Husserl’s Students

The German philosopher Edmund Husserl had a number of students. A recent First Things article discusses two of them: Dietrich von Hildebrand and Edith Stein.

Dietrich and Edith both found in Husserl not only a refutation of modern skepticism, but a convincing alternative. “It was for me like experiencing a sunrise,” wrote Dietrich. Husserl had demonstrated “that the human mind could attain absolute certainty.”

Edith, for her part, would apply Husserl’s methodology to her own writings and search for truth, now guided by a new foundation. Their attraction to phenomenology would foreshadow its influence on numerous other Catholic thinkers, not least the future pope and saint, Karol Wojtyla.