Monday, September 26, 2005

Why phenomenology?

Why phenomenology? Three reasons. (1) A year or so ago, I came to the conclusion that a good argument could be made that psychology was the zenith of every development in philosophy since the Enlightenment. Now I see that what I was talking about wasn’t psychology as much as it was psychologism, and that phenomenology is a step beyond that. This would make phenomenology the best candidate for the philosophia perennis of which I am aware, and so I’m curious. (2) In a 2003 address, Dr. Burt Hopkins of Seattle University wrote, “Psychologism, empiricism, rationalism, historicism, naturalism and formalism, were all refuted by [Edmund Husserl]--and decisively so.” That kind of thinker, and his resultant philosophy, sounds worthwhile! (3) Husserl’s phenomenology forms the backdrop from which his most famous student, Martin Heidegger, springs. Simply put, Martin Heidegger is the most important philosopher of the twentieth century. If you would understand the twentieth century in all of its developments, including the hermeneutical turn, you must understand Heidegger.

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