New Archive Is Digitizing the Entirety of Phenomenology: Browse Works by Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty and More

Chances are, if you can define the word phe­nom­e­nol­o­gy, you’re already a stu­dent of the 20th cen­tu­ry philo­soph­i­cal school, field, move­ment, or—as its ear­li­est expos­i­tor, Edmund Husserl wrote in a pref­ace to the Eng­lish edi­tion of his 1913 Ideas: Gen­er­al Intro­duc­tion to Pure Phe­nom­e­nol­o­gy, “new science—though, indeed, the whole course of philo­soph­i­cal devel­op­ment since Descartes has been prepar­ing the way for it.”

Husserl’s mes­sian­ic claim for phe­nom­e­no­log­i­cal thinking–that which, broad­ly, deals with the con­tents of con­scious­ness and the objects of experience–presages the discipline’s enor­mi­ty, well rep­re­sent­ed by the total­iz­ing thought of Mar­tin Hei­deg­ger, the Nazi philoso­pher who intend­ed with his 1927 Being and Time to accom­plish the “destruc­tion” of phi­los­o­phy. In a way, writes Simon Critch­ley, he suc­ceed­ed. “There is no way of under­stand­ing what took place in con­ti­nen­tal phi­los­o­phy after Hei­deg­ger with­out com­ing to terms with Being and Time.”

Anoth­er promi­nent phe­nom­e­nol­o­gist, French thinker Mau­rice Mer­leau-Pon­ty, asserts a no less mind-bog­gling­ly huge man­date for the method: “phe­nom­e­nol­o­gy is the study of essences,” he writes in his 1947 Phe­nom­e­nol­o­gy of Per­cep­tion. “It is the search for a phi­los­o­phy which shall be a ‘rig­or­ous sci­ence,’ but it also offers an account of space, time and the world as we ‘live’ them.” Again, if this makes sense to you, you may already be a stu­dent of phe­nom­e­nol­o­gy, and you’ve prob­a­bly read a lot of it.

Phi­los­o­phy stu­dents and pro­fes­sors must have ready access to a huge num­ber of texts by a wide range of authors, most of whom are hav­ing mul­ti­ple con­ver­sa­tions with each oth­er at once. It is, of course, ide­al to have at hand the kinds of resources one might find at the Stadt­bib­lio­thek in Berlin, one of the largest libraries in the world, or even at most large uni­ver­si­ty libraries. But if you don’t have such access, you can still gath­er a fair num­ber of full texts by Husserl, Hei­deg­ger, Mer­leau-Pon­ty and their many famous stu­dents and col­leagues on the web.

Soon, you will be able to do so all in one place, in mul­ti­ple lan­guages and for­mats, at the Open Com­mons of Phe­nom­e­nol­o­gy, a “non-prof­it, inter­na­tion­al schol­ar­ly asso­ci­a­tion” aim­ing to “pro­vide free access to the full cor­pus of phe­nom­e­nol­o­gy” by 2020. A suit­ably ambi­tious task for a very ambi­tious school of thought. Cur­rent­ly, project founders Patrick Flack (whom you’ll see in the pro­mo video at the top), Rod­ney Park­erNico­las de War­ren, and the Husserl Archives have com­piled “about 12000 bib­li­o­graph­ic entries,” close to a quar­ter of which link to open access pdfs.

The project still needs to iron out a num­ber kinks, and bro­ken links, but it plans in the com­ing years to col­lect not only pre­vi­ous­ly online essays and books, but also new­ly dig­i­tized texts and trans­la­tions, “enhanced with a num­ber of pow­er­ful tools, such as inter­ac­tive time­lines and genealo­gies of phe­nom­e­nol­o­gists and psy­chol­o­gists, .xml ver­sions of texts,” and much more. Read more about the project at Dai­ly Nous, at the now-closed Indiegogo page from its fund­ing cam­paign last year, and at the Open Com­mons site itself, where you’ll also find reviews, calls for papers, lists of events, and more. The dense out­line on the site’s About page promis­es great things for this new “dig­i­tal infra­struc­ture” of phe­nom­e­nol­o­gy research. Enter the Open Com­mons of Phe­nom­e­nol­o­gy here.

via Dai­ly Nous

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Take First-Class Phi­los­o­phy Cours­es Any­where with Free Oxford Pod­casts

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Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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