Panos Theodorou
University of Crete
The optimistic perspective opened up by the preceding possibilities and promises does not grant that everything in this research project is rosy. Phenomenology may be a philosophy of infinite tasks, but it cannot pass for a philosophy of infinite means. By its very methodological principle, this philosophy is restricted to the elucidation of the phenomena in their horizontal and vertical (as it were) structure or, otherwise put, in their synchronic/diachronic or static/genetic structuring. To this extent, the specifically phenomenologically justified significance of Phenomenology’s discoveries and teachings is restricted to the phenomena themselves, to what is phenomeno-logizable. To be sure, this restriction does not necessarily signal a diminishing of Phenomenology’s dignity as a kind of philosophizing. As we will see, what it signals is a more deeply entrenched self-awareness. Both Husserl and Heidegger nonetheless flirted with (and were sometimes fully enchanted by) the charm of the non-phenomenologizable. It is in the nature of our truth-seeking process in philosophy to frequently find ourselves moving along the boundary that separates the soundly intuitional from the merely speculative. According to Phenomenology’s strict rule, the possible drift into the merely speculative is the philosophical original sin against truth and knowledge, yet Phenomenology does not appear fully innocent of this drift. In this final chapter, we will have the opportunity to see what I believe to be the most crucial trespasses of these self-posed phenomenological limits. Generally speaking, this might be an expected result, given philosophy’s own high expectations in the field of truth and knowledge. The fact remains, however, that without any specific notice both Husserl and Heidegger do on occasion pass from the domain of phenomenological description of the things themselves into a speculative conjecturing of the phenomenologically unchartable. In their efforts to further extend the elucidatory capability of Phenomenology, fully absorbed in following the traces of the phenomena under investigation, they allow themselves to fall down the rabbit hole.
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