|The Crisis of European Philosophy|
|Husserliana Volume 6|
From documents written in 1923-1924
Published in 1976
German Title: Die Krisis der europäischen Wissenschaften und die transzendentale Phänomenologie. Eine Einleitung in die phänomenologische Philosophie
English title: The crisis of European sciences and transcendental philosophy. An introduction to phenomenological philosophy
Editor: Walter Biemel
Comment on this book
Subject: Projected Final Form of the Work
Eugen Fink...had produced a typed version of Husserl's stenographic manuscript of part III, and Husserl had gone over it, perhaps more than once, making may changes and expressing much dissatisfaction...The result was that the third part never reached the publisher in final form. During this period Fink produced an outline, later approved by Husserl himself, for the completion of part II and for two more parts in addition to the three already worked on. We can see that the Crisis was to be an immense work, much longer than the present text. But no manuscript has been found for the conclusion of Part III or for the text of Parts IV and V. (Carr, xvii).
Subject: Publication History
In May, 1935, Husserl lectured in Vienna, following an invitation by the Vienna Kulturbund, on "Philosophy in the Crisis of European Mankind," and in the same year he lectured in Prague on "The Crisis of European Sciences and Psychology," and it was this series of lectures which served as the basis for the projected work. As a jew who was denied any public platform in Germany, Husserl had to publish, as he had lectured, outside his own country. An international yearbook called Philosophia...arranged to publish the Crisis in installments. After his return from Prague, Husserl worked feverishly on the essay, and the first two part of the present text were published in Philosophia in 1936. By the time husserl became ill in 1937, the text of the third part was longer than that of the first two parts combined, and was still not completed. (Carr, xvii).
Subject: What is Crisis?
The Crisis of a science indicates nothing less than that its genuine scientific character, the whole manner in which it has set its task and developed, has become questionable. (Crisis, p. 3)
Subject: What is Crisis? Part II.
...the "modern age," which has been so proud for centuries of its theoretical and practical successes, finally becomes involved in a growing dissatisfaction, indeed must view its situation as one of distress. In all the sciences distress is felt, ultimately, as a distress concerning method....These are, throughout, problems which arise from the naivete through which objectivist science takes what it calls the objective world for the universe of all that is, without noticing that no objective science can do justice to the [very] subjectivity which accomplishes science. (Husserl, Vienna Lectures, p. 295).
Subject: In what sense is this an "introduction"?
Crisis is Husserl's last work. After the first two parts, whose central piece is the anlaysis of "Galileo's Mathematization of Nature," appeared in 1936, that is, during Husserl's lifetime, he continued to work on the planned subsequent parts until the onset of his final illness in August 1937... The work is subtitled An Introduction to Phenomenological Philosophy. Of course, "introduction" is not to be understood in the sense of an elementary exposition for beginners... Rather it means opening a new avenue of approach to an already existing body of phenomenological thought. The novely to this approach consists in the fact that, in contradistinction to his earlier writings, Husserl takes his departure from certain basic problems that beset modern natural science or, more accurately, from the very existence of this science of "modern style" itself . [From Phenomenology and the theory of Science, p. 33].
Subject: Who are the "Europeans" facing this Crisis?
A translation true to the spirit rather than the letter could render the title as "The Crisis of Western Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology." Husserl did not intend "European" to be taken geographically; rather, he meant it to have a historical sense as referring to the Occidental world, understood as the scene of an unfolding and unified intellectual development [From Phenomenology and the theory of Science, p. 33].