International Studies in Phenomenology and Philosophy

Book | Chapter


(2010) Advancing phenomenology, Dordrecht, Springer.

How is phenomenology motivated?

Hans Rainer Sepp

pp. 35-44

In a manuscript from 1938, Dorion Cairns named two motives that led his teacher, Edmund Husserl, to transcendental phenomenology. This motivation was effective from Husserl's early writings in the 1890s onwards. Both motives have been caused "by two antipathies," "an aversion to obscurity" and by "an aversion to beliefs" that had not been thoroughly justified by one's "own observations." The first motive is to gain clarity in all statements about reality and the second requires getting such clarity only through one's own observation – and the two motives are of course linked. But the problem for Husserl was that worldly experiences cannot be completely justified by observations nor can thoughts be by intuitions; every evident fulfillment implies new aspects that are not yet given but refer to new possible fulfillments, and so on.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-90-481-9286-1_3

Full citation:

Sepp, H.R. (2010)., How is phenomenology motivated?, in T. Nenon & P. Blosser (eds.), Advancing phenomenology, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 35-44.

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