The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 17, 1998

Philosophical Methodology

Margret E. Grebowicz
Pages 29-35

Philosophy as Meaningful Science
The Subject and Objective Knowledge in Husserl and Popper

Both Husserl and Popper share the sentiment that philosophy should model itself after something called "science," despite their differing attitudes toward the Galilean tradition. I begin by describing their respective approaches to the problem of objectivity by examining their accounts of the origins of science in Husserl's Vienna Lecture and Popper's Conjectures and Refutations. Each of them explicitly takes up the problem of objectivity in The Origin of Geometry and Epistemology Without a Knowing Subject, respectively, and it is here that they develop their notions of the role played by subjectivity in science. I argue that Popper suffers from a commitment to subjectivism even in the course of renouncing the subject as irrelevant for science. Husserl, on the other hand, sees in the possibility of crisis the need to reinstate subjectivist concerns in order for any discourse to be capable of saying something about the world. Husserl thus proposes a scientism which takes account of the fact that the world is, first and foremost, experienced by subjects. I contend that Popper can ultimately be held to the same position, and thus be forced to qualify his strong dismissal of subjectivity.