Husserlian essences reconsidered
Husserl, in fathering phenomenology, envisaged a first science, a system of evidence that would found, and give an ultimate intelligibility to, all our ideal cognitive structures. And he thought that the ultimate evidences should be necessary and epistemically first (i.e., their truth must be knowable independently of the truth of all other cognitive structures)—in short, that they should be apodictic. Phenomenology must faithfully describe such evidences, in order to achieve the rational reconstruction of our knowledge. The system of evidence which, alone, can meet these requirements and provide the desired logos, is a system of eidetic insights. Phenomenology must recuperate essences. These essences are the objective accomplishments of a special subjective method, eidetic variation, and its consummate evidential act, eidetic intuition (the Wesensschau). In Formal and Transcendental Logic, this project of reconstruction is construed as an a priori transcendental logic, designed to exhibit the necessary epistemic conditions (i.e., the genetic constitution) that determine the givenness of objects of every sort. Genetic constitution, serving the highest imperatives of reason, employs the method of eidetic variation, and reaches fulfillment in the presentation of eidetic laws. Essentialism is thus the cornerstone, not only of transcendental logic, but indeed of the entire phenomenological enterprise.
Full citation [Harvard style]:
Levin, D.M. (1973)., Husserlian essences reconsidered, in D. Carr & E. Casey (eds.), Explorations in phenomenology, Den Haag, Nijhoff, pp. 169-183.
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