Phenomenology 2010

Volume 1, 2010

Selected Essays from Asia and Pacific

Wang Wen-Sheng
Pages 219-235

Husserl’s Phenomenological Epoche behind Hannah Arendt’s Conception of an Authentic Culture

In an article, “The Crisis in Culture: Its Social and Its Political Significance”, Hannah Arendt showed us her conception of an authentic culture, which is signified with two elements: art and politics. How can art and politics relate to each other? What do they mean in view of the concept of authentic culture? How can we reach the concept of authentic culture? Regarding these questions, I will connect Arendt’s answer, which owes much to the Kantian way of “reflective judgment” or “judgment of taste”, with the phenomenological method which Edmund Husserl contributed to us. Husserl’s phenomenological method is nothing but epoche. There are many and different interpretations of epoche. There are also many steps leading up to the general term of epoche. I will on the one hand, expose the epoche generally in an artistic sense which is similar to Aristotle’s and Kant’s discussion of art. On the other hand, I will point out the significance of “lifeworld epoche”, a step toward the epoche, as a way of conveying what Arendt conceived as being culture. Since I have tried to disclose Edmund Husserl’s phenomenological method behind Arendt’s authentic culture if asked how we could reach what Hannah Arendt’s meant about the authentic culture. In this regard, Arendt seemed still to be a phenomenologist. But Husserl’s phenomenological method contributes to Arendt’s conception of the authentic culture only as a necessary condition. As we said above that a phenomenologist is an artist, it was about the attitude of life. As we also said above the authentic culture is to be shown in the life of action and art, it was about the content of life. In this regard, we hear still from Arendt that on the one hand the public sphere provides space for art, on the other hand, the political experience and action itself is left without any trace, but the beauty doesn’t disappear. So they must co-exist, in order to contribute to human authentic culture. So it is worthy to further investigate what Husserl in his works directly talked about the authentic culture. And it would enlarge our viewpoint, if we, with regard to “publicity”, interpret some issues and conceptions in Husserl’s texts, e.g.: culture, leisure time, politics, humanities, even sciences, and philosophy as a rigorous science, etc.