The Historicity of Nature

  • Konrad Rokstad
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 90)


Material Thing Surrounding World Spiritual World Universal Inductivity Essential Form 
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  1. 4.
    Edmund Husserl, Die Krisis der Europäishen Wissenschaften und die Transzendentale Phänomenologie, Walter Biemel (ed.), 2. Auflag, The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1962. We will be referring to the English version, The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology, David Carr (trans.). Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1970, using Crisis.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    Edmund Husserl, Ideen zu einer Reinen Phänomenologie und Phänomenologischen Philosophie, Zweites Buch, Phänomenologische Untersuchungen zur Konstitution, Marly Biemel (ed.). The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1952. I will he referring to the English version Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and to a Phenomenological Philosophy, Richard Rojcewicz and André Schuwer (trans.). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989, using Ideas II.Google Scholar
  3. 8.
    Ideas II, pp. 384–385.Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    This might easily be compared to what Husserl says in The Crisis — in the appendix “The Origin of Geometry” characterizing history (and historicity) in this manner: “[...] history is from the start nothing other than the vital movement of the coexistence and the interweaving of original formations and sedimentations of meaning” (p. 371). Also my article K. Rokstad: “On the Historicity on Understanding” in A-T. Tymieniecka (ed.) Analecta Husserliana Vol. LIX, 401–422. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1999.Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    Ideas II, p. 385.Google Scholar
  6. 11.
    In my article K. Rokstad: “Nature, Subjectivity and the Life-world” in A-T. Tymieniecka (ed.) Analecta Husserliana Vol. LXXVII, 41–59. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2002, I have written on this.Google Scholar
  7. 12.
    Ideas II, p. 6, my italics.Google Scholar
  8. 13.
    Ideas II, p. 8, my italics.Google Scholar
  9. 14.
    Paraphrasing Ideas II, p. 36.Google Scholar
  10. 15.
    Ideas II, first p. 37 and second p. 38.Google Scholar
  11. 16.
    In more detail, these are some of the steps bringing him to this “conclusion”. First, it is “only from the appearances (and intersubjective nexus) that we can draw the sense of what a thing is in “Objective actuality,” [... But] The Objectively real is not in my “space” or in anyone else’s, as “phenomenon” [..] but exists in Objective space, which is a formal unity of identification in the midst of changing qualities. [...] Pure space [...] arises out of my appearing space not through abstraction but through an Objectification which takes as appearances any sensuously appearing spatial form endowed with sensuous qualities and posits it in manifolds of appearances which do not belong to an individual consciousness but to a societal consciousness as a total group of possible appearances that is constituted out of individual groups. Each subject has the totality of space [...]. In principle, the thing is given and is to be given only through appearances, whose appearing contents can vary with the subjects. [...] subjects stand in a relationship of empathy and, [...] can intersubjectively assure themselves of the identity of what appears therein. [...] the thing is something intersubjectively identical yet is as such that it has no sensuous-intuitive content [...] it is only an empty identical something as a correlate of the identification possible according to experimental-logical rules and grounded through them [...] by the subjects that stand in the intersubjective nexus along with their corresponding acts appropriate to appearance and to experimental-logical thinking (Ideas II, pp. 92–93).Google Scholar
  12. 17.
    Crisis, pp. 21–22. For an even more detailed and precise description: “To ideal space belongings, for us, a universal, systematically coherent a priori, an infinite, and yet — in spite of its infinity — self-enclosed, coherent systematic theory which, proceeding from axiomatic concepts and propositions, permits the deductively univocal construction of any conceivable shape which can be drown in space. What “exists” ideally in geometrical space is univocally decided, in all its determinations, in advance. Our apodictic thinking, proceeding stepwise to infinity through concepts, propositions, inferences, proofs, only “discovers” what is already there, what in itself already exists in truth.”Google Scholar
  13. 18.
    Crisis, p. 58.Google Scholar
  14. 19.
    Crisis p. 23.Google Scholar
  15. 20.
    Crisis, pp. 23–24. Husserl also reminds us that Galileo, “the philosopher of nature and ‘trail-blazer’ of physics, was not yet a physicist theory in the full present-day sense; that his thinking did not, like that of our mathematicians and mathematical physicists, move in the sphere of symbolism, far removed from intuition; and that we must not attribute to him what, through him and the further historical development, has become ‘obvious’ to us.”Google Scholar
  16. 21.
    Crisis, p. 24.Google Scholar
  17. 22.
    Paraphrasing Crisis, p. 25.Google Scholar
  18. 23.
    Crisis, pp. 25–26.Google Scholar
  19. 24.
    Crisis, pp. 26–27; first two italics mine.Google Scholar
  20. 25.
    Crisis, pp. 27–28, my italicsGoogle Scholar
  21. 26.
    Crisis, pp. 29–30.Google Scholar
  22. 27.
    Crisis, p. 30.Google Scholar
  23. 28.
    Crisis, p.31.Google Scholar
  24. 29.
    Crisis, p. 31. Similar to what we here have exposed from the Crisis, we find in the Appendix XIII of the Ideas II (pp. 385–386): “[...] finally, a universal morphology of the natural world as common world of people, of any society whatever. In this surrounding world, which has the validity of a world common to all, causalities also arise, but as intuitive causalities. Everything therein can have an effect, can perhaps also awaken a theoretical interest and lead to the problem of the true being of this world. This is how “Objective science” arises. That itself belongs to, together with its cognitions, to the surrounding world of the person who has some part in it. But that is only a special case. The general theme still is and remains subjectivity in general and its surrounding world. [...] The essential form of a surrounding world and the alteration of the surrounding world correlated to the essential form of personality. Also, the essential form of the personal substructures. To the question of essence belongs the necessary structure of the surrounding world with respect to the circumstance that factical subjectivity has a uniform enduring world, in a universal experience which tends toward concordance, and can have continuously valid world only in the constant establishment of concordance. That leads to the essential structure of a world that remains intuitive, is enduring, and is valid for everyone. The ‘transcendental-aesthetic world.’ The natural concept of the world as such a necessary validity and a field of all possible sciences. And here reappears human subjectivity as the subject of a surrounding world, as a Bodily-corporal subjectivity to be investigated in the natural sciences, as psychophysically a Body and a soul, as purely subjective and yet also as the one which is the ‘living’ functioning subject of the life-world, and consequently also its description.”Google Scholar
  25. 30.
    Crisis, p. 32.Google Scholar
  26. 31.
    Crisis, p. 32.Google Scholar
  27. 32.
    Crisis, pp. 32–33.Google Scholar
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    Crisis, p. 33.Google Scholar
  29. 34.
    Crisis, pp. 34–35.Google Scholar
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    Crisis, pp. 35–36.Google Scholar
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    Crisis, pp. 35–36.Google Scholar
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    Crisis, p. 36.Google Scholar
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    Crisis, p. 36.Google Scholar
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    Crisis, p. 36.Google Scholar
  35. 40.
    Crisis, p. 36.Google Scholar
  36. 41.
    Crisis, p. 37.Google Scholar
  37. 42.
    Now paraphrasing Crisis, pp. 38–39.Google Scholar
  38. 43.
    Crisis, p. 39.Google Scholar
  39. 44.
    Now paraphrasing Crisis, pp. 39–41.Google Scholar
  40. 45.
    Crisis, p. 41.Google Scholar
  41. 46.
    Crisis, p. 41.Google Scholar
  42. 47.
    Crisis, p. 41.Google Scholar
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    Crisis, p. 41.Google Scholar
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    Crisis, pp. 41–42.Google Scholar
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    Crisis, p. 42.Google Scholar
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    Crisis, p. 42.Google Scholar
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    Crisis, p. 43.Google Scholar
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    Crisis, p. 43.Google Scholar
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    Crisis, p. 46.Google Scholar
  50. 55.
    Crisis, p. 48.Google Scholar
  51. 56.
    In Ideas III, Phenomenology and the Foundations of the Sciences, (translated by Klein and Pohl, The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1980, p. 52) Husserl says the following with direct relevance: “Physics ‘explains’ what they ‘describe,’ but it itself is not built up on descriptions. The procedures of physics, the science of objective nature in its pure objectivity, is a remarkable one as regards the concrete intuitional basis of which it, of course, like every science, makes use. It operates, works with intuitive given things; it names them; it therefore also uses descriptive concepts. But there is nothing to be noticed of a toilsome fashioning of concepts out of sensuous intuition, of a complicated scientific work of clarifying the pregiven empirical concepts that everyday life has formed on intuitions, a grasping of essences and a delimiting of essences to be carried out by eidetic analysis. But there does not have to be present any need at all for these, since it is a matter of such a highly developed science. The psychologist, now consciously, now unconsciously imitating the procedure of physics, likewise has a fresh go at it; he takes the human being and his psychic life in the context of nature as the physicist takes the material things: without entering into eidetic descriptions, he goes immediately into the causalities; [...]” — Here it might seem like Husserl is (more than in the Crisis) willing to accept this “neglect” regarding physics and is primarily about to direct his critics towards psychology. And, of course, understanding the human being constitutes his primal concern, but taking the total perspectives of both the Ideas and the Crisis into consideration I would say it is a difference of degree rather than of principle. Philosophy is more closely related to psychology than to physics, but as physics is “predelineating” psychology (and mainstream philosophy), the critical (genetic) analysis of physics is also essential to philosophy.Google Scholar
  52. 57.
    Crisis, p. 48.Google Scholar
  53. 58.
    Crisis, pp. 48–49.Google Scholar
  54. 59.
    Crisis, pp. 49–50, my italics.Google Scholar
  55. 60.
    Crisis, p. 50, my italics.Google Scholar
  56. 61.
    Crisis, p. 50, my italics.Google Scholar
  57. 62.
    Crisis, pp. 50–51, my italics.Google Scholar
  58. 63.
    Crisis, pp.52–53, my italics.Google Scholar
  59. 64.
    Now paraphrasing Crisis, p. 54.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Konrad Rokstad
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of BergenNorway

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