Husserl's Phenomenological Philosophy of the Physical Sciences
Publication Year: 2014
Published by: Ohio University Press
Series: Series in Continental Thought
Title Page, About the Series, Copyright
This book has been a long time coming, and so has accumulated a fair number of debts of gratitude along the way. Reaching back to the early period of my philosophical formation, I should like to thank a number of my former professors: Lester Embree, John Scanlon, Joseph Kockelmans, and Elisabeth Ströker, from whom I learned much about Husserl; and Larry Laudan, Carl...
In an article titled “Husserl’s Phenomenology and Scientific Realism” Joseph Rouse notes that “those philosophers of science at all familiar with Husserl tend to associate him with views akin to instrumentalism, which has been largely discredited today; he is therefore thought to be of historical interest at...
Part I: Husserl’s Phenomenological Philosophy of Science
1. The Idea of Science in Husserl and the Tradition
My chief task in this chapter will be to outline the contours of Husserl’s conception of the basic structure and defining characteristics of scientific knowledge. In doing so, I will first attempt to locate this conception within the tradition of philosophical reflection on the nature of science, taking Aristotle and Locke as key representatives of this tradition. I will then indicate the...
2. Husserl’s Phenomenology and the Foundations of Science
In the preceding chapter I argued that Husserl appropriated the classical idea of science from the tradition and that he retained this idea throughout the course of his philosophical development. We noted, however, that in the course of that development Husserl converted the idea of science from a universal in the traditional sense to an Idea in the Kantian sense. The former...
Part II: Evidence and the Positing of Existence in Husserl’s Phenomenology
3. Truth, Evidence, and Existence in Husserl’s Phenomenology
The first two chapters of this study provided a general orientation in Husserl’s phenomenological philosophy of science. In this and the following three chapters, I will address the more specific question of the compatibility between Husserl’s phenomenology and a robust appreciation of the theoretical dimension of the physical sciences. I will pose this question in terms of the distinction...
4. Evidence, Rationality, and Existencein Husserl’s Phenomenology
In the preceding chapter on evidence and truth, I suggested that while an occurrent case of evidence does not make the corresponding proposition true, it does make us justified in believing that the corresponding proposition is true. Evidence is that experience whereby a proposition can acquire the sense of being true such that we are justified in making it the object of our assent. Thus...
Part III: The Problem of Theoretical Existence in Husserl’s Philosophy of the Physical Sciences
5. Physical Things, Idealized Objects, and Theoretical Entities
Henry Pietersma once remarked that much of the secondary literature on Husserl is both confused and confusing.1 This is especially the case with respect to Husserl’s alleged “instrumentalism.” As I pointed out in the introduction, there is little agreement on the question of whether Husserl was an instrumentalist. Moreover, scant attention is paid to the particular sense of...
6. Consciousness, Perception, and Existence
In the preceding chapter I argued that Husserl’s instrumentalism, being an instrumentalism of scientific laws, is entirely consistent with a realistic interpretation of scientific theories. It was not Husserl’s intent in the Crisis to deny that theoretical entities exist, but rather to deny that idealized objects are real. At the conclusion of that chapter, I claimed that Husserl’s...
Our study of Husserl’s phenomenological philosophy of the physical sciences has been governed by two overriding considerations: the question concerning the epistemic status and existential import of scientific theories; and the reception of Husserl’s philosophy of science in the anglophone secondary literature. Besides giving a general exposition of Husserl’s phenomenology...