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The Yearbook on History and Interpretation of Phenomenology 2016

Vocations, Social Identities, Spirituality: Phenomenological Perspectives

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Edited By Jana Trajtelová

The fourth volume of the «Yearbook on History and Interpretation of Phenomenology: Vocations, Social Identities, Spirituality: Phenomenological Perspectives» presents variety of contemporary authors who explore the problem of vocation and closely related phenomena of personal, social, cultural (and transcultural) identity. They, altogether, point to its indispensable significance for our deeper understanding of the philosophical category of a «person», and a personal community, with all of its moral and axiological weight. The elucidation of our personal and social identities also unavoidably accompanies an ongoing, mutually respectful dialogue with other distinctive cultural life-worlds.

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Phenomenology and the Common World: Husserl’s Interpretation of Philosophy as a Social Vocation (Timo Miettinen)

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Timo Miettinen

Phenomenology and the Common World: Husserl’s Interpretation of Philosophy as a Social Vocation

Abstract: This article focuses on Husserl’s understanding of philosophy in his later works. As I show, the concept of vocation (Beruf) played a central role in Husserl’s renewed understanding of philosophy as a reflexive practice that takes place always in relation to a particular historical lifeworld. Against his early analyses, which emphasized the Cartesian, individualistic aspects of philosophical reasoning, I argue that his later works point towards an understanding of philosophy as a generative phenomenon, that is, as an essentially social and historical practice. This transition led Husserl to reconsider the teleological nature of philosophy as a fundamentally open practice. This renewed understanding of philosophy and its “infinite task” had important consequences for the subject of philosophical reasoning. If philosophy denotes an infinite idea of critique and renewal of ideas, then it seems that it cannot realize itself within the finite life of the individual. Rather, it is only a community that can renew itself in a way that corresponds to the open-ended character of philosophy. Community is, so to speak, the closest thing to infinity on earth.

Keywords: Husserl, Phenomenology, Vocation, Community, Social Ontology, Ideality

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