The Brentanian Legacy in Early Phenomenology? On Sources of the Phenomenological Movement in Poland and in Central Europe

April 20, 2022

Workshop Online (via Zoom)

The basics of phenomenology were created in a permanent dispute with the Brentanian tradition. In this regard, it is enough to mention Husserl’s struggles known from the first edition of his Logical Investigations where he (in)famously defined phenomenology as a form of descriptive psychology. Indeed, the reception of early phenomenology was shaped to some extent by Brentano’s theoretical framework. This was clear especially in Central Europe where Brentano’s students took chairs in philosophy, including, Meinong in Graz, Bergman and Kraus in Prague and Twardowski in Lvov. The central purpose of the workshop is to discuss the beginnings of the phenomenological movement in Central Europe on the borderline with the Brentanian tradition. This can be a suitable point of departure to look
closer at connections between early phenomenology and other philosophical disciplines and schools of thought, e.g., the Prague School or the Lvov-Warsaw School. Moreover, we wish to undertake a detailed systematic analysis of doctrines developed or merely sketched by
prominent figures of the phenomenological movement in Central Europe; this can show that their ideas are still inspiring and can be utilized in many contemporary debates. To give only one example: Twardowski’s puzzles concerning the parts-whole relation as well as Ingarden’s theory of higher-order objects and compound substances could shed new light on recent neoAristotelian attempts to work out non-standard mereologies. Thus our ambition is to explore not only how early phenomenology in Central Europe was rooted in the Brentanian tradition, but also how the post-Brentanists adopted some phenomenological tools.

  • We also want to explore the following issues:
  • Descriptive psychology vs. phenomenology: A shift of paradigms?
  • Theories of object in Brentano and his critics and followers.
  • Experience and the things themselves: On the foundations of knowledge.
  • Brentano’s idea of four phases of philosophy and its reformulations.
  • Reinterpreting philosophy from the Brentanian and post-Brentanian
  • viewpoints.
  • Today’s relevance of pre-war investigations undertaken by Central European phenomenologists and the Brentanians
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