The Gift of Bounds. Reading Husserl – Roberta De Monticelli

giovedì, settembre 20, 2018
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Just out: My first book on Husserl, whose work I have been reading and teaching for about 40 years. It will be my first and last book on Husserl as I do not think that doing and teaching phenomenology should  primarily be a matter of reading or commenting  on classical texts. Nevertheless, there is need for just such a book about Husserl because of the accumulation of so many misunderstandings that have haunted his work from its very beginning. These misunderstandings relate to philosophical debates as broad-ranging as those concerning Idealism/Realism, Logic/Ethics, Representationalism/Enactivism, and Epistemology/History. The book  is designed to help readers and teachers alike (hence, “Reading Husserl” is a proposed subtitle in English). It also aims to correct on Husserl’s behalf the way the equivocal, mainly French and continental, post-Heideggerian philosophical melting pot has usurped the beautiful title “phenomenology” and in so doing completely given up on the analytical standards of rigor and  the requirements of experiential evidence that the phenomenological approach to philosophy demands.

My Husserl is the lonely, under appreciated discoverer of what I call “the bounds” (or rather constraints, but also bonds) given (that is, experienced and not constructed) as a brake on arbitrariness in all domains, particularly that of the will. His most profound inquiry has for its theme the validity of all norms, those of logic, but also ethics, law, and politics. His main achievement is a comprehensive argument against skepticism, especially pertaining to axiological and practical matters, in both its naturalistic and hermeneutical versions.   His deeply liberal ideal of the moral agent, his cognitivistic axiology, his legal and (cosmo-)political universalism, and his conception of Europe – armed with these he championed the intellectual and moral resistence to all totalitarian ways of thinking, including Heidegger’s ambiguous rejection of humanism, logic, ethics, and the Socratic ideal of an examined life. No other 20th Century philosopher so thoroughly exposed the roots of Democracy both in their depth and fragility.

Readers with a background in philosophy and an excellent mastery of the Italian language interested in providing a (funded) English translation of this book are kindly asked to contact the author: demonticelli.roberta@unisr.it.

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