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Hum Stud (2007) 30:377393 DOI 10.

1007/s10746-007-9061-x RESEARCH PAPER

Husserls Way to Authentic Being


Carlos Alberto Sanchez

Published online: 19 October 2007 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Abstract In a journal entry from 1906, Husserl complains of lacking internal stability and of his desire to achieve it. My claim in this paper is that the phenomenological method, which he made public in his 1907 lectures Die Idee der Pha nomenologie was, and is, a means to achieve the inner harmony that Husserl longed for. I do not provide an analysis of why Husserl might have felt the way he did; my aim is to show what internal stability might be and how one might achieve it. I conclude that the phenomenological method is the means, the how, to internal stability, which I characterize as clarity and harmony regarding our beliefs and, and ultimately, our authentic comportment. Keywords Phenomenology Existentialism Authenticity Justication Epistemology Heidegger Fink Van Breda Introduction In his introduction to Edmund Husserls Die Idee der Pha nomenologie, Walter Biemiel cites one of Husserls journal entries from September of 1906. There, Husserl (1958), in a despairing and melancholy tone, writes, I have sufciently weathered the torments of obscurity [Unklarheit] which toss me to and fro. I must achieve internal stability (pp. viiviii).1 As an expression of human nitude, this sentiment evokes the following questions: Why was Husserl being tossed about in the rst place? And, more interestingly, what is this internal stability that he
1

This quote appears only in the German edition and reads: Die Qualen der Unklarheit, des hin- und herschwankenden Zweifels habe ich ausreichend genossen. Ich mu zu einer inneren Festigkeit hin kommen.

C. A. Sanchez (&) Department of Philosophy, San Jose State University, One Washington Sq, San Jose, CA 95192-0096, USA e-mail: carlosasanchez@sbcglobal.net

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longs for? Answering the rst question can easily lead one to speculate into Husserls psychological state, which is something others have tried but which I am not prepared to do.2 My aim here is to answer the second, more interesting, question, which asks not how Husserl might have felt during this period, but rather, asks what internal stability is and how one might achieve it; this is a question whose answer, I gather, Husserl alludes to in his discussions on belief justication and authentic knowledge. My claim is that internal stability is manifested in the condence the subject shows in regards to his or her beliefs. This condence, moreover, is gained as a result of trusting those beliefs, of trusting their justicatory sources, which is itself a result of subjecting those beliefs to the phenomenological method (here understood to comprise of the epoche, the reduction, and the apprehending powers of intuition). Insofar as trust is an activity of both epistemic and moral importance, my view is that the phenomenological method (as Husserl conceived it) is existentially signicant as well as signicant for science. Without the reduction, the epoche, and seeing intuitions, the evidence required to make reasonable judgments or hold justied beliefs seems ungraspable in principle. More importantly, without practicing the method one is in danger of living in bad faith, or in a state of inauthenticity, a state characterized by our unwillingness to scrutinize the bonds, i.e., our beliefs, which tie us to our world and to the innite. Upon revealing itself, such as in a moment of breakdown or epiphany, this inauthentic state of being, however, is capable of injuring a persons inner harmony, a persons internal stability. The purpose of the present undertaking is two-fold: to show the existential dimensions of the phenomenological method and to shed light on what internal stability is. Of course, the showing will necessarily highlight the how of bringing about what Husserls calls inneren Festigkeit. I begin (1) by touching upon the epistemological undercurrents of reduction, epoche, and intuition; I next touch upon the existential nature of the phenomenological method (2), which leads into a discussion of the relation between the method, human authenticity (3) and epistemic clarity (4); I end (5) by revisiting the nature of internal stability and its possibility.

See, for instance, Pierre Thevenazs What is Phenomenology? (1962), where he tells us of Husserls dissatisfaction with Logical Investigations and the psychological torment that this caused him after its publication. During this time, Husserl, writes Thevenaz, goes through his gravest crisis of internal doubt and incertitude (p. 39). One could ask, however, what writer does not go through a period of doubt and incertitude after nishing and presenting a work? In fact, in a letter to Dorion Cairns, written in 1930 and published in Phaenomenologica 4, Husserl (1960) seems to suggest that the process of writing Logical Investigations was somewhat therapeutic. Husserls letter to Cairns states: I too had a hard time in my youth, suffered from long spells of depression, down to the complete loss of all self-condence, and even made the attempt to consult a neurologist, though not exactly with the success you had. This was largely the result of my philosophical failure, which, as I recognized very late, was a failure of contemporary philosophy. Thus I lived from despair to despair, from rally to rally. And after all, in the fourteen years of my time as Privatdozent in Halle there was a new beginning, the Logische Untersuchungen, which then gave me support and hope. By writing them I have cured myself (p. 293). As the 1905 entry shows, however, the so called cure was only temporary and Husserl would have to once again work through it. I thank the anonymous referee for brining this to my attention.

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Reduction, Epoche, Intuition The phenomenological reduction and epoche guarantee, according to Husserls post-Logical Investigation period, a realm of self-evident givenness. The conditions for the possibility of knowledge are revealed by the reduction to lie within the immanent sphere of conscious experience where the vagueness of everyday objective thinking can be supplanted by the clarity of that which gives itself, namely, phenomena. The reduction epitomizes the cornerstone of phenomenological philosophy, which, Husserl says in The Idea of Phenomenology, is directed to the sources of cognition, to general origins which can be seen, to general absolute givenness which presents the universal criteria in terms of which all meaning, and also the correctness of confused thinking, is to be evaluated, and by which all riddles which have to do with the objectivity of cognition are to be solved. (1964, p. 44) Phenomenology, as a method, thus exposes those sources manifesting universal criteria that can be used to clear up confusion and dissolve the riddles of thinking. Another way to say this is that the method aims to bridge the divide separating the innite, the universal, from the nite, thinking. It accomplishes its tasks, Husserl believes, by instructing us as to how to proceed, but more fundamentally, by holding in itself the promise that our thoughts will achieve clarity and correctness as their course is re-adjusted in accordance with universal, thus innite, criteria. The radicalism of the phenomenological method is embodied in the principle of all principles, where correct thinking is thinking that secures its validity in sources or foundations given in intuition. In Ideas, Book I, 24, Husserl (1998) sets down his principle: [E]very originary presentive intuition is a legitimizing source of knowledge [Erkenntnis],everything originarily (so to speak, in its personal actuality [or, bodily self]) offered to us in intuition is to be accepted simply as what it is presented as being, but also only within the limits in which it is presented there. (p. 44) Intuition is thus a source of legitimacy. As the source of legitimacy, or justication, whatever is intuitively given serves a justicatory role, or rather, serves to justify those beliefs that we will trust. The phenomenological method thus allows us to see that perceptual beliefs are conrmed through perceptual intuitions of the thing to which they referthe thing, or object, however, in its personal actuality, or bodily self. Husserl emphasizes that these sources and these beginnings can be found only through intuition and the practice of reduction and epoche; without these we would not be able to unburden ourselves of the navete of the natural attitude where we remain perpetually bound to unjustied beliefs in what does not give itself. These are beliefs without foundations in our experience, without grounds, and ultimately, without merit. In this camp I would include beliefs about or in my fathers 1998 presidential run, his present ability to walk through walls, or his promised immortality. Opposed to these sorts of beliefs, there are justiable beliefs

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such as my college graduation a decade ago, the geometrical shape of my desk, or my belief in the accuracy of certain mathematical calculations without which my nances would be in ruin. Thus, what is existentially problematic has to do with the persistence of a naivete in regards to my unexamined life; in this condition, I count as true and meritorious whatever has been argued for in the right way, e.g., my fathers ability to walk thought walls, socially sanctioned (by my family, community, class, etc.), or merely assumed. Husserl thus insists on the necessity of the phenomenological method in our attempts to overcome unfounded prejudice, error, and obscurity by revealing the transcendental sources of what we know and how we know it. What must be resolved, however, is the question as to whether this method lends itself to the sort of implementation that Husserl envisioned.

Philosophical Tremors: The Search for Clarity Writing some decades after the publication of Ideas I under the close direction of Husserl, Eugen Fink reects on the right and wrong way to view the phenomenological reduction (or method). For Fink, the reduction represents a return to the origins of constitution, namely transcendental subjectivity, but also a re-turn to the limits of our world. Because this return puts us face to face with those limits, thus with our own human limits, the reduction requires the performance of an act of free will on the part of a subject. What this means is that not everyone can or will perform this act of free will, or that not everyone is capable of exercising their will in such a way that the furthermost horizons of their universe are revealed as a consequence. Thus, in his Sixth Cartesian Meditation, Fink (1995) writes: The awful tremor [Zitternfurchtbares] everyone experiences who actually passes through the phenomenological reduction has its basis in the dismaying recognition that the inconceivably great, boundless, vast world has a sense of a constitutive result, that therefore in the universe of constitution it represents only a relative totality. (p. 144)3 According to Fink, the reduction opens up a window into the innite, that is, the universe. But, we are immediately confronted with the realization that our intuitions present us with only an aspect [Abschattung] of the totality which is this vast world. Our nitude gets in the way of a more encompassing experience with the

The Sixth Cartesian Meditation is Finks attempt, under Husserls supervision, to correct and further explain Husserls theory of transcendental phenomenology and the phenomenological reduction. In it, Fink questions the being of the transcendent, and the very possibility of phenomenology given the conceptual resources available; thus it is a phenomenology of phenomenology. Most importantly, it is a defense of Husserls phenomenology in light of Martin Heideggers emerging philosophy and the long shadow it cast on German thought. For this reason, Fink, at times, seems to Heideggerize Husserl to some extent. For a valuable commentary on this text, see the introduction by Ronald Bruzina.

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innite. This vast world appears as nite, as a constitutive result, that is, with the sense that its intelligibility is a product of intentional acts and intuitive presentations that have gradually constituted it through time. This is a dismaying recognition, Fink contends, since the possibilities of what we can know and experience are not innite in the sense commonly (or naively) imagined. The consequence of recognizing that in fact I, a nite being, implicitly participate in the very constitution of the intelligible world is the source of the awful tremor Fink says one experiences as one performs, or goes through, the reduction. One would think that the phenomenological method should only lead to clarity and, with this, a sense of condence in what it is that we knowor what it is that we claim to know. According to Fink, however, it is not the sense of clarity and condence that rst overtakes us, but rather a feeling of physical discomfort, a dreadful tremble [Zitternfurchtbares]. Perhaps this discomfort is due to the unsettling thought that what the world means for us is ultimately dependent on our own limited subjectivity, and therefore, that we can never know anything absolutely. Or, to put the point in a different light, perhaps it is due to the fact that, in performing the phenomenological reduction, we are conscious, for the rst time, of the extent of our freedom. Husserl himself suggests something like this when he says that the attempt to doubt universally for the rst time belongs to the realm of our perfect freedom (1998, p. 58). The idea is that this act of doubt, while belonging to the realm of our freedom, is not understood as such until we are in a state of doubt; in the state of doubt we realize, for the rst time, the extent of our freedom. This universal doubt, or bracketing, takes the form of the epoche, which is performed willingly and upon all of our beliefs. Our freedom itself, then, is given with the performance. But, at what price our freedom? Well, at the price of the nave certainty in ourselves; at the price of doubting our personal condence, or of that normal, unquestioned, self-assurance that our relation to the innite is clear cut. This might make anyone tremble, as Fink suggests. Now, is it out of fear, or dread, that we tremble? Is this dreadful tremble a symptom of a strange fear of freedom? The awful tremor which one experiences when going through the phenomenological reduction is a phenomenological description, I think, of consciousness experience of its own limits, the experience of a freedom constrained, of reaching the limits of knowledge in a free act of our own will. The description of what one feels when performing the reduction, however, might initially sound too metaphorical (or worse, psychologistic). Nevertheless, I ask, what does it mean to actually go through the reduction? The reduction is a return to conscious experience involving the bracketing and suspension of all of our everyday beliefs, but most specically, the belief in the existence of the world as a Ding an Sich. Burt Hopkins (2003) formulates this purpose in the following way: the phenomenological reduction is invoked, he says, to the end of justifying what we believe to be our knowledge of both the world and of ourselves, as beings who live in the world (p. 5). To go through the reduction is thus to perform the return to consciousness, to suspend the validity of my beliefs, to focus on experience just as it is experienced, and in this way, to justify my beliefs. It is in an act of freedom, moreover, involving reection. Only this reective stance can give us some distance from our immediate experience and allow us to get a clear picture as to whether or

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not a belief is in harmony with its object (its intuitive content).4 Put differently, the reduction grants me, a thinking subject, the opportunity to recognize that the world I experience is always my world, a world not simply given independently of me, but rather constituted (or made intelligible) by acts of my own consciousness; to recognize this is to experience the niteinnite relation which I represent, the limits of this relation, and with this, a shock, a hostile break with what I commonly assumed. This process may not always be as dramatic as Fink thinks it is, or as I make it sound, but it is an experience of nitude, whereby we recognize that we cannot get outside of our world to a truer world we play no role in constituting, namely, the innite, vast, world. But now I ask: what exactly is the existential implication of this process, or this method, if any?

Phenomenology and Authenticity If clarity about our selves through reasonable justication for our beliefs is the ultimate goal of the phenomenological reduction, then it seems imperative that in order to be authentic one must practice the phenomenological method, even if it can initially be something of a frightful exercise. This line of argument is suggested by H.L. Van Breda in a highly original piece, A Note on Reduction and Authenticity According to Husserl (Elliston and McCormick 1977). According to Van Breda, In what is called the natural attitude, man leads an inauthentic existence because he unconsciously lives in the absolute belief in what is constituted or what is founded (we prefer the term canonized, which Husserl rarely uses) without justifying this belief or clarifying its foundation (Elliston and McCormick, pp. 124125, note 1).5 Here Van Breda links human authenticity with justication; whats more interesting, however, is that human inauthenticity is tied up with unjustied belief as represented by our condence in what is canonized. By preferring canonized over founded or constituted, Van Breda emphasizes what he sees as the ultimate obstacle to human authenticity, namely, the great difculty or simple incapacity to suspend those beliefs which have been sanctied in the social sphere, dogmatically assumed in our private lives, and whose status is thus unquestionable in any ordinary sphere. The reduction is thus necessary in order to enter the phenomenological realm, and in order, consequently, to be authentic. It is the philosopher who is responsible for performing the reduction. The phenomenological reduction, writes Van Breda, is by rights the rst and the most fundamental of the steps to be carried out by the philosopher (1977, note 3). More than that, however, like the practice of Christianity in Kierkegaards vision, or resolve in Heideggers, it must be constantly and consistently repeated and
4

Its worth pointing out, however, that we do not leave our immediate experience. It is rather a reective move, a change of perspective, away from a nave absorption in unreective thinking. As Thevenaz (1962) says, One cannot even speak of a return to lived experience via the reduction, because, in fact, we have never left it (p. 52). Van Breda makes eight notes regarding reduction and authenticity in this short but valuable essay. Because the essay is so brief, for the sake of clarity, I will refer to the note number. Thus, for the above quote, I will place note 1 after the cited text.

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never be considered denitively achieved (note 4). Thus, authenticity is only possible by the continued performance of the phenomenological method which requires a persistent inquest into those beliefs onto which we easily slip in our everyday lives; it is by rights, by a priori law, that is, the rst step on the path to authentic philosophical thinking. Consequently, writes Van Breda, The philosopherby denition, a man who is at pains to live the authentic lifeought to exercise the phenomenological reduction, if he does not want to betray his calling. The epoche is thrust on his freedom in a categorical and imperative way. (note 8) This conclusion, however, raises several questions the answers to which can be very revealing. First, what philosopher is Van Breda referring to here? By denition, says Van Breda, the philosopher is at pains to live authentically, and the only way to achieve authenticity is to exercise the reduction if he wants to be true to what he does. The history of philosophy shows, however, that exercising the phenomenological reduction is not a necessary condition to philosophize nor does it show that exercising the phenomenological reduction makes it any easier to live an authentic existence. The signicance of Van Bredas view is that it suggests that Husserl was indeed, as I am suggesting, concerned with the connection between (epistemic) justication and (existential) authenticity; that Husserl (as the philosopher) was at pains to live the authentic life, at pains to resolve what he called the torments of obscurity and doubt which tosses me about in every direction (op. cit.).6 Even if we grant that the reduction is a means to authenticity for phenomenologists and non-phenomenologist alike (as I shall propose), the above quote gives rise to a second question, namely: if the epoche is an act of free will, as suggested above by Fink, how is it thrust on ones freedom? The implication here is that in order to genuinely philosophize one must practice the phenomenological method, since only if one wants to be true to ones calling is one obligated to perform the epoche. This view has it, then, that the phenomenological method is the act of free will, which in turn allows us also to be fully conscious of our freedom. This is why authenticity requires us to be phenomenologists. In his early studies on Husserl, Emmanuel Levinas (1998) describes the situation in a somewhat similar way: Deepening our knowledge of things and their being, phenomenology constitutes for man a way of existing through which he attains his spiritual destiny[phenomenology] is the very life of the mind which nds itself and exists in conformity with its vocation. It brings forth a discipline through which the mind takes cognizance of itself, assumes responsibility for itself and ultimately for its freedom. (p. 48) Like Van Breda, Levinas sees phenomenology as paving the way for ones spiritual destiny (the destiny of ones calling) which is to exist in conformity
This is also the case with Descartes. Descartes begins by noting his inauthenticity, and through meditation attempts to reveal what he is justied in holding true. For Descartes, to know myselfmore truly seems to be a necessary condition for living the right kind of life (1993, p. 23).
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with ones purpose (being thinking, so to speak), and then, as a result of taking up this purpose, for assuming responsibility for ones freedom. As a mode of being, the phenomenological attitude, according to Van Breda and Levinas, promises to lend clarity to my thoughts, which, at rst muddled and confused, are then seen to be either in harmony or disharmony with my vast world. Thus, for example, my belief in the world as an existence independent of my experience is seen, as a result of taking up this attitude, to conict with the way the world is given in experience. The case is the same for any other belief, which if found in disharmony (as a result of the reduction and epoche) is disavowed and, if harmonious, then justiably retained. In this way, as my beliefs achieve harmony with what they are about, so does consciousness itself achieve harmonywhich is ultimately what one seeking the sources of knowledge really desires. Harmony, consequently, describes the relationship between the nite and the innite, intuition and its object, and the realization and afrmation of ones limits as the vast world escapes a totalizing grasp.

Are We Not Clear? Levinas characterization of phenomenology as a way of being, rather than as the way, suggests that perhaps the methods of phenomenology are not as necessary for authentic being as Van Breda assumes; perhaps clarity and authenticity are not on the line if one chooses not to perform the phenomenological reduction. In other words, that achieving internal stability is possible without the method and even, perchance, that this sort of philosophical effort does not make much difference in our attempts to be clear, harmonious, and authentic because there is no reason to suppose that it brings us any closer to the justicatory sources of our beliefs. More damaging still is the view that questions the very possibility of accessing this way of being, this radical shift in perspective that takes one from the natural to the phenomenological attitude. David Carr (1999) holds this view: when the phenomenological method is portrayed as a complete overthrow of our natural belief in the world, one wonders (as in the case of Descartes doubt) whether something so radical is really possible, or whether Husserl has in mind a merely theoretical pretense, a thought experiment which does not really change our beliefs at all. (p. 95) Carrs suggestion is that the event of going through the method might only be a thought experiment meant to get us to imagine what beliefs would remain if it were possible to put them in brackets, or suspend them, or overthrow them. Performing this experiment in ones mind, however, seems impossible; perhaps this seeming impossibility is why those who actually pass through the phenomenological reduction are aficted with that awful tremor that Fink speaks about. Perhaps it is not the experience of ones nitude, then, that overcomes those rare thinkers who pass through the reduction, but an overwhelming sense of

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accomplishment, a feeling that they succeeded in performing a mental experiment in accordance with the specications of its formulation.7 In the end, the phenomenological method, writes Carr (1999), is a highly abstract and articial method, and this consciousness purged of all beliefs (also known as the transcendental subject) is nothing but a theoretical ction, comparableto the freely falling body of Newtonian physics, or the average consumer of statistics (p. 95). Moreover, it is more than articial; it is, says Carr, an arbitrary ction. But claiming that it is arbitrary is one step away from saying that the same level of reection, justication, and knowledge, which the phenomenological reduction makes available for us, can likewise be arrived at naturally. Carr, indeed, says this much: Husserl never claims that we know the world with any more certainty or accuracy after the phenomenological reduction than before it (pp. 9596). To accept Carrs position would be to relinquish the claim that the phenomenological method is meant as a method whose purpose is to uncover the justicatory grounds for our beliefs as nite beings. While I accept that we might not know the world with more certainty after the phenomenological reduction, since future experience might possibly falsify a belief currently held to be true, I reject his suggestion that we might not know it with more accuracy. A philosopher does, in fact, know the world with more accuracy when he or she nds, as a result of the method, that his or her beliefs aboutness is coincident (or corresponds accurately) with that with which it is about. The point that Carr (1999) is attempting to make is that the valorization of the phenomenological method at the expense of our everyday, natural, existence overlooks the fact that by being opposite the natural, phenomenological reection is actually an unnatural mode of being since it seems a wholly unnecessary departure from that natural attitudewhich seems necessary and unassailable (p. 95). By this, I understand Carr to mean that in abstracting us from the mundane, the phenomenological reduction is not going to elevate us to a new realm of reality, but will always remain unassailably tied up with a concrete circumstance. The point of the method, writes Carr, is neither to deny nor to reafrm the natural attitude, nor is it to go beyond it to some other realm; it is simply to see, as it were, how the natural attitude works (p. 97). Looked at in this way, the phenomenological method (the reduction and the epoche) seems not to be the means to an authentic existence; it is merely a scientic method, like physics or astronomy, that aims to uncover the inner workingsor the essential mechanismsof our familiar world. The existential necessity of performing the reduction and epoche, to which both Van Breda and Levinas testify, is thus only necessary for one already working within the boundaries of the phenomenological project, and thus not for everyone else, not for those who do not nd it philosophically necessary to pass through the phenomenological reduction.
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I can imagine someone, for example, who might one day actually, and successfully, enter a teletransporter, get beamed over to Mars but physically remain on Earth while someone physically and psychologically identical to him or her roams the deserts of Mars. The elation to the philosopher-physicist who accomplishes this, I imagine, would be overwhelming. This is David Parts thought experiment in Reasons and Persons (1984, Part 3).

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However, what is the extent of the arbitrariness that plagues this reective exercise? Carrs remarks indicate that the attempt itself, of adopting the phenomenological attitude, is as unnatural and contrived as willing oneself to imagine the structural contours of something like Platos world of forms. Against this view, it seems to me that there is something very natural about the perspective or standpoint described by Husserl as the phenomenological attitude. Immersed as I am in my everyday activities, I do not question the reasons why I believe this or that about those activities, the tools I use to perform them, or the circumstances in which I perform them. I have faith that these tools and circumstances will remain as they are as time passes, and I accept certain beliefs and propositions based on their mutual coherence with other beliefs and propositions; I do this without questioning the validity of the coherent system of beliefs and propositions itself, and I am seldom in a situation where I need to question this validity. In general, I consider my experience as consistent, and any inconsistency is attributed to some familiar cause or to something, which I might still possibly experience (or with which I might become familiar in the future). There are instances, however, when I do adopt a reective standpoint similar to the one Husserl describes. I attempt to tie my shoelaces, and in a moment of distraction, catch myself forgetting how the knot goes; I stop and reect on the experience of not being able to tie the knot which ties my shoelaces. I abstract myself from that experience, and think of what the knot should look like. I reect on various instances of knots and the process of tying knots. This reection allows me to return to my experience, wherein I grasp the knot as it should be and not as it is now or as it was yesterday (this is an instance of the epoche at work)I can even say that I can grasp the whatness of the knot. Reection (employing the phenomenological reduction) on knots in general (in Husserls terms, seeing essences) and the exclusion of what knots are not (through something like an epoche), I want to say, is, in a mundane sense, both natural and common. Husserls method, in many respects, merely asks us to replicate a normal and commonplace experience. This is the view, for instance, in Heideggers (1962) distinction in Being and Time between vorhanden and zuhanden modes of experience, and his view that we move back and forth between such at hand and hands on experiences without needing to employ any methodological reduction (14ff). The phenomenologist, however, should adopt this reective stance if, as a philosopher interested in the sources of clear thinking, he or she aims to uncover truth and move beyond mere prejudice. Thus, Husserl suggests that this reective stance should be treated as a method; that is, that it should be a philosophical tool for unearthing what underlies all of our experience, namely, a nite relation to the innite.8 Moreover, to say that the phenomenological reduction and the epoche are arbitrary is the same as saying that, as mere thought experiments, philosophy could do without them. Yet they are not arbitrary gestures, I believe, because Husserls idea of philosophy as the ultimate expression of reason demands this
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The obvious reason to call it a method is presumably related to Husserls more scientic aspirations. I say presumably because the point of my analysis is to show that this reason is not that obvious.

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method; philosophy demands a shift of direction of ones interests, a shift away from what is common and familiar to us to what underlies the common and the familiar, to what allows us to see something as common and familiar. Only a very skillful scientist, immersed in routine and without students or colleagues who need an explanation of his or her actions, could possibly do science without ever leaving the natural attitude and explicitly reecting on the meaning of what he or she is doing. And even such a scientist will be forced out of the natural attitude by radically novel or unexpected results, problems, obstacles, breakdowns, and so on. The phenomenological reduction promises to be both a reection in the world, and about that world; consequently, it is both natural and necessary.

Clarity and Harmony Thus, the phenomenological method does not necessarily involve an entirely unnatural and arbitrary departure from the world of our immediately lived experience, but rather merely a shift of perspective that allows us to see the nature of experience itself. Moreover, the method allows for a clarication of knowledge, its nature and its possibility; but, more importantly, it allows for clarity in regards our own relation to the underlying sources of our beliefs and, moreover, harmony with those beliefs. This recognition cannot but stabilize a soul in disarray. This is why it is the responsibility of the philosopher to clarify the nature of this relationship, which is also, as Van Breda suggest, an owning up to ones responsibility in the face of authentic comportment. My view, then, is that authenticity is intimately related with the proper justication of our claims to knowledge (both particular and universal knowledge); that is, that authenticity can be achieved in and through our search for clarity, and since clarity requires an understanding of how we come to rely on certain beliefs, then clarity requires an understanding of the justicatory process. Husserl (1998) writes: the conscious subject itself judges about actuality, asks about it, deems it likely, doubts it, resolves the doubt and thereby effects legitimations of reason (p. 324). Legitimations of reason turn out to be justied beliefs or knowledge claims. It is the aim of the conscious subject to legitimate his or her beliefs in and about actuality, that is, his or her nite, worldly, beliefs. An obstacle to my line of thinking, however, is that we like to think of the concept of authenticity as an existential concept in existentialist philosophy, or a rigidly dened concept in Heideggerian analysis, i.e., as a mode of being of Dasein. In Husserl, we nd the concept of authenticity in the Logical Investigations (1984) as he discusses the laws of authentic and inauthentic thinking, or the a priori laws governing thought. In that work, Husserl says, In so far as the logical thought of experience is, to an incomparably major extent, conducted inadequately and signitively, we can think, believe, many things, which in truth, in the manner of authentic thought, the actual carrying out of merely intended syntheses, cannot be brought together at all. Just for this reason the a priori laws of authentic thinking and authentic expression become norms for merely opinion-forming, inauthentic thought and expression. (p. 728)

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According to Husserl, authentic thinking (eigentlichen Denken) takes place when the thoughts one entertains are fullled thoughts and not merely signitive thoughts, or empty intendings. In an authentic thought, that is, an actual carrying out of merely intended syntheses is brought together, which means that the different intuitions corresponding to the intentional act come together to present a unied object, or an identical object, which can then be said to be known. Thus for thinking to be authentic, it must be made up of thoughts, beliefs, and propositions, which are justied in the right and proper way (i.e., through synthesis). This raises the question, however, as to the relationship between authentic thinking, or rational thoughts, and being authentic. For Sren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche, for instance, authentic being is tied up with the freedom to chose, the freedom to act, and owning up to the consequences of our actions (that is, with responsibility). Reason, in the eyes of these thinkers, limits the possibilities to choose, and is thus a hindrance to the full exercise of our freedom. In Kierkegaard, for instance, reason is the obstacle to the establishment of the real relation with God (to Untruth), and it keeps us trapped, so to speak, in the belief that subjectivity is truth; and, in Nietzsche, the Apollonian (reason) suppresses the Dionysian (instincts) element of the human spirit, thus limiting the possibilities of the human being.9 Opposed to this, for Husserl the phenomenological reduction exemplies the ultimate saving power of reason; authentic thinking just is the right use of reason. As Husserl says in The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology (1970): Reason is precisely that which [humanity] qua [humanity], in [our] innermost being, is aiming for, that alone can satisfy [us], make [us] blessed (p. 338). If reason makes one blessed, then justied beliefs are the thoughts of Saints. Does the deication of reason by Husserl mean that his phenomenology and the existential notion of authenticity are irreconcilable? That is, that the phenomenological method is not a way to become authentic? My conviction is that while Husserls phenomenology and the existentialisms of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Jean Paul Sartre, and others, are not reconcilable philosophical descriptions of human existence en toto, we can understand Husserls insistence on clarity, on evidence, justication, and knowledge of the world (nite knowledge), as existential worries having to do with authentic being in the world. Consider, as a more relevant illustration, Martin Heideggers notion of authenticity in Being and Time.10 Heidegger (1962) writes that as modes of
9

On this, see Kierkegaards Concluding Unscientic Postscript (1992), especially Section 2 of Chapter 2; and, see for example, Fredrick Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy and Other Writings (1999).

10 I say relevant since Husserl always suspected that Heidegger might be continuing the projects and themes laid out in his (Husserls) own phenomenology. In a letter to Alexander Pfander (1931), Husserl writes: Of course, as Being and Time appeared in 1927, I was alienated by the new style of language and thought. At rst I trusted his post-publication clarication: he is one who advances my research. I derived the impression of an exceptional, though not claried intellectual energy, and honestly took to pains to penetrate [sic] and accept it. In the face of theories whose access was so difcult for my type of thinking, I did not want to come to grips with the fact that in them methods of my phenomenological research and its scientic rigor in general are abandoned. Somehow the blame rests with me and Heidegger only so far as he leaped much too quickly into problems of a higher stage. He himself steadily denied that he is abandoning my transcendental phenomenology and directed me to his future second volume [of Being and Time] (Welton 2000, pp. 122123).

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being, authenticity and inauthenticity are both grounded in the fact that any Dasein whatsoever is characterized by mineness [as something of its own] (p. 68). Authenticity [Eigentlichkeit] thus involves taking ownership of ones own existence, of making my life my own [eigen]. Inauthenticity, on the other hand, involves allowing what is mine to slip away, for instance, in excitement or in anticipation (Heideggers examples). Likewise for Husserl, authentic thinking involves owning up to a responsibility to think correctly, thus to be justied in our thoughts and, thus, in our actions. Inauthentic thinking, or acts of believing without any justication, such as beliefs held in a moment of expectation, anticipation, or in acts of pleasure, are acts in which one ees from that responsibility to care for the correctness of our thinking; for instance, as I expect the next Lotto number to be called, I forget that my belief in my lucky numbers is not properly founded. Of course, Heideggers and Husserls projects are quite different; Heidegger lacks Husserls traditional faith in reason, and so prioritizes other more primary modes of our existence, for instance care, thrownness, and anxiety, while Husserl prioritizes reason over anything non-intuitively presented. What I am attempting to highlight, however, is the train of thought that both thinkers are following in regard to being authentic, namely, that being authentic requires a re-evaluation of what we believe. For Husserl this means a re-evaluation of our everyday beliefs while for Heidegger it means a coming-to-terms with public interpretedness. Heidegger (1962) remarks, for instance, that Daseinremains concealed from itself in its authenticity because of the way in which things have been publicly interpreted by the they (p. 235). If this is the case, then Dasein chooses not to choose itself and win itself by taking up, or appropriating, what others have already laid out regarding what it means to be in the world. This is, in Husserlian terms, to be uncritically embedded in the nave attitude. This is also the difference Heidegger highlights between the ambiguity of empty idle talk (Gerede) and genuine authentic discourse (Rede) which is in touch with the reality it discusses, rather than simply passing along claims it has merely overheard (3435).11 Husserls concern about being authentic is embedded in the context of the problems of knowledge his phenomenological method is meant to solve. To be clear about the possibility of authentically saying to oneself, I know this or that because I see this or that in its bodily presence and thus in evidence, is thus a rst step toward being authentic; a recognition, moreover, which is always also the rst step toward being inauthentic (I can say to myself I would know this or that if I were to see it in its bodily presence, and while I dont see it in its bodily presence, I still believe this or that). In accepting the phenomenological method as a method of

11

As Iain Thomson (2005) argues, authenticity does require an existential reduction of its own in which, radically individualized in the total collapse of my world, the running-out into death that reveal me to myself in my ownmost being-able (eigentliche Seinko nnen) as nothing but a world-hungry mineness (Jemeinnigkeit), a projecting without any projects, I discover that this aspect of myself is stronger than death and so am able to choose to choose, to be authentically reborn, repossessing myself and so genuinely leading my own life (pp. 439467).

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philosophy, the phenomenologist therefore takes on an existential responsibility.12 Submitting ones epistemic situationwhat I claim to know and how I knowto critical scrutiny (to the epoche and the reduction) is a matter of doing the right thing so as to have the right to be sure; to have the right to be sure, however, for as long as there are no reasons to doubt what I am sure about. It is in this way, as the principle of all principles suggests, that intuition is a source of right (Rechtquelle). As I do the right thing, namely, critique my epistemic situation, recognize my nitude, etc., I must accept the principle that only intuitive evidence will ground my beliefs whereby I may have a right to (at least) think them to be true. This self-certainty, clarity in ones thoughts, or condence (Bewubtein), is, I argue, what characterizes authenticity and thus internal stability for Husserl.13 It is precisely this aspect of Husserls thought, moreover, which resounds with Heideggers distinction between the ambiguity of idle chatter and genuine, or authentic, discourse. Thus I claim that justication and clarity is a means to authenticity and internal stability, since the search for justication involves owning up to the responsibility to clarify what might have been once navely believed, and this owning up requires a resolute decision together with the courage to act on that decision. It is this courage to act, or react, in the face of established knowledge that serves as an epistemic-existential virtue in Husserls philosophy. This is perhaps why Van Breda attributes so much existential worth to the phenomenological method; if one is willing to dig into the depths of what one knows, then one can escape the inauthentic existence of the natural attitude (note 2). Of course, I do not agree with the implications of Van Bredas thesis, namely, that everyone who remains xated in the natural attitude is inauthentic; after all, there are other ways to own up to ones life. Even if most of these ways do require an initial reective move, some of them do not require the persistent performance of that move in order to remain authentic. Nevertheless, one can see that it does take courage to shift ones perspective and see that the world is, as Fink says, a constitutive result. This courage, however, must never falter. In the concluding paragraph to 96 of Ideas, Husserl (1998) makes the following remark: we should and must strive in each step we take to describe faithfully what we really see from our own point of view and after the most earnest consideration. Our procedure is that of a scientic traveler in an unknown part of the world, carefully describing what is presented along his unbeaten pathSuch an

12 Henry Pietersma puts the matter in less poignant terms: a subject who is utterly committed to rationality should reect on his epistemic situation and submit it to critical scrutiny. He should ask himself whether the situation really has the character of perception which his cognitive claim implied. Has his cognitive intention been completely lled or does the object intended have components which are in some way referred to but not given?Either you must be able to suggest further meaningful explorations or I have the right to be sure (Elliston and McCormick 1977, pp. 4243).

Bewubtein is, of course, translated as consciousness. In some places, Fred Kersten translates it as condence (Husserl 1998, 96). It makes sense, since when one is conscious of X, one is also condent that X is what is being thought about. Although the terms are not prima facie interchangeable, it does not seem too much of a violation to interchange them in the present context.

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explorer can rightfully be lled with the sure consciousness [Ihn darf das sichere Bewusstein erfu llen (Kersten translates Bewusstein as condence)] that his expression, in relation to time and circumstance is the thing that must be said, which, because it faithfully expresses what has been seen, preserves its value alwayseven when further research calls for new descriptions with manifold improvements. In a similar temper we wish in what lies ahead before us to be loyal expounders of phenomenological structures, and for the rest to preserve the habit of inner freedom in regards to our own descriptions. (p. 235) This passage expresses the existential worries alluded to throughout this paper, namely, the worry that a lack of attention to the justicatory sources of our beliefs and to those beliefs themselves can lead us to drown in the naivete of the public world (in everyday beliefs). Husserl thus writes of being faithful to our experience, experiences which can always be new, of being lled with condence, with a sure consciousness, when our expressions (spoken or merely entertained in our minds) correspond faithfully [treuer] to an aspect of the world that, moreover, due to the limitations imposed by time and circumstance might later be modied (a belief, for example, that might be certain now, but become doubtful later due to some further experience). This ies in the face of some lines of thinking in Husserlian scholarship that argue that Husserl never took into consideration time and circumstance in the justication of beliefs.14 He had to take context into account, since fulllment is impossible without it; with this, one can say the (not so) obvious: that in order to be authentic ones beliefs must be justied through worldly experience of objects encountered, necessarily, in an environment, in a context. Without worldly experience, one could never achieve the clarity and condence which one clearly seeks. The experience of fulllment or justication thus adds intrinsic unity to ones life, and so it must be sought at every step of the way. Therefore, since Husserls phenomenology is a means to clarity, and clarity gained through justication is means to condence, then phenomenology is a means to condence, and harmony, which I believe is a necessary condition for authenticity and, thus, internal stability. If I am condent that what I claim to know is true, that is, then I am more capable of taking a stand on my circumstances, thus on my own life, and hence make my life my own.

Conclusion: Inner Stability Achieved It is traditionally believed that Husserls conception of the phenomenological method was that it was to serve a very specic role, namely, that of grounding science by supplying the essential foundations for particular regions of scientic research (regional ontologies). In this paper I have made the case that a more
14 My emphasis; Pierre Keller (1999), for instance, makes the following claim: Any justication of our beliefs also depends on the context in which we nd ourselves. There is no way to provide a justication of our beliefs that transcends all context whatsoever, as traditional philosophers such as Descartes and Husserl think, who seek to identify beliefs that have a certainty that is completely independent of any particular context of justication (157; my emphasis).

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existential aspiration underlies phenomenologys scientic exterior: internal stability through authentic, clear, thinking. The worry over justication which I attribute to Husserl is consequently of existential signicance. In effect, this type of justication deals with those beliefs that make us who we are, and which, ultimately, provide the basis for authentic or inauthentic existence. The phenomenological reduction, as a turning-back-upon consciousness, is a violent yet worthwhile gesture against the tendencies of our natural attitude. It is violent since we must suspend, and put out of inuence those beliefs with which we are familiar, that inform us, and fearlessly subject those beliefs to critical scrutiny; it is worthwhile since what we gain is clarity, condence, internal harmony, and authenticity (likewise the possibility of understanding ourselves as being deliberately inauthentic). What is at stake is nothing less than the role of reason in our worldly existence; thus, in Husserls eyes, it is also indispensable. On the level of the individual subject, writes Marcus Brainard (2002), rationality proves to be harmony, the total agreement of a positing and its objectuality or, more generally, between belief and Being (p. 217). Thus proper justication of our beliefs, namely, harmony in respect to the coincidence of belief (the nite) and Being (the innite) also makes way for harmony in the sense of internal stability, which, Ive argued, characterizes the existential underpinnings of Husserls phenomenological method.15

References
Brainard, M. (2002). Belief and its neutralization: Husserls system of phenomenology in Ideas I. Albany: State University of New York Press. Carr, D. (1999). The paradox of subjectivity: The self in the transcendental tradition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Descartes, R. (1993). Meditations on rst philosophy (trans: Cress, D.A.). Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co. Elliston, F., & McCormick, P. (Eds.). (1977). Husserl: Expositions and appraisals. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press. Fink, E. (1995). Sixth cartesian meditation (trans: Bruzina, R.). Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Heidegger, M. (1962). Being and Time (trans: Macquarrie, J. and Robinson, E.). New York: Harper & Row. Hopkins, B. C. (2003). Husserls epoche: Theory, praxis, or something in between? Essays in celebration of the founding of phenomenological organizations. Retrieved August 16, 2006 from http://www.o-p-o.net Husserl, E. (1958). Husserliana band II: Die Idee der Pha nomenologie. Haag: Martinus Nijhoff. Husserl, E. (1960). 18591959. Recueil commemoratif publie a loccasion du centenaire de la naissance du philosophe (Commemorative anthology on the occasion of Husserls birth). Phaenomenologica, Vol. 4. Husserl, E. (1964). The idea of Phenomenology (trans: Alston, W.). The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff. Husserl, E. (1970). The crisis of the European sciences and transcendental phenomenology (trans: Carr, D.). Evanston: Northwestern University Press. Husserl, E. (1984). Logische Untersuchungen, Zweiter Band: Untersuchungen zur Pha nomenologie und Theorie der Erkenntnis. The Hague: Martinus Nijhhoff.
15 I am grateful to Professors Iain Thomson and Richard Tieszen, who guided my thinking through the initial phases of this paper. I would also like to thank the two anonymous referees for Human Studies for their valuable comments and suggestions.

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Husserl, E. (1998). Ideas pertaining to a pure phenomenology and to a phenomenological philosophy, rst book: General introduction to a pure phenomenology (trans: Kersten, F.). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Keller, P. (1999). Husserl and Heidegger on human experience. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kierkegaard, S. (1992). Concluding unscientic postscript to Philosophical Fragments (trans: Hong, H. and Hong, E.). Princeton: Princeton University Press. Levinas, E. (1998). Discovering existence with Husserl (trans: Cohen, R.A. and Smith, M.B.). Evenston: Northwestern University Press. Nietzsche, F. (1999). The Birth of Tragedy and other writings (trans: Spiers, R.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Part, D. (1984). Reasons and Persons. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Thevenaz, P. (1962). What is phenomenology? (trans: Edie, J. Courtney, C. and Brockelman, P.). Chicago: Quadrangle Books. Thomson, I. (2005). Heideggers perfectionist philosophy of education in Being and Time. Continental Philosophy Review, 37(4), 439467. Welton, D. (2000). The other Husserl: The horizons of transcendental phenomenology. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

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