Edmund Husserl and Phenomenology

Edmund Husserl (1859-1938) was a philosopher best known for launching phenomenology, the philosophical study of consciousness. Phenomenology studies the world as it is given to or “constituted by” consciousness. One can speak of the phenomenology of reading, of dancing, of mathematical investigation, of chess-playing, and so forth, in each case meaning an analysis or description of how that activity is experienced by the person engaging in it (for example, the first-person experience of dancing or playing chess). One can also study objects (construed widely to include not just physical objects like tables and chairs but also abstract objects like numbers and values) in terms of the way they appear to consciousness. For more on Husserl's life and philosophy see:

Stanford Encyclopedia Entry on Husserl (Christian Beyer)

Stanford Encyclopedia Entry on Phenomenology (David Woodruff Smith)

Chronology of Husserl's Life and Works (Bob Sandmeyer)


The official collection of Husserl’s works. As of July 2013, 41 volumes have been published, and roughly one a year is currently being released. To understand Husserliana it is important to understand Husserl’s unusual literary output. Husserl was known, especially later in life, to rely on assistants to organize his “daily meditations,” which he would throw haphazardly to his left and right. These would be gathered up, collated, and placed in binders for his later re-inspection and revision. In this way he published (or in a sense, “grew”) 7 books. These have all been published in Husserliana, along with the several layers of marginalia he added to his own copies. But these seven works are just the tip of an iceberg, a mere hint of the 40,000 pages of meditations, lecture notes, and other materials Husserl left behind. Since Husserl’s death, these texts (kept in archives in Europe and the United States) have kept a handful of scholars busy as they further organize and edit them into manageable form. The result has been a constant and complex output of new material which continues today.