Continental Philosophy Review

, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 29–39 | Cite as

Deep history: reflections on the archive and the lifeworld



This paper outlines an approach for comparing Edmund Husserl’s late historical-teleological reflections in the Crisis of the European Sciences with Michel Foucault’s archaeology of discursive formations in his Archaeology of Knowledge, with a particular emphasis on the notion of an “historical apriori.” The argument is that each conception of historical reflection complements the other by opening up a depth dimension that moves beyond the traditional limits of the philosophy of history. In Husserl, the concept of the lifeworld fixes the parameters of a “deep history” as the horizon of anonymous subjective comportment, while in Foucault the concept of the archive delimits an alternative deep history of the anonymous production of discursive formations. Together, Husserl and Foucault represent two important moments of the radicalization of the theme of history in twentieth century philosophy, one seeking to extend the limits of transcendental philosophy, the other contesting the domain of the transcendental altogether.


Husserl Foucault Archaeology of knowledge Lifeworld History Apriori 


  1. Shryock, Andrew, and Daniel Lord Smail (eds.). 2011. Deep history: The architecture of past and present. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.New School for Social ResearchNew YorkUSA

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