“Mag die Welt eine Hölle sein”: Husserl’s Existential Ethics

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Can one meaningfully speak of “an existential Husserl”? The aim of this paper is to explore the indigenous existential concerns of Husserl’s ethical thinking after the First World War by focusing on his “Freiburg Manuscripts.” In these reflections, Husserl re-frames the “imaginative destruction of the world,” a centerpiece for the phenomenological method of suspension and reduction, in ethical terms. In doing so, he poses the questions: Is it possible to strive to become an ethical person if one cannot assure oneself of the ethical meaningfulness of the world? Would I still want to be an ethical person in a world that is hell? Can I even live in a meaningless world? In response to this haunting of ethical life by the specter of its own impossibility, Husserl develops his novel doctrine of absolute values, the affective basis of ethical imperatives, the significance of what we care about, and the idea of the autonomy of freedom as grounded in the self-responsibility of an ethical person and their responsiveness to their chosen values.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationContributions To Phenomenology
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages22
StatePublished - 2022

Publication series

NameContributions To Phenomenology
ISSN (Print)0923-9545
ISSN (Electronic)2215-1915

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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