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The Lebenswelt: Subjectivity and objectivity in Husserl and Patocka

Učník, L. (2010) The Lebenswelt: Subjectivity and objectivity in Husserl and Patocka. In: 41st Annual Meeting of the Husserl Circle, 21 - 23 June 2010, New School for Social Research, New York City


In his translation of Edmund Husserl's Cartesian Meditations, Dorion Cairns points out that Husserl's use of the words Gegenstand and Objekt have different meanings, whereas David Carr questions this opposition. However, in this paper, I propose to discuss precisely this distinction and its relevance to our thinking about the world. Nevertheless, to limit my discussion, I will leave aside a discussion of the meanings of Gegenstand and Objekt and concentrate only on the meaning of the word 'objective' in connection to the meanings of the terms 'subject/ subjectivity/ subjective'. My concern is with the meaning of 'objectivity' that is largely understood as scientific objectivity based on facts, and 'subjectivity' when reduced to crude versions of solipsism. Husserl's concern with science turned into technology, forgetting its own ground, is relevant even more today than it was in his time. Science became not one domain among many others but is now supposedly the only arbiter of objectivity. Even worse, psychology is now so powerful that to question its methodology amounts to heresy. The point is to remember that theories, rules and methodologies are constituted by us humans, that science is a human endeavor. The scientific world of objective facts is not the objective world through which we understand the Lebenswelt, but sciences have their starting point in the Lebenswelt and, as Patocka would say, the human lived experience cannot be converted into an object that we can observe and describe as rocks or the lava on the moon.

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Social Sciences and Humanities
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