Volume 17, Issue 2, Fall 2013
Éthique, Politique et Subjectivité chez Michel Foucault
Alfred von Sybel—A Life Between the Lines
Though seen in several photographs, Alfred von Sybel remained for many years a rather unknown member of the early phenomenological movement. Detailed documentation of his life and work only became available following research on the “Circle of Bergzabern,” a group comprised of former members from the “Philosophical Society Göttingen”: von Sybel, Conrad, Conrad-Martius, Hering, Koyré, Lipps and Stein, were listed as the seven participants. In the Phänomenologenlied, written in 1907, von Sybel outlined the groups’ approach: “to the things themselves” (zu den Sachen selbst), in a programmatic way, and it became an integral part of their meetings. Following his extensive correspondence, this article reveals von Sybel’s desperate search for fellowship and orientation, which resulted in a very puzzling life. Thus, this first ever-published comprehensive biography of von Sybel mirrors the mysteries surrounding
the song: different versions exist and due to a lack of details it remains a puzzle which version is the original one.