Introduction. A Topography of Heresies or the Road to Renewal? Many Faces of Contemporary Phenomenology
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This issue of Dialogue and Universalism presents a collection of essays on the topic: A TOPOGRAPHY OF HERESIES OR THE ROAD TO RENE-WAL? MANY FACES OF CONTEMPORARY PHENOMENOLOGY. By posing the question and suggesting an answer we propose to investigate the problem of the plurality or unity of the contemporary phenomenological move-ment. The main idea of this Dialogue and Universalism issue originates with a recognition of the paradox that today the many applications of phenomenolo-gy—from the classical theory of knowledge and metaphysical inquiry to increasingly popular studies in cognitive science, philosophy of mind, and her-meneutics, as well as, beyond philosophy, to mathematics, architecture, and medicine—represent diverse conceptions of how to do phenomenology, even as some of these conceptions transcend the limits of phenomenology as demarcat-ed by its founder Edmund Husserl. Already Paul Ricoeur claimed that, “for a good part,” one has to understand the history of the phenomenological movement as “the history of Husserlian heresies.” In light of his observation, more than one hundred years after the publication of the Ideas I, this issue of Dialogue and Universalism reposes the perennial questions about the contemporary significance of phenomenology. What is the most important heritage of Husserl’s phenomenology for contempo-rary philosophy? Does phenomenology today present a consistent and unified philosophy? Or does it rather represent a vast mosaic, inviting but confusing? Is it a kind of philosophical Olympics of different, heteronymous “games” orga-nized internationally but by national federations? Should we understand con-temporary phenomenology as a series of heresies, or can we rather observe a genuine renewal of classical phenomenology in it? Within the horizon of more than a century of development in the phenomenological movement, we know that such thinkers as Max Scheler, Martin Heidegger, Emmanuel Levinas, Ro-man Ingarden, Jacques Derrida, Hermann Schmitz, and Michel Henry have questioned the adequacy not only of some of Husserl’s key positions and argu-ments, but also—and above all—his very idea of phenomenology in general, calling for a new phenomenology. With all this in mind, A TOPOGRAPHY OF HERESIES OR THE ROAD TO RENEWAL? MANY FACES OF CONTEMPORARY PHENOMENO-LOGY also considers the following questions: How does phenomenology adapt in the face of other styles of philosophizing, for example, Neo-Kantianism, phi-losophy of dialogue, French existentialisme and German Existenzphilosophie, and hermeneutics? What about the impact of phenomenology on hermeneutics or ethics and vice versa? Is there any such thing as the phenomenological meth-od? Are there any limits of the application of a phenomenological method? How do phenomenological methods apply to topics in contemporary analytical phi-losophy? Do the many different ways of doing phenomenology display any methodological consistency? Is it possible to do phenomenology “correctly” and to exceed the limits of the philosophies of Husserl, Heidegger, Scheler, and Ingarden—to name only a few of the classical phenomenologists? Finally, can we say that today we have one phenomenology, or do we rather face many phenomenologies? As a matter of fact, this collection of essays does not represent any uniform, “orthodox,” view of phenomenology. It seems, however, that phenomenology can be defined only within the pluralist horizon of a plethora of perspectives. And thus it is good. For it is well known that phenomenology introduces to contemporary philosophy a strong conviction that there is no such thing as the “view from nowhere”. It also appears, for this very reason, that it is senseless to determine any universal perspective on what phenomenology is. On the other hand, can phenomenology be developed apart from the project of first phi-losophy? How can we define principle methodological instruments that ground the phenomenological way of doing philosophy? Shall we go back to the original Husserlian intuitions on how to do phenomenology? Or rather shall we do phenomenology over and beyond its heritage? All these problems are expressed by the question: A topography of heresies or the road to renewal?
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