Dermot Moran on “Adult Solitude”: Phenomenology in Husserl’s Shadow

On the afternoon of April 23rd, a wonderful lecture was given in the conference hall of College of Philosophy. The topic of the lecture is “Adult Solitude:Phenomenology in Husserl’s Shadow”. The speaker is Mr. Dermot Moran, internationally renowned phenomenologist, president of the International Federation of Philosophical Studies and member of the Royal Irish Academywho is professor of philosophy at the University College Dublin and Boston College.

Moran began his lecture with a quotation from "The Philosopher and His Shadow", text written by Merleau-Ponty in 1959 for Husserl’s centenary. According to Moran, Merleau-Ponty adequately grasped Husserl’s late ideas and revealed the relationship between Husserl and Heidegger. Moran pointed out that Husserl had already discussed ontology in his Logical Investigations. And in The Crisis written by Husserl in his later years, a “life-world ontology” has been established with the aid of the introduction of the concept of life-world. On the one hand, Heidegger acknowledged Husserl’s contribution to ontology, that is to say, Husserl has brought in a new way of philosophizing which revived the ontology. On the other hand, he refused the Husserlian comprehension of ontology. For Moran, the conception of “natural attitude”,inextricably linked with Husserl’s so-called transcendental turn, is of fundamental importance for Husserlian phenomenology. He emphasized that there exist various levels of attitudes in Husserl’s phenomenology, such as “personalistic attitude”, “theoretical attitude”, and “philosophical attitude”. However, Husserl himself is not always entirely clear about the relation between natural attitude and naturalistic attitude and that between objective theoretical attitude and transcendental attitude. Moran concluded from the above discussion that Husserl in his mature thought characterized natural attitude as Dahinleben which in this sense has a strong resemblance with Alltäglichkeit conceived by Heidegger. Moreover, Husserl’s ontology is ultimately “standpoint ontology”, in other words, different ontologies for Husserl are revealed under various standpoints. Husserl’s “fundamental ontology”, a Heideggerian term he himself never employs, is a transcendental inquiry into the intersubjective preconditions of the possibility of both subjective and objective worlds.

After the lecture, Moran has discussed with teachers and students several issues, such as different conceptions of “life-world” of Husserl and Heidegger; the distinction between “theoretical attitude”, “naturalistic attitude”, and “personalistic attitude” in Husserl, the connection between Husserl’s “life-world” and the real world; the possibility of AI having “life-world”.

Souce: College of Philosophy

Proofread by Zheng Pirui

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