Edmund Husserl: Cogitations on First Philosophy

Moravia born philosopher Edmund Husserl spent his life teaching in German universities, and during the course of his intellectual life, he came to be regarded as the leading and influential figure in phenomenology (which took two successive forms in his own work, descriptive and transcendental). In this Husserl Memorial Lecture from 2009, Prof. Robert Sokolowski speaks on “Husserl on First Philosophy”, where, he argues that in this day and age, Husserl offers the possibility of a return to first philosophy. In Aristotle, first philosophy is defined as the theorizing of being as being. It is also called metaphysics, even though it was not given that name by Aristotle himself. The book in which Aristotle carries out this first philosophy was was entitled ‘ta meta ta physika’ by its editors. They called it the study of issues that are “beyond’the physical things. The study of separate entities comprises only a small part of Aristotle’s ‘Metaphysics’. His first philosophy spends most of its time examining things like prediction, truth, falsity, contradiction, substances and accidents, definition, form and substrate, and the potential and the actual. Metaphysics theorizes truth. Beyond the physicals – “meta ta physika”. Logic, truth, contradiction and predication, belong to being as being, and not being as material. Aristotle turns to the examination of being as being, which is also what Husserl does. Husserl’s phenomenology can be defined as the study of intellect as intellect, mind as mind, reason as reason.

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