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The Leibnizian Dimension of Husserl’s Phenomenology

  • Alexandru Giuculescu
Chapter
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 52)

Abstract

One of the major themes of the history of thinking is to explain the genesis and circulation of philosophical ideas. On the other hand, the philosophers are often grouped according to similarities and differences between their systems, so that the history of philosophy becomes a description of schools of thought. The analysis of a certain philosophical system has to combine description and explanation of its contents distinguishing what is genuine from what is borrowed from other thinkers, in order to place it equitably and accurately in the development of the philosophical thinking. For that reason there has arisen a great interest in research into more or less obvious sources or the hidden origins of the philosophical ideas traceable in a philosopher’s writings. In the Gutenberg galaxy, the birth of which coincides with the dawn of the modern philosophy, investigations of the historical aspects of thought enjoy a strong backing from the educational system, and this explains the profusion of monographical studies inquiring into the roots of certain philosophical ideas and the development of influential streams of thinking or of outstanding thinkers. There is a temptation to emphasize the contribution of external factors in the origination of a philosophical work, to sometimes explain the latter by its sources. The trend likens philosophical works to biological entities that are created, grow up, and die or survive owing to a surmised lot of internal forces conjugated with a set of external detectable factors which can be discovered and measured more easily. Let us call this interpretation of philosophical systems a genealogical approach as it resembles a genealogical synopsis of family ties construed from official documents rather than from tales or rumors. The genealogical interpretation has unquestionably certain merits as it describes the occurrence of foreign ideas in the individual’s thinking and in the thought of small or large communities, requiring a thorough knowledge of the past. Nevertheless the genealogical approach has to cope with two major pitfalls:
  1. (1)

    it may minimize or even obscure the originality of a thinker as it deals with his work like a coroner with a corpse;

     
  2. (2)

    it may lead regressively to an endless search starting from a source and continuing to the source of the first source and so on, like a genealogical tree that ends (or begins) with Adam.

     

Keywords

Modular Structure Philosophical Thinking Philosophical System Philosophical Idea Husserlian Phenomenology 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    James Collins, Interpreting Modern Philosophy (Princeton: 1972), p. 52.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ibid., p. 157.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
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  4. 4.
    Jerry Fodor, The Modularity of Mind (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1983); Cf. Encyclopédie philosophique universelle (ed. André Jacob), Les Notions philosophiques, Dictionnaire, Tome 2, “Modularité”, p. 1659 (Paris: 1990 ).Google Scholar
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    A. Kelkel, in Cahiers de Royaumont, “Husserl” (Paris: 1959), p. 168.Google Scholar
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    Cf. John Passmore, A Hundred Years of Philosophy ( Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1968 ), p. 176.Google Scholar
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    Paul Ricoeur, Encyclopaedia Universalis, Vol. 13, pp. 514–515. According to Ricoeur the foundation of a phenomenological ontology would suppose the reversal of the primacy of the subject-object relation still inherent to Husserlian phenomenology. Cf. also Alwin Diemer, “Von Sinn ontologischen Fragens”, in R. Wisser (ed.), Sinn und Sein (Tübingen: 1960); he defines ontology as a kind of axiomatics of possible metaphysics. Cf. Philosophia Naturalis, Bd. VII, Heft 1 (1961), p. 115.Google Scholar
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    Ibid., p. 9; on Husserl’s own opinions about his work, cf. Dorion Cairns, “My Own Life”, in F. Kersten and R. Zaner (eds.), Phenomenology: Continuation and Criticism (The Hague: 1973), pp. 10–11; Herbert Spiegelberg, “Husserl’s Way into Phenomenology for Americans: A Letter and its Sequel”, ibid, pp. 177–181.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandru Giuculescu
    • 1
  1. 1.Committee for History and Philosophy of ScienceRoumanian AcademyBucharestRomania

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