Phenomenology as Critique: Teleological–Historical Reflection and Husserl’s Transcendental Eidetics

Husserl Studies 32 (1):21-46 (2016)
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Many have deemed ineluctable the tension between Husserl’s transcendental eidetics and his Crisis method of historical reflection. In this paper, I argue that this tension is an apparent one. I contend that dissolving this tension and showing not only the possibility, but also the necessity of the successful collaboration between these two apparently irreconcilable methods guarantees the very freedom of inquiry Husserl so emphatically stressed. To make this case, I draw from Husserl’s synthetic analyses of type and concept constitution as well as his later work on sedimentation and streaming-in and develop a richer modal taxonomy than the one Husserl proposed. I employ this taxonomy in an examination of the structures and conditions for the possibility of transcendental eidetic variation in order to show this method’s reliance on historically sedimented epistemic and normative resources. This reliance brings to light the necessity for a methodological critique, which is precisely what I take to be the work of teleological–historical reflection as Husserl comes to conceive it in the Crisis.
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Naturalizing Phenomenology: Issues in Contemporary Phenomenology and Cognitive Science.Petitot, Jean; Varela, Francisco; Pachoud, Bernard & Roy, Jean-Michel (eds.)

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