Phenomenology: Husserl, Heidegger, Derrida


PHIL 4250-001 / 5250-001 (download syllabus doc) - Spring Semester 2008

SEM W 4:30 – 7:00 pm - Scott Hall 1004

Nita de Oliveira, Ph.D. - Office: Scott Hall 3012

Phone: 419-530-4517 - Office Hours: MF 8:30-11:00 or by appointment

Email: [email protected]

  Seminar Website:

Summer 2008: PHIL 3750 Social and Political Philosophy


Contemporary French Philosophy

African-American Liberation Philosophy

Personal Website:


Course Description:



[3 hours] An intensive study of major works from phenomenological philosophers, such as Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, or Merleau-Ponty. Course may be repeated as topics vary. Prerequisite: Two 3000-level philosophy classes or one 3200-level philosophy class, and junior standing or permission of instructor. In this seminar, we will explore the origins and themes of phenomenology through the seminal contributions by Husserl, Heidegger and Derrida to the problems of meaning, reference, signification, language, world, ontology, and subjectivity, so as to make sense of the correlation between phenomenology, hermeneutics, and deconstruction.


Required Texts:


Heidegger, Martin, Sein und Zeit [1927]. English Trans.: Being and time. Translated by John Macquarrie & Edward Robinson. New York, Harper, 1962.


The Essential Husserl: Basic Writings in Transcendental Phenomenology (Studies in Continental Thought), ed. Donn Welton. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2003.


Derrida, Jacques. La voix et le phénomàne. Introduction au problàme du signe dans la phénoménologie de Husserl. Paris: PUF, 1967. ET: Speech and Phenomena, and Other Essays on Husserl's Theory of Signs. Trans. David Allison. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern Press, 1973.


Reserved Materials / Library:


Bernet, Rudolf, Donn Welton, and Gina Zavota (eds). Edmund Husserl: Critical assessments of leading philosophers. New York: Routledge, 2005.
Caputo, John D. Radical Hermeneutics: Repetition, Deconstruction and the Hermeneutic Project. Indiana U Press, 1987.
--------. Demythologizing Heidegger. Indiana U Press, 1993.
Dreyfus, Herbert (ed.) Husserl, Intentionality and Cognitive Science. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1982.

Guignon, Charles, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Heidegger. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

Heidegger, Martin. Basic writings: From Being and time (1927) to The task of thinking (1964). Edited, with general introd. and introductions to each selection by David Farrell Krell. New York: Harper & Row, 1977.

Kockelmans, Joseph. Edmund Husserl's Phenomenology. West Lafayette, Ind.: Purdue University Press, 1994. p. 1-46.

Levinas, Emmanuel. The Theory of Intuition in Husserl's Phenomenology. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern Press, 1973.

Sartre, Jean-Paul. L'existentialisme est un humanisme. Paris: Nagel, 1946. ET: Existentialism and humanism. Translation and introd. by Philip Mairet. London: Methuen. 1948.

______. L'être et le néant, essai d'ontologie phénoménologique. Paris, Gallimard, 1949. ET: Being and nothingness: an essay in phenomenological ontology. Translated with an introduction by Hazel E. Barnes. New York: Washington Square Press, 1992.

Smith, Barry, and Smith, David Woodruff, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Husserl. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Steinbock, Anthony. Home and Beyond. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 1996.

Welton, Donn. The Other Husserl: The Horizons of Transcendental Phenomenology. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2000. p. 1-24; 96-130.

The New Husserl: A Critical Reader Transcendental Phenomenology (Studies in Continental Thought), ed. Donn Welton. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1999.


Grading Policy:

Three short papers (1-2 pages) and one long paper (one 3-5 page paper for undergraduates and one seminar paper of 12-15 pages in length for graduate students). One oral presentation can replace one short paper. Short papers are due at the end of each author unit (Husserl on February 13, Heidegger on April 2, Derrida on April 23). Each short paper is worth 15 points and the long paper 45 points:


10 points – Seminar participation

45 points = Short papers

45 points = Long paper

100 total points


Final grades for the course are based on the following scale:


93-100 pts. = A / 77-79 pts. = C+

90-92 pts. = A- / 73-76 pts. = C

87-89 pts. = B+ / 70-72 pts. = C-

83-86 pts. = B / 60-69 pts. = D

80-82 pts. = B- / 59 and below = F


Academic Honesty:

Plagiarism (i.e., presenting the written work of another as one's own) will not be tolerated. Any academic dishonesty will be disciplined according to the University of Toledo guidelines.



If you need special accommodations to attend my class, please notify me immediately. Your need for special accommodations, including special testing requests, will need to be documented by the Office of Accessibility, located at 1400 Snyder Memorial.


Reading Assignments & Seminar Structure:

Make sure to prepare all the readings before the date given. The reading assignments are related to the lecture topics and the material to be discussed in the seminar. All students are expected to participate in the seminar discussions and to pursue independently secondary source research. Further bibliography and updated secondary sources will be made available online or indicated at the seminar website. Cell phones and pagers must be turned off during seminar sessions.





Seminar Schedule and Reading Assignments :



9 - Introduction: What is Phenomenology? Husserl, Heidegger, Derrida

16 - Husserl: Phenomenology as Wissenschaft: Logical Investigations (Essential Husserl I - II)

23 - Phenomenology as Transcendental Philosophy (Essential Husserl III)

30 - The Structure of Intentionality (Essential Husserl IV)



6 - Static/Genetic Phenomenology and Psychology (Essential Husserl IX - X)

13 - Lifeworld (Essential Husserl XI)

20 - Heidegger: Being and Time, Introduction sections 1-4

27 - Heidegger: Being and Time, Introduction sections 5-8



5 - No Class (Spring Break)

12 - Heidegger: Being and Time, sections 9-13

19 - Heidegger: Being and Time, sections 14-18

26 - Heidegger: Being and Time, sections 25-30



2 - Heidegger: Being and Time, sections 31-34

9 - Derrida: Speech and Phenomena: ch. 1-4

16 - Derrida: Speech and Phenomena: ch. 5-7

23 - Derrida: Speech and Phenomena: Phenomenology of Language and Différance

Related Links:


Philosophy Dept - UT

Brazilian Seminar on Axel Honneth

Habemus Habermas

What is Philosophy ?


Wikipedia entry on Husserl

Wikipedia entry on Phenomenology

Wikipedia entry on Heidegger

Wikipedia entry on Derrida

Wikipedia entry on Sartre

Wikipedia entry on Nietzsche

Wikipedia entry on "The Ister"

Wikipedia entry on "La technique et le temps"

Heidegger on Technology

Heidegger's Letter on Humanism

Encyclopedia of Love entry on Guilt

Fark Yaralari = Scars of Différance (Continental texts in PDF)

Wikipedia entry on Anamorphosis

Wikipedia entry on "Las Meninas"

You Tube on Husserl

You Tube: Derrida

You Tube: Derrida in Ghost Dance

Wiki on Saussure's Cours

Semiotic Triangles Blog

NYT - Prof. Fish blog (1)

NYT - Prof. Fish blog (2)

Dan Everett's Website

YouTube: Justice vs. Power - Chomsky vs. Foucault

You Tube: Foucault

You Tube: Ricoeur

You Tube: Simone de Beauvoir

You Tube: Levinas

You Tube: Habermas interview

You Tube: Max Horkheimer

You Tube: Th. W. Adorno

You Tube: Dreyfus on Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty and Computers (1/2)

You Tube on Heidegger's Life and Philosophy

You Tube on Sartre's Life and Philosophy

You Tube on Nietzsche's Life and Philosophy

You Tube: Waking Life: R. Solomon on Existentialism

You Tube: Phenomenology of Geometry: Riemann Surfaces

You Tube: Phenomenology of Perception

What is Phenomenology?

Stanford Encyclopedia entry on Phenomenology

Husserl Page

Heidegger Page

Derrida Page

Paola Marrati-Guenoun on Derrida and Levinas

Dave Allison on Derrida and Husserl

Heidegger, Being and Time, Stambaugh translation

Sein und Zeit (auf Deutsch)

Etre et Temps (en français)

Derrida en français

Derrida en castellano

Die Philosophie-Seiten (auf Deutsch)

Husserl Seminar auf Deutsch (auf Deutsch)

Phenomenological Organizations

Husserl-Archives Leuven

Centre d'études phénoménologiques


Center for Advanced Research in Phenomenology

Husserl Wörterbuch

Dorion Cairns Net / Husserl Glossary

Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity (1947)

M. Heidegger, Basic Problems of Phenomenology (1927)

Nietzsche, Foucault, and the Death of God

Nietzsche's Genealogy of Modernity

Jean-Paul Sartre's Existential Phenomenology of Liberation

Paul Ricoeur's Revelatory Hermeneutics of Suspicion

Dialectic and existence in Kant and Kierkegaard

Husserl, Heidegger and the Transcendental Problem of Signification

Heidegger and Heraclitus

Edmund Husserl's Phenomenology of Meaning

Rawls's Normative Conception of the Person

Social Justice, Secularization, Democratization (Research Project)

Transcendental-Semantic Perspectivism (Research Project)

The Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights (Research Project)

W. Kaufmann: Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre


What is Phenomenology ? Was ist die Phänomenologie ? Qu'est-ce que la phénoménologie ?

Friedrich Christoph Oetinger, Philosophie der Alten, Johann Heinrich Lambert, Neues Organon oder Gedanken über die Erforschung und Bezeichnung des Wahren und dessen Unterscheidung von Irrtum und Schein (1764): Phaenomenologia = optica transcendentalis.

Immanuel Kant, KrV (1781), Letter to J.H. Lambert (1770): "A quite special, though purely negative Science, general phenomenology (phaenomologia generalis), seems to me to be presupposed by metaphysics." Letter to Markus Herz (February 21, 1772): "... Ich dachte mir darinn zwey Theile, einen theoretischen und pracktischen. [The first part would have two sections, (1) general phenomenology and (2) metaphysics, but this only with regard to its nature and method.] Der erste enthielt in zwey Abschnitten 1. Die phaenomologie überhaupt. 2. Die Metaphysik, und zwar nur nach ihrer Natur u. Methode... Ich frug mich nemlich selbst: auf welchem Grunde beruhet die Beziehung desienigen, was man in uns Vorstellung nennt, auf den Gegenstand? (I asked myself the question, on which grounds lies the relationship between what in us one calls representation to the object)"

Georg W.F. Hegel, Phänomenologie des Geistes (1807): Science of the experience of consciousness (Wissenschaft der Erfahrung des Bewusstseins), "Dies Werden der Wissenschaft überhaupt, oder des Wissens, ist es, was diese Phänomenologie des Geistes darstellt." (S. 26)

Franz Brentano: Phenomenology as a "rigorous science" (als strenge Wissenschaft) of "intentionality" (Intentionalität), "Descriptive Psychology" (Deskriptive Psychologie), Von der mannigfachen Bedeutung des Seienden nach Aristoteles (1862, On the several senses of Being in Aristotle)

Edmund Husserl: phenomenology is the science of the essence of consciousness, the philosophical science of consciousness qua intentionality, "the reflective study of the essence of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view," a return "to the things themselves" (zu den Sachen selbst); rigorous science of all conceivable transcendental phenomena, esp. meaning. Die Methode der Erkenntniskritik die phänomenologische, die Phänomenologie die allgemeine Wesenslehre, in die sich die Wissenschaft vom Wesen der Erkenntnis einordnet. (Hua II 3) "The method of the critique of knowledge (the phenomenological method), phenomenology is the universal doctrine of essences, in which takes place the science of the essence of knowledge."
"Die Forschung [in der phänomenologischen Kritik oder Theorie der Erkenntnis] hat sich eben im reinen Schauen zu halten, aber darum nicht an das reell Immanente: sie ist Forschung in der Sphäre reiner Evidenz und zwar Wesensforschung. Wir sagten auch, ihr Feld ist das Apriori innerhalb der absoluten Selbstgegebenheit." (Hua II 3/ Die Idee der Phänomenologie)
"The research (in the phenomenological critique or theory of knowledge) has to be held in the pure seeing, but not for this reason has to be limited to the real immanent: it is research in the sphere of pure evidence and hence research of essences. We also say that its field is the apriori within the absolutely given in itself."
"Phänomenologie bezeichnet eine an der Jahrhundertwende in der Philosophie zum Durchbruch gekommene neuartige deskriptive Methode und eine aus ihr hervorgegangene apriorische Wissenschaft, welche dazu bestimmt ist, das prinzipielle Organon für eine streng wissenschaftliche Philosophie zu liefern und in konsequenter Auswirkung eine methodische Reform aller Wissenschaften zu ermöglichen." (Husserliana IX, 277)

Martin Heidegger, "to let that which shows itself be seen from itself in the very way in which it shows itself from itself" (SuZ, 1927), "the possibility of thinking... what is to be thought."
"For Husserl, the phenomenological reduction is the method of leading phenomenological vision from the natural attitude of the human being whose life is involved in the world of things and persons back to the transcendental life of consciousness and its noetic-noematic experiences, in which objects are constituted as correlates of consciousness. For us, phenomenological reduction means leading phenomenological vision back from the apprehension of a being, whatever may be the character of that apprehension, to the understanding of the Being of this being (projecting upon the way it is unconcealed)." (The Basic Problems of Phenomenology, Indiana University Press)
"Der Ausdruck Phänomenologie bedeutet primär einen Methodenbegriff. Er charakterisiert nicht das sachhaltige Was der Gegenstände der philosophischen Forschung, sondern das Wie dieser. (...) Der Titel "Phänomenologie" drückt eine Maxime aus, die also formuliert werden kann: "zu den Sachen selbst!" (...) Definiert man Phänomen mit Hilfe eines zudem noch unklaren Begriffes von "Erscheinung", dann ist alles auf den Kopf gestellt, und eine "Kritik" der Phänomenologie auf dieser Basis ist freilich ein merkwürdiges Unterfangen. (...) Phänomenologie ist Zugangsart zu dem und die ausweisende Bestimmungsart dessen, was Thema der Ontologie werden soll. Ontotogie ist nur als Phänomenologie möglich. Der phänomenologische Begriff von Phänomen meint als das Sichzeigende das Sein des Seienden, seinen Sinn, seine Modifikationen und Derivate. (...) Sachhaltig genommen ist die Phänomenologie die Wissenschaft vom Sein des Seienden - Ontologie. (...) Phänomenologie des Daseins ist Hermeneutik in der ursprünglichen Bedeutung des Wortes, wonach es das Geschäft der Auslegung bezeichnet. (...) Phänomenologische Wahrheit (Erschlossenheit von Sein) ist veritas transcendentalis." (SuZ sect. 7)

Jacques Derrida: deconstruction as radical, hermeneutic phenomenology, "deconstruction is justice" ("The Force of Law," in Deconstruction and the Possibility of Justice, ed. D. Cornell et al. (New York: Routledge, 1992)
"La phénoménologie n'a critiqué la métaphysique en son fait que pour la restaurer. Elle lui a dit son fait pour la réveiller à l'essence de sa tâche, à l'originalité authentique de son dessein." (Note sur la phénoménologie du langage)
Donc, la déconstruction, l'expérience déconstructive se place entre la clôture et la fin, dans la réaffirmation du philosophique, mais comme ouverture d'une question sur la philosophie elle-même. De ce point de vue, la déconstruction n'est pas simplement une philosophie, ni un ensemble de thèses, ni même la question de l'Etre, au sens heideggérien. D'une certaine maniàre, elle n'est rien. Elle ne peut pas être une discipline ou une méthode. Souvent, on la présente comme une méthode, ou on la transforme en une méthode, avec un ensemble de règles, de procédures qu'on peut enseigner, etc. (...) Si je voulais donner une description économique, elliptique de la déconstruction, je dirais que c'est une pensée de l'origine et des limites de la question "qu'est-ce que?...", la question qui domine toute l'histoire de la philosophie. Chaque fois que l'on essaie de penser la possibilité du "qu'est-ce que?...", de poser une question sur cette forme de question, ou de s'interroger sur la nécessité de ce langage dans une certaine langue, une certaine tradition, etc., ce qu'on fait à ce moment-là ne se prête que jusqu'à un certain point à la question "qu'est-ce que?" (Le Monde, mardi 12 octobre 2004)

Transcendental-semantic perspectivsm

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