PHGA 7235 Husserl’s Ideas II
Professor John Drummond
Tuesdays, 2:00–4:00 pm
This course is a detailed reading of the second volume of Husserl’s three-volume Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and to a Phenomenological Philosophy, and it is subtitled “Studies in the Phenomenology of Constitution.” That notion of “constitution” is itself a problematic one, but it is central to any understanding of phenomenology. Unlike the first volume of Ideas (subtitled “General Introduction to Pure Phenomenology”), which is focused on questions of method and the phenomenological program, general in character, and written in a very dense style, the second volume is concerned to “apply” the phenomenological method and, hence, is very descriptive, focused on particular problems, and not at all dense in style (okay, that last bit’s a lie!). More seriously, in many ways this work is a wonderful introduction to Husserl’s philosophy, because it is one of the places where he is less programmatic in his discussion and does more of the actual work of phenomenology. The book encompasses Husserl’s treatment of some of the most fundamental problems not only in phenomenology but in philosophy as a whole.
The work has a controversial history. Husserl began work on it in 1912 (right after the completion of Ideas I but the year before that work’s publication), and he continued working on it until 1928. Even then, however, it was not published in his lifetime. Only in 1952 was it published in the critical edition of Husserl’s publications and Nachlass. Most of the writing was done between 1912 and 1915, although Husserl continued to add to them over the years. Husserl’s assistant Edith Stein then prepared two different redactions of Husserl’s notes (in 1916 and 1918), the second of which forms the basis for subsequent redactions. There is a controversy about the extent to which Stein’s organization of the notes and transitional remarks shaped Husserl’s continued reflections on these issues. Husserl’s next assistant Ludwig Landgrebe prepared a third version in 1923, incorporating Husserl’s changes to the third section and adding a number of supplementary texts. Landgrebe produced a copy ready for publication in 1925, but Husserl still withheld it and continued to revise portions of the text until 1928. These changes were incorporated into the critical edition text, and our text is a translation of the critical edition.
The work is organized most broadly around the themes of “nature” and “spirit” (Geist=mind or spirit). Hence, over the course of the semester, we shall examine Husserl’s understanding of the following (interrelated) issues:
1. the idea of the natural, or material, world;
2. the perception of material things;
3. the distinction between material and living things;
4. the nature of the living (and lived) body:
5. its role in our perception and knowledge;
6. the relation of mind and body;
7. Husserl’s notion of “attitude,” and his understanding of different attitudes: the natural, the naturalistic, the theoretical, the personalistic, and the philosophical (or phenomenological or transcendental);
8. the “soul” as a psychological concept;
9. the “real” ego and “pure” ego; and
10. the person.
Required Text: Edmund Husserl, Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and to a Phenomenological Philosophy: Second Book: Studies in the Phenomenology of Constitution (Dordrecht: Springer, 1989). Paper edition. ISBN: 978-0-7923-0713-6. $34.95.
Course Requirements: Students are expected to participate in class discussions, make a formal presentation to the class, and write a research paper of 5000 to 7000 words.