14 Pages


Merleau-Ponty opens his The Phenomenology of Perception with the question: What is phenomenology? But his answer to this question is equivocal, to say the least. Phenomenology is both a philosophy of essences and a philosophy of existence, both a transcendental and an ontological philosophy, both a ‘rigorous science’ and a hermeneutics. As it stands, this ‘both…and’ clearly fails to do justice to the disparity between the Husserlian and the Heideggerian way of doing phenomenology. Hence some phenomenologists have decided to take their stand on one of the two sides-to the exclusion of the other. And yet both Husserl and Heidegger claimed to be doing ‘phenomenology’!