Phenomenology 2010

Volume 3, 2011

Selected Essays from the Euro-Mediterranean Area

Andrea Altobrando
Pages 13-35

Subjectivity, Nature and Freedom
An itinerary through Husserl’s philosophy

In this paper I try to understand the relationship between nature and subjectivity from a phenomenological (mainly Husserlian) perspective and to bring into focus the consequences of this relationship to the problem of human freedom. Husserl did not deeply explore the concept of freedom in almost any of his works and manuscripts, i.e. he never really gave a definition and a thorough analysis of freedom. Nevertheless it is quite clear that freedom plays a peculiar role in many strategic points of his philosophy. We can say even more: the entire phenomenological enterprise is funded on freedom, since the so called “phenomenological reduction” is, according to Husserl himself, the result of an absolutely free act. But if freedom is necessary in order to have a genuine philosophical and phenomenological enquiry, shouldn’t this “condition of possibility” be queried and eventually elucidated? Or is freedom something which remains outside the boundaries of phenomenological investigation? I think that by following Husserl’s inquiries into the different levels of constitution of subjectivity it is possible to produce evidence in support of the claim that freedom is an apodictic fact, but a fact which, if correctly understood, has conditions as well as consequences which should not be neglected if we don’t want to miss freedom itself in our “human existence”.