Continental Philosophy Review

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 349–369 | Cite as

Phenomenology as a way of life? Husserl on phenomenological reflection and self-transformation

  • Hanne JacobsEmail author


In this article I consider whether and how Husserl’s transcendental phenomenological method can initiate a phenomenological way of life. The impetus for this investigation originates in a set of manuscripts written in 1926 (published in Zur phänomenologischen Reduktion) where Husserl suggests that the consistent commitment to and performance of phenomenological reflection can change one’s life to the point where a simple return to the life lived before this reflection is no longer possible. Husserl identifies this point of no return with becoming a transcendental idealist. I propose a way of understanding Husserl’s claim that transcendental idealism makes a simple return to life before phenomenological reflection impossible. I then suggest that a phenomenological way of life is characterized by an epistemic modesty that follows from Husserl’s transcendental idealism and consider whether and how such a phenomenological way of life is a life worth living.


Husserl Phenomenology Phenomenological reflection Epoché Reduction Transcendental idealism Transformation Praxis 



I would like to thank Steven Crowell for his insightful comments to an earlier draft of this paper that was presented at the fiftieth annual meeting of The Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy (SPEP).


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyLoyola University ChicagoChicagoUSA

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