Reise um die Welt: Cassirer’s cosmological phenomenology

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Abstract

What has been hazarded as the final philosophy of Europe was launched in earnest a silent decade after its initial breakthrough in the Logical Investigations with the publication of Edmund Husserl’s Ideen I in 1913. As Husserl announces, "pure phenomenology" is "an essentially novel" enterprise that seeks to establish the "foundational science" of philosophy. This incarnation of philosophy as a "rigorous science," a call earlier professed in a 1911 essay in the Neo-Kantian journal Logos, is motivated by a host of ambitions: to realize the Western ideal of philosophy as a science; to clarify the relationship between philosophy and the natural sciences by way of a foundation for their respective constitutions; to culminate the modern philosophical revolution set into motion by Descartes; to lead human existence toward "true humanity" based on a practical life in truth. In fulfilling the "secret desire of modern philosophy," phenomenology represents the advent of a philosophical modernism through which the European project of modernity finds its completion. As with many of the orchestrated surprises in Ideen I, it is only after patiently following its complex progression for some length that the way of phenomenology towards the science of philosophy dawns as the way of transcendental idealism. This transcendental alignment was clear to all, not least of all to Husserl’s own disappointed students, as it saddled Ideen I with a contentious inheritance: Kant’s project of forging a new science of transcendental philosophy. As Kant writes in the Preface to the Critique of Pure Reason, his aim is to find "a secure path" for philosophy to become a science - an aspiration mirrored in the opening sentence of Husserl’s Ideen I: Pure phenomenology is an essentially new science, one that, by virtue of its very distinctiveness, lies far afield of natural thinking and consequently presses now, for the first time, for development. Here we are seeking the way into this science, we characterize its unique position, relative to all other sciences, and we aim to demonstrate it to be the fundamental science of philosophy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNew Approaches to Neo-Kantianism
PublisherCambridge University Press
Pages82-108
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9781139506717
ISBN (Print)9781107032576
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities

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