Phenomenology and Existence:
Toward a Philosophy Within Nature

Marvin Farber


I. The Role of Reflection in Phenomenology                               1

II. Descriptive Philosophy and the Nature of Human Existence 14

IlI. The Philosophical Interest in Existence                                38

A. A Place for Nothing
B. Existence and Temporality
C. The Finitude of the Knower as a Motive
D. Human Existence and the Status of Ideals
E. Individuals and Human Existence
F. Self-Sufficiency or Transcendence?
G. The Point of Departure for Ontology
H. Beyond the Limits of Experience and Knowledge

IV. On the Existence of the World                                           61

A. The Question of Modes of Being
B. On the Existence of the External World
C. Existence as a Methodogenic Problem
D. Phenomenological and Naturalistic "Existence"
E. The Nature of the Problem Once More
F. The Question of the "Origin" of the World
G. Existence and Empty Possibilities
H. Factual Truth and Existence
I. On the "Contingency" of the World

V. Phenomenology and Metaphysics                                        84

VI. The Life-World                                                                113

A. Husserl's Conception of the Life-World
B. Existence and the Life-World
C. The Idea of an Originary World of Experience

VII. The Vehicle of Transcendence                                         149

A. The "Insolubilia"
B. Is There a Noumenal Realm?
C. Vacuous Otherness after Kant
D. Phenomenology and Transcendence
E. Forms of Transcendence: Beyond and Yonder
F. On the Theological Use of Transcendence
G. The Assimilation of Transcendence
H. From the Naturalistic Point of View
I. The Question of an Ethics within Nature
J. The Resolution of Ethical Transcendence

VIII. Philosophical Anthropology and Human Values              175

A. The Idea of a Philosophical Anthropology
B. The Phenomenological View of Values

IX. The Reaches of Subjectivism                                            196

A. Pervasive Subjectivism
B. An Alternative to the Scientific Point of View
C. Heidegger's Question: What is Philosophy?

X. Standpoint Commitments in Philosophy                              218

A. From the Social-Historical Perspective
B. The Subject Matter of Philosophy
C. Standpoint Questions and the "Meeting of Minds"
D. Restrictive Principles and the Function of Philosophy
E. The Autonomy of Philosophy
F. Methods of Procedure and Assumptive Arguments
G. The Aim of Freedom from Presuppositions
H. On the Meaning of Existence
I. On the Subjective Treatment of Existence; Summary
J. On Describing the World
K. Beyond Standpoint Commitments

[See also extracts: Marvin Farber on Maurice Merleau‑Ponty]


In the enormous literature of phenomenology and existentialism, much attention has been devoted to existence as a philosophical problem. The treatment of existence provides the crucial test for a subjective philosophy: the present work considers this problem critically and independently, bringing to completion the series of studies presented in The Foundation of Phenomenology (Harvard University Press, 1943; Paine-Whitman, 1962), Naturalism and Subjectivism (Charles C. Thomas, 1959), and The Aims of Phenomenology (Harper & Row, 1966). The goal envisaged is a thoroughgoing naturalistic philosophy, with the merits of a properly used reflective procedure preserved under the heading of general methodology.

In addition to the use of previously published materials referred to in the text, the second chapter is reprinted, with omissions and changes, from Philosophic Thought in France and the United States, ed. M. Farber (University of Buffalo Publications in Philosophy, 1950); and portions of the fifth, eighth, and ninth chapters have appeared in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. Grateful acknowledgment for permission to use these materials is herewith made to all concerned. The author's indebtedness to his wife for her painstaking aid in the final preparation of the text for publication adds to a debt that is coextensive with his scholarly career.


Buffalo, New York
March 10, 1966

SOURCE: Farber, Marvin. Phenomenology and Existence: Toward a Philosophy Within Nature. New York: Harper and Row, 1967.  Contents & Foreword.

Marvin Farber on Maurice Merleau‑Ponty

American Philosophy Study Guide

Positivism vs Life Philosophy (Lebensphilosophie) Study Guide

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