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414 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY our times. Generalized references to the Nazis and the Bolsheviks are not adequate substitutes for more specific analyses. I would also have liked a more substantial discussion of the whole issue of values which justifies the basic assumption of the book that the "human subject" is the central value. Many people would not grant this assumption, and without it the argument of the book collapses. W. H. WERKMEISTER Florida ~tate University Major Problems in Contemporary European Philosophy. By Ludwig Landgrebe. Trans. Kurt F. Reinhardt. (New York: Frederick Ungar, 1966. Pp. v -b 227. $5.75) This work is a translation of Landgrebe's well-known study, Philosophie der Gegenwart. Although ostensibly a critical and historical study of contemporary trends in European philosophy, the book is primarily concerned with philosophical developments in Germany and, in particular, with those contemporary philosophical investigations which have led to the emergence of Heidegger's "new" ontology. Since Landgrebe is more than sympathetic with the Heideggerian notion that the fundamental philosophical question is the question of BEING (Seins#age), it is not surprising that the shadow of Heidegger plays upon every page of this book. Landgrebe is concerned to provide an analysis of a philosophical movement in an historical situation, to trace the dissolution of traditional structures of thought, and to describe the development of a philosophical inquiry which delves into the nature of being in terms of "the ultimate datum of human existence" (p. 14). In doing so, Landgrebe focuses his attention upon the search for a philosophical anthropology--the attempt to answer what Kant described as one of the fundamental philosophical questions: What is man?--the Kehre in Western thought which began with Descartes' Meditations, and the philosophical consequences of the release of man from the Christian Weltanschauung, and the concomitant emergence of technocentrism. One of the consequences of the historical and philosophical change of orientation (at least in European philosophy) is a marked concern with the existence of the concrete individual without having recourse to a search for a ground for his existence in a Hinterwelt. Despite this concern, there has been an attempt--in existential phenomenology--to overcome Cartesian dualism and the subjectivistic standpoint of idealism. The problem of the interpretation (Deutung) of experience in the broadest sense was raised, Landgrebe maintains, in Arnold Gehlen's Der Mensch and was pursued in th~ work of Dilthey and Husserl. For Dilthey human experience must be understood in terms of life as it is known from within, in the process of understanding as it takes place in an historical-social context. For ttusserl the question is dealt with in terms of a methodology which endeavors to discriminate, through retrospective inquiry, the nature of what is given as itself (es selbst) in original experience. This hermeneutic concern conditioned the development of phenomenology and emphasized that the questions concerning what man is and what is there are fundamentally questions calling for the interpretation of the immediate data of consciousness. Landgrebe argues with some cogency that Husserl's "reductive regress to pure consciousness" should have led him to the solus ipse in its historical facticity (p. 35), the "I" in its existential vitality. But in effect the factual ego is objectified in phenomenology and its place as the "leaping-off-point" (Absprungspunkt) is yielded to the conception of Bewusstsein ~berhaupt. It was Heidegger who transcended the idealistic standpoint of Husserl's phenomenological essentialism. Landgrebe avers that Husserl was in his Die Krisis der Europtiischen Wissenscha#en und die transzendentale Phiinomenologie already moving away from a basic concern with the essence of human consciousness in general to a concern with man in his historical particularity. Landgrebe's treatment of Husserl's phenomenology is both informed and incisive. Although fair to Husserl, he is able to show succinctly the essential "ambivalence" of Husserl's phenomenology and to urge the need to reinterpret phenomenology in such a way as to attend to man in his individual, and concrete existence. BOOK REVIEWS 415 In the chapter entitled "The Nature of Man," the author tries to explicate the fundamental opposition between Max Scheler and Husserl. For Husserl the person, his nature and being were only one question concerning...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 414-416
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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