Even an experience is not, and never is, perceived in its completeness, it cannot be grasped adequately in its full unity. It is essentially something that flows, starting from the present moment we can swim after it, our gaze reflectively turned towards it, whilst the stretches we leave in our wake are lost to our perception.
—  Edmund Husserl
The exclusiveness with which the total world-view of modern man, in the second half of the nineteenth century, let itself be determined by the positive sciences and be blinded by the “prosperity” they produced, meant an indifferent turning-away from the questions which are decisive for a genuine humanity. Merely fact-minded sciences make merely fact-minded people… It excludes in principle precisely the questions which man, given over in our unhappy times to the most portentous upheavals, finds the most burning: questions of the meaning or meaninglessness of the whole of this human existence.
—  Edmund Husserl, The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology, translated by David Carr
First, anyone who seriously intends to become a philosopher must “once in his life” withdraw into himself and attempt, within himself, to overthrow and build anew all the sciences that, up to then, he has been accepting. Philosophy – wisdom – is the philosophizer’s quite personal affair. It must arise as his wisdom, as his self-acquired knowledge tending toward universality, a knowledge for which he can answer from the beginning, and at each step, by virtue of his own absolute insights.
—  Edmund Husserl, Cartesian Meditations
Life on the level of nature is characterized as a naïvely direct living immersed in the world, in the world that in a certain sense is constantly there consciously as a universal horizon but is not, merely by that fact, thematic. Thematic is that toward which man’s attention is turned. Being genuinely alive is always having one’s attention turned to this or that, turned to something as to an end or a means, as relevant or irrelevant, interesting or indifferent, private or public, to something that is in daily demand or to something that is startlingly new. All this belongs to the world horizon, but there is need of special motives if the one who is caught up in such a life in the world is to transform himself and it to come to the point where he somehow makes this world itself his theme, where he conceives an enduring interest in it.
—  Edmund Husserl, Philosophy and the Crisis of European Man (1935)
Oppositional Thinking

on reconciling the two hemispheres of the brain.

Iain McGilchrist
The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World

Yale University Press, November 2010. 544 pp.

For millennia it’s been known that the human brain is divided into two hemispheres, the left and the right, yet exactly why has never been clear. What purpose this division served once seemed so obscure that the idea that one hemisphere was a “spare,” in case something went wrong with the other, was taken quite seriously. Yet the idea that the brain’s hemispheres, though linked, worked independently has a long history. As early as the third century B.C., Greek physicians speculated that the brain’s right hemisphere was geared toward “perception,” while the left was specialized in “understanding,” a rough and ready characterization that carries into our own time. In the 1970s and 1980s, the “split brain” became a hot topic in neuroscience, and soon popular wisdom produced a flood of books explaining how the left brain was a “scientist” and the right an “artist.”

Much insight into human psychology can be gleaned from these popular accounts, but “hard” science soon recognized that this simple dichotomy could not accommodate the wealth of data that ongoing research into hemispheric function produced. And as no “real” scientist wants to be associated with popular misconceptions — for fear of peer disapproval — the fact that ongoing research revealed no appreciable functional differences between the hemispheres — they both seemed to “do” the same things, after all — made it justifiable for neuroscientists to put the split-brain question on the back burner, where it has pretty much stayed. Until now.

One popular myth about the divided brain that remained part of mainstream neuroscience was the perception of the left brain as “dominant” and the right as “minor,” a kind of helpful but not terribly important sidekick that tags along as the boss deals with the serious business. In his fascinating, groundbreaking, relentlessly researched, and eloquently written work, Iain McGilchrist, a consultant psychiatrist as well as professor of English — one wants to say a “scientist” as well as an “artist” — challenges this misconception. The difference between the hemispheres, McGilchrist argues, is not in what they do, but in how they do it. And it’s a difference that makes all the difference.

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According to Husserl’s theory, all that exists is the perception of the cat. And the cat itself? Well, we can just do without it. Bye-bye kitty. Who needs a cat? What cat? Henceforth, philosophy will claim the right to wallow exclusively in the wickedness of pure mind. The world is an inaccessible reality and any effort to try to know it is futile. What do we know of the world? Nothing. As all knowledge is reflective consciousness exploring its own self, the world, therefore, can merrily go to the devil.
—  The Elegance of The Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
The realist who claims that science tells us something true about reality is already caught in a web of representational thinking which leads to the calculative use of the knowledge obtained by science. Moreover, the realist seems blind to the fact that the way science exists is already affected (“infected,” the realist might say) by practical concerns.

Husserl, Heidegger, and the Crisis of Philosophical Responsibility

L’uomo che ha gustato una volta i frutti della filosofia, che ha imparato a conoscere i suoi sistemi, e che allora, immancabilmente, li ha ammirati come i beni più alti della cultura, non può più rinunciare alla filosofia e al filosofare.

- Edmund Husserl, da La crisi delle scienze europee e la fenomenologia trascendentale, Il Saggiatore

Philosophy – wisdom (sagesse) – is the philosophizer’s quite personal affair. It must arise as his wisdom, as his self-acquired knowledge tending toward universality, a knowledge for which he can answer from the beginning, and at each step, by virtue of his own absolute insights. If I have decided to live with this as my aim – the decision that alone can start me on the course of a philosophical development – I have thereby chosen to begin in absolute poverty, with an absolute lack of knowledge.
—  Edmund Husserl, Cartesian Meditations
Every genuine beginning of philosophy springs from meditation

All of modern philosophy springs from of Descartes’ Meditations. Let us transform this historical proposition into a substantive one: Every genuine beginning of philosophy springs from meditation, from the experience of solitary self-reflection. When it is rooted in its origins, an autonomous philosophy (and we live in the age when humanity has awakened to its autonomy) becomes the solitary and radical self-responsibility of the one who is philosophizing. Only in solitude and meditation does one become a philosopher; only in this way is philosophy born in us, emerging of necessity from within us. What others and the tradition accept as knowledge and scientific foundations is what I, as an autonomous ego, must pursue to its ultimate grounding, and I must do so exclusively in terms of my own sense of its evidentness. This ultimate grounding must be immediately and apodictically evident. Only in this way can I be absolutely responsible; only thus can I justify matters absolutely. Therefore I must let no previous judgment, no matter how indisputable it may seem to be, go unquestioned and ungrounded.


All these “metaphysical” questions, taken broadly- commonly called specifically philosophical questions- surpasses the world understood as the universe of mere facts. They surpass it precisely as being questions with the idea of reason in mind. And they all claim a higher dignity than questions of fact, which are subordinated tot hem even in the order of inquiry. Positivism, in a manner of speaking, decapitates philosophy. Even the ancient idea of philosophy, as unified in the indivisible unity of all being, implied a meaningful order of being and thus of problems of being.
—  Edmund Husserl, The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology, translated by David Carr