South African Journal of Philosophy

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Phenomenology as first philosophy

Christopher Allsobrook


The paper interprets phenomenology as a mode of inquiry that addresses fundamental questions of first philosophy, beyond the limitation of the practice by its leading theorists to the study of mere appearances. I draw on Adorno’s critique of phenomenology to show that it has typically functioned as a mode of first philosophy, but I part with Adorno to argue that it ought to be practiced as such, to address consciously a sceptical worry about the gap between appearance and reality that Husserl modestly claimed to have bracketed. Noting Husserl’s and Adorno’s shared worries about the project of first philosophy, to know the world beyond appearances, I draw on Nietzsche to argue phenomenology ought nonetheless to address real matters of concern.

South African Journal of Philosophy 2014, 33(3): 321–329
AJOL African Journals Online