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The Yearbook on History and Interpretation of Phenomenology 2014

Normativity & Typification

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Edited By Anton Vydra

The second issue of The Yearbook on History and Interpretation of Phenomenology focuses on the intertwined topics of normativity and of typification. The area of their application and specification is relatively broad: from biological questions through various lived experiences and political life to aesthetical judgments. The contributors see normative aspects of human existence as a possibility to act according to inherent or personal values rather than according to some fixed and external rules or even laws.
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Husserl on Normativity, Love, and Hope

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Abstract This analysis argues that human subjectivity as described by Husserl is structured in such a way that it prepares the ground for the experience of hope. The former can be addressed through a discussion of how the subjective components of normativity, typification, optimality, and love cohere with the possibility of hope. I will also raise the issue of how empathy and intersubjectivity form part of this first experience. Following a discussion of what it is that might motivate hope, and how hope unfolds, I will consider some of hope’s limits.

Keywords: Depression, Empathy, Hope, Intersubjectivity, Love, Normativity, Optimality, Subjectivity, Typification

1. Introduction

One of the most powerful aspects of phenomenology lies in its liberating capacity. It is possible to assess this liberating possibility through an analysis of Edmund Husserl’s concepts of normativity, typification, optimality, and love, and how the former are systematically and structurally related to the possibility of hope. For Husserl, experience is a fluid and malleable phenomena that does not unfold in a deterministic or mechanistic manner. What is considered normal, typical, and optimal within experience is by no means locked in nor fixed.1 Relatedly, we are drawn as a community to what is ethically best (via love), and hope plays an important role in this pursuit. None of this denies, importantly, that the pull towards the better can become buried, or that hope does not have its limits. I will address the previous themes in the following order....

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