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New Yearbook for Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy

Volume 11, 2011

Timo Miettinen
Pages 75-95

Edmund Husserl’s Europe
Borders, Limits and Crises

This article examines the problem of cultural transformation—particularly the problem of modern Westernization—in the framework of Husserlian phenomenology. By focusing on the concept of limit in Husserl’s late manuscripts, the article illustrates how Husserl conceives the concept of culture with regard to a twofold liminal structure: territoriality and teleology. In the birth of Greek philosophy, Husserl detects a radical transformation in the fundamental sense of both of these structures, which will be described as the deconstruction and deferment of cultural limits. The article argues that while Husserl was keen to uncover the expansionist motive of the European–occidental tradition, his aim was by no means to simply justify it on the basis of universal reason. Instead, Husserl aimed at articulating a novel theory of universalism that would be based on the ideas of self-critique and renewal, and that would conceive cultural transformation through a reciprocal relation between home and alien. By elaborating the twofold liminal structure of culture, the article will answer some of the critiques of Husserl’s alleged Euro-centrism.

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