Poslední úprava: Daniele De Santis, Ph.D. (28.09.2018)
Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies
(NB: The course is for philosophy students only.
Students of other subjects need to be accepted to the course)
Daniele De Santis, Ph. D.
Varieties of Idealism:
Transcendental Idealism in Edmund Husserl’s “Cartesian Meditations”
1. General Description and Aims of the Module
Almost the entire development and history of 20th century phenomenology (at least from Heidegger onward) can be described as a vigorous and systematic attempt at breaking once and for all with the “idealistic” doctrine associated with the understanding of “phenomenology” as originally embraced by Husserl. To be more precise: it is very often claimed, against Husserl, that the phenomenological method and the doctrine of “transcendental idealism” are not necessarily tied together, and that the former does not necessarily require the latter. In this specific respect, the Husserlian writing known as Cartesian Meditations represents and provides the best textual basis for introducing, discussing and seriously assessing such crucial and thorny topic.
The Cartesian Meditations (Cartesianische Meditationen), first presented as a series of lectures in 1929 and then published in French in 1931, represent in many respects the “peak” of the speculation of Edmund Husserl, the father of modern phenomenology. In particular, over the course of the first four meditations Husserl not only provides a systematic assessment of all the crucial concepts of his phenomenology (consciousness, intentionality, lived-experience, synthesis, monad, and so on and so forth) but also works out a full-fledged account of “transcendental idealism”, now construed as a “monadological” one. As a consequence, and in line with what has just been explained, the “aim” of the present module is twofold:
(i) On the one hand, it aims at providing a “close-up” reading of the first four meditations so as to introduce students to Husserl’s jargon and the more technical aspects and notions of his philosophy (this being the more analytic goal of the course);
(ii) On the other hand, we want to also offer a clear interpretation of the doctrine of “idealism” as the late Husserl understands it (this standing for the systematic goal of the present module).
Poslední úprava: Mgr. Eva Mokrejšová (13.09.2018)
E. Husserl, Cartesian Meditations. An Introduction to Phenomenology, English Translation by D. Cairns (M. Nijhoff)
J. Patočka, “Cartesianism and Phenomenology”, Id., Philosophy and Selected Writings (The University of Chicago Press)
German Edition: Cartesianische Meditationen und Pariser Vorträge, Husserliana I (M. Nijhoff)
Other Important Translations:
E. Husserl, Méditations Cartésiennes. Introduction à la phénoménologie, trad. par G. Peiffer et E. Levinas (Vrin)
E. Husserl, Meditaciones Cartesianas, trad. de J. Gaos y M. García-Baró (Fondo de Cultura Económica)
Suggested Readings and Secondary Literature
Bernet R., Kern I., Marbach E., Edmund Husserl. Darstellung seines Denkens (Felix Meiner);
Costa V., Franzini E., Spinicci P., La fenomenologia (Einaudi);
Cristin R., “Phänomenologie und Monadologie. Husserl und Leibniz”, 1990, Studia Leibnitiana, pp. 163-174;
De Santis D., “‘Metaphysische Ergebnisse’. Phenomenology and Metaphysics in Edmund Husserl's Cartesianische Meditationen (§60). Attempt at Commentary”, 2018, Husserl Studies, pp. 63-83;
Hopkins B., The Philosophy of Husserl (Acumen);
Lavigne J.-F., Husserl et la naissance de la phénoménologie (1900-1913) (PUF);
Lavigne, J.-F. (Ed.), Les Méditations Cartésiennes de Husserl (Vrin);
Mertens K., “Husserls Phänomenologie der Monade”, Husserl Studies, 2000, pp. 1-20.
Perreau L., “Phénoménologie et métaphysique: les usages de Leibniz dans la philosophie husserlienne”, Discipline filosofiche, 2013, pp. 63-88;
Pradelle D., “Monadologie et phénoménologie”, Revue philosophie, 2007, pp. 56-85.
Ricoeur P., “Études sur les Méditations Cartésiennes de Husserl”, in Id., À l’école de la phénoménologie (Vrin), pp. 187-231;
Serrano de Haro A., Paseo filosófico en Madrid. Introducción a Husserl (Editorial Trotta);
Smith A.D., Philosophy Guidebook to Husserl and the Cartesian Meditations (Routledge);
Xolocotzi Á., Zirión A., Ia las cosas mismas! Dos ideas sobre la fenomenología (Colección Centenario);
Zahavi D., Husserl’s Legacy. Phenomenology, Metaphysics and Transcendental Idealism (Oxford).
Poslední úprava: Mgr. Eva Mokrejšová (13.09.2018)
The module will be entirely dedicated to a careful commentary upon the first four Meditations, in order to follow the manner in which Husserl first introduces the basic phenomenological tools and concepts and then builds up his crucial argument, namely, the one arguing for the “necessity” of the doctrine of transcendental idealism as the one and only coherent position to endorse. Even though our readings and in-class discussions will be mostly based on the English translation (see below for more information), the original German text will be always kept an eye on.
Students will be evaluated based upon the following two distinct parameters:
(1) Participation (which includes, yet is not limited to: doing the assignments, attendance, in-class active participation). If you areabsent, please ask some of your classmates for any assignments or key discussion materials missed.
(2) A 2000 Word Final Paper (deadline for submission, prompt and additional information will be provided in due course)
General Introduction to the Module
Why “Cartesian”? The Need for a New Beginning in Philosophy
The Idea of Rigorous Science and the Problem of Evidence
(Meditation I: §§ 3-6)
The Ego and the World
(Meditation I: §§7-9)
Intentionality and The Transcendental Subject
(Meditation II: §§12-14)
The Notion of Synthesis and the Life of Consciousness
(Meditation II: §§17-22)
The Problem of “Constitution”
(Meditation III: §§23-24, 26)
The Idea of Evidence and the World
(Meditation III: §§27-29)
Ego, Person, Monad: The Threefold Structure of the Subject
(Meditation IV: §§30-33)
Reality and Possibility
(Meditation IV: §§34, 36)
Possibilities, Con-Possibilities, In-Con-Possibilities: Toward Transcendental Idealism
(Meditation IV: §§ 36-38, 40-41)
A Critical Interpretation: Cartesianism and / or Phenomenology?
(J. Patočka, “Cartesianism and Phenomenology” (notably, pp. 285-317))
Recapitulation and Closing Evaluations