Dallas Willard: Reviving Realism on the West Coast
This article examines the philosophical work of Dallas Willard (1935–2013), Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California. After outlining his major translations, it explores four of Willard’s central theses: (1) that Husserl’s phenomenology of knowledge solved a fundamental puzzle about the objectivity of knowledge; (2) that the success of Husserlian phenomenology’s account of knowledge depended upon Husserl’s ontological insights; (3) that Husserl was already a phenomenologist when Frege was purportedly converting him from psychologism; and (4) that Husserl maintained his early account of knowledge—and thus his realism—throughout his career. Though Willard was instrumental in starting the “Early” or “Realist Phenomenology” movement in America, his philosophical contributions have yet to be fully explored. Therefore, the paper concludes with a guide to those who would like to understand and develop Willard’s work further.
KeywordsWillard, Dallas Husserl, Edmund Realism Realist phenomenology Early phenomenology Knowledge
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