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The Review of Metaphysics

Volume 73, Issue 2, December 2019

William Tullius
Pages 255-283

Time, Eternity, and the Transition from Phenomenology to Metaphysics in Edith Stein, Edmund Husserl, and Eric Voegelin

Eric Voegelin criticized phenomenology for its failure to move beyond analysis in the mode of immanent temporality to the examination of God and eternity. However, in chapter 2 of Edith Stein’s Finite and Eternal Being, where analysis of time-consciousness terminates in “eternal being,” and, likewise, in select manuscripts where Husserl uses a Platonic symbolism of anamnesis as a temporal irruption of the eternal into time, we have two phenomenologists whose analysis of time-consciousness leads precisely to meditation upon God and the eternal. Nonetheless, both Stein and Husserl are frequently criticized as violating phenomenology in that respect. The author argues that, while both thinkers do transgress the limits of phenomenological methodology, this is not problematic, but instead fulfills the teleological aims of phenomenological inquiry itself in transition into metaphysics. However, the methodological problems of accounting for the transition to metaphysics itself benefit from a Voegelinian, rather than Husserlian or Steinian, analysis.