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Book Title: Ideas|
The author of the book: Edmund Husserl
Edition: Collier Books
Date of issue: August 1st 1962
ISBN 13: 9780020659105
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 6.19 MB
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Reader ratings: 6.9
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Bracket the world and look at it in pieces (atoms) and suspend judgment beyond the domain of interest and have everything we think be about something (hopes, feeling, wishes, desires, wants….) and give it intention for its meaning. That is at the heart of Phenomenology. If you have any interest at all about what Phenomenology is about this is the book you should read. For Phenomenology, every act and thing has an intention in and of itself and its functionality is not important. Husserl uses the word ‘hyletics’, (defn: The study of matter or raw impressions of an intentional act; the abstraction from the form) while building his system, or as he’ll argue our intentional actions and thoughts explain our world.
Heidegger’s ‘Being and Time’ is dedicated to Husserl. I think he was sincere in that dedication. Whenever I was reading this book (‘Ideas’) and got confused, I would just apply the complement of what Heidegger would say to figure out what Husserl was trying to get at. There’s no doubt Heidegger was inspired by the thoughts in this book and created a philosophical system that is a complement to Husserl’s system. It’s possible (I think) to have a coherent system derived from the complement (the set of all things not in the original set but each set together makes up the universe of things under consideration) of a coherent system as if a world was made of matter and another world could be made of anti-matter and as long as they don’t overlap they won’t annihilate each but the set that contains both subsets would include everything under consideration but in a coherent non-contradictory way for each subset.
At times Sartre’s ‘Being and Nothing’ would jump out at me as I was reading this book. Sartre credits Husserl so I’m not saying anything nefarious against Sartre. (Just to add some confusion, Sartre also loves Hegel (who he actually understands correctly) but Husserl sticks mostly to Kant since he always makes all things (essents) about something as Kant would make the ‘cogito’ into ‘I think about I think’. Hegel makes the thought about the ‘thing in of itself’ leading to a spirit that knows itself.
At times as I was reading this well written book I kept thinking about Ayn Rand and her childish Objectivist philosophy. Husserl uses an ‘A=A’ formulation which is Rand’s first principal (as well as selfishness as her primary directive as if humans need to be reminded to be selfish! Thankfully Husserl does not dwell on the ethical) and as I was ready to shout at the text, he gave a footnote from one of his critics for accusing him of using the ‘A=A’ formulation, but I thought his critic was right. Just in case it’s not obvious what I mean, let me rephrase the ‘A=A’ to be the thing is the thing meaning everything that appears to us is real or that the being is the thing or the essent is real or the appearance is the phenomenon or so on. Or to rephrase using Heidegger’s wonderful phrase, ‘the ontological difference’, Rand and Husserl would say ‘the ontological difference does not exist’. Let me be clear, Husserl is a real philosopher worth reading. Rand is not.
Sartre will take these concepts from this book and defend his core belief ‘existence precedes essence’, because mostly what Husserl is trying to set up is that reality is real (A=A, yes there is a giant overlap between the childish Ayn Rand, Sartre and Husserl, but don’t get me wrong, Husserl is an intelligent writer and can’t be blamed for how others misappropriate what he wrote). Husserl in this book will clearly argue that reality precedes metaphysics; the bracketing of the world will give the world by itself and for itself according to him.
Heidegger is abstruse to the point of incomprehension; Sartre is simplistic without intentional content. Husserl writes clearly, but expects his readers to understand their Aristotle and Kant. Husserl re-introduces the word ‘ontology’ back into philosophy in order to allow for existentiality to come back in (i.e. he wants to take the metaphysics out of philosophy). I do wish I had read this before having read Heidegger because Heidegger assumes his reader understood phenomenology. Just in case if you haven’t read ‘Being and Time’, Heidegger uses the word ontology and puts its meaning back into philosophy by creating an ontology that includes ‘present at hand’, ‘ready at hand’ and ‘dasein’. All of which are antithetical to Husserl’s bracketed world with intentions for our acts through hyletics.
I found this book an elucidating read while at times being erudite (who uses words like ‘hyletics’). It has relevance beyond itself. Gadamer in ‘Truth and Method’ written in 1960 and one of my favorite books deliberately appeals to Husserl and reworks Husserl overall, and the book “How Emotions are Made’ by Lisa Barrett non-deliberately overlaps with Gadamer and Husserl as she explains a philosophy of mind about our emotional construction of the self. Barrett knows that ‘emotions are not things’ and that our experiences form our emotions while our emotions shape how we experience (Hume understands this too and Husserl does mention Hume favorably in this book). Husserl tries to develop a psychology based on his Phenomenology that is about our intention (hopes, feeling, wishes, desires, wants….) that we thought we were experiencing because ‘being that can be understood is language’ (Gadamer will say that and he is often considered the last of the great Phenomenologist), and language is always about something.
Husserl and this book are worth reading even though I can say I disagree overall with his perspective for understanding the world. Husserl wants to atomize the world. Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Heidegger don’t. Descartes with his cogito did too, and Husserl wants to do that too and does appeal to Descartes frequently in this book. I would say one can never understand a ‘Coke bottle’ without understanding commercials on the super bowl which tell people caramel colored sugar water is good because other people like you drink it while watching the super bowl and the thousand other experiences that go into making the significance of a Coke bottle. Without including the world as such an isolated Coke bottle would only mean ‘The Gods Must Be Crazy’ as in the movie with the same title will humorlessly illustrate. (BTW, I don’t drink Coke, watch the super bowl or care that other people like me drink caramel colored sugar water).
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Read information about the authorEdmund Gustav Albrecht Husserl was a philosopher who is deemed the founder of phenomenology. He broke with the positivist orientation of the science and philosophy of his day, believing that experience is the source of all knowledge, while at the same time he elaborated critiques of psychologism and historicism.
Born into a Moravian Jewish family, he was baptized as a Lutheran in 1887. Husserl studied mathematics under Karl Weierstrass, completing a Ph.D. under Leo Königsberger, and studied philosophy under Franz Brentano and Carl Stumpf. Husserl taught philosophy, as a Privatdozent at Halle from 1887, then as professor, first at Göttingen from 1901, then at Freiburg im Breisgau from 1916 until his 1928 retirement.
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