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Lifeworld and science

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DD3591-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 2015
Retrieved July 23, 2024, from

Article Summary

In phenomenology, ‘lifeworld’ (Lebenswelt) denotes the immediate, everyday, concrete whole of the subjectively experienced world. Its original elaboration in the thought of Edmund Husserl (1859–1938) played a central role in his attempt to ground the rationality of the sciences in the active and passive syntheses of subjective life.

Husserl's concept of lifeworld was originally influenced by the work of Richard Avenarius (1843–1896) and Wilhelm Dilthey (1833–1911), and progressively deepened throughout his philosophical career until it reached its most sophisticated form in the 1930s. Though relevant to a wide variety of analyses of ethical life, perceptual experience and the problem of history, the lifeworld plays its perhaps most important role in Husserl's phenomenological interpretation of scientific rationality. The lifeworld plays a critical role in Husserl’s mature conception of science in two fundamental respects: first, the lifeworld provides the framework for Husserl’s investigation of the origin of basic concepts of logical reasoning (such as negation and states of affairs) in lived experience; second, it anchors his account of rational evidence and truth in the prediscursive dimensions of lived experience. The concept of the lifeworld has proven to be one of Husserl's most important philosophical contributions and has been subsequently developed in a number of post-Husserlian strands of phenomenology and sociology.

Citing this article:
Dodd, James. Lifeworld and science, 2015, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DD3591-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
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