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HUSSERL, EDMUND. - [OFF-PRINT - PRESENTATION-COPY]

Die Krisis der Europäischen Wissenschaften und die transzendentale Phaenomenologie. Eine Einleitung in die phänomenologosche Philosophie.

lyn43878

Beograd, 1936. 8vo. Original printed wrappers. Backstrip lacking a bit of paper at top and bottom. Edges faded, otherwise fine. A marginal damp-stain to lower corner, far from affecting text. Pp. (77)-176. ¶ First printing, in the extremely scarce off-print with a highly interesting presentation-inscription, of the first appearance of the first printed part (the only part to appear within his life-time) of Husserl's seminal work in which he develops his path-breaking project of linking the basic notions of science back to their conceptual roots in the pre-scientific parts of the "life-world". The work constitutes the last great work of the most important philosopher of the 20th century, the principal founder of phenomenology.

The work is inscribed for "Herrn Professor Léon Robin" (1866 - 1947), the important French philosopher and scholar of Greek philosophy, who was professor of history of ancient philosophy at the Sorbonne from 1924 to 1936 (famous for his translation of Plato's dialogues into French and a number of important works on classical Greek philosophy), and reads as thus "mit/ dem Andruck vorzüglichen Hochschätzung/ überreicht/ v. Verfasser".

Husserl-inscriptions are of the utmost scarcity, as are offprints of the present work. The work appeared in volume 1 of "Philosophia. Philosophorum nostri temporis vox universa. Edidit Arthur Liebert." Belgrado (Beograd), 1936, a journal that in itself is scarce. Only very few copies of the offprint are known.

In "Krisis", Husserl considers the pervasive sense of crisis in European culture, while attempting to give the last in a long line of introductions by him to the method of phenomenological research which he had founded.

"Krisis" develops themes which are found in earlier works by Husserl, most importantly, the question of the constitution of intersubjectivity in the Cartesian Meditations (1929). However, a great interest of the work lies in its inflexion of the phenomenological methodology. Husserl, a mathematician by education, had articulated phenomenology as a rigorous science, on the ideals of 19th century rationalism. This understanding of the role of science and of philosophy permeates his earlier research which, while also treating social and historical phenomena, always does so from the vantage point of individual consciousness.

In "Krisis", Husserl cuts the umbilical cord to individual consciousness. We find him engaged in what he describes as a "teleological-historical reflection upon the origins of our critical scientific and philosophical situation". This reflection revolves around the concept of "life-world" (Lebenswelt) which Husserl introduces as the designation of the pre-theoretical and unreflected element, out of which scientific thought arises. Husserl attributes the alienation of man in Europe to the fact that the sciences have forgotten that they are rooted in the "life-world". The concept has since played a pivotal role in the theory of communicative action of Jürgen Habermas.

Krisis is the last work of the most influential philosopher of the 20th century. As such, it is an essential for anybody with an interest in phenomenology, the dominant non-analytic strain of philosophical reflection in the 20th century. At the same time, it represents something as exceptional as the radicalization of an entire life's work which opens up to entire new perspectives. It translates Husserl's sense of the growing malaise and restlessness in European culture, of which he himself was a victim since the Nazi take-over of power in Germany in 1933. But it is also a reply to the then increasingly successful existentialist philosophies of Martin Heidegger and Karl Jaspers, in whose work Husserl saw a travesty of his own philosophy and a threat to the foundation of European culture. In this sense, it is the last element in what is one of the most fruitful direct dialogues in the history of philosophy, the dialogue between Husserl and his former assistant Heidegger.

The last of "The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology" only appeared posthumously, in 1954.

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