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Edmund Husserl on Lifeworld - Dictionary of Arguments

Gadamer I 251
Lifeworld/Husserl/Gadamer: It is a fundamentally anonymous intentionality, i.e. one that is no longer performed by name, through which the all-encompassing world horizon is constituted. Husserl, in a conscious counter-formation against a concept of world that encompasses the universe of that which can be objectified by the sciences, calls this phenomenological concept of world "the world of life", i.e. the world into which we live in the natural setting, which does not as such ever become representational for us, but which represents the predetermined ground of all experience.
This world horizon remains presupposed in all science and is therefore more original than they are. As a horizon phenomenon, this "world" is essentially related to subjectivity, and this relationship means at the same time that it is "being in a state of flux"(1). The world of life is in a movement of constant relativity of validity. As we can see, the concept of lifeworld(2) is opposed to all >objectivism. It is an essentially historical concept that does not mean a universe of being, a "world that is". Indeed, not even the infinite idea of a true world can be meaningfully formed from the infinite progression of human-historical worlds in historical experience.
Structure of experience: Certainly one can ask about the structure of what comprises all environments ever experienced by humans and thus is the worldly experience par excellence, and in this sense one can certainly speak of an ontology of the world. Such an ontology of the world would still remain something quite different from what the natural sciences thought to be completed would achieve. It represented a philosophical task that made the structure of the world's essence the object of its study.
Lifeworld/Husserl/Gadamer: But "lifeworld" means something else, the whole into which we live as historically living people. And here the conclusion cannot be avoided that
Gadamer I 252
in view of the historicity of experience implied in it, the idea of a universe of possible historical life-worlds is fundamentally impracticable. The infinity of the past, but above all the openness of the historical future, is incompatible with such an idea of a historical universe. Husserl has explicitly drawn this conclusion without shying away from that of relativism (3).
It is clear that the life-world is always at the same time a community world and contains the coexistence of others. It is a personal world, and such a personal world is always assumed to be valid in a natural attitude. >I, Ego, Self/Husserl, >Life/Husserl.


1. Husserl VI, 148.
2. In addition to my own works, many new works on the problem of the lifeworld have been published in Volume 3 of the "Gesammelte Werke" ("Die phänomenologische Bewegung" and "Die Wissenschaft von der Lebenswelt") and L. Landgrebes: A. Schütz, G. Brand, U. Claesgens, K. Düsing, P. Janssen and others)
3. Husserliana VI. S. 501.

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Husserl I 110
Lifeworld/Husserl: there is a valid common horizon >universality, integration, framework of meaning, sphere of probation (claim to scientific validity).
Husserl I 113
World/Husserl: from a phenomenological perspective, the world does not appear as a series of objects, but as a universal horizon.
Husserl I 106
Humanity horizon/Husserl: Difference between passive understanding of expression and reactivation of meaning. This difference shapes the human horizon.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
E. Husserl
I Peter Prechtl, Husserl zur Einführung, Hamburg 1991
II "Husserl" in: Eva Picardi et al., Interpretationen - Hauptwerke der Philosophie: 20. Jahrhundert, Stuttgart 1992
Gadamer I
Hans-Georg Gadamer
Wahrheit und Methode. Grundzüge einer philosophischen Hermeneutik 7. durchgesehene Auflage Tübingen 1960/2010

Gadamer II
H. G. Gadamer
The Relevance of the Beautiful, London 1986
German Edition:
Die Aktualität des Schönen: Kunst als Spiel, Symbol und Fest Stuttgart 1977


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-08-01
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