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Edmund Husserl on “Crisis” of Europe


Edmund Husserl is believed to be one of the greatest rationalist philosophers of the early 20th century. During the Nazi regime, the scholar studied and analyzed most of the predicaments that appeared to trouble every European citizen. The events experienced during this period confirmed the challenges that had been encountered during the Great War (1914-1918). These historical developments forced this philosopher to describe the state of Europe after the Renaissance period. This paper uses Husserl’s thoughts to analyze the “crisis” of Europe, its roots and consequences, and the best approaches to deal with it.

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What Husserl Means by the “Crisis” of Europe

According to Husserl, European science after the Renaissance era had taken a dangerous path. This was the case because the nature of universal science had been misunderstood by mankind. The scholar argues that the existing level of success within positivistic sciences was its failure. This kind of science had fallen short of the true meaning of consciousness in the universe. Consequently, Europe as a society had misconceived the meaning of man (Hopkins 2011). For several years, Husserl was keen to observe that the field of science in Europe had missed the fact that it ought to be rooted in the human spirit. Due to this kind of failure, it was quite evident that Europe had marked its breakdown. This is something that remains a major crisis in the world today.

Over the years, scientific inquiries in Europe did not accept the nature of ideological and philosophical positivism. Many analysts and scholars did not focus on critical human questions in an attempt to make them part of any scientific approach. This means that man should always be a “subject matter” whenever pursuing the natural sciences (Husserl 1975). Due to this kind of malpractice, science in Europe continued to become less relevant and insignificant.

He contrasts the existing situation with the common ideas of the Renaissance era. Husserl (2014) asserts that this period was characterized by true science that focused on the best approaches to shape the future of Europe. Unfortunately, Husserl strongly believes the new age had emerged whereby science had very little (if any) to contribute to the nature of spiritual-human subsistence.

This kind of predicament has been fuelled by the fact that man has been concentrating on the “exactness” of science. Consequently, the pre-modern Aristotelian model that supported a true unity between nature and science has become obsolete. Due to the nature of positivism, scientists in Europe have managed to come up with an inauthentic exactness (Husserl 1975). This means that modern science has been pursuing things as mere objects, thereby making them subjects for systematic approximations.

These developments have created a humorous scenario whereby science has ignored the reality of the universe or the world. This ought to be the true nature and purpose of positivism science. The emerging field has failed to address the broad questions and tenets of philosophy. This analysis, therefore, reveals that reductionist objectivization is a critical problem that has failed to support the true rationale of universal science.

In a nutshell, humanistic sciences in Europe have ignored the laws of natural ideology (Hopkins 2011). This kind of failure in human reason has created something referred to as “a dualistic philosophic impasse” (Hopkins 2011). Consequently, a gap has developed between subjectivist idealism and inexperienced materialist realism in the world. This is the 20th-century predicament or crisis that has led to the alienation of every European citizen.

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European Crisis: Roots and Consequences

The origin of the crisis outlined by Husserl can be clearly understood by focusing on what he believes to be the true nature of idealism. After the collapse of the Renaissance ideology, this philosopher indicates the concept of positivism ignored (or missed) the real meaning of science. This is the case because the idea of “I” was taken for granted. As a result, the majority of the rationalists in Europe during this period came up with a new approach of positivism that failed to focus on critical questions of human thought (Husserl 1975). Consequently, the positivist approach was unable to support the arduousness of true philosophy. This is the reason why the field has not been successful.

The end result is that the current field of European scientific inquiry lacks the origin or true knowledge that is founded on universal laws. Additionally, this kind of development has resulted in a critical problem since man is treated differently in the field of science (Husserl 2014). The intimate human value and subjectivity have appeared to escape the concept of reduction.

Husserl also observes that the above malpractices and ignorance of humanistic values have created diverse sciences that are unable to address the unique challenges affecting the global society. It is also evident that the positivistic approach to humanistic sciences has affected the integrity of this field in Europe. He goes further to give the example of psychology as a humanistic science. Husserl indicates that philosophy has failed to support the rules of nature in its endeavors (Husserl 2014). This scenario has created numerous problems whereby scientists focus on shallow fields while at the same time ignoring the true purpose and relevance of science.

Additionally, the situation has created the right environment whereby scholars and rationalists continue to be blinded by the idea of naturalism. This means that philosophers have been unable to use a universal (or humanistic) approach to come up with theories that can be used to pursue scientific inquiries in the finest sense (Husserl 2014). This gap is used by Husserl to explain why it has become impossible for European thinkers and analysts to embrace the power of spirituality and use it to focus on the self-centric universe. Spirit, according to Husserl, is something that should be taken seriously by true scientists in order to describe the exactness of the world.

In his work, Husserl goes further to assert that the positivist approach embraced by European rationalists has led to an artificial interpretation of scientific phenomena. This means that mankind continues to apply different exactitudes inappropriately. Since more individuals no longer understand spirit from its natural sense, they have been unable to develop meaningful ideologies, theories, and/or explanations (Husserl 2014). Consequently, an illegitimate inquisition continues to be pursued by many scholars. This predicament is, therefore, used by Husserl to explain why humankind continues to leap into an abyss characterized by alienation and absurdity.

Many societies have recorded increased levels of “alienness” due to the ignorance of their own spirits (Husserl 1975). This kind of absurdity has created a wider problem that affects mankind. The right explanation, according to Husserl, is that human sciences have been disjointed from the true meaning of human nature, spirit, and life. More individuals have lost their spiritual entelechy. This scenario makes it impossible for them to describe events and happenings from a scientific-natural approach. This crisis has swelled to create disastrous events and pains that echo the attributes of a closed society. From these happenings and outcomes catalyzed by the crisis described by Husserl, it is clear that barbarity is gazing at humankind unless something is done.

From this analysis, it is evident that Husserl’s predictions came to pass. The nature and problem of the Second World War (an upheaval that claimed the lives of millions of people across the globe) can be likened to the barbarity that was foreseen by the philosopher. This was the case because different scientific inquires and theories had embraced a positivist approach, thereby ignoring the principalities and meaning of spiritual righteousness (Husserl 1975).

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The concepts embraced by many scientists after the collapse of the Renaissance era appeared to have resulted in a deviation from the true purpose of philosophy. Fields such as mathematics, philosophy, and science led to the establishment of artificial thoughts that made it impossible for man to live in an open society. This was the case because humanity appeared to have been separated from the realm of the spirit.

Husserl’s Attempt to Contribute to the Resolution of this Crisis

After describing and analyzing the nature of this crisis that continues to affect Europeans, Husserl does not hesitate to offer meaningful insights that can be considered to transform the situation. From a rhetorical perspective, the philosopher argues that the lived world’s door has been locked by mankind. However, he acknowledges that it can be opened if a man is willing to establish a new form of consciousness with the surrounding environment or world.

Husserl begins by encouraging scientists to embrace the concept of spiritualism whenever pursuing their goals. He believes that they should be willing to become philosophers first in order to have total control or access to their ideologies. This means that such scientists will be on the frontline to ask “real” questions about the true purpose and existence of man in the universe (Hopkins 2011). By so doing, every scholar will be ready to come up with superior conceptions that have the potential to benefit humanity and its existence.

The rationalist goes further to link science to positivism. According to him, science (true scientific inquiry) should go beyond the idea of the factual assertion. This strategy will ensure that positivistic divisions such as psychology are rejoined to the concept of universal science. This is the reason why the philosopher proposes a European unification whereby the concept of science is pursued as a normative attribute (Husserl 2014). The scholars acknowledge that a new strategy that guides humanity to a common pole of infinity will address this kind of crisis and promote realistic perceptions.

From this analysis, it is quite clear that Husserl manages to diagnose this critical predicament facing Europe. He goes further to offer a powerful therapeutic approach that has the potential to transform the situation and take the world back to the Renaissance era. This formula or approach is workable since it envisions a new form of philosophy that should be pursued as a scientific model. The strategy will eventually address the needs of the universe. Hopkins (2011) acknowledges that the remedy proposed by Husserl is meaningful since it borrows a lot from the concept of cogito. This is an approach where ideas are pursued without the inclusion of the material world. This means that the notion of spiritualism will become critical in order to inform human thoughts and ideologies.

The main information gained from this kind of solution is that societies should be ready to engage in natural confrontation. They should also focus on the issues that affect them without pursuing materialistic gains or ideas. This approach has the potential to mitigate most of the challenges that have been caused by the nature of this crisis. The resultant closed system has caused numerous pains that make it impossible for many people to lead their lives from a naturalistic point of view. Hopkins (2011) uses Husserl’s ideas to explain why man is required to retrace his connection with God and establish a new world that supports every person’s demands. This approach will minimize most of the challenges affecting the modern-day world.


This descriptive paper has used Husserl’s concepts and arguments to explain why the departure of science from nature has resulted in a positivistic inquiry that ignores every aspect of the human spirit. This malpractice has amounted to a major crisis that has led to conflicts, unnecessary scientific pursuits, and disoriented populations. The rationalist offers a powerful model whereby man can reconsider the aspects associated with the Renaissance in order to deal with this crisis and minimize most of the existing consequences. By so doing, mankind will find it easier to open every closed door and reconnect with God.

Works Cited

Hopkins, B.C. (2011). The Philosophy of Husserl. McGill-Queen’s University Press: Kingston.

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Husserl, E. (1975). The Paris Lectures. Springer Shop: New York.

Husserl, E. (2014). Ideas for a Pure Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy. Hackett Publishing Company: Cambridge.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, May 25). Edmund Husserl on “Crisis” of Europe. Retrieved from


StudyCorgi. (2021, May 25). Edmund Husserl on “Crisis” of Europe.

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StudyCorgi. "Edmund Husserl on “Crisis” of Europe." May 25, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Edmund Husserl on “Crisis” of Europe." May 25, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Edmund Husserl on “Crisis” of Europe'. 25 May.

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