Edmund Husserl Philosophy

Insight into the philosophy of Edmund Husserl, that consciousness is directedness towards an object. He criticized psychologism.

German philosopher Edmund Husserl, famous for his philosophy on object directedness, is regarded the founder of phenomenological movement. Like René Descartes, Husserl believed in philosophy as a rational enterprise beginning with the self-evidence of one’s own subjectivity, a view famously rejected by Martin Heidegger, his follower and intellectual heir.

Life of Edmund Husserl in a Nutshell

Edmund Gustav Albrecht Husserl (April 8, 1859 – April 26, 1938) was a German philosopher, regarded founder of phenomenolgy. He was born into a Moravian Jewish family but baptized as Lutheran in 1887. He studied mathematics and completed a PhD, then studied philosophy.

Husserl taught philosophy from 1887. He became a professor, first at Göttingen from 1901, and later at Greiburg from 1916 until his 1928 retirement.
Hesserl’s Philosophy: Phenomenology

His phenomenology begins with the concept of ‘intentionality’, as conceived by Brentano, who claims that all conscious states refer to a content, though that content may or may not exist, may be abstract or particular. For example, a person is afraid of ghosts. The person’s fear is directed to something (ghosts), the fear is real whether the ghosts exist or not.

This leads Husserl to claim that consciousness is ‘directedness towards an object.’ The mental state and the object of the state exist together in consciousness without implying that there is any ‘material’ object answering to the call. Pursuing further the idea, he thought that philosophy’s aim should be to understand all ways in which this ‘directedness’ manifests itself.

Husserl, like Descartes, sees himself as involved in a foundational inquiry of discovering certainties. Since all ‘knowledge-of-things’ is acquired through the intentional objects of consciousness, any science of knowledge must begin with the intentional, with what can be known without doubt. He insisted that philosophy must proceed like science, from real issues and problems.

Knowledge of Self

He is more concerned with sceptism regarding ‘knowledge of self’ rather that with skepticism about ‘knowledge of things.’

In his Logical Investigations, Husserl criticizes psychologism, which is the attempt to base logic on psychology, and he introduces the key themes in phenomenology. His Ideas is an exposition and development of the main themes in phenomenology. Formal and Transcendental Logic deals with the phenomenological foundations of formed logic.

Works by Edmund Husserl

Logical Investigations, 1900-1901
Ideas, 1913
Formal and Transcendental Logic, 1929
Cartesian Meditations, 1931
Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology, 1936

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