Husserl Studies 30 (1):47-64 (2014)

Thomas Nemeth
KU Leuven (PhD)
With his “discovery” of the phenomenological reduction, Husserl confronted the problem of intersubjectivity: How is the Other constituted? Gustav Shpet, a Russian student of Husserl’s in Göttingen, unlike many others accepted the reduction on some level but, unlike Husserl, did not dwell on the problem. In this essay, we look first at the Russian treatment of intersubjectivity in the immediately preceding years and see that the concern was over the possibility of proving our natural conviction in the Other. We then turn to Husserl’s position circa 1912 with its embryonic conception of empathy as its vehicle into the sphere of the Other’s “ownness.” Finally, we turn to Shpet, who cautiously suggests that Husserl’s division of intuition into two sorts, experiencing and ideal, is insufficient. Affirming Husserl’s claim that each species of being has a correlative cognitive method, Shpet asserts that social being should also have its own method. Shpet recognizes that Husserl does not ascribe originary givenness to what empathy provides, but might Husserl have been wrong about this? Could it be that empathy, properly understood as a third form of intuition, “comprehension,” provides social being originarily and therefore functions in the constitution of the Other analogously to the way experiencing intuition functions in the constitution of physical things? However, comprehension is employed on what the Other presents, namely signs, be they in the form of bodily movements, speech or even writing. In this way, Shpet transforms Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology into a hermeneutic phenomenology
Keywords Intersubjectivity  Hermeneutics  Husserl  Shpet  Empathy
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DOI 10.1007/s10743-013-9138-5
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Myslʹ I Slovo: Izbrannye Trudy.Gustav Shpet - 2005 - Rosspėn (Rossiĭskai͡a Politicheskai͡a Ėnt͡siklopedii͡a).

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