Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Smith, Caitlin. "Edmund Husserl and the Crisis of Europe." MODERN AGE 48.1 (2006).

EDMUND HUSSERL (1859-1938) was the last great European rationalist, albeit a unique and even paradoxical one: the father of phenomenology but also of existentialism; the Cartesian whose researches in the end eviscerate the cogito; the mathematician-logician whose ultimate concern was spirit. The final phase of his thought, like the final phase of his life, unfolded in Nazi Germany in the years just prior to the Second World War. . . . Husserl was to suffer persecution at the hands of the Nazis (and even at the hands of his erstwhile disciple Martin Heidegger) but his death in 1938 spared him the fate of his fellow Jews. And like so many German Jews, Husserl was thoroughly assimilated, more German than Jew, the product of high German intellectual culture, the “Good European” profoundly concerned with the destiny of a contemporary Europe dominated by Heidegger on the one hand and the Vienna Circle on the other; the rationalist offended, astonished, and challenged by the philosophical irrationalism, skepticism, and mysticism of his day and among his own disciples. . . . Read the rest here:

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