Phenomenology and Relativism

  • David Carr
Part of the Phaenomenologica book series (PHAE, volume 106)


Husserl first made his name by denouncing psychologism in logic. In his influential Prolegomena to Pure Logic (1900), the theories of Mill, Wundt, Sigwart and others are attacked as versions of ‘skeptical relativism’ which in various ways make truth dependent on the psychological make-up of human beings as a species (‘anthropologism’).1 Later, in ‘Philosophy as Rigorous Science’ (1910) the attack is extended to historical or cultural relativism (‘historicism’) as well, where his major target seems to be Dilthey.2 Husserl’s refutation seemed to clear the way for a philosophy which could rest assured of attaining objective, non-relative truths, and this assurance is evident not only in Husserl’s early work but also in that of this early followers (e.g., Geiger, Pfänder, Scheler).


Logical Investigation Natural Attitude Perceptual Object Relativistic Interpretation Phenomenological Tradition 
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  1. 4.
    Donald Davidson, ‘On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme’, Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 47 (1974), pp. 5–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 5.
    Richard Rorty, ‘The World Well Lost’ in Journal of Philosophy LXIX, no. 19 (1972), pp. 649–665.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 24.
    See R.M. Chisholm, ‘Sentences Anout Believing’, and the discussion that has grown out of Chrisholm’s paper, in Intentionality, Mind and Language, ed. Ausonia Marras (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1972); also the articles by myself (‘Intentionality’) and J.L. Mackie (‘Problems of Intentionality’) in Phenomenology and Philosophical Understanding, ed. Edo Pivcevic ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975 ).Google Scholar
  4. 37.
    H.G. Gadamer, Truth and Method (New York: Seabury Press, 1975), pp. 235 ff.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Dordrecht 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Carr
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of OttawaCanada

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