Calendar | Summer/Winter School

Kosmos, Nature, Life-World

Summer School of Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy

Venezia, 6 - 10 July 2020

Official Website

The world is one of the central and leading themes of the phenomenological tradition, and it has been since its very beginning. Over the course of the 20th century, phenomenologists have in fact contributed to reshaping our understanding of the world in at least two compelling ways. In the first place, systematic attempts have been made by Husserl and Heidegger to explore the dimension of the world that is more fundamental than its interpretation by modern natural science. Husserl’s transcendental-phenomenological  theory of the life-world as well as Heidegger’s existential-ontological analysis of being-in-the-world both present compelling accounts, respectively, of the worldly meaning and ontological sense presupposed by natural science. In contrast, Merleau-Ponty and Patočka lay strong emphasis upon the body and the bodily aspect of our interaction with the world, precisely in order to develop a conception of the natural world able to do justice to the dimensions and conditions of our existence within nature. However, side by side with the phenomenological investigations of the dimensions of the world presupposed by and therefore more fundamental than the modern scientific view of nature, a cosmological approach has also been proposed. This approach consists in regarding our human existence as inscribed within an all-encompassing and all-embracing kosmos. This holds true not only of Heidegger’s later thought, but also of the phenomenological approaches of Fink and Henry. The phenomenological tradition, however, has not simply been concerned with the question of the relation between world and nature, life and kosmos, whether understood transcendentally or ontologically. The works of Arendt and Schutz, for example, lay claim to the social and political structure of the world and raise the timely question of whether the phenomenology of the world necessarily implies also a political philosophy as well as a critical engagement with race and gender.