Landgrebe’s Critique of Husserl’s Theory of Phenomenological Reflection

  • Burt C. Hopkins
Part of the Contributions to Phenomenology book series (CTPH, volume 11)


Regarding the final trend in the assessment of the issues involved in the Husserl-Heidegger relation evident in the literature, the variation of this trend found in Landgrebe’s seminal discussion of the “shipwreck” of Husserl’s project, will be discussed within the context of my investigation of the status of the phenomenon of intentionality in Husserl’s and Heidegger’s formulations of phenomenology. Landgrebe’s analysis of Husserl’s project focuses on the “fact that for Husserl being [Sein]primarily signifies being-an-object [Gegenstand-sein]for an act of consciousness which presents it.”1 According to Landgrebe, this understanding of being is “rooted in Husserl’s interpretation of the essence and achievement of phenomenological reflection.”2 This interpretation is problematical for Landgrebe, inasmuch as “what Husserl had correctly seen under the title of transcendental subjectivity,”3 includes a dimension which “can neither be objectified nor brought under concepts of objective being,”4 and therefore, “can never be overtaken by representing [objectifying] reflection.”5 Husserl’s attempt to nevertheless accomplish just this, has the result, for Landgrebe, that Husserl’s account of transcendental subjectivity “becomes so obscured that he was not able to arrive at an unequivocal determination of this concept.”6 The influence of Heidegger on these analyses is clear from Landgrebe’s characterization, of this non-objectifiable dimension of transcendental subjectivity, in terms of “intentionality in the sense of ‘being-alreadyahead-of-itself’ (transcendence in the sense of Heidegger)... [which is]... unable to grasp itself in this structure in an objectifying reflection.”7


Intentional Object Temporal Succession External Perception Time Consciousness Transcendental Subjectivity 
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  1. 1.
    Landgrebe, op. cit., p. 112.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ibid., p. 104.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ibid., p. 116.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ibid., p. 119.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ibid., p. 115.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ibid., p. 116.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Landgrebe, “The Problem Posed by the Transcendental Science of the A Priori of the Life-World,” in A priori and World, ed. and trans. by William McKenna, Robert M. Harlan and Laurence E. Winters, ( The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1981 ), p. 170.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Landgrebe, “Husserl’s Departure from Cartesianism,” op. cit., p. 87.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ibid., pp. 104–05.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ibid., p. 104.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Ibid., p. 105.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
  13. 13.
  14. 14.
  15. 15.
    Ibid., p. 106.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Ibid., p. 107.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
  18. 18.
    Ibid., p. 111.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Ibid., p. 110.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
  21. 21.
  22. 22.
  23. 23.
    Ibid., p. 119.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Ibid., p. 101Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Ibid., p. 111.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Ibid., p. 115.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
  28. 28.
  29. 29.
    Ibid., pp. 118–19.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Ibid., p. 114.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Ibid., p. 118.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Ibid., p. 119.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Ibid., p. 118.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Ibid., pp. 118–19.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Ibid., p. 119.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Ibid., p. 109.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
  38. 38.
    Ibid., p. 110.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Ibid., p. 114.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Ibid., p. 118.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
  42. 42.
    Ibid., p. 119.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
  44. 44.
    Ibid., p. 120.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Ibid., p. 119.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Ibid.; Cf. Heidegger’s comments on his difficulties with Husserl’s draft of the Encyclopaedia Britannica Article: “[t]hat which makes up the place of the transcendental… raises precisely the problem: what is the mode of being of the entity in which the ‘world’ is constituted?” (PP,p. 601).Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Ibid., p. 121.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    See § 35 above.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    See § 8 above.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    See §§ 8 and 12 above.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    See §§ 9 and 13 above.Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    See § 12 above.Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    And mindful of the atemporal status evident in the reflected upon qua ideal meanings, it need not be pointed out that the eidetic reduction and consequent uncovering of the intentionality of the latter, would yield “intentional objects” that are not essentially related to temporal objects.Google Scholar
  54. 53.
    See § 29 above.Google Scholar
  55. 54.
    This synopsis of Husserl’s phenomenological account of time, is based on §§ 29–32 aboveGoogle Scholar
  56. 55.
    See § 35 above.Google Scholar
  57. 56.
    See § 32 above.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Burt C. Hopkins
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophySeattle UniversityUSA

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