Review of “Husserl’s Phenomenology” by Dan Zahavi

husserls phenomenology

It is probably very hard to write books like “Husserl’s Phenomenology“… Books about the deepest philosophical issues as seen by famous philosopher, working through the different stages of his philosophy, making sense of the changes that it went through, giving us references on every step if we want to explore further, giving references to alternative interpretations of Husserl’s philosophy (and why they are wrong), keeping us in suspense as for what is to come next, and all that in 150 pages!
Well, the author seems to have material to talk forever on this topics, so I guess he tried to put as much he could in this short book. It covers Husserl’s work from his early works on the issues of Logic, Epistemology and Intentionality, critics of psychologism (which seem to be common practice among lots of philosophers, no matter what -ism they come from), hist turn to the transcendental idealism, concepts of Reduction, Epoché and Constitution.
The concept of constitution is especially interesting, as it connects the subjective idealistic thought, to the things which constitute it.
And thatis where “Husser’s Phenomenology” was most interesting to me – when it starts to deal with the things which constitute the subject, and goes into the topics of Time, Body, Intersubjectivity, Lifeworld, Normality and Tradition.

Zahavi also in lot of places compares the transcendental idealism of Husserl, to that of Kant, and makes points of how are those two different (what is interesting is that Kant didn’t seem to see himself as idealist at all), and also to the successors of Husserl like Merlau Ponty and Heidegger trying to show how the ideas for which those philosophers usually are given credit, have their root, and that he even explicitly wrote about those.

All in all, this book is deep and easy to read, for epistemology/metaphysics lovers, I recommend this book.

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