Phenomenology as Rigorous Science

Taylor Carman

in The Oxford Handbook of Continental Philosophy

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780199234097
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:


Phenomenology as Rigorous Science

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Edmund Husserl, the founder of modern phenomenology, always insisted that philosophy is not just a scholarly discipline, but can and must aspire to the status of a ‘strict’ or ‘rigorous science’ (strenge Wissenschaft). Heidegger, by contrast, began his winter lectures in 1929 by dismissing what he called the ‘delusion’ that philosophy was or could be either a discipline or a science as the most disastrous debasement of its innermost essence. To understand what Husserl had in mind, it is important to begin by remembering that the word Wissenschaft has a wider extension than the word ‘science’. German distinguishes the Naturwissenschaften from the Geisteswissenschaften, or human sciences, which Husserl and Heidegger both believed could be perfectly ‘rigorous’ in their own way. Speakers of English, by contrast, tend to draw a threefold distinction among the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities.

Keywords: Edmund Husserl; modern phenomenology; Wissenschaft; Naturwissenschaften; Geisteswissenschaften

Article.  8415 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Philosophy of Mind ; Philosophy of Science

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