Lorenzo Girardi – The Constitution of the One World: Faith in Husserl’s Philosophy

Here is the latest of our recordings from The British Society for Phenomenology’s 2018 Annual Conference ‘The Theory and Practice of Phenomenology’. Lorenzo Girardi is from Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, and the paper is titled ‘The Constitution of the One World: Faith in Husserl’s Philosophy’.


Abstract: “Edmund Husserl’s philosophy is characterized by an eminently rationalist outlook. It contains some of the key features of the Enlightenment-project: a focus on the spirit of reason, a rational teleology, and universalism. It is perhaps the most critical version imaginable of this project, allowing for no justification that cannot be found in intuitive experience. This paper will point out a tension between this methodological limitation of Husserl’s phenomenology and the scope of his philosophy as a whole. It will do so by looking into the way Husserl conceives of the possibility of the constitution of one world for all of humankind.


While Husserl can experientially justify the process of universalization based on the horizonal nature of experience, he cannot justify the outcome of this process. That is, he cannot provide experiential justification for the idea that this process of universalization necessarily culminates in the same world for everyone who engages in this process. The possibility of a single rational world for all is more of a deeply entrenched assumption than a possibility that is properly justified.


After showing that recourse to experience is insufficient to justify the possibility of such a world, it will be shown that in the end Husserl backs up this speculative possibility through an act of faith. Showing the role of faith in Husserl’s account of the constitution of the one world puts the explicit references to faith in the Crisis in a new light. They might be more than rhetorical devices, revealing something about the nature of the crisis and Husserl’s solution to it, as well as providing a useful heuristic to distinguish Husserl’s thought from that of later phenomenologists. In doing so, the deep practical or even existential concern that forms the backbone of Husserl’s thinking, but that is not always acknowledged, is highlighted.”


The British Society for Phenomenology’s Annual Conference took place at the University of Kent, in Canterbury, UK during July, 2018. It gathered together philosophers, literary scholars, phenomenologists, and practitioners exploring phenomenological theory and its practical application. It covered a broad range of areas and issues including the arts, ethics, medical humanities, mental health, education, technology, feminism, politics and political governance, with contributions throwing a new light on both traditional phenomenological thinkers and the themes associated with classical phenomenology. More information about the conference can be found at:



The British Society for Phenomenology is a not-for-profit organisation set up with the intention of promoting research and awareness in the field of Phenomenology and other cognate arms of philosophical thought. Currently, the society accomplishes these aims through its journal, conferences and other events, and its podcast. You can support the society by becoming a member, for which you will receive a subscription to our journal:


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