Heidegger’s Quest for the Essence of Man

  • Tze-Wan Kwan
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 17)


In his lecture given in Berlin in 1931 Husserl clarified and defended his idea of phenomenology against a contemporary trend which he characterized as philosophical anthropology.1 Although he did not mention the name of those in question, Husserl’s attack was obviously directed at Scheler and above all at Heidegger. In that lecture, Husserl categorized Heidegger’s approach to phenomenology as an “anthropologistic” or “psychologists” one, which makes its stand exclusively on human Dasein. Husserl on the contrary, described his own approach as “transcendental” and based solely upon the rigorous science of transcendental subjectivity. However, before entering a major demarcation between his own idea of phenomenology and that of Heidegger, Husserl made allowance for a mutual ground upon which his and Heidegger’s work might rest. Husserl proposed that both anthropologistic and transcendental approaches represented in one way or another the “subjectivistic tendency” which has become characteristic of modern European philosophy. In other words, Husserl conceived Heidegger’s phenomenological program as a new formulation of the theory of subjectivity. Husserl disagreed with Heidegger because he thought Heidegger had deviated too far from the original program of constitutive phenomenology, which should provide philosophy with a firm foundation. According to Husserl, Heidegger’s faults lie in his inability to understand the full scope of the theory of constitution2 and in his resorting to naive ontological and phenomenologically (constitutively) unclarified concepts.3


Relational Center Modern Philosophy Hermeneutic Circle Philosophical Anthropology Subjectivistic Tradition 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tze-Wan Kwan
    • 1
  1. 1.Tung-hai UniversityTaichungTaiwan

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