Dogmatism and Criticism in the Conception of Phenomenological Reduction
AbstractThe author presents his own interpretation of phenomenological reduction taking as a starting point two motives of phenomenology identified by Ernst Tugendhat: the dogmatic motive and the critical motive. In the dogmatic interpretation, phenomenological reduction is driven by the need to meet the criterion of apodictic certainty and means excluding the world from the scope of phenomenological research and limiting it to the realm of transcendental awareness. It is only transcendental awareness that can be apodictically certain; the existence of the world never is. In the critical interpretation, the starting point for philosophizing is not apodictic certainty but a minimum amount of cognitive dogmatism attained through radical criticism. Phenomenological reduction itself no longer entails a subjectivist narrowing down of the field of study, but its expansion into a new domain: the domain of awareness in which the world is being constituted, awareness freed from anonymity. The aim of this critically interpreted reduction is the uncovering of the correlation between awareness and the world, which remains invisible in the natural approach. Reduction brings this correlation to light, suspending prejudices (Vorurteile), which result from the natural approach. The fact that prejudices are suspended means that one refrains from following them blindly, since a characteristic feature of all prejudices is that they do not admit reflection. It is important to distinguish between two types of prejudices: those which enable cognition and those which distort the picture of reality. The author demonstrates that phenomenological reduction may be understood as a postulate of criticism: to suspend prejudices in order to recognize their validity (legitimacy) in their claims to truth or to expose them as false awareness.
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