Cartesian Meditations

Cartesian Meditations

"Cartesian Meditations: An Introduction to Phenomenology" is a book by the philosopher Edmund Husserl. It is based on two two-hour lectures which he gave in the "Amphithéârte Descartes" of the Sorbonne on the 23rd and the 25th of February 1929 and over the next two years (with the help of his assistant Eugen Fink) expanded and elaborated on. The first publication of the expanded lectures was a French translation (by Gabrielle Peiffer and Emmanuel Levinas) which appeared in 1931. The Cartesian Meditations were never published in German during Husserl's lifetime which has led some commentators to the conclusion that Husserl had become dissatisfied with the content of the work in relation to its aim, which was to serve as an introduction to transcendental phenomenology. In the text, the main features of Husserl's mature transcendental phenomenology are introduced, including (not exhaustively) the transcendental reduction, the epoché, static and genetic phenomenology, the eidetic reduction and eidetic phenomenology.


The work is divided into five 'meditations' of varying length. Very briefly, the first meditation presents the 'Cartesian Way' into transcendental phenomenology, the second introduces several of Husserl's concepts relating to static phenomenology, the third is concerned mainly with the topic of reality, the fourth introduces genetic phenomenology and uses the conclusions reached so far to argue for a form of transcendental idealism and the topic of the fifth meditation is intersubjectivity.

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