Anxiety of Influence? Heidegger on Husserl…


The, er…rocky, but fruitful relationship between Husserl and Heidegger is well known.  I was skimming through Psychological and Transcendental Phenomenology and the Confrontation with Heidegger this afternoon and I came across this passage in a fiery letter Heidegger wrote to Karl Lowith in 1923:

In the final hours of the seminar, I publicaly burned and destroyed the Ideas to such an extent that I dare say that the essential foundations for the whole of my work are now clearly laid out.  Looking back from this vantage point to the Logical Investigations, I am now convinced that Husserl was never a philosopher; not even for one second in his life.  He becomes ever more ludicrous.

And that’s actually pretty tame.  I can’t remember where it is or where I read it, but I think in a letter to Jaspers or another letter to Lowith Heidegger pretty much says something like “Husserl has totally gone off the deep end,” and goes onto accuse Husserl of being impressed with himself for founding phenomenology.  Nothing like a little hostility…

Though one need only to look at Husserl’s marginal notes in his copy of SZ to get wind of his rather unethusiastic reaction.  I think it was there that Husserl characterized Heidegger’s work as either irrational or at best, a superficial continuation of his own work.  Throughout the PTP (cited above) one can find a number of Husserl’s comments regarding Heidegger’s attacks on him as well as Heidegger’s work.

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“Diagrams will never be the Same:” Book Review


A strange book is reviewed in the NDPR:

Frederik Stjernfelt, Diagrammatology: An Investigation on the Borderlines of Phenomenology, Ontology and Semiotics, Springer, 2007, 507pp., $189.00 (hbk), ISBN 9781402056512.

Reviewed by Valeria Giardino, Institut Jean Nicod (CNRS-EHESS-ENS), Paris


Diagrammatology is the product of a very ambitious project: the development of a semiotics based on iconical realism. The book is divided into two parts. The first is devoted to the articulation of the basic tenets of such a realism; the second presents three possible domains of application: biosemiotics, picture theory and literary theory. The issue investigated in the first part and, indeed, the central theme of the book is Peirce’s doctrine of ‘diagrammatical reasoning’, which mainly includes diagrammatic construction, observation and manipulation. This leads to the introduction of the notion of continuity as discussed by Peirce in his mature work. Stjernfelt tries to show that continuity is indeed at the base of Peirce’s attempt at providing a philosophical architecture in which to embed his sign theory.

In Chapter 1, Peirce’s system is introduced, going back to his interest in the philosophy of mathematics and the role of the continuum in Cantorian set theory, and moving to a metaphysical concept of continuity. According to Stjernfelt, it is possible to consider the whole of Peirce’s system through the lens of this concept. First, in semiotics continuity provides an account for general concepts and the relationship between extensional and real reference which is characterised by vagueness and indistinctness. Moreover, in ontology, objects and events are embedded in a horizon continuum of potentiality. Continuity would also be behind the pragmatist notion of truth as that to which the scientific community will converge in the long run, and implies the pragmatist’s fallibilism due to its inherent and ineradicable imprecision. Most of all, continuity is central for drawing general conclusions from a diagram, since diagrams, in all cases, involve a moment of observation, which is, according to Stjernfelt, a process necessarily infused with continuity. Perception and knowledge rely on continuous generality, and it is the very continuity of the sheet upon which a diagram is drawn that becomes a matter of central importance. Stjernfelt then analyses the triads and the trichotomies that populate Peirce’s philosophy, and discusses his theory of iconicity, including a presentation (and rejection) of both Goodman’s and Eco’s criticisms of the theory. In Stjernfelt’s interpretation, the icon for Peirce has a non trivial and operational definition: an icon is a sign which can be manipulated in order to learn more about its object than is explicitly present in the sign. Continue reading

New Michel Henry Translation due out in September


From Fordham University Press:

Material Phenomenology
Michel Henry, Translated by Scott Davidson
$24.00
ISBN: 9780823229444
Book (Paperback)
Fordham University Press
180 pages
September 2008

Requisite Pre-Publication Praise:

“A very important contribution to the foundation and the method of philosophy.”
—Adriaan T. Peperzak, Loyola University, Chicago“

One of the most accessible introductions to the thought of one of 20th-century France’s most important phenomenologists.”
—Jeffrey Kosky, Washington & Lee University

Informative Blurb: This book is Michel Henry’s most sustained investigation of Husserlian phenomenology. With painstaking detail and precision, Henry reveals the decisive methodological assumptions that led Husserlian phenomenology in the direction of Idealism. Returning to the materiality of life, Henry’s material phenomenology situates central phenomenological themes— intentionality, temporality, embodiment, and intersubjectivity—within the full concreteness of life. One of the most accessible of Henry’s books, Material Phenomenology is essential reading for those interested in the future of phenomenology or in a philosophy of life in the truest sense.

Sunday Morning Husserl


husserl.jpgAlthough they aren’t coming out as fast as Heidegger’s, Volume 13 of Husserl’s Collected Works, Introduction to Logic and Theory of Knowledge. Lectures 1906/07 is about to be published in English translation. Here’s the blurb from the publisher:

This course on logic and theory of knowledge fell exactly midway between the publication of the Logical Investigations in 1900-01 and Ideas I in 1913. It constitutes a summation and consolidation of Husserl’s logico-scientific, epistemological, and epistemo-phenomenological investigations of the preceding years and an important step in the journey from the descriptivo-psychological elucidation of pure logic in the Logical Investigations to the transcendental phenomenology of the absolute consciousness of the objective correlates constituting themselves in its acts in Ideas I. In this course Husserl began developing his transcendental phenomenology as the genuine realization of what had only been realized in fragmentary form in the Logical Investigations. Continue reading