1st Edition

Historical Experience Essays on the Phenomenology of History

By David Carr Copyright 2021
    186 Pages
    by Routledge

    186 Pages
    by Routledge

    This volume brings together a collection of recent essays on the philosophy and theory of history.

    This is a field of lively interdisciplinary discussion and research, to which historians, philosophers and theorists of culture and literature have contributed. The author is a philosopher by training, and his inspiration comes primarily from the continental-phenomenological tradition. Thus the influence of Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty and Ricoeur can be discerned here. This background opens up a unique perspective on the issues under discussion. Phenomenology differs from other philosophical approaches, like metaphysics and epistemology. Phenomenology asks, of anything that exists or may exist: how is it given, how does it enter our experience, what is our experience of it like? Very broadly we can say: phenomenology is about experience. At first glance, this approach may seem ill-suited to history. In our language, “history” usually means either 1) what happened, i.e. past events, or 2) our knowledge of what happened. We can’t experience past events, and whatever knowledge we have of them must come from other sources—memory, testimony, physical traces. But the author maintains that we actually do experience historical events, and these essays explain how this is so.

    Sitting at the intersection of philosophy and history, and divided into three parts—Historicity, Narrative, and Time, Teleology and History, and Embodiment and Experience—this is the ideal volume for those interested in experience from a philosophical and historical perspective.

    Introduction 1

    PART 1

    Historicity, narrative, and time 9

    1 On historicity 11

    2 Reflections on temporal perspective: the use and abuse of hindsight 24

    3 The stories of our lives: aging and narrative 34

    4 On being historical 46

    PART 2

    Teleology and history 59

    5 Teleology and the experience of history 61

    6 Husserl and Foucault on the historical a priori: teleological and anti-teleological views of history 75

    7 Historical teleology: the grand illusion? 86

    8 On the metaphilosophy of history 97

    PART 3

    Embodiment and experience 113

    9 Intersubjectivity and embodiment 115

    10 History as orientation: Rüsen on historical culture and narration 128

    11 Erlebnis and history 144

    12 Experience and history 153


    David Carr is Charles Howard Candler Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Emory University, US and Lecturer of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research. He is the author of Phenomenology and the Problem of History (1974, reissued in 2009); Time, Narrative and History (1986); Interpreting Husserl (1987); The Paradox of Subjectivity (1999), and Experience and History (2014).