The ground and the keystone of phenomenology. Husserl and Heidegger on categories

P.-J. Renaudie, “Le sol et la clé de voûte de la phénoménologie: Phénoménologie et herméneutique catégoriale de Husserl à Heidegger” (“The ground and the keystone of phenomenology. Husserl and Heidegger on the phenomenological use of categories”), in Les études Philosophiques, 2017 (3), pp.331-349.

Abstract: Heidegger, after Husserl, stressed the significance of the doctrine of categorial intuition and insisted on its importance for the emergence of phenomenology. Both he and Husserl have emphasized the methodological function, as well as the founding role of the theory of categories with respect to the discovery of a new field for philosophical investigations based on the description of phenomenality. However, it is far from clear why the analysis of the most fundamental concepts at work within thought and knowledge should matter especially to a discipline that focuses primarily on the modes of appearing of phenomena. This article aims at clarifying the intrinsic relation that ties the phenomenological use of categories together with the descriptive method that phenomenology requires. A closer look at Husserl and Heidegger’s accounts of categorial intuition reveals that, far from making similar claims regarding the phenomenological significance of the theory of categories, Husserl and Heidegger defend two substantially different conceptions of the nature and tasks of phenomenology. While the latter holds that categorial intuition provides the necessary ground for phenomenological hermeneutics, the former makes it the keystone that warrants the solidity of phenomenological analyses, maintaining an irreducible tension between sensibility and understanding that disappears in Heidegger’s phenomenology.