in the following chapters.

In the second chapter, Marion concentrates on textual analysis to show that Descartes firstly distinguishes knowledge of my body from other bodies (which are part of the group of material things whose existence must be proved). No such proof is required of my body, claims Marion. Further, and importantly for Marion, it is not just the case that Descartes recognises that we have special knowledge of our own body which enables it to be excluded from the doubters’ gaze, it is also the case that my body is in some way  part of the ‘thinking subject’ at the heart of the Cogito. Marion concedes that Descartes does not label the first of these distinctions as the difference between body and flesh as modern writers have done. (In fact, Marion suggests that Spinoza may have come close to making this distinction as well as Descartes in nearly explicit terms). There is a further problem in that this distinction between my body and others’ bodies comes near the start of the Sixth Meditation, which puts the structure of Descartes’ argument in a different order from the other Meditations – the conclusion being stated before the argument

Marion has thus distinguished my body with which I have a special relationship (and thus which has a special place in the world and does not form part of the world of material things) from the psychosomatic entity that is the thinking self which is the both my intellect and my flesh. It is this psychosomatic entity which is capable of passive thought. Importantly it is also capable of suffering and principally in registering a lack of bodily needs such as hunger, thirst and so on. The psychosomatic entity needs the body for this to make sense.

Marion considers whether Descartes took for granted the distinction between ‘my body’ and the bodies of others, where ‘my body’ is not just one external object amongst others but stands in a special relationship to me. (By extension, this might mean that my body might form part of the ‘I’ which certainly exists and would give Marion the platform he needs to support the thesis that Descartes has a notion of passive thought which relies on the thinking ‘I’ and the close relationship with my body.) Whether this special relationship is one which can be characterised as the distinction between ‘body’ and ‘flesh’ in the fully developed sense as used by many modern philosophers is put on hold at this stage.

Marion claims that there is textual evidence for Descartes recognising the distinction between my body and other external objects such as other bodies in an incomplete early work (early 1630s) ‘The Search for Truth’, which takes the form of a dialogue. Marion suggests that one of the characters, Polyander, sows the seeds for the distinction between doubting that other bodies exist and that my own body exists. ‘I cannot deny absolutely that I have a body’ says Polyander (my italics). He also makes the comment that ‘I am not quite my body’. There is much confusion and ambiguity here as Marion points out, but there is at least not the outright denial that my own body is or might be some part of the ‘I’ which exists conclusively even in the face of familiar arguments such as madness, dreaming and an evil spirit and fashioned by a loving God.

The connection between ‘sensing’ and ‘thinking’ is raised. ‘Sensing’ that it is I that is dreaming or having experiences does not seem to rely on having a body with the five senses (so it might be acceptable to deny the existence of my body in a basic sense) It is certainly more than simply just thinking. This form of sensing leads the ego back to itself, as Marion puts it, to ‘a self-sensing of itself that is more primordial than any sensing of an object’.

Marion concludes that by the time Descartes came to write the Meditations, the distinction between my body and other external bodies was clear to him. Descartes recognised that there is more to putting my body to the sceptical tests than there is to putting other external bodies to such tests.  Denying the existence of one’s own body with all the sensory input so close at hand is a much harder task and prone to an admission of folly, rather than the more easily assimilated test that other bodies do not exist. But even if I admit that all the close sensory experience which I might have is as apparent to me in a dream as it is when I am awake, this simply shows that my sensations and feelings which have bodily manifestations are not reliant on the external world. It does not show that the body which has these experiences, which ‘senses’ and ‘feels’ does not itself exist. Marion concludes that it is the external things of the world, the ‘other bodies’ which are put to the sceptical sword, with the sixth Meditation finally confirming (in Marion’s interpretation at least) the my body is a distinct entity from the external things which are being questioned in this Meditation and that my body exists because it partakes in the sensing which is part of the cogito, the thinking ‘I’.

 The Cartesian ego is thus not just a thinking thing: it has a multiplicity of modes, states Marion and it is a failure to understand this that has led to an extended misunderstanding of Descartes’ position: it has led to his being the mind/body dualist par excellence of philosophy teaching in the analytic world. The modal multiplicity of the Cartesian ego is made clear when Descartes responds to his self-posed question ‘but what then am I?’  The answer comes back: ‘A things that thinks. What is that? A thing that doubts, understands, affirms, denies, is willing, is unwilling and also imagines and has sensory perceptions’. The doubting was made clear in the first Meditation, understanding in the second, affirming and denying in the third, whilst the fourth deals with the will, the fifth with imagination and the sixth with sensory perception. My body in the sense of meum corpus turns out to be the shape of the Cartesian ego for Marion because it guarantees auto affectivity – the capability for the ego to sense itself.

Marion proceeds in the next chapter to  consider how to incorporate this principle of meum corpus (that Descartes recognised as his ‘flesh’ in modern phenomenological terms) with the other two principles (or primitive notions as Marion calls them) which emerge from the Meditations: the thinking ‘ego’ and the existence of God as the first cause: both of these stop the hyperbolic doubt.  Meum corpus is the ‘flesh’ which can sense itself (through passive thought rather than ratiocination). Marion charts the history of Descartes’ ego; in the early Rules, the ego is set up as the basis for understanding a science of objects; it is the foundation for acknowledging the existence of the external world. In the later Meditations, the mode of the ego is slightly different: it is an ontic and final principle of the metaphysics of infinity, claims Marion. But with the meum corpus, the ego now becomes capable of passive thought. Marion considers how the meum corpus can be a primitive notion in Descartes’ scheme, when it would seem to rely on an interaction between something immaterial (the mind, soul) interacting with a material body (the body rather than the flesh). Here Marion points to several examples in Descartes’ correspondence where he explains that we know that the mind can interact with the body (give instructions for movement and so on) through experience: we just know that there is a simple basic relationship between our thoughts and what happens to our body. Does this union which is acknowledged by all create a new substance – my flesh? If so, how does that escape the problems engendered by the hyperbolic doubt? There is a difference Descartes concludes between the body which can be described in physical terms as having a certain shape, size and so on and the body which is the matter which is inextricably linked with a man’s soul. (Would an example of the difference be a phantom limb story? On the second description – the body would include the now materially absent limb).

In the fourth and fifth chapters, Marion explains that this notion of meum corpus – this special union between the soul and the body forming the third primitive notion – is not obvious or even admissible to Descartes’ readers, because Descartes did not have the metaphysical vocabulary to describe it – it had not been developed. In particular, the scholastic term substantia causes problems. Marion claims that whilst Descartes is forced into using substantia in getting his idea of this primitive notion across to interlocutors such as Hobbes and Gassendi, it simply gets him into problems. Descartes wants to start with the meum corpus as a primitive notion, not one which can be arrived at through using the traditional scholastic vocabulary. In the end, he is forced back into using simple explanations and vocabulary, as in the following key explanation of the meum corpus:

‘The body does not think, except under the heading of corpus humanum taken on in the union. The res cogitans would not think if it did not also think passively, thus it would not think truly and completely in all of its modes, if it did not also think in the union.’ (173)

Marion’s final chapter extends the discussion of passive thought by his reading and discussion of Descartes’ The Passions of the Soul. Passive thought comes to be important in both moral and theological themes, suggest Marion. In this work, Descartes moves on from the traditional scholastic view of the passions, which arrive unbidden to act upon us in both a bodily and mental way. Any form of Stoicism would normally seek to repress the passions, but Descartes seeks to consider the passions as part of an early development of virtue ethics. Two sorts of passive thought are involved, according to Marion. The first involves the meum corpus which acts upon our minds so that our thinking selves do not just have ‘willed thoughts’ but passive thoughts too, which enable us to imagine, doubt and so on. We also ‘sense ourselves’ through this union of the thinking self and the meum corpus.

The second sort of passive thought is one which takes place entirely within the thinking self, although the effects of this thought will be felt throughout the whole of the extended self to include the meum corpus. Marion examines this in the context of Descartes’ analysis of the virtue of generosity.

Marion claims that Descartes’ view of this virtue relies on passive thinking. Generosity involves a recognition of the good activities of the will and a reflection on the self; a form of self-esteem and auto-affectivity, which is then followed by the recognition that this is a universal trait, so that we come to have esteem for others. Generosity is then fostered by this realisation. Indeed, passions can become ‘habits of virtue’ which can rely on this passive thought and are given a physiological support derived from meum corpus. We feel good when we do good, in short.

This self-reflection as passive thought has an important role to play in love, claims Marion. (Readers of Marion’s The Erotic Phenomenon will recognise themes here). Once we have a ‘fix’ on ourselves through self- reflection, we can begin to understand ourselves as part of a greater whole (joined with the object of our love).We can assess how much of ourselves to give to this greater whole and also learn to care for this new ‘whole’ (perhaps we could consider it the relationship formed between two people who love each other) rather more than we care for ourselves.

Marion’s book is not an easy read. The translation into English is awkward (not necessarily the fault of the translator – Marion’s style does not move easily from French idiom to English). There are many long quotations in Latin in the body of the text and footnotes are extensive and plentiful. If Descartes’ argument is hard to follow in the Sixth meditation, so is Marion’s interpretation. Many of the themes in the book are covered more coherently and helpfully in anglophone philosophy (For example, in several articles in The Cambridge Companion to Descartes’ Meditations or by the philosopher John Cottingham to whom Marion refers).

Marion has the original idea of turning Descartes into a thoroughly modern phenomenologist, however. He achieves this through his suggestion that Descartes has an idea of the self as ‘flesh’ or meum corpus, which takes in information from the outside world at all levels and this can be used both in the ordinary way of life and, as Marion makes clear in the last chapter, for the development of virtue as well.  The discussion of Descartes’ The Passions of the Soul in the last chapter is an interesting development of Marion’s idea of passive thought, using not only the notion of the ‘flesh’, but also extending the idea of the thinking self so that it too is capable of passive thought.  Norman Kemp Smith in his book New Studies in the Philosophy of Descartes (1952) titled the final chapter of his survey of Descartes ‘Descartes as Pioneer’. Marion certainly would agree that Descartes was a pioneer with a modern conception of the self, providing plenty of material for modern day phenomenologists and personalist philosophers alike.

Raffaele Pisano, Joseph Agassi and Daria Drozdova (Eds.): Hypotheses and Perspectives in the History and Philosophy of Science

Hypotheses and Perspectives in the History and Philosophy of Science: Homage to Alexandre Koyré 1892-1964 Book Cover Hypotheses and Perspectives in the History and Philosophy of Science: Homage to Alexandre Koyré 1892-1964
Raffaele Pisano, Joseph Agassi and Daria Drozdova (Eds.)
Hardcover 139,09 €

Reviewed by: Anita Williams (Murdoch University)

As the title suggests, this edited book showcases Alexandre Koyré’s contribution to the field of history of science. The volume makes a major contribution to this field by showing the breadth of Koyré’s work and illustrating its significance in reshaping our understanding of the history of modern science. For an English speaking audience, the book is particularly exciting because the authors discuss Koyré’s legacy in both Anglo-Saxon and European contexts as well as the full range of Koyré’s opus, written in English, French, German and Russian. As a result, the book fulfils its aim, as outlined by Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent: to ‘reconsider Koyré’s works in a broad international perspective’ (ix).

Given the edited books aim to pay homage to Koyré’s work as part of the Koyré anniversary project, it is not surprising that the majority of contributions focus on Koyré’s unsurpassed and trailblazing contribution to the history of science, which forms the overall narrative of the book. By way of introducing this review, I will start with a rather striking omission regarding the organisation of the book: the edited volume is put together in alphabetical order, rather than around themes, and the introduction mainly lists summaries of the papers, rather than providing an overall framework for making sense of this volume. The organisation of the book detracts from the overall high quality of this publication and the nuanced arguments between the authors on key themes in Koyré. Rather than being foregrounded, the central themes of the edited book are left for the reader to find. In this review, I will discuss the different papers around the book’s focal motifs, which are: (1) Koyré’s ground-breaking influence on the history of science and, most notably, his influence on Thomas Kuhn; (2) the unity of Koyré’s oeuvre; (3) Koyré’s discussion of Galileo’s experiments and the mathematical character of modern science; (4) studies that extend Koyré’s analysis of the central figures in the history of modern science; and (5) Koyré’s relationship to Edmund Husserl as well as phenomenology more generally. I will use these themes to structure this review.

Several authors outline that Koyré helped to establish a new historiographical approach in the field of history of science. Chiefly, many authors note that Koyré introduced the now widely used term ‘scientific revolutions’ and this term summarises the difference between Koyré and earlier historians of science. Koyré sees modern mathematical science as a radical disjuncture between ancient and medieval understandings of the world, on the one hand, and the modern conceptualisation of nature as mathematical, on the other. In brief, for Koyré, modern science is not the culmination of a linear progression of human thought, but, instead, should be acknowledged as a radical change in the way the world is understood. Famously, Koyré has summarised this change as a shift from the closed Cosmos to the open universe, a profound change that he states is only rivalled by ‘the invention of the Cosmos by Greek thought’ in the first place (Koyré 1968c, 16).

Joseph Agassi and Jean-François Stoffel tackle Koyré’s general contribution to the history of science and how Koyré changed this field. In chapter 1, Agassi proposes that Koyré’s greatest contribution to the history of science is to present a different way of reading foundational texts of modern science. He argues that Koyré reads these texts as akin to reading the classics of the arts and humanities. By doing so, Koyré is not only able to bridge the gap between the arts and humanities, on the one side, and the sciences, on the other, but also reveals the metaphysical basis of modern science. In chapter 20, Stoffel critically reviews Koyré’s reconceptualization of the Copernican revolution as the spiritual or ontological “revolution of the 17th century” (424). Stoffel outlines that an important abiding theme in Koyré’s work is the separation of the world of science from the world of life (430) and this provides the framework for Koyré’s discussion of the Copernican revolution. Stoffel concludes by suggesting that the Koyré’s claimed separation between the scientific and the living world is without historical foundation and, instead, may reflect ‘the turmoil of his era that Koyré was marvellously echoing’ (447). Both Agassi and Stoffel highlight that Koyré changed the way the history of modern science is understood, but disagree on what Koyré’s insights should mean for current historians of science, leaving the discussion for the reader to continue.

J. C. Pinto de Oliveira and Amelia Oliveira, John Schuster and Antonino Drago focus on showing Koyré’s impact on the history of science via his influence on Kuhn. Each author discusses the relationship between Koyré and Kuhn in a different light. In chapter 15, Pinto de Oliveira and Oliveira discuss the relationship between George Sarton, Kuhn and Koyré. The main focus of this paper is the relationship between Sarton and Kuhn. From the footnotes, the emphasis on the relationship between Kuhn and Sarton seems to stem from the authors’ suggestion that Kuhn extends Koyré, while Koyré retains sympathies for Sarton (footnote 2, 278) and ‘still has one foot in the “old” historiography’ (footnote 12, 284). However, the relationship between Koyré and Kuhn is not the main focus of the paper. Instead, the authors present the case study of William Harvey’s discovery of blood circulation to illustrate the benefits of a Kuhnian inspired historiography, over Sarton’s approach. In chapter 19, Schuster explicitly outlines how Kuhn extends from Koyré as well as suggesting some difficulties Kuhn faced, given his admiration of Koyré’s work. Schuster specifically focusses on Kuhn’s early work in the history of science. He argues that Kuhn pushes Koyré’s approach to speak directly to the importance of experiments and experimental equipment in modern science, illustrating the case through Kuhn’s engagement with classical and Baconian sciences, in particular his explanation of the Copernican revolution and the rise of new experimental sciences. Schuster argues that there remains a tension within Kuhn’s account of the rise of modern science that is visible by two incommensurate explanations that can be derived from Kuhn’s work: one approach suggests the beginning of modern science is best analysed through looking for points of rupture between the old and new sciences and another suggests that Baconian sciences are born from a ‘continuous process of scientificity’ (413). Schuster leaves this tension open for future thinkers in the areas of ‘sociology of knowledge and Scientific Revolution studies’ (418).

In chapter 7, Drago presents the counterargument and argues that Koyré’s contribution to history of science is more profound than Kuhn’s own contribution. Drago writes that ‘Koyré introduced into the historiography of science the account of a conflict, i.e. the conflict between ancient and modern science’, while ‘Kuhn presented a peaceful development of science over two centuries’ (134). Drago convincingly argues that, while Kuhn adopts the term scientific revolution from Koyré, what the two scholars mean by revolution significantly differs between them. Together, Pinto de Oliveira and Amelia Oliveira, John Schuster and Drago show that a nuanced analysis of the relationship between Koyré and Kuhn is still a fruitful area for further investigations.

In chapter 18, Marlon Salomon pays attention to the way in which Koyré, himself, understood his relationship to the history of modern science and how he differentiated his own approach. He summarises Koyré’s approach by separating between two ways of engaging with the past and, in so doing, Salomon shows that Koyré’s interest in history is to ‘critique’ and ‘denaturalization’ current scientific evidence (380). One approach to the past takes current scientific ideas as natural and factual and reads the history of science with an eye to discarding old and obsolete theories and to focusing on the theories that support the current scientific models and evidence. Such an approach renders the history of ideas as a ‘showcase of curiosities’ (380), at best, and irrelevant to present concerns, at worst. By contrast, as Salomon outlines, Koyré’s approach to the history of ideas is ‘to apprehend the old theories, not at the moment of their death agony but at the moment of their birth’ (382). Salomon drives home that Koyré’s interest in the history of ideas is to enable a critique of the contemporary modern scientific understanding of the world by concluding that ‘Koyré is a thinker of the limits’ (384).

Following on from Solomon, Charles Braverman and Daria Drozdova attend to another key topic: the question of what ties together Koyré’s oeuvre. In chapter 2, Braverman argues that Koyré’s central concern is showing how the notion of space changed with the rise of modern science: modern science conceptualises space as geometrical and this affects all domains of human endeavour, which shows the relevance of Koyré’s assertion of the unity of human thought. To demonstrate his point, Braverman examines the case of André-Marie Ampère in order to show the ‘value of Koyré’s methodology’ (37). In chapter 8, Drozdova suggests that Koyré’s characterisation of modern science is bifurcated and cannot be reduced to one central claim. Instead, according to Drozdova, Koyré shows that both the “destruction of the Cosmos” and “the geometrization of space” are equally important to understanding rise of modern science. Braverman and Drozdova both foreground the importance of the geometrization of space to Koyré’s conceptualisation of the modern scientific revolution.

The next major theme addressed by the volume is Koyré’s thorough examination of the work of Galileo Galilei. As the authors that talk to this theme seek to demonstrate, Koyré made two central and controversial claims about Galileo. First, Koyré outlines the importance of imaginary or thought experiments for Galileo (see Koyré 1968b). Second, Koyré argues that Galileo sides with Platonism (see Koyré 1968c). These two arguments are closely tied together because, as Koyré, himself, notes:

‘for the contemporaries and pupils of Galileo, as well as for Galileo himself, the dividing line between Aristotelianism and Platonism was perfectly clear…the opposition between these two philosophies was determined by a different appreciation of mathematics as science, and of its role for the constitution of the science of Nature…if…one claims for mathematics a superior value, and a commanding position in the study of things natural, one is a Platonist’ (Koyré 1968d, 15).

The authors in this volume, who address Koyré’s work on Galileo, importantly draw attention to the controversy regarding Koyré’s engagement with Galileo and the ways in which this debate has influence subsequent work in the history of science.

Francesco Crapanzano, Mario De Caro and Gérard Jorland all address the theme of Koyré’s account of Galileo’s experiments. In chapter 4, Crapanzano discusses the evidence for and against the factual existence of Galileo’s experiment on the law of falling bodies at the leaning tower of Pisa. He accents Vincenzio Viviani’s – Galileo’s biographer’s – role in documenting this experiment. Crapanzano suggests that Viviani may have used the description of Galileo’s experiment with literary flare: ‘to celebrate the grand master in the best way possible, that is, by corroborating his stance with an experiment that publicly disavowed Aristotelianism’ (82). However, Crapanzano also outlines that there were other experiments supporting the law of falling bodies carried out in this time period, hence, the role of the Pisa experiment is not decisive. He concludes that Koyré ‘disproving the experiment’ played a crucial part in ‘affirming’ Koyré’s ‘perspective on the genesis of scientific theories’, but, ultimately, highlighted ‘one of the first signs of [Koyré’s] prosperous and controversial thesis of Galileo’s Platonism’ (82). In chapter 12, Jorland addresses the evidence for and against the existence of Galileo’s experiments more generally. Jorland suggests that Koyré questions Galileo’s experiments ‘on two very different grounds’: (1) ‘whether Galileo had ever performed experiments’ and (2) ‘if he had, whether [Galileo] had obtained the experimental results that he claimed’ (210). Jorland covers the work of several historians – most notably Stillman Drake – after Koyré who scoured Galileo’s private notes for evidence that he performed experiments or tried to reconstruct Galileo’s experiments to show that it was possible for Galileo to have performed them. Jorland concludes that ‘Galileo did perform experiments, but their results were not precise enough to be reliable’ (220). In a similar vein, in chapter 10, Gaukroger argues that Galileo conducted real experiments and puts forward that Koyré overlooks the prominence that experiments played in the development of modern science due to his focus on the mathematical-idealised structure of science.

In chapter 5, De Caro agrees that Galileo performed experiments. However, in contrast to Crapanzano, Jorland and Gaukroger, De Caro defends Koyré’s view of reading Galileo as a mathematico-physico Platonist. As a result, De Caro spells out that ‘the “sensate esperienze” (“sensible experiences”) that Galileo mentions as crucial in his scientific method, are not the experiences of everyday life, as it was for Aristotelians, but the observations, experimentations, and thought experiments’ (99). De Caro concludes that Koyré correctly identifies that the scientific method ‘could fully flourish only if one assumed, as Galileo did, that the natural world has an inherently mathematical structure that we are endowed to grasp when we reason mathematically’ (102). Crapanzano, Jorland, Gaukroger and De Caro highlight the continued importance of discussing the relationship between the modern mathematical sciences and the experiment.

In a related theme, Mauro Condé and Diederick Raven specifically discuss Koyré’s claim that the foundation of modern science is mathematics. In chapter 3, Condé draws attention to Koyré’s early work on mathematics and shows how his training in mathematics is important to his later history of science and explains Koyré’s argument that metaphysics precedes technology. In chapter 17, Raven also foregrounds the importance of the mathematical foundations of modern science: he writes that for modern science ‘mathematics is the key to understanding the world created for us’ (354) because ‘God created the universe’ (355) and ‘the mind is for understanding quantities’ (355). Raven presents a fascinating comparative analysis, suggesting that it is important to consider the Christian roots of modern science. He argues that Christianity’s confrontation with Aristotle creates the seeds for the scientific revolution because there is a contradiction between the Christian creator and an Aristotelian understanding of the universe, which leads to nominalism. Condé and Raven agree that Koyré’s focus on the mathematical character of modern science is central to his approach, but Raven extends this further to argue for the importance of the Christian tradition in the development of modern science.

Another motif across the volume, which draws different together authors, is those authors who extend from Koyré’s analysis to investigate various scholars pertinent to the history of modern science. In chapter 6, Dominique Descotes starts from Koyré’s lecture on Pascal to reassess the importance of Pascal’s work to the history of modern science. In chapter 11, Glenn Hartz and Patrick Lewtas discuss the importance of Descartes’ voluntarism throughout his work. In chapter 13, Anna Maria Lombardi follows Koyré’s lead to examine Kepler, focusing on the importance of the relationship between music and the harmony of the world for Kepler. In chapter 16, Raffaele Pisano and Paulo Bussotti pay attention to Kepler’s notion of force. Kepler did not agree with the infinite universe, as they note: ‘if the size of the universe were infinite then it should have…a uniform geometrical-cosmological and well-defined structure’ (335). In addition, Kepler believed that ‘the infinite was unthinkable for a human being’ (335). Pisano and Bussotti agree with Koyré that Kepler is a thinker that dwells on the cusp of the closed Cosmos and the indefinite universe, but conclude that Koyré overestimates the influence of Aristotle on Kepler. Descotes, Hartz and Lewtas, Lombardi and Pisano and Bussotti all show that Koyré’s approach points the way to further investigations and re-examinations of premier modern scientific scholars.

The last theme that I will discuss is Koyré’s relationship to the phenomenological tradition, which is discussed by three authors: Massimo Ferrari, Rodney Parker and Anna Yampolskaya. In chapter 9, Ferrari talks to the similarities and differences between Koyré and Ernst Cassirer. Ferrari argues that Cassirer and Koyré need to be understood in light of their respective philosophical backgrounds: Marburg neo-Kantianism and Husserlian phenomenology, which explain two important differences identified by Ferrari. First, Cassirer presents a linear history, whereas Koyré looks for breaks in, and differences between, Ancient and Modern science. Second, Cassirer looks for a priori foundations of science, while Koyré looks for the essential structures of modern science and traces their origins. Similarly, in chapter 14, Rodney Parker argues that Koyré needs to be understood in relationship to Edmund Husserl and phenomenology. He explicates that Husserl’s rejection of Koyré’s dissertation is not a reason to consider Koyré without Husserl. He contends that the disruption to Koyré’s studies, and his subsequent move to France, should not be understood as a new beginning, but, rather, as a continuation of Koyré’s project of phenomenology aimed at explicating the historical a priori, which he adopts from Husserl, albeit in a unique way. The important theme that links Husserl and Koyré is their focus on Galileo and the mathematisation of nature: Husserl provided a starting point for Koyré’s nuanced and detailed engagement with the history of modern science. In chapter 21, Yampolskaya outlines the impact of Koyré’s work on studies in the history of religion, namely on the work of Emmanuel Levinas and Michel Henry. Yampolskaya’s main focus is to review the exchange between Koyré and Levinas on the infinite and the finite as well as Henry’s extension of Koyré’s work on Jacob Böhme. However, during the course of the paper, Yampolskaya illustrates the relationship between Koyré and early French phenomenology and provides insightful commentary about the relationship between Koyré, Husserl and Heidegger. Yampolskaya concludes by suggesting that at the heart of the discussions between Koyré, Levinas and Henry is the ‘problem of truth’ (469) and that the ‘necessity of truth for the being of humans is a lesson of Koyré that French “theological” phenomenology would do well to retain’ (469). Ferrari, Parker and Yampolskaya expose the importance of understanding Koyré in light of the phenomenological tradition that was so influential upon him.

Outside Ferrari, Parker and Yampolskaya, the volume largely discusses Koyré outside of the phenomenological tradition and I would suggest that this is the main limitation of the volume. The book starts by outlining the impossibility of separating Koyré’s philosophy and history of science and, thereby, the importance of understanding Koyré’s work as a philosophy and history of science. On this point, Pisano quotes Koyré in his introduction to the edited work:

‘History of Science without philosophy of Science is blind…[and] philosophy of science without History of Science is empty’ (xx).

Yet, it is my contention, as I shall briefly outline, that without an appreciation of Koyré’s tie to Husserl and phenomenology more generally, the impossibility of splitting philosophy from the history of science cannot be fully appreciated.

The main source of disagreement throughout the edited volume seems to be Koyré’s characterisation of modern science as mathematical, rather than experiential. As Ferrari highlights, Koyré ‘strongly criticized the “virus of empiricist and positivist epistemology” which had also “infected” the history of science’ (159) and this also entails a reconsideration of the role of observation and experiment in modern science. Koyré’s critique of the empiricism and positivism inherent in modern science is not unique to him, but is rather a central characteristic of phenomenological philosophy, stemming and extending from Husserl.

For Koyré, modern science is not a triumph of observation over tradition and authority (Koyré 1972 [1950], 89–91). Instead, modern science is characterised by ‘an Archimedean world of geometry made real…in substituting for the world of the more-or-less of our daily life a universe of measurement and precision’ (Koyré 1968a, 91). Koyré’s point stems from and echoes Husserl’s own words: modern science surreptitiously substitutes ‘the mathematically substructured world of idealities for the only real world, the one that is…experienced and experienceable’ (Husserl 1970, §9, 48–49). As Parker in this volume notes, Husserl also addresses Galileo’s mathematisation of nature (265–269, also see Husserl 1970, §9, 23–59). Husserl names Galileo a revealing and concealing genius because he ‘discovers mathematical nature’ and ‘blazes the trail for the infinite number of physical discoveries and discoverers’, but in so doing he conceals the world as we experience it (Husserl 1970, §9, 51–52). Husserl sees modern science as permeated by a thoroughgoing confusion between the real and the ideal, where ‘what is acquired through scientific activity is not something real but something ideal’ (Husserl 1970, ‘The Vienna Lecture’, 278), but we mistake ‘for true being what is actually a method’ (Husserl 1970, §9, 51). Koyré concurs with Husserl’s identification of the confusion between the constructed world of the modern scientist and the tangible world of experience.

Additionally, Koyré’s philosophy of science cannot be separated from his history of science because he takes seriously the problem of the historical a priori that Husserl gestures towards. Husserl writes: ‘but we come back again to the fact that historical facts…are objective only on the basis of the a priori. Yet the a priori presupposes historical being’ (Husserl 1970, Objectivity and the World of Experience, 350; Parker also notes this, 247). In other words, the question of conceptual understanding cannot be separated from the supposedly objective facts and, furthermore, the question of the origin of concepts, theories and models is a question of tracing them back to the historical context in which they arose.

Husserl’s critique of the mathematisation of nature in Galileo, as well as the recognition of the problem of the historical a priori, form the background to Koyré’s own engagement with Galileo. Koyré does not merely reiterate what Husserl has said, but looks to the history of modern science in order to extend and assess Husserl’s claims about Galileo and the birth of modern science. When Koyré discusses the experiments of Galileo, it is precisely the distinction between the ideally constructed world of the scientist and the real world of our living that Koyré has in mind. Koyré’s claim is not simply that Galileo’s inferior equipment prevented him from preforming his experiments, but, more importantly, that it is ‘impossible in practice to produce a plane surface which is truly plane’ (Koyré 1968b, 45). A plane is a geometrical idea, not a real thing and, as Koyré writes, ‘perfection is not of this world: no doubt we can approach it, but we cannot attain it’ (Koyré 1968b, 45). For Koyré, ‘imaginary experiments’ or “thought experiments” step in where the real experiments end in order to bridge the gap between the world of more-or-less and the perfect world of geometry. He states that imagination ‘is not embarrassed by the limitations imposed on us by reality. It achieves the ideal, and even the impossible’ (Koyré 1968b, 45). According to Koyré, thought experiments play an important role in modern science because imagination can act as an intermediary between the mathematical and the real. Whether Galileo actually performed the experiments in question or not, does not affect the point that Koyré is making here: we cannot attain perfection in the real world.

Furthermore, the principle of inertia cannot be derived from experience because it is impossible to experience: nowhere can we actually see a body left to itself, uniformly moving in a straight line. Martin Heidegger aptly describes this point when he states:

‘modern science, in contrast to…medieval Scholasticism and science, is supposed to be based upon experience. Instead, it has [the law of inertia] at its apex. This law speaks of a thing that does not exist. It demands a fundamental representation of things which contradict the ordinary’ (Heidegger 1967, 89).

For Koyré, inertia is implicit in Galileo’s conception of motion, which will later be made explicit by Newton (Koyré 1968c, 19). As Koyré notes, ‘the Galilean concept of motion (as well as that of space) seems to us so “natural” that we even believe we have derived it from experience and observation’ (Koyré 1968d, 3), yet ‘for the Greeks as well as for the thinkers of the Middle Ages the idea that a body once put in motion will continue to more forever, appeared obviously and evidently false, and even absurd’ (Koyré 1968c, 19). As Koyré points out, it is the experiment, where we interrogate nature and force her to yield to our questions, that is decisive for modern science, not sensible experience (Koyré 1968c, 18).

The equivocation between experiment and experience is an ongoing problem for phenomenology and, therefore, worth reiterating here because the meaning of experience is at the heart of the difference between phenomenological philosophy and modern science. Yet, the meaning of experience is often left unclarified. The tradition of modern science leads to an understanding of human experience as unreliable and as reduced to a mere dependent copy of the, purportedly, external world. Modern science is not based upon unreliable experience, but upon experiments that are repeatable. The modern experiment presupposes that nature is mathematical, in other words, that nature can be measured and mapped with exactitude. On this account, the experiment allows us to move closer to the exact determination of nature by isolating ‘components’ and ‘variables’ and measuring them as well as the specific interactions between them. Phenomenology questions the mathematical conception of nature by suggesting that the scientific method operates by idealising and, then, formalising the things it investigates. Hence, what the scientists attains is not a better description of the tangible world, but a measurement of a mathematised or formalised ideal. Phenomenologists foreground this disjunction between the experimental basis of modern science and human experience as it is lived through. Furthermore, phenomenologists rethink the meaning of experience and problematise reducing experience to sensations as well as making experience equivalent to objectified repeatable data. Phenomenologists foreground that human experience is always meaningful which entails that we are able to see the same thing through different perspectives. However, this does not mean that human experience is perfectly replicable: our experience is typified, more-or-less the same, roughly similar, etc. On the other hand, human experience is not an accumulation of sensations because we always intend something whole, we always see more than we actually see. The meaning of experience is a central question for phenomenology as well as understanding modern mathematical science. I conclude by suggesting that it is important to read Koyré in light of the phenomenological critique of modern science that distinguishes the experiment from experience, brings into question the reduction of experience to sense-data and attempts to rethink experience as always intending something meaningful.

Works Cited

Heidegger, Martin. 1967. What is a Thing? Translated by W. B. Barton and Vera Dutsch. Boston: University Press of America.

Husserl, Edmund. 1970. The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology: An Introduction to Phenomenological Philosophy. Translated by David Carr. Evanston: Northwest University Press.

Koyré, Alexandre. 1968a. “An Experiment in Measurement.” In Metaphysics and Measurement: Essays in Scientific Revolution, 89–117. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

Koyré, Alexandre. 1968b. “Galileo’s Treatise De Motu Gravium: The Use and Abuse of Imaginary Experiments.” In Metaphysics and Measurement: Essays in Scientific Revolution, 44–88. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

Koyré, Alexandre. 1968c. “Galileo and Plato.” In Metaphysics and Measurement: Essays in Scientific Revolution, 16–43. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

Koyré, Alexandre. 1968d. “Galileo and the Scientific Revolution of the Seventeenth Century.” In Metaphysics and Measurement: Essays in Scientific Revolution, 1–15. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

Koyré, Alexandre. 1972 [1950]. “Introduction.” In Descartes Philosophical Writings, edited by Elizabeth Anscombe and Peter Thomas Geach, vii–xliv. London: Nelson’s University Paperbacks.

Hans-Helmuth Gander: Self Understanding and Lifeworld: Basic Traits of a Phenomenological Hermeneutics

Self-Understanding and Lifeworld: Basic Traits of a Phenomenological Hermeneutics Book Cover Self-Understanding and Lifeworld: Basic Traits of a Phenomenological Hermeneutics
Studies in Continental Thought
Hans-Helmuth Gander. Translated by Ryan Drake and Joshua Rayman
Indiana University Press
Hardcover $65.00

Reviewed by:  Douglas Giles (University of Essex)

Gander’s declared aim in Self Understanding and Lifeworld is to build on the untapped potential of Heidegger’s hermeneutical phenomenology of the lifeworld and the self-forming experience of reality. The book is a long and closely argued exploration of how a human being develops an understanding of oneself as a self within a social lifeworld.

Gander spends perhaps a little too much time beating the dead horse of the Cartesian self but he does correctly emphasize the importance of the self not as a self-certainty but as a fluctuating play of unfolding human experiences in the historical world. The historicity of the individual is important to Gander, who focuses on the self-understanding as a to-and-fro between present experiences and progressive-anticipatory self-confirmation. To the contrary, Gaander says, the human self is historicized, meaning that the self cannot be identified as an ahistorical transcendent ago, but needs to be conceived as a historical self in the current of history. As human individuals, our task is to have to incessantly identify our self from within our self within the lifeworld.

Gander’s primary task in Self Understanding and Lifeworld is to set forth a phenomenology of the human self that describes what it means to be a unified human self in the current of life history. In response to the philosophical need to critically discuss self-understanding within the lifeworld, Gander argues that the Husserlian conception of the phenomenology of consciousness is inadequate for answering the problem of history in the hermeneutics of the self-understanding of human beings in the world. Each of us, Gander says, is what we are only through what we have become, and thus, the hermeneutical question of the self-understanding takes shape in Heidegger’s project of a hermeneutics of facticity.

In Part One, Gander interprets the human being’s facticity as similar to the writing and reading of a text. Gander’s analogy is to compare self-understanding with understanding a text. Our knowing is an interpretation, including our knowing of ourselves, allowing us, Gander argues, to compare the understanding of our self with the understanding of a text. The move Gander makes here is one with which the reader may or may not agree, and the reader may or may not find Gander’s defence of it—a blending of Dilthey, Foucault, and Gadamer—convincing. In short, if I understand Gander correctly, his argument is that in a text, there is a space in which the writing subject disappears and since a human being’s self understanding is a historical consciousness—a kind of text being written and read—we as a knowing subject of our self-understanding disappears. The textual analogy rests largely on seeing the historicity of the individual as a kind of reading of the individual’s cultural traditions. We enter into the text (the “book of the world”) of our tradition and in reading and interpreting that text, our individual self-persuasion forms itself. Gander says that “the human self- and world understanding underlies and forms itself from out of the force field of the particular historical-cultural tradition.” (55) That individuals develop their understandings of self and world from their cultural tradition is uncontroversial, but whether we gain philosophical understanding of this process by applying the textual analogy is open to question. Gander’s argument is certainly plausible, but it is not clear that it is an advance on other philosophical approaches.

Regardless of how we view the self-formation of the human self, we are left with the problem of the lifeworld. This is a philosophical problem because the constitution of the self and the possibility of self-experience are connected to the self’s history in the world. Gander turns to the problem of the lifeworld in Part Two. The field of reality, Gander says, opens itself to the philosopher in the language the philosopher speaks and the meaning of its concepts which are set out in historical context. The approach needed, therefore, is a hermeneutical interpretation of concepts that is related to human situatedness in everyday experience. (79-81) Gander then enters a lengthy exposition against Descartes’s philosophical method and the self-certainty of the self within Descartes’s method, little of which will be new to the reader.

When Gander returns to the problem of the lifeworld, he observes that life and thus the lifeworld can no longer be considered something over and against the subject as in Descartes. (116) He then turns to Husserl’s discussion of the lifeworld, interpreting Husserl’s task as a project of “lifeworldly ontology.” (140) Gander adopts Husserl’s task, but also finds Husserl’s approach wanting. The individual’s facticity in the world is carried out in the historical and cultural horizons of the lifeworld. The “concrete lifeworld” is a variable, changing historical-social-cultural world and the lifeworld is more than a mere preliminary to the transcendental sphere of reason. For this reason, Gander says we must take leave of Husserl’s narrow approach to a theory of perception and begin anew the task of an ontology of the lifeworld as outside the transcendental horizon. Gander criticizes Husserl as bypassing the factically concrete lifeworld in its historicity in favor of what Gander calls “an intended final sense by means of the transcendental epoché…[and] takes the sting out of his diagnosis.” (163) By claiming the singularity of the lifeworld, Husserl, Gander says, cuts himself off from existentiell factical contingent experience and the plurality of lifeworlds. At no point does there arise a central perspective from which the human relation to self and world, therefore, Gander rejects Husserl’s approach, adopting in opposition the approach that “the ground of the natural lifeworld, with the experiences of contingency encountered everywhere and at each moment, remains a significant, indeed a necessary corrective against intellectual flights of thinking.” (167)

Gander expands on his claim that Husserl has neglected the historical and factical life in Part Three. And it is here that he gets to the main point of his book:

I experience myself only in the midst of the world—and that means in the midst of time and history—so this relatedness always already implicates the self-constituting experience of difference in its ontological presupposition. The self-relation generates and determines itself accordingly through and as difference, yet does not spilt in the Cartesian sense, but rather in that I experience myself qua difference as essentially open to the world; the self always already transcends itself beyond me to the understanding possible for me as historical horizon. (184)

Our finite self-relation is constituted by both transcendence and difference, Gander argues, and though our phenomenological approach to the problem of the lifeworld benefits from Husserl’s epoché, it also benefits from the early Heidegger’s critique of Husserl—specifically the former’s view to the structure of care. Gander sides with Heidegger in rejecting Husserl’s empty certainty and in accepting instead the understanding that science should be posited as knowing comportments of human beings. Human knowing is a specific mode of being in the world and taking this into account allows our phenomenological approach to include the unexpressed effective background beliefs that form humans’ presuppositional horizon. The proper things of philosophy, Gander concludes, following Heidegger, are not experiences of consciousness taken through the transcendental and eidetic reduction but the phenomena of the human ontological condition of the care for life. Heidegger grasps facticity, Gander says, as the existentiell situation of the individual—one’s own concrete, particular context of life. (196) Self-understanding is therefore experienced in one’s particular facticity within an historical horizon constituted by both transcendence and difference regarding one’s orientation to oneself and to the world.

Having argued for the preference of Heidegger over Husserl, Gander turns back to the issue of a hermeneutics of the self-understanding of human beings in the world. He begins by approaching the pretheoretical life. The human is enmeshed in factical life in such a way that the self as activity constitutes itself in the lifeworld. What we call “life” is known through and in a hermeneutically interpreting active knowing of the having of life itself. (212) Life in itself is always my own life and what it means to be a self is to experience the self-world that is there for us in every situation. Our phenomenological approach must look at the factical experience of life that is always lived out in a lifeworld which is centered in the self-world of comportment to oneself. (214) Gander’s hermeneutical ontology of facticity considers the world-relation as self-relation and constructs an historical ontology of our ourselves based on the conception that experience fundamentally refers to self-relation that is always already situationally related or bound. We make experiences only in situational connections, and situations create in themselves possibilities of experience for me.

Self Understanding and Lifeworld is perhaps longer of a book than it needs to be. One could also argue that it covers well-worn paths of material. As a contribution to Heideggerian studies, Gander’s book has value in how he relates several concepts in Heidegger to other twentieth century philosophers. Any writings concerning this subject matter are, almost by necessity, opaque and complex, and Self Understanding and Lifeworld is definitely those things. Gander’s differentiation of everyday experience as an historical life is a difficult read but worthwhile for the reader who is interested in new applications of Heidegger for the study of the self.

Dominique Pradelle, Camille Riquier (Dir.): Descartes et la phénoménologie, Hermann, 2018

Descartes et la phénoménologie Book Cover Descartes et la phénoménologie
De Visu
Dominique Pradelle, Camille Riquier (Dir.)
Paperback 35,00 €

Hans Burkhardt † (Founding Editor), Johanna Seibt, Guido Imaguire, Stamatios Gerogiorgakis ( Eds.): Handbook of Mereology, Philosophia Verlag GmbH, 2017

Handbook of Mereology Book Cover Handbook of Mereology
Hans Burkhardt †( Founding Editor), Johanna Seibt, Guido Imaguire, Stamatios Gerogiorgakis ( Eds.)
Philosophia Verlag GmbH
Hardcover € 248.00

Edmund Husserl: Meditazioni cartesiane

Meditazioni cartesiane Book Cover Meditazioni cartesiane
Edmund Husserl. Andrea Altobrando (Ed.)
Orthotes Editrice
Paperback € 18,00

Reviewed by: Daniele Valli (Università degli Studi di Milano)

Le due Meditazioni

Il ruolo di René Descartes (1596 – 1650) nella storia della filosofia occidentale è sempre stato controverso. Da un lato le enormi innovazioni portate in ambito geometrico-analitico e dall’altro le dirompenti teorie metafisiche hanno reso il dibattito sul filosofo francese da sempre acceso, nel costituirsi di schieramenti di tenaci sostenitori e irremovibili oppositori. Del resto, le idee che egli ha introdotto nel panorama intellettuale del suo tempo erano così audaci da non lasciar spazio all’indifferenza. Anche Edmund Husserl (1859 – 1938), padre della fenomenologia trascendentale, anch’egli propositore di un sistema filosofico in contrasto con gli schemi tradizionali, non poté fare a meno che confrontarsi con l’illustre autore delle Meditazioni Metafisiche (1641). Proprio questo testo, infatti, è divenuto nella filosofia occidentale un riferimento imprescindibile per ogni programma di fondazione prima della conoscenza. Entrambi gli autori, infatti, si propongono come fautori di una filosofia radicale. Essi intendono trovare quel terreno certissimo al di sopra del quale sia legittimo costituire ogni conoscenza. Non si può certo dire, tuttavia, che i due percorsi filosofici conducano alle medesime conclusioni. La fenomenologia husserliana nasce nei primissimi anni del ‘900, quando il filosofo tedesco elabora un pensiero originale sulla base delle lezioni del suo “geniale maestro”, psicologo e filosofo, Franz Brentano (1838 – 1917). Husserl propone una conversione antipsicologistica delle grandi scoperte dal suo professore, costituendo una dottrina teoretica completa. Le Meditazioni Cartesiane (1931) ne rappresentano un manifesto esemplare e vengono oggi riproposte al pubblico italiano in un’ottima traduzione di Andrea Altobrando, che non risparmia l’asprezza della prosa del filosofo tedesco pur di restituirci fedelmente il suo pensiero. Esse vennero in prima istanza pubblicate in lingua francese nel 1931 con il titolo ditations Cartésiennes, sebbene risalgano ad una conferenza tenuta da Husserl alla Sorbona il 23 e 25 febbraio del 1929. Per la prima edizione tedesca bisognerà attendere il dopoguerra, quando nel 1950 vengono pubblicate con il titolo Cartesianische Meditationen und Pariser Vorträge a cura di Stephan Strasser. Le Meditazioni Cartesiane appaiono dunque quando il pensiero husserliano si è già affermato in ambito internazionale da oltre un decennio e il filosofo tedesco si è già ritirato dall’insegnamento. Tuttavia Husserl sembra qui avere la necessità di riproporre il suo sistema in una nuova veste. Esse, infatti, non seguono il tipico procedere della prosa husserliana, meticolosamente analitica e sistematica. Qui l’approccio è diverso: egli sviluppa la sua argomentazione seguendo una trama narrativa che riprende l’impostazione delle Meditazioni Metafisiche. L’opera, infatti, è organizzata non sulla base di una suddivisione tematica dei contenuti trattati, bensì in una successione di passaggi deduttivi. Muovendosi dalle stesse premesse del filosofo francese, egli intraprende un percorso espositivo originale che procede verticalmente per livelli. Husserl, infatti, riprende il problema fondamentale posto da Descartes nelle Meditazioni Metafisiche e ne offre una proposta risolutiva fondata su una progressiva introduzione alla fenomenologia trascendentale. Egli è infatti rimasto molto colpito dalla brillantezza del filosofo francese nel rappresentare il dramma epistemologico della cultura occidentale: “Esse [le Meditazioni Metafisiche] costituiscono piuttosto il modello delle meditazioni necessarie a qualunque filosofo principiante, meditazioni dalle quali soltanto una filosofia può originariamente svilupparsi.”. Descartes ha inquadrato con genialità la questione irrisolta della metafisica: in virtù di cosa può una conoscenza ritenersi legittima? Qual è il criterio fondante della scientificità? Egli propone una progressiva e sistematica messa in discussione di ogni aspetto dell’esperienza umana alla ricerca di ciò che è essenzialmente indubitabile, di ciò che è al di fuori di ogni possibilità di errore, del punto immobile su cui edificare il grande universo del sapere. Questa operazione di ricerca assoluta rimasta nota come “dubbio iperbolico” è resa attuale nella proposta cartesiana tramite l’ipotesi del genio maligno, ovvero l’ipotesi di per sé non confutabile dell’esistenza di un Dio malvagio che mi inganni in ogni istante, facendomi cadere in errore ogni volta che ho un percezione, che esprimo una valutazione o che calcoli un risultato matematico. Così, seguendo tale ragionamento, nessuna delle conoscenze per me valide nella quotidianità sembra potersi dire al riparo dalla possibilità di essere falsa. Com’è noto, tuttavia, Descartes ritiene di individuare una certezza apodittica e fuori da ogni potenziale dubbio nell’espressione “ego cogito, ego sum”: se mi persuado dell’esistenza di un genio ingannatore dovrò pur, almeno io stesso, oggetto dell’inganno, essere qualcosa. In altre parole, “se penso, sono”. L’argomentazione cartesiana si sviluppa poi, partendo da tale assunto, nel configurare una dottrina dualistica della realtà, divisa in res cogitans e res extensa, dottrina che sarà sottoposta a severe critiche lungo tutto il corso dell’età moderna e oltre. L’impostazione husserliana, come detto, intende riprendere le suggestioni delle Meditazioni Metafisiche. In particolare, il filosofo tedesco è stimolato dall’idea della dubitabilità strutturale delle certezze naturali. Cosa c’è di sicuro nell’esperienza del mondo? A partire da questo interrogativo, le strade dei due pensatori si dividono. Se infatti Descartes risponde “Ego cogito” e ciò gli è sufficiente, Husserl risponde “Ego cogito cogitata qua cogitata”. Il terreno della soggettività dischiusosi tramite l’esercizio del dubbio non può, secondo Husserl, essere considerato un ritaglio di apoditticità del mondo naturale. Il soggetto naturalmente inteso, psicologico, positivo, non è legittimamente escluso dalla dimensione dell’incertezza. La sola forma di soggettività realmente al di fuori di ogni possibile messa in discussione è la soggettività che emerge dall’operare le proprie cogitazioni, in quanto correlato di ogni cogitazione. Le cogitazioni si danno, si offrono nella loro manifestazione esperienziale: si può dubitare della valenza ontica del mondo naturale, ma non del suo puro darsi in atti cogitativi. L’offrirsi delle cose in quanto correlati d’esperienza (cogitata qua cogitata) è ciò di cui non si può ragionevolmente dubitare: esse si offrono in manifestazioni e, a prescindere dalla rispettiva valenza ontologica, stanno lì, presenziano. A partire da queste osservazioni il filosofo tedesco sviluppa progressivamente un percorso teoretico che condurrà all’esposizione della fenomenologia trascendentale. In questo modo egli vuole sottolineare come il suo sistema si ponga come formulazione teorica fondata su basi aprioristiche: le sue fondamenta sono estraibili da quel percorso radicalissimo con cui Descartes ha fondato la filosofia moderna ed esso ne si presenta pertanto come paradigma risolutivo. I passi, tuttavia, con cui si propone di arrivare al compimento del sistema fenomenologico partendo dal dubbio cartesiano sono diversi. Anche egli, infatti, divide i passaggi argomentativi in distinte meditazioni di cui ognuna costituisce la premessa della successiva, per un totale di cinque meditazioni (Descartes ne avanzò sei).

Prima meditazione

Il percorso neocartesiano intrapreso da Husserl esordisce tematizzando il problema della scienza. Le scienze di fatto, o positive, presentano un modello gnoseologico ben strutturato: esse si propongono di svelare i meccanismi della natura tramite il metodo osservativo e sperimentale che si è costituito nel corso della loro genesi. Si è inoltre radicata la credenza culturale per cui ogni forma di conoscenza certa dovesse seguire il medesimo approccio. Anche Descartes, secondo il filosofo tedesco, era in fondo persuaso di tale lettura, e coltivava l’idea di una scienza universale costituita sulla base del sistema deduttivo proprio della geometria, di cui egli fu un grande teorico. Questa proiezione del sistema analitico-deduttivo sul problema della fondazione assoluta della conoscenza fu, secondo Husserl, un primo equivoco. Non sarebbe lecito, infatti, costituire un nuovo ideale di scienza sulla base di un prodotto culturale già fornito. Nella prospettiva di una ricostituzione radicale della teoria della conoscenza è infatti necessario eliminare ogni presupposto, costruendo in maniera priva di preconcetti le regole di una conoscenza legittima. La validità delle scienze positive, in altre parole, pur fornendo esse delle ricette epistemologicamente e tecnologicamente valide, ha comunque l’esigenza di una fondazione. Queste fondazione, del resto, è proprio la fondazione di cui entrambi i pensatori sono alla ricerca: il disvelamento del terreno puro su cui ogni conoscenza, scientifica o teoretica, possa dirsi indubitabilmente costituita. Da cosa, quindi, partire per edificare un simile edificio in assenza, apparente, di alcun attrezzo da lavoro? Husserl propone a questo proposito di considerare il senso della scienza a partire da una analisi fenomenica e descrittiva. Cosa rende l’ideale della scienza così forte? In cosa si caratterizza la struttura manifestativa del processo scientifico? La struttura deduttiva del giudizio esibisce una catena di predicazioni in cui ogni asserzione funge da premessa e da legittimazione di quella successiva. Il meccanismo, dunque, si mostra come una stratificazione di conoscenze orientato ad una progressiva e sempre maggiore chiarificazione del sapere. Husserl ritiene che, procedendo a ritroso, si possa accedere in questo modo all’idea prima di “evidenza”. Cosa innesca, infatti, il ciclo auto-edificante della scienza? Egli ritiene sia proprio la proprietà fenomenologicamente pregnante del “darsi come evidente” della natura. Ogni giudizio scientifico, come detto, si origina su una precedente forma di sapere e il carattere dell’evidenza in questo ciclo esercita una funzione essenziale. Essa si pone come l’elemento eideticamente peculiare del conoscere, sia nella sua forma giudicativa che in quella originaria. Il filosofo tedesco distingue, infatti, l’evidenza predicativa da quella antepredicativa. La prima è quella forma di evidenza sillogistica per cui una concatenazione di asserzioni propone conclusioni giustificate sulla base delle rispettive premesse. Tuttavia, tali premesse devono fondarsi a loro volta su altre precedenti, e così via. In questa linea deduttiva l’origine della proprietà predicativa dell’evidenza non può che essere antepredicativa, ovvero non può che sorgere nel terreno primordiale del puro darsi, prima di ogni presa di posizione assertiva. Il punto di partenza intrascurabile deve essere, per queste ragioni, proprio quello dell’evidenza antepredicativa. Essa esercita un ruolo primario nello svilupparsi della funzione di credenza, fondamentale tanto nella dimensione epistemologica quanto in quella gnoseologica in generale. E’ l’esperienza stessa, infatti, ad offrire nella sua forma peculiare le ragioni della fondazione del sapere: in un certo senso, gli oggetti si offrono prescientificamente già come “tali da essere creduti certi”. Tuttavia, Husserl mette in guardia, è opportuno tematizzare un’ulteriore analisi critica dell’idea di evidenza. Da un lato, infatti, si dà il carattere evidente degli oggetti della natura, del loro semplice darsi precategoriale, dall’altro si dà il concetto di evidenza apodittica. Effettivamente il mondo naturale si offre nella nostra esperienza come evidente e noi sappiamo di essere, in fondo, tenuti a crederci. Tuttavia, questa forma di evidenza, che è la stessa che si costituisce nell’esperienza antepredicativa originando quella predicativa, è lungi dall’essere apodittica. Come mostrato nell’introduzione, infatti, è sempre per principio possibile avanzare dei dubbi sulla veridicità di taluni eventi d’esperienza, e, nell’ipotesi del genio maligno, persino dell’esperienza nella sua totalità. L’evidenza del mondo naturale pertanto, anche se si presenta come la ragione genetica della credibilità empirica delle scienze positive, non si offre come aggancio legittimo per una costituzione universalmente fondata del sapere. Ciò di cui sia Descartes che Husserl sono alla ricerca, infatti, è un’evidenza apodittica, ovvero assolutamente certa. L’ego cogito giunge qui in nostro soccorso: il soggetto nella sua operatività intenzionale offre un terreno del tutto al di fuori di ogni sospetto, il terreno della manifestatività. Sì può infatti dubitare di questo o di quell’accadimento esperienziale, ci si può spingere fino a dubitare interamente di ogni accadimento, ma non si potrà certo dubitare del “darsi” di tali accadimenti. Le cose del mondo ci si offrono a prescindere dal loro valore ontologico e a prescindere dal nostro atteggiamento speculativo nei loro confronti. Da qui, afferma Husserl, soltanto da questa dimensione certissima può originarsi un’autentica teoria della conoscenza. Descartes, pur avendo il merito storico di porre il problema del sapere in questi termini, secondo il filosofo tedesco era già a questo punto della ricerca sui binari sbagliati. Egli avrebbe infatti finito per confondere il soggetto trascendentale con una porzione indubitabile del mondo: esso, al contrario, non può essere affatto considerato come un indubitabile tra i dubitabili, come un’isola di certezza al centro dell’ oceano tempestoso del dubbio. Il soggetto trascendentale non è altro che il punto estremo di quella correlazione originaria che è l’intenzionalità, quella formazione a priori in cui l’esperienza si offre proprio e soltanto in quanto tale.

Seconda meditazione

Il grande risultato a cui la prima meditazione conduce è il disvelamento del soggetto trascendentale. Con il trascendentale si apre infatti un nuovo ordine di argomentazioni che non si riferisce più al mondo naturale, come inconsapevolmente Descartes fece, bensì si riferisce al modo del suo porsi nella pura esperienza. Il Cogito viene infatti da Husserl ripensato, escludendo la sua componente positiva e formulando l’inedito binomio “cogito – cogitationes”. Il Cogito non è più, di fatto, una parte indubitabile del mondo, ma è il polo soggettivo degli atti cogitativi in cui si dispongono gli eventi di esperienza, le “cogitationes”. Non si dà, in altre parole, una soggettività in assenza degli atti intenzionali in cui la natura si manifesta, e solo questa consapevolezza è aprioristicamente al di fuori di ogni ragionevole dubbio. Così, nella seconda meditazione Husserl distingue una “riflessione naturale” da una “riflessione trascendentale”. Con tali espressioni egli si riferisce alla tipica distinzione tra atteggiamento naturale e atteggiamento fenomenologico, due distinti approcci nei confronti dell’esperienza che egli teorizza in ogni sua introduzione alla fenomenologia a partire da Idee I (1913). Da un lato, infatti, abbiamo l’atteggiamento della quotidianità, non speculativo e immerso nelle credenze proprie del nostro comune rapporto con il mondo, dall’altro l’atteggiamento fenomenologicamente ridotto, quello che tramite l’atto dell’epoché sospende le credenze abituali e conferisce uno sguardo descrittivo e trascendentale sugli eventi d’esperienza. Si tratta dunque proprio della fenomenologia trascendentale, la cui funzione viene in questo testo viene esibita tramite il percorso cartesiano. L’intenzionalità rappresenta l’universale a priori della correlazione, quella funzione originaria entro cui si stabilisce il rapporto tra soggetto trascendentale e oggetto d’esperienza. Ogni atto cogitativo, ogni cogitatio, ha sempre un riferimento esperienziale: ogni attività di coscienza è infatti coscienza-di-qualcosa. Questo legame inscindibile, caratterizzante ogni esperienza, consente di distinguere gli oggetti dell’esperienza dai rispettivi vissuti. Infatti ogni oggettualità ci si offre entro specifici decorsi percettivi, i quali, pur variando, rimangono orientati al medesimo correlato. In questa prima distinzione fenomenologica si inquadrano già quelle due componenti, noesi e noema[i], centrali nell’intero discorso husserliano. Tali nozioni divengono infatti fondamentali nello spiegare come dalla molteplicità del sensibile si costituiscano eideticamente delle singolarità proprie, che trascendono la propria manifestazione pur originandosi in essa. Secondo Husserl nell’attività intenzionale esiste una componente sintetica che è in grado di conferire unità formale ai suoi contenuti. Egli si riferisce alla sintesi temporale, quell’operazione che connette temporalmente atti distinti in medesimi vissuti e che viene da lui teorizzata a partire dagli anni ‘20. La vita intenzionale si caratterizza infatti per disporre di una temporalità la cui presenza è condizione fenomenologica imprescindibile per il costituirsi di oggetti singolari. Questi ultimi infatti accolgono la pluralità noetica delle manifestazioni, rendendosene correlati ultimi. Inoltre, pur costituendosi essi nell’immanenza dei relativi decorsi, il loro significato non si esaurisce mai al loro interno. Nell’esperire un certo oggetto la nostra funzione cognitiva va oltre il suo mero manifestarsi, cogliendone una struttura propria, piena, a tutto tondo. Esso ci si offre sempre prospetticamente, per adombramenti, e per quanto non appaia mai nella sua pienezza ciò che cogliamo non è una porzione di oggetto ma un oggetto intero ed autentico. In ogni decorso d’esperienza si dà, in altre parole, la possibilità di “intendere-di-più” [Mehrmeinung], offrendo strutturalmente la possibilità di andare oltre lo specifico supporto sensibile. Questa “potenzialità predelineata” è ciò che ci consente di parlare di una “trascendenza nell’immanenza” , di un’eccedenza costitutiva tra oggetto e atto della propria presentazione. La ricerca fenomenologica, e con questa osservazione Husserl conclude la seconda meditazione, si delinea dunque come il tentativo di percorrere queste potenzialità proprie dell’esperienza, nella volontà di esplicitare quei caratteri ancora non rivelati della pura manifestatività.

Terza meditazione

Con la terza meditazione Husserl introduce una problematica che accompagna la ricerca fenomenologica già dai suoi primi esordi. Come spiega nelle prime righe, nelle prime due meditazioni egli ha affrontato il problema dell’esperienza riferendosi agli oggetti in senso vasto, nella loro struttura generalissima. Avverte tuttavia l’esigenza di problematizzare ora le modalità delle manifestazione, introducendo dunque delle distinzioni qualitative tra atti e tra correlati. Come detto, la questione dei modi di datità è una componente fondamentale del programma husserliano. Egli riscontra, infatti, delle proprietà fenomenologiche diverse nelle diverse modalità di presentazione della natura, e considera essenziale operarne un’esplicitazione. L’evidenza del mondo naturale torna qui come oggetto di riflessione: essa è infatti una specifica modalità di manifestazione dell’esperienza. Precisamente, essa qualifica il carattere di realtà del mondo, attribuendogli quell’universo di credenze proprio dell’atteggiamento naturale. Nella quotidianità infatti noi percepiamo uno stato di cose a cui siamo spontaneamente portati a credere. In un certo senso, come dice Husserl, noi abbiamo a che fare con oggettualità il cui esserci è scontato, creduto, presupposto. Solo nell’atteggiamento speculativo e poi in quello fenomenologico siamo in grado di dubitarne e poi di sospenderne il giudizio. La natura ci si auto-offre instaurando un rapporto di fiducia a cui non possiamo rinunciare: ci si offre “originariamente”. Parallelamente al modo della realtà, si trova quello che Husserl definisce “quasi-realtà”, ovvero la fantasia. Fantasia, tuttavia, che è da intendere non come facoltà creatrice e creativa, ma come atto della presentificazione. Laddove esiste quella evidenza originaria, infatti, si ha a che fare con una realtà: al contrario, dove essa manca si offre una presentificazione, una presenza nel “come-se”, un’aleggiare in fronte a me di qualcosa il cui esistere è manifestamente non implicito. La natura, afferma infine Husserl, proprio per le distinte qualità del suo darsi si raggruppa in distinte “regioni ontologiche”. Oggetti con proprietà simili staranno così nei medesimi insiemi, determinando una classificazione generale delle oggettualità del mondo, formali e materiali. Anche in questo caso, tuttavia, il problema è soltanto accennato, senza essere debitamente sviluppato come invece accade in altre ricerche. Si evidenzia infatti come l’intenzione del filosofo tedesco in questo testo non sia quella di svolgere una compiuta indagine fenomenologica, quanto più di introdurla, inserendola all’interno di quella tradizione di pensiero che Descartes ha avuto il merito di inaugurare.

Quarta meditazione

Una questione su cui Husserl ne le Meditazioni Cartesiane si sofferma al punto da offrirne una approfondita analisi è quella dell’Io trascendentale. La quarta e la quinta meditazione, infatti, esaminano da più punti di vista la costituzione della soggettività, nel suo definirsi in una rete pluri-soggettiva. In particolare, nella quarta egli afferma che l’Io trascendentale è, innanzitutto, “polo identico dei vissuti”. La struttura dell’intenzionalità infatti presenta due estremità legate in un’unica correlazione. Da un lato la dimensione soggettiva, dall’altro la dimensione oggettuale. Quest’ultima, quando presente con carattere d’evidenza si auto-esplicita come “lì in sé stessa”: tuttavia questa autonomia originaria rimane inseparabile dalla relazione al soggetto, che mantiene per principio il suo carattere di apriorità. Allo stesso modo il soggetto, per quanto costituito in un’autocoscienza egologica, rimane inscindibile dal rapporto intenzionale. Ogni atto di coscienza è coscienza-di-qualcosa, ma reciprocamente ogni presenza oggettuale è presenza-a-qualcosa. In questa duplice inscindibilità originaria si cela l’essenza propria dell’intenzionalità, ovvero quella funzione correlativa universale e a priori di ogni evento d’esperienza. A questo punto dell’argomentazione, una riflessione critica su quali esiti stia offrendo la soluzione fenomenologica del problema cartesiano sembra essere legittima. Infatti, è proprio Husserl a chiamare in causa il dibattito contemporaneo intorno alla questione dell’idealismo per cercare di dare risposta a coloro interessati a collocare il pensiero husserliano entro le tradizionali categorie della metafisica moderna. La fenomenologia trascendentale così esposta rappresenta un nuovo esempio di idealismo trascendentale? Da un lato, lo spirito cartesiano che permea questo scritto sembra suggerirci una risposta positiva. In effetti, Husserl affronta senza indugi la tipica domanda sulla verità del mondo, abbandonandosi radicalmente al dubbio scettico e scoprendo dunque il fianco a critiche anti-metafisiche. D’altra parte, a chiunque muovesse obiezioni di tale impronta egli non potrebbe che replicare con severità. In fondo, il suo esplicito intento è sin dall’inizio quello di sgomberare il campo da ogni forma di dogmatismo, sia metafisico che positivista. A chi dunque ponesse un problema di “metafisicità” della fenomenologia trascendentale, la sola risposta possibile sarebbe quella di mostrare come in realtà l’intero programma fenomenologico (e lo stesso problema cartesiano, in fondo) voglia rappresentare la strada per superare certamente il realismo ingenuo, ma anche e non di meno superare ogni forma di metafisica spiritualista. Dall’altro lato, Husserl ammette la possibilità di riferirsi alla fenomenologia trascendentale come a una dottrina “idealista” a patto che si chiarisca efficacemente il termine. Non bisogna infatti dimenticare il netto scarto teorico che distingue la fenomenologia dalle tradizionali teorie della conoscenza, cioè quell’operazione di sospensione del giudizio che conduce ad un terreno d’indagine fenomenologicamente ridotto e privo di posizioni d’essere a priori. Solo per questa via, sostiene Husserl, è legittimo avanzare una dottrina del conoscere e inaugurare un idealismo che è “discoprimento sistematico della stessa intenzionalità costituente”. Non si tratta, infatti, di speculazioni arbitrarie e creative sull’origine del sapere, bensì un’indagine serrata delle strutture manifestative dell’esperienza nella loro vivida  concretezza. In questi termini, afferma il filosofo tedesco,  la fenomenologia è sicuramente da considerarsi la vera autentica espressione dell’idealismo trascendentale.

Quinta meditazione

Nella quinta meditazione Husserl affronta nuovamente il tema dell’Io trascendentale, esponendone qui una’ulteriore problematica che considera necessaria per seguire coerentemente l’impostazione metodologica di cui si è dotato. In che modo si rapporta la soggettività trascendentale con l’estraneità? Come si declinano fenomenologicamente le relazioni intersoggettive? Il filosofo tedesco sembra infatti impensierito dalla possibilità che le sue ricerche egologiche possano essere lette come solipsistiche. Al contrario egli ritiene che il suo sistema teoretico conduca naturalmente ad una dottrina dell’intersoggettività trascendentale, dottrina che costituirebbe quindi il passo conclusivo del percorso filosofico delle Meditazioni Cartesiane. Una volta chiarito cosa si debba intendere con soggettività trascendentale, infatti, Husserl introduce il concetto di “monade”. Egli riprende il linguaggio leibniziano per meglio qualificare il soggetto come una struttura singolare in permanente connessione con altre strutture singolari. Il concetto di monade infatti include implicitamente una dimensione di “proprietà” che è centrale nell’idea husserliana di soggettività. L’oggetto del mondo e l’ambiente in cui l’Io trascendentale è immerso si offre come elemento di interazione propria, privata, delimitando un campo di operatività intenzionale. Tuttavia all’interno di tale campo si presentano anche delle estraneità di cui viene riconosciuta sia la somiglianza che l’alterità. Nuove soggettività, infatti, prendono posizione, costituendo delle relazioni intersoggettive proprie della vita intenzionale. L’esperienza del’estraneo, dunque, non è affatto un elemento assente nella prospettiva della fenomenologia trascendentale, ma, al contrario, ne costituisce un passaggio chiave per una comprensione complessiva.

Le meditazioni di un’esistenza

Le Meditazioni Cartesiane rappresentano uno dei diversi testi di introduzione alla fenomenologia che Husserl ha prodotto. Le peculiarità stilistiche e metodologiche, tuttavia, rendono tale scritto una composizione decisamente originale all’interno della sua produzione. Pur inserendosi nell’ultimo decennio della sua riflessione, quando la sua esperienza filosofica era già giunta a maturità e notorietà, con esso si ha l’impressione di avere a che fare con un problema antico o, in altre parole, con il problema di sempre. Il dubbio scettico, la ricerca di radicalità, il desiderio di eliminare ogni pregiudizio, sono elementi che richiamano quell’atteggiamento che spesso caratterizza i primi interessi. Forse era proprio questa sensazione a dare al filosofo tedesco l’esigenza di produrre una riflessione così impostata: la volontà, dopo un pluri-decennale e costante esercizio di pensiero, di dare delle risposte definitive a quei problemi profondi che fin da giovane lo interrogavano. Nel percorso cartesiano che Husserl intraprende in queste meditazioni sta in fondo la metafora del cammino di un’esistenza filosofica che, dall’impaccio dei primi movimenti, procede verso la meta ignota della conoscenza, lasciando a noi il piacere di una lettura che pretende sia curiosità che spirito critico.

Riferimenti bibliografici

Altobrando Andrea, Husserl e il problema della monade, prefazione di Ugo Ugazio, Trauben, Torino, 2010.

Costa Vincenzo, Fenomenologia dell’intersoggettività, Carocci, Roma, 2010.

De Warren Nicolas, Husserl’s Cartesianism, Anew, Discipline Filosofiche 25 (2), 2015.

Ferrarello Susi, Husserl’s theory of intersubjectivity, Cultura 9(2), 163-174, 2012.

Gallagher Shaun, Intersubjectivity in perception, Continental philosophy review 41(2), 163-178, 2008.

Luft Sebastian, Subjectivity and Lifeworld in Transcendental Phenomenology, Northwestern University Press, 2011.

Moran Dermot, Husserl’s Transcendental Philosophy and the Critique of Naturalism, Continental Philosophy Review 41(4), 401-425, 2008.

Reynaert Peter, Intersubjectivity and naturalism – Husserl’s fifth Cartesian meditation revisited, Husserl Studies 17(3), 207-216, 2001.

Zahavi Dan, Beyond empathy: Phenomenological approaches to intersubjectivity, Journal of Consciousness Studies 8(5-7), 151-167, 2001.

Zahavi Dan, Husserl and Transcendental Intersubjectivity: A Response to the Linguistic-Pragmatic critique, Series in continental thought, Ohio University Press, 2001.

[i] I termini “noesi” e “noema” vengono introdotti da Husserl nel 1913, con la pubblicazione di Idee per una fenomenologia pura e per una filosofia fenomenologica I. Con “noesi” egli si riferisce alle diverse esibizioni intenzionali in cui un oggetto si offre nell’esperienza; con “noema”, invece, intende il riferimento oggettuale singolo che viene offerto nella pluralità di atti noetici.

Dan Zahavi (Ed.): The Oxford Handbook of the History of Phenomenology, Oxford University Press, 2018

The Oxford Handbook of the History of Phenomenology Book Cover The Oxford Handbook of the History of Phenomenology
Dan Zahavi (Ed.)
Oxford University Press
Hardback £110.00