Husserl a Herod?

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T.S. O'Rama has posted a reather interesting list from Jonas Goldberg of 20th century Herods. And while I have very little problem with most of the people of the list, I must take exception to the phenomenologists (and thus to some extent the "personalists" who derive from them) and the "Husserlites."

As a Carmelite, it should be very obvious why I should do so, but perhaps not so clear to those unfamiliar witht he background of St. Teresa Bendicta of the Cross, a phenomenologist and perhaps the chief Husserlite who became a Carmelite Nun largely because of her work in philosophy and phenomenology (let's not forget perhaps a touch of Grace--or more than a touch).

So pace Mr. Goldberg. While I concur wholeheartedly with several entries on your list, unlike postmodernism, phenomenology has given rise to some good things--John Paul II, St. Teresa Benedicta, Theology of the Body, etc.

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That's a good point, and Jonah received some mail on it. He posted this on "The Corner":

"From a reader:
Dear Jonah,
you've got to understand, there are Husserlites and Husserlites. Husserl's original school of Phenomenology in Gottingen was a powerhouse of post-Kantian philosophical realism. His early students have had a major impact in developing the personalist philosophy that has had a major influence on, among others, John Paul II, who did his phil. dissertation on Max Scheler. Among his students were Adolf Reinach, Dietrich von Hildebrand, Edith Stein, and in our own day (my own marvelous former profs) Josef Seifert and John Crosby. My husband is a philosophy prof at the new Ave Maria University. Both he and his colleague, Maria Fedoryka, were trained in what is called "phenomenological realism," based on Husserl's motto "Back to things in themselves" and a rehabilitation of the idea of the mind's ability to know OBJECTS, not just mental images of objects.

Husserl took a disastrous turn later in his career, which led right to Heidegger, but please don't paint all Husserlites with the same brush! I think his lesser known stream of followers will one day be seen at the forefront of the great renewal of realist philosophy that's just around the corner.

Otherwise, no complaints about your list.
Katie van Schaijik"

Dear T.S.,

Thanks much for that--far better informed that I could be in the matter. I don't much visit places where controversy thrives and I don't know much about Husserl himself--although Heidegger and the immensely deplorable and wretched Paul de Man are all too familiar--one the head philosopher of the Nazi regime, the other giving and entirely new and perverted twist to the term "collaborator."

Thanks again--it's nice to see that there are people out there ready to rise to the defense of reason.



If that Katie gal hadn't gotten him, you would have. Good job.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on February 4, 2004 9:29 AM.

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