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(1986) Facts and values, Dordrecht, Springer.

Phenomenology and the non-theoretical

Emmanuel Levinas

pp. 109-119

Since the publication of the Logical Investigations (1900–1901), Husserl's phenomenology has inserted some leading ideas into contemporary thought. Examples are the eidetic view of the famous Wesenschau and the Platonism that greatly impressed Husserl's first readers and followers. Comparable, to these, certainly, is the affirmation of the intentional character of the non-theoretical, non-representative states of consciousness such as evaluations, feelings, desires and decisions. This affirmation follows straightway from the celebrated phenomenological slogan: "to the things themselves." This principle does not recommend to philosophers a "naive realism," a simple turn to the world, a directedness to reality as it immediately gives itself to perception and to conceptual thought. The presence of things and of ideas, it is held, already overshadows and covers up the very thought that allowed it to be disengaged. To a degree this thought is set aside in immediate and direct consciousness, however necessary this abstraction may be for the practical grasp of things and for positive scientific knowledge. Even less could the call to the things themselves mean a reduction of things given and ideas received to a psychically lived experience of the acts of thought - the horizon or the sub-soil of thought - where these objects or these ideas are being thought. That would confound consciousness and its objects, in keeping with the tenets of the psychologism precisely refuted in the first volume of the Logical Investigations.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-94-009-4454-1_8

Full citation:

Levinas, E. (1986)., Phenomenology and the non-theoretical, in , Facts and values, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 109-119.

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