2018-2020: Continental Philosophy as a Rigorous Science.

Elements of Empirical Research in Early Phenomenology and Critical Theory.


The project concerns the relation between philosophy and empirical research in the first half of the 20th century in two of the most important schools of continental philosophy: phenomenology and critical theory. Its goal is to scrutinize from a systematic point of view: a) the current situation of continental philosophy in its relation to empirical knowledge; b) its possibilities of interdisciplinary collaboration; and c) the new function that philosophy acquires in this context. These problems will be analyzed starting from a concrete historical case: the attempts made in early continental philosophy to demarcate but also adapt philosophy to a scientific context defined by empirical research. To this extent, the project is especially motivated by two defining circumstances of the current state of research: the ongoing relativization of the divide between continental and analytic philosophy, which initially also based on their relation to empirical research, and the numerous attempts at interdisciplinary collaborations made in continental philosophy today. Following these interests, the project comprises three stages. In the first stage, it will study in parallel – with regard to early phenomenology and critical theory – the history of their relation to empirical research by focusing on lesser known aspects like the problem of experiments in early phenomenology, or Adorno’s phenomenologically inspired work with Paul Lazarsfeld. In the second stage, it will evaluate from a systematic perspective the relation to empirical research of some of the methodological tools of phenomenology (experiment, induction, first person perspective, description, genetic analysis) and critical theory (mycrological interpretation, individualized interview, physiognomic analysis). Finally, in the last stage, it will draw some general philosophical consequences regarding the changes that occurred in the relation between philosophy and experience in early continental philosophy.