Phenomenology and the Consequences of Postmodernity

  • Calvin O. Schrag
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 39)


Today we want to address the consequences of postmodernism for phenomenological thought. Throughout its illustrious and influential history in twentieth century philosophy, phenomenology has been called upon to do battle on a number of different fronts. In launching his phenomenological project, Edmund Husserl identified his main enemies to be naturalism and historicism and sought to combat them with the arsenal of “philosophy as a rigorous science”.1 During the post-World War II period phenomenological philosophy encountered another philosophical contingent, which at times was perceived as foe and at other times as friend. This contingent was deployed under the flag of existentialism. The confrontation of existentialism with phenomenology, and particularly transcendental phenomenology, was at times rather spirited; but in the course of philosophical events overtures toward collaboration, and even merger, were made. This turned out to be the case particularly in the “existential phenomenology” of Maurice Merleau-Ponty.2


Communicative Praxis Transcendental Phenomenology Hermeneutic Philosophy Praxial Engagement Existential Phenomenology 
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  1. 1.
    See particularly Edmund Husserl, Philosophie als strenge Wissenschaft (Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, 1965).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See particularly M. Merleau-Ponty, Phénoménologie de la perception (Paris: Librairie Gallimard, 1945).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    For a comprehensive account of the widespread impact of structuralism on philosophy, literature, and the human sciences see The Languages of Criticism and the Sciences of Man: The Structuralist Controversy, Richard Macksey and Eugenio Donato, eds. (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1970).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    For an extended discussion of communicative praxis as an amalgam of discourse and action and how the texture of communicative praxis provides the space for the constitution of the speaking and agentive subject see Calvin O. Schrag, Communicative Praxis and the Space of Subjectivity (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    See Jean-François Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, trans. Geoff Bennington and Brian Massumi (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984)Google Scholar
  6. 5a.
    Gilles Deleuze, Proust and Signs, trans. Richard Howard (New York: George Braziller, 1972)Google Scholar
  7. 5b.
    and Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Clinic, trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: Random House, 1979).Google Scholar
  8. 6.
    An informative discussion of the contributions of Frege and Husserl on the topic of sense and reference can be found in J.N. Mohanty, Husserl and Frege (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1982).Google Scholar
  9. 7.
    The entwinement of otherness and response is given an incisive expression in the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas. See particularly his two works: Ethics and Infinity, trans. Richard A. Cohen (Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1985)Google Scholar
  10. 7a.
    Emmanuel Levinas and Time and the Other, trans. Richard A. Cohen (Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1987).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Calvin O. Schrag
    • 1
  1. 1.Purdue UniversityUSA

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