Evidence-Based Phenomenology and Certainty-Based Phenomenology. Moritz Geiger’s Reaction to Idealism in Ideas I

In Rodney K. B. Parker (ed.), The Idealism-Realism Debate Among Edmund Husserl’s Early Followers and Critics. Springer Verlag. pp. 173-191 (2021)
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At first glance, Moritz Geiger’s reaction to Husserl’s Ideas I appears to be neither systematically articulated nor particularly original. Geiger talks about Husserl’s idealism in Ideas I in just a few passages from his book Die Wirklickheit der Wissenschaften und die Metaphysik, and in a short essay in praise of Alexander Pfänder, Alexander Pfänders Methodische Stellung. There, Geiger seems to follow a general line of criticism shared by several so-called early phenomenologists, and most fully articulated by Jean Hering, Roman Ingarden, Theodor Celms and Max Scheler. In this paper I argue that Geiger’s reaction to Ideas I contains some well-developed and original contributions to phenomenological thought. In particular, I defend three theses. First, Geiger’s criticism of Husserl’s idealism is much more original and sophisticated than it at first appears, because it rests on a complex phenomenology of “attitudes” [Einstellungen]. Second, Geiger offers a unique account of phenomenology as a variation of “stance” [Haltung], rather than a variation of attitude. Third, Geiger points to an alternative kind of phenomenology, which I call certainty-based phenomenology as opposed to an evidence-based phenomenology. Elements of this certainty-based phenomenology can be found in thinkers such as Merleau-Ponty and Ricoeur, but many of their views are significantly anticipated by Geiger.



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Michele Averchi
Catholic University of America

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