Self, other and communities – Besinnung in Husserl’s phenomenology

Project leader: Mirja Hartimo
Funder: Kone Foundation
Project duration: 2015-


Project description:

The aim of the project, funded by the Kone Foundation, is to examine Edmund’s Husserl’s (1859–1938) phenomenology as a philosophical method with which any kind of experience can be investigated. The heart of our study is the methodological concept of Besinnung, which Husserl introduces in his later texts. Besinnung – which is an expansion of Husserl’s notion of phenomenological reflection – is a method for analyzing intentional experiences and practices with a view to their historical development and normative structures. The project focuses on the way in which Besinnung yields understanding of self, others, and communities.

The main research questions of the project are:

– What does Husserl mean by Besinnung and what is its role in Husserl’s mature philosophy?

– How should Besinnung be applied in studying self, others, and communities?

– What kind of new understanding will be gained by means of Besinnung in comparison to other philosophical methods, such as phenomenological reflection, conceptual analysis, hermeneutics, and introspection?

The project has three members. PhD Fredrik Westerlund defended his dissertation Heidegger and the Problem of Phenomenality in 2014 at the University of Helsinki and was awarded the highest possible grade. Westerlund’s task is to examine the ethical claim of the other person as a source of ethical normativity that fundamentally differs from collective and historical norms. MA Jaakko Belt graduated in the spring 2014 from the University of Tampere with the highest possible grade. In his master’s thesis he examined the method of phenomenological reflection and its application in studying the self. His doctoral research in the project deepens and expands the same topic.

The leader of the project is PhD, Docent Mirja Hartimo. She has studied various topics within phenomenological philosophy for years. She works presently in the Centre for Advanced Study at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters funded by Norwegian University of Life Sciences. Her role in the project is to examine the role of Besinnung in order to understand the normative goals of scientists.