Abstract HPCF conference Rome 2012
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“On Husserl’s Difficulties in his Analysis of the Emotion-Value Correlation: An Alternative Phenomenological Approach”

Panos Theodorou

Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Department of Philosophy and Social Studies

University of Crete, Greece.


It is generally known that Edmund Husserl repeatedly tried to apply the fundamental discoveries of his Phenomenology (Logical Investigations, 1900-01; Ideas I, 1913) in the direction of a Phenomenological Axiology. Generally speaking, he wanted to accomplish an uncovering of the emotive life in terms of intentional living-experiences in which values are given as their correlative objectities. Equally well-known, however, is also the ‘rumor’ that Husserl actually failed to develop that analysis in a satisfactory way. In my talk I plan, firstly, to offer a summary presentation of the reasons why this project failed. Husserl neither managed to arrive at a clear view on what values qua phenomena are nor did he escape from the ‘immanentistic’ perspective regarding the essence of intentional experiences. Then, I will try to elaborate on a possible way out of these shortcomings of Husserlian Phenomenology. On the one hand, an effort will be made in order to arrive at a phenomenologically lucid account of values as intentional objectities. On the other hand, it will be suggested that this new Leitfaden can lead us to a different perspective regarding the possibility of viewing the structural constitution of the intentionality of emotive acts.



The Lifeworld as an Ethical Appeal to Mankind

P. Reynaert

University of Antwerp


In my paper, I want to explain how Husserl developed his notion of the Lifeworld already early on in his phenomenology, and understood it from the very beginning as an ethical concept, defining the human condition. The presence of this problematic gives his work an ethically inspired coherence.

It is possible to trace back the origin of this central concept of his later philosophy to the period in which he worked on his “Ideas…”. He then coined the term Umwelt, which later became the Lebenswelt, and described its defining characteristics in contrast with the world of the physical sciences. Already in Ideas, book 2, Husserl criticized naturalism for obscuring the correct phenomenological analysis of the lifeworld and of its foundational role for the naturalistic attitude, a thesis repeated in the Crisis, §§ 9h) and 33. This aspect of his criticism of naturalism is well known.

But more importantly, Husserl’s antinaturalism also has an ethical inspiration. He claims that this lifeworld is also the object of a world-view (Weltanschauung), which is basically an ethical conviction. A world-view is about what matters for mankind, it formulates the values and the ethical aims people of a certain age want to live for. This is developed in his article “Philosophy as a Rigorous Science”. Husserl then goes on to argue that the true ethical goal of mankind, his real vocation, is to develop a non-naturalistic philosophy as rigorous science, which fulfils the normative ideal of the worldview, which a particular worldview, because of its historical context, cannot realize. He also claims that his phenomenology realizes this fulfillment of real humanity.

My approach thus shows how a fundamental ethical concern is central to his philosophy, whereas Husserl-researchers haven’t really been able to integrate his ethical ideas into the body of his work on the need for a new transcendental philosophy. Husserl’s ethical thinking has always either been ignored or considered a strange, not very well fitting appendix to his real transcendental core business. My approach elucidates a coherence in Husserl’s work which has largely been neglected.


Reflection and Personal Self-Transformation

Hanne Jacobs – Loyola University Chicago

“By means of phenomenology, I reveal the transcendental sense of I, we, and world, and while doing this I do not only gain access to myself in my ultimate truth, but in and through this knowledge I am at the same time individually another than who I was before” (Hua XXXIX, 215).

Once one philosophically reflects on life as it is lived, the question arises: how and to what extent does and can this philosophical reflection change the life on which it reflects? In this paper, I will address the question of how and to what extent phenomenological reflection changes the life of the phenomenologist. Specifically, I will outline three aspects of the process of phenomenological reflection that lead to the transformation of the subject that undertakes this investigation: reflective distance, the personal habituality of the phenomenologist, and what Husserl saw as the mature stage of phenomenological reflection—namely, an insight into what he called transcendental idealism. It is specifically the latter insight into transcendental idealism that, in Husserl’s view, introduces a game changing insight into the life of the one who reflects. In my paper, I hope to make sense of this peculiar claim of Husserl and suggest that an insight into what Husserl called transcendental idealism amounts to a form of epistemic modesty that is compatible with and even the outcome of a serious commitment to truth, even if this truth is by necessity a truth “on installment.”


La prerogativa di un’assiologia formale

nella fenomenologia di Husserl

Nicoletta Ghigi

Università degli Studi di Perugia 

Con questa riflessione sul concetto di etica in Husserl, ci prefiggiamo l’obiettivo di chiarire innanzitutto lo scopo e la possibilità di un’etica come scienza in seno alla fenomenologia husserliana. Quanto sta a cuore all’autore, a nostro avviso, concerne il tentativo di spogliare la disciplina etica dal carattere ingenuo e spontaneo attribuitale dalle osservazioni della psicologia naturalista. Il desiderio di rendere universale anche l’esperienza etica diviene per Husserl un chiaro obiettivo fin dalle Lezioni del 1914 sino a quelle del 1920 e del 1924.

In questo nostro lavoro sarà nostro scopo prendere in esame sia l’uno che gli altri corsi, in modo da poter delineare una posizione piuttosto obiettiva di Husserl nei riguardi della fondazione scientifica e trascendentale dell’etica e della costituzione di un’assiologia formale.



The context of phenomenological inquiry in Husserl and Heidegger


James N. McGuirk, University of Nordland


In making the “things themselves” the starting point for phenomenological inquiry, Husserl clearly intends to anchor his philosophical reflections in the givenness of the meaningful in ordinary lived experience. Because of this, Phenomenology can be said to begin not with what is most difficult but with what is easiest in the sense that it is to ordinary experience that we must turn in order to uncover the fundamental structures of meaningful experience. In making the natural attitude its theme, phenomenological inquiry is explicitly about making the ‘taken for granted’ givenness of self and world into a problem (Hua III/I, 56-7; Schütz 1966).

In the first part of my paper, I outline a problem connected to this. Specifically, I note that the shift of perspective that is involved in moving from the natural to the phenomenological attitudes involves, by Husserl’s own admission, a very unusual kind of reflection that seems hardly motivated by the ordinary experience it seeks to thematize. Phenomenological investigation, then, seems to involve close attention to the everyday but also seems a very free and scholastic type of activity. Nowhere is this clearer that in Husserl’s description of the motivation for the performance of the phenomenological epoché in Ideas I, where what motivates appears to be a curiosity that is not quite anchored in the concerns of life. Thus, phenomenology investigates the concerns of the everyday while the investigation is in no way motivated by these concerns.

In the second part of the paper, I turn to Heidegger’s framing of Phenomenology within existential ontology which was specifically designed to tackle this shortcoming by situating phenomenological inquiry within the context of a properly worked out account of its motivation (cf. Crowell 2007). By showing that (1) it is in the context of the search for meaning that we question to begin with (Heidegger 1962, 24), (2) that that questioning is manifest (even if opaquely) through all the contours of Being-in-the-world and (3) that there are specific experiences in which the urgency of this questioning is felt (ibid., 317), Heidegger was able to account for the turn to ordinary experience and to do so phenomenologically. He managed thus to situate phenomenological research phenomenologically, in a way that Husserl never did.

In the final part of the paper, however, I return to certain texts of Husserl which seem to suggest that the curiosity that motivates the thematization of the natural attitude is not, in fact, motivationally neutral but firmly anchored in a personalism that acts as context for the life of rational discovery (Hua V, VI, XXVII). But more than just claiming this, Husserl provides a sketch for a phenomenological account of the motivation to phenomenology which, while not as central as what Heidegger offers, suggests a deep awareness of the need to situate phenomenological inquiry in an existential context.



The constitution of intersubjective validity in Husserl's phenomenology


This paper addresses the problem of the constitution of intersubjective validity in Husserl's phenomenology, analyzing the theoretical key points that accompany Husserl’s work in its most striking developments. The research is concerned with the verifiability of the dynamic immanence-transcendence which, starting from the Ich-Pol, tries to resolve in the Other.

The purpose of this analysis is to show the difficulties of this dynamic towards transcendence, confining the Self in an unsurmountable immanence, consisting from the very first step of a not at all obvious complementarity between eidetic intuition and entropathy presented in Ideen I.

The paper aims at showing the exclusivity of a phenomenology of immanence that is difficult to be unfolded on a transcendent plane, compromising the inter-relationship between Self and Other, and above all, the intermonadic constitution depending on this pair, that is presented as entropathy, as analogon, as ursprünglicher Paarung (originary pairing), and finally as Lebenswelt in Husserl’s works. I intend to test the hypothesis of the theoretical inaccessibility of the transcendent plane of the Other on the part of the Self, and, on this basis, my purpose is to analyze the solutions given by Husserl,  which invariably remain in a state of irreversible immanence, compromising the general design of a constitution of intersubjective validity.

I will proceed by analyzing two keystones of phenomenology: first, the solution represented by Husserl’s eidetic intuition, and, secondly, intersubjectivity as a way to overcome the egological immanence. Considering these two perspectives, I will highlight how each of them runs the risk of being contradictory with respect to the other: on the one hand, eidetic intuition does not constitutively need intersubjectivity; on the other hand, entropathy is reduced to a feeble intuition of the corporeal manifestations of the Other, being uncapable in this way to fulfil the heavy task Husserl assigned to it.

Husserl’s Intersubjective Reduction


Nathan Phillips

Ph.D. Candidate

University of Chicago


My research is focused on Husserl’s use of the concept Umwertung or revaluation to describe the phenomenological reduction. How is reduction a revaluation? What are the implications of this revaluation for the parallel between phenomenological psychology and transcendental subjectivity? To what extent does Husserl’s description of reduction as an Umwertung shed new light on the problem of ethics and intersubjectivity? Specifically, how does the reduction contribute to Husserl’s analysis of empathy and the immanent analogical apperception of the other? And what are the implications for the reduction as revaluation for Husserl’s theory of value? The paper focuses on Husserl’s writings on intersubjectivity in the period from 1905-1920, in order to situate Husserl’s analysis of intersubjectivity in light of the development of the theory of phenomenological reduction. Thus, the paper will focus on the implication of the reduction for Husserl’s understanding of intersubjectivity in the years between the first decisive emergence of the reduction in 1906-07, including the analysis of the theory of value from 1908-1914, culminating in the description of reduction as Umwertung in Ideen 1 of 1913. The theoretical contribution of this paper will be not only to highlight some key elements of Husserl’s ethics, but to examine the ethics in light of the reduction precisely as a revaluation.


The return to the lifeworld

Abraham Olivier

University of Fort Hare, South Africa

“...we had long known that every human has his/her own ‘represen­tation of the world’, and so does every nation, and every multinational cultural system live in a different world as its environment, so to speak, just like every historical period too lives in its own.” Thus wrote Husserl to Lévy-Bruhl to thank him for the gift of his latest book, La mythologie primitive. Le monde mythique des Australiens et des Papous. Husserl’s reflections on cultural differences are particularly interesting for an understanding of his advocacy of the importance of the meaning of the “life-world”, “lived-subjectivity”,and “lived ethical experience”. It is significant that Pauline Hountjondji, renowned for his criticism of ethnological approaches such as Lévy-Bruhl’s, takes Husserl as his point of departure to argue for a “reduction”, that is, a return to ethnic subjectivity. In his book, African Philosophy: Myth and Reality, Hountjondji warns: “This return to the subject does not however imply a retreat into subjectivity—on the contrary! The investigation of experience seeks to confirm the objectivity of essences, by identifying in experience itself an internal element of transcendence that obliges it to recog­nize its objective correlate.” If Hountjondji calls for “the return of the African subject”, its phenomenological sense is a return to the particular, prereflective, social roots of African subjects as the starting point of a philosophical or any kind of objective assessment of their subjectivity. I shall use the comparison of Husserl and Hountjondji to argue that the call for the return to life-world subjectivity holds a decisive claim, which is that subjectivity qua “like-ness” of experience is inextricably bound to intentionality qua “about-ness” of experience. My aim is twofold. Firstly, I argue that the specific life-world, which subjects are intentionally aligned to, is the precondition of their subjectivity, both in the sense of subjective experience and selfhood. Secondly, I show that this argument has decisive ethical implications. This will amount to the advocacy for a return to subjectively lived ethical experience, a return which, paradoxically, will strengthen rather than weaken objectivity.



Husserl’s Call for Renewal: Toward a Science of Culture

Gloria Zúñiga y Postigo Ph.D

Associate Faculty, The University of Texas at Arlington 

In the first of his Kaizo papers, Husserl observes that there is a missing science for the examination of cultural renewal. This observation is a response to the collapse that he perceives has occurred in the intellectual, economic, and moral potential of Western culture following the First World War. For Husserl, culture is constituted by the values and norms of a society. However, not any values or norms will do. These must be guided by a true practical rationality and lead us to exact laws of cultural renewal. Only science, Husserl claims, can shine the light toward this goal. Husserl criticizes “the empirical sciences of man”—especially what he calls “the merely inductive psychology,” but he seems to include also history, sociology, and perhaps economics too, in the bunch—because these “cannot offer us what we need in our striving for renewal.”

        I shall examine Husserl’s criticism of the social sciences by the light cast by the developments of the Austrian School of economics at the turn of the 20th Century. Carl Menger, the founder of the Austrian School of economics, advanced exact laws that not only led us to a greater understanding of economic value phenomena but these set the foundation for the new paradigm for economic science that we have today. Menger was a contemporary of Brentano’s and both led in Vienna what have become known as the first and second schools of value, respectively.

        Nonetheless, the important question to ask is whether Husserl’s brand of phenomenology is the most promising phenomenological direction in the examination of culture. Toward this end, I shall contrast Husserl’s science of renewal with the path carved by Edith Stein, one of his students and a member of the Göttingen Circle.



On the foundations of material a priori truth.

José Ruiz Fernández


Assistant professor at the University Complutense of Madrid.

The main general goal of my talk is to briefly consider in a new light the phenomenological evidence of what is usually referred to as “material a priori truth”. Through a consideration of the evidence we have of the proposition that something colored necessarily has a surface, the talk attempts to show that this evidence is of a different kind from the one we have of other propositions also involving necessity and, thus, that two different types of evidence of propositions involving necessity have to be recognized. The main peculiarity of the evidence of the proposition I focus on is found in the fact that such evidence revolves around the linguistic meaning therein employed being rooted or consolidated in a factual world. The talk proposes an understanding of synthetic a priori truth that reconciles some intuitions of classical Husserlian phenomenology with some intuitions of linguistic meaning that can be found in the second Wittgenstein.


Husserl and Brentano's Idea of Values

Susi Ferrarello, Loyola University (Rome)

“You are judgmental! You are judging me without letting me explain”. How often might it happen that you are just expressing your opinion about something and this opinion turns up to be a moral judgment? In your mind you are only trying to collect all the elements to take a position and put across your idea, but this effort and the words you use to express your position are immediately a moral judgment. What is the difference between a moral and a ‘neutral’ judgment when we talk about our life? How can we state an opinion about something that pertains to our life without putting in it a value and making it a value judgment? Is every judgment on practical life connected to a moral value?

In this paper I would like to make a comparison between Husserl’s and his master’s view on axiology. My aim is to show what they mean with values and how they define the objectivity of the values. What I would like to point out with my work is an overall definition of the value in itself and not as an object that holds a value. Analyzing the ethical works of Brentano and Husserl, I would expound the following issues: If we listen to a melody, does it represent a value in itself? Naturally the melody is not the pure value, but it is what conveys us ‘the lived’ of a valuable experience. Hence the question is: How can we describe the experience of a value? How can we lay out the lived in which we recognize the value of something? Is it actually possible to single out the value in itself from the object that gives us the value?


On the constitution of moral experience – abstract


Søren Engelsen - PHD-fellow at University of Southern Denmark, Department of Philosophy. 


A moral experience can arguably be more than a mere expression of arbitrary inclinations or dispositions of the experiencing subject. An important philosophical task is to explicate what this 'more' can precisely amount to. Phenomenological reconstruction gives evidence for the fact that moral beings can have, with a German term, a genuine moral Erfahrung; that is, an experience which constitutes an awareness of something demanding certain actions – a phenomenological fact which explains the often noted propositional structure of moral discourse and practice. Many are surely skeptical about such picture of morality, taking terms such as moral intuitions, moral 'perception', or simply moral experiences, to denote nothing but arbitrary gut reactions, expressions of socially constructed principles etc. The paper aims to illustrate that we can make sense of a concept of moral experience constituting genuine awareness, namely awareness of qualities which in themselves give reasons for action; reasons of a certain kind, which we can meaningfully call moral. Further, the goal is to illustrate that there is nothing mystical or metaphysically qeeer about genuine moral experience. With a broadly Husserlian outlook, utilizing a so-called genetic phenomenological approach, the paper presents a sketch of a phenomenological reconstruction of basic moments in the constitution of moral phenomena – taking concrete encounters with fellow human beings as example. Three elements are analyzed as necessary structural moments of a genuine moral experience:

(1) Intentional feelings taking reason-giving value qualities as their content

(2) A moment of basic social understanding: In and through the encounter with the Other, value qualities giving pro tanto reasons for action are co-presented (or 'apperceived'). Notably, the reasons are intended as transcending the attitudes of the experiencing subject herself; they are basically intended as emanating from moments in the first-personal experiences of the Other.

(3) A 'balancing' of pro tanto reasons for action given in the entire sphere of experienced practical possibilities, taking one or some reason-giving qualities to 'outweigh' or, to use Husserl's phrase, 'absorb' the others.