Sunday, November 16, 2008

Husserl or Aquinas?

I get to register for classes tomorrow for the upcoming semester and here’s what I plan on taking:

Symbolic Logic w/ Dr. Baehr
Free Will, Deliberation, and Personal Identity w/ Dr. Speak (Directed Study)
And either Husserl or Aquinas- I can’t decide!

Reasons for and against Husserl and Aquinas.

St. Thomas Aquinas:


(1) The Scholastic Genius will sharpen my Theology.
(2) Philosophical Theology, if not my intended area of specialty, is my first love.
(3) The prof. went to Notre Dame, which might help me out in the recommendation department. (I want to go to Notre Dame)
(4) Learning Aquinas from an actual Thomist would be awesome.


(1) The Scholastics are way too Aristotelian- this isn’t a problem because I don’t like Aristotle (although there’s hardly a consensus on the fundamentals of Aristotle’s thought) it’s just that it’s very difficult not to read the Scholastics anachronistically.
(2) The prof. is an ethics specialist- and that’s not my interest or forte.

Edmund Husserl


(1) I’m a huge fan of intentionality and studying a major pioneer of the concept will be edifying.
(2) Phenomenology seems like a promising way of avoiding the pitfalls of the Way of Ideas and consequently defeating skepticism.


(1) I’m completely unfamiliar with Husserl’s actual work and also the immediate context of his thought, which makes for a lot of hard work and possibly being one of those students who asks a lot dumb questions.
(2) The prof. seems to be more continental-oriented which means we might be butting heads on issues of methodology as well as what we take to be “the problems worth solving” or even worse “what problems there are”.

So can anyone assume my point of view and help me make a decision?



Blogger Anastasia said...

Easy. Husserl. Next question.

6:38 PM  
Blogger Derek said...

Thanks Corie! But I can't help think you want me to take Husserl over Aquinas because, to put it lightly, you have issues with Rome. So assuming you're taking my perspective, would you still suggest Husserl?

9:36 PM  
Blogger Anastasia said...

Sweetie, you go to a jesuit school. I don't think any problem I may have with Rome could possibly be a factor when helping you decide what classes to take at A CATHOLIC SCHOOL. That being said, you will get plenty of opportunities for Aquinas, a class on Husserl sounds really interesting, and especially since you are unfamiliar with Husserl's actual work, you will actually be learning something. You already know a lot about Aquinas, yes you could be learning from a Thomist, but you might find yourself slightly unchallenged and a bit bored-especially since the professor is an ethics specialist. The professor on Husserl leaves the POSSIBILITY (he only "seems to be"...) of butting heads on methodology issues, but you already know you don't want to deal with an ethics specialist. There is also a 50% chance you will butt heads with a teacher when you register for a class, but if you ALREADY know you don't like ethics specialists to a certain extent, what are the odds then? I don't think wanting to meet a teacher for a recommendation is good enough to devote an entire semester to necessarily. And Aristotle-you say Aquinas will sharpen your theology with the Scholastics but then turn around and say you are bothered by the Aristotelian elements. So it might sharpen your theology to some extent but at the same time, you might just get really annoyed over Aristotle more than enough times for it to be actually worth it. Phenomenology on the other hand, has just as much of a fight to sharpen your theology, for the reasons you list above. Therefore, it seems you have listed more valid positives with Husserl than with Aquinas. So, to reiterate: Easy. Husserl. Next question.

1:55 PM  
Blogger Derek said...

Thanks Corie- that was really thoughtful! I'm currently signed up for BOTH- because I haven't decided- and he Husserl prof. is a woman- by the way (Lady Philosophers do scare me- too- maybe that's a factor too!). But anyway I'm taking this class called "Metaphysics in the Classical Tradition" and my professor, Dr. Perl, is Eastern Orthodox- and a hardcore Platonist to boot. He wrote this book called Theophany: the Neoplatonic Philosophy of Dionysius the Aeropagite- it's pretty cool- I think you should check it out.

3:56 AM  
Blogger Anastasia said...

Okay, also, if you don't take the Husserl class, you're a misogynist. Think about it.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Gary said...

BEWARE Moravian Jewish Lutheran Phenomenologists !!!

6:27 AM  
Blogger Anastasia said...

And that's just racist.

7:21 PM  
Blogger BIBLIST said...

It's okay I'm Lutheran.

8:56 AM  
Blogger James A. Gibson said...

Take the Aquinas course. You can learn Husserl on your own with the help of good resources than you could with Aquinas. Plus, having a letter from a ND alumnus will look better if you want to go to ND.

Btw. Start posting your work on your web page. (I got two new things up recently on my page). Also, give Dan a big hug for me. :)

8:17 PM  
Blogger Louis said...

aquinas. duh.

4:38 PM  
Blogger brianna. said...


3:36 PM  
Blogger brianna. said...

post facto.

3:36 PM  

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