Continental Philosophy Review:1-22 (forthcoming)

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Edmund Husserl’s ultimate aim was to give an overall philosophical explanation of the totality of Being. In this endeavour, the term “absolute” was crucial for him. In this paper, I aim to clarify the most important ways in which Husserl used this notion. I attempt to show that, despite his rather divergent usages, eventually three fundamental meanings and coordinated levels of the “absolute” can be differentiated in his thought: the epistemological, the ontological, and the theological or metaphysical level. According to Husserl, we can approach this ultimate level of the Absolute, through the method of phenomenological construction. A closer reading of Husserl’s texts shows that his conception of the absolute was astonishingly modern. The main features of the conception—on all three levels—were non-foundationalism, contextualism, openness, and circularity. Each level mutually founds and determines the others. It is a non-foundational Absolute, the moments of which constitute an organic and open totality which is essentially processual. In my interpretation, this theory opens a fruitful working area, which has enormous philosophical potential and is surprisingly up-to-date.
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DOI 10.1007/s11007-021-09559-4
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