The Corner

In Defense of Husserlites

From a reader:

Dear Jonah,

you’ve got to understand, there are Husserlites and Husserlites. Husserl’s original school of Phenomenology in Gottingen was a powerhouse of post-Kantian philosophical realism. His early students have had a major impact in developing the personalist philosophy that has had a major influence on, among others, John Paul II, who did his phil. dissertation on Max Scheler. Among his students were Adolf Reinach, Dietrich von Hildebrand, Edith Stein, and in our own day (my own marvelous former profs) Josef Seifert and John Crosby. My husband is a philosophy prof at the new Ave Maria University. Both he and his colleague, Maria Fedoryka, were trained in what is called “phenomenological realism,” based on Husserl’s motto “Back to things in themselves” and a rehabilitation of the idea of the mind’s ability to know OBJECTS, not just mental images of objects.

Husserl took a disastrous turn later in his career, which led right to Heidegger, but please don’t paint all Husserlites with the same brush! I think his lesser known stream of followers will one day be seen at the forefront of the great renewal of realist philosophy that’s just around the corner.

Otherwise, no complaints about your list.


Katie van Schaijik


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