Husserl Studies

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 149–163 | Cite as

Nikolai Lossky’s Reception and Criticism of Husserl



Nikolai Lossky is key to the history of the Husserl-Rezeption in Russia. He was the first to publish a review of the Russian translation of Husserl’s first volume of the Logische Untersuchungen that appeared in 1909. He also published a presentation and criticism of Husserl’s transcendental idealism in 1939. An English translation of both of Lossky’s publications is offered in this volume for the first time. The present paper, which is intended as an introduction to these documents, situates Lossky within the Rezeptionsgeschichte of Husserl in Russia and explains why he is central to it. It also explains what Lossky principally found in Husserl: he saw in the latter’s critique of psychologism support for his own ontology, epistemology, and axiology. Lossky characterizes his ontology as an ideal-realism. According to ideal-realism, both the realm of ideal beings (in Plato’s sense) and the realm of real beings (i.e., the world of becoming) are mind-independent. Per his epistemology, which he calls “intuitivism,” real beings are intuited by sensual intuition and ideal beings by intellectual intuition. The realm of ideal beings includes the subrealm of values, which is intuited by axiological intuition. This thoroughly realist conception contrasted sharply with the subjectivist tendencies of the time. So, when Lossky took cognizance of Husserl’s critique of psychologism, he thereupon found an ally in his battle against the various subjectivisms. But, when Husserl took the transcendental idealist turn, Lossky was at the forefront of the backlash against the new direction Husserl wanted to give to phenomenology.


External World Phenomenal Character Russian Philosophy Transcendental Subjectivity Psychic Process 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Thanks are due to Thomas Nemeth, Rodney Parker, Frederick Matern, Nikolaj Plotnikov, Elena Serdyukova, and Uldis Vēgners for valuable comments, as well as to Maria Avril (née Lossky), who oversees the archives of her grandfather’s works at the Institut d’Études Slaves, Paris. Part of the research leading to this paper has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program (FP7/2007-2013 - MSCA-COFUND) under Grant agreement n°245743 - Post-doctoral program Braudel-IFER-FMSH, in collaboration with the Institut Jean Nicod, Paris.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut Jean Nicod, UMR, 8129, Pavillon JardinEcole Normale SupérieureParisFrance

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