And So Husserl Goes…

(from a seminar handout)

As I said last time, Husserl starts, starts and starts again, and again, tracing and retracing his steps. He makes a set of phenomenological distinctions and elucidates them.  During the elucidation, the need for a new set of more finely drawn phenomenological distinctions becomes clear.  Husserl then retreats and starts over; he retraces his former path, but now with even more-mincing steps.  Sometimes, the former distinctions are overthrown in favor of the latter, sometimes they are kept, but as as marking the gross phenomenological anatomy, and requiring finer phenomenological anatomizing.  And so Husserl goes, back and forth, starting over and over, a beginner among beginners.  Husserlian phenomenology is a race to the starting line.

3 responses

  1. learning how to start again, and not just keep piling on what comes before, is a most important lesson for researchers of all stripes.

    • I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been forcibly struck this term, teaching Plato in one class while teaching Husserl in another, by the frequency with which each says, “Let’s begin again.”

      • having come from a background in lab sciences I’m struck by how little exposure/experience most undergrads in the humanities have to the art of framing a question/problem (and even inventing tools of inquiry), and how in some sense this leaves them as mere technicians, if you will, of established works/circuits.

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