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Philosophia Christi

Volume 13, Issue 1, 2011

R. Scott Smith
Pages 105-126

Finitude, Fallenness, and Immediacy
Husserlian Replies to Westphal and Smith

Merold Westphal and James K. A. Smith argue forcefully that Christians should embrace the postmodern turn to interpretation. They draw upon Derrida and Heidegger, and they criticize Edmund Husserl’s “metaphysics of presence” and our ability to know reality directly. They reject his epistemology as modern and arrogant, as an attempt to gain pristine knowledge. But I argue that they radically misunderstand and therefore wrongly reject Husserl. This will allow me to show why their view, that “everything is interpretation,” is mistaken. It also will allow me to show why Husserl’s earlier work shows us how we can know reality immediately.

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