Review: Cartesianische Meditationen (2nd Edition) by Edmund Husserl

Serge Valdinoci, trans. Sylvia

from: Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale, 85e Année, No. 1 (Janvier-Mars 1980), p. 138

Cartesianische Meditationen (2nd edition) by Edmund Husserl, Hamburg, Felix Meiner Verlag, 1977; presentation by Elisabeth Ströker, 172 p.

            The Felix Meiner editions propose, in a small format, an accessible version of Cartesian Meditations; in this, the editor follows a coherent policy, to progressively distribute the cardinal texts. Thus, we already find in the same collection: Experience and Judgement, the fifth of the Logical Investigations, and the Krisis. In a nonetheless rich context, since the Husserlian manuscripts are parallelly published in Germany with Nijhoff, the decision to multiply the editions should serve to the reinforcement of phenomenology’s positions. In addition, the presentation of the work is particularly neat: Elisabeth Ströker proposes an introduction of twenty pages, an establishment of Cartesian Meditations’ source manuscripts, a justification of its mode of presentation, and finally, at the end of the text, and index of names and matters. We will not come back to the introduction, which historically retraces the development of the Husserlian theorization in a limited but precise perspective, nor to the choice of manuscripts that Nijhoff follows. From this latter point of view, Elisabeth Ströker’s notations end up revaluating the first edition from 1950. However, it is important to let a characteristic of the presentation stand out: in more than a few amenities of detail on the subject of which we will fall in agreement with Elisabeth Ströker, it stands out that Ingarden’s remarks do not appear at the end of the text, which are however present in the Nijhoff edition. This lacuna does not harm the seriousness of the presentation as much as the very life of phenomenology grappling with its internal critiques. Wanting too much to canonically fix a text, we will forget the acute—and Husserlian—sense of the requestioning towards the fundament, above all in the years 1929-1930 when the research appeared just as radical as it did inconcretizable, which Elisabeth Ströker could have equally made stand out in the course of her introduction. In sum, the largely positive side of the work, of which we would like to find the French equivalent—since the translation from 1931 published with Vrin is to be reactualized—nonetheless requires that the reader does not at all forget, in this precise case, that the harmony is only apparent, that phenomenology remains miraculously in suspense, and that every break in view of publishing is calculated as a risk.