The Origin of the World and the Absolute Fact: Landgrebe and the Limitations of Husserl’s Concept of World

Ovidiu Stanciu


Ludwig Landgrebe’s philosophical inquiries are undoubtedly situated in the wake
of Husserlian phenomenology. However, this conceptual framework is not
simply taken for granted: Landgrebe reenacts Husserl’s fundamental analysis,
pursues his thrust, extends his bearings, and widens his aims. Furthermore, the
straightforward assumption of the phenomenological method does not induce him
to adopt a narrow form of orthodoxy. As early as 1940, while he takes up the task
of elaborating a phenomenological concept of world, Landgrebe offers a critical
account of Husserl’s position, thus rejecting any identification between the
theoretical program inaugurated by Husserl and the letter of his writings: “In the
future, anyone who proposes to clarify the concept ‘world’ should first become
acquainted with Husserl’s results, see their presuppositions and their limits, and
come to terms with them.”2 In what follows, I aim to reconstruct the main tenets
of Landgrebe’s attempt at “coming to terms” with the limitations he detects in
Husserl’s concept of world and to make clear its enduring relevance for
contemporary discussions. As it will appear, this criticism moves in a double
direction and involves a commitment to two seemingly competing requirements:
that of radicalizing the transcendental-constitutive perspective beyond what
Husserl has accomplished in his writings; and that of providing a theoretical
space for what resists a transcendental-constitutive account, i.e., for a dimension
of archi-facticity upon which any constitutive inquiry ultimately rests.

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