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What William James knew about Edmund Husserl

on the credibility of Pitkin's testimony

Herbert Spiegelberg

pp. 105-118

Thanks to the pioneer essays of Aron Gurwitsch and Alfred Schutz, to the later books of Johannes Linschoten, Bruce Wilshire, and John Wild, and to other articles, recently listed and analyzed most helpfully by James M. Edie,2 the parallels between James's and Husserl's original insights no longer have to be pointed out. Moreover, James's place in Husserl's field of consciousness, his admiration for and his debt to James, as attested most movingly in his private diary for September 25, 1906, have been sufficiently recorded.3 Thus it has been all the more a matter of regret, if not embarrassment, to phenomenologists, beginning with Husserl himself, that James did not reciprocate these sentiments. Instead, the general belief is that James had a low opinion of Husserl's work. The main evidence is, as Edie puts it in his article (p. 488), that "it was James himself who advised a great eastern publishing house in America against publishing a translation of the Logische Untersuchungen."

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-94-017-3270-3_7

Full citation:

Spiegelberg, H. (1982). What William James knew about Edmund Husserl: on the credibility of Pitkin's testimony, in The context of the phenomenological movement, Den Haag, Nijhoff, pp. 105-118.

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