This book is one of a recent series of “Guides for the Perplexed” largely devoted to “Continental” philosophers (but also including guides to Wittgenstein and Quine). It sets itself the task of presenting the interested student with a succinct introduction to Edmund Husserl’s philosophical work in its breadth and richness. Husserl (1859–1938) is a philosopher whose writings are in no little need of clarification to the uninitiated, a fact well known to those familiar with the work of the founder of the phenomenological movement. His influence is so far-reaching that much of the subsequent tradition now usually called Continental philosophy is scarcely intelligible without reference to it. Yet access to his thought is invariably hindered by a complex, dense terminology and a difficult style which is precise and scientific rather than instantly perspicuous (and usually further complicated by translation). The several “introductions” to phenomenology penned by Husserl himself, forever the “beginning philosopher”, present the reader with an ever-finer series of conceptual distinctions and ever deeper layers of analysis of consciousness and its acts – a further source of confusion for the non-expert. This book attempts to alleviate this confusion.

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