the burning need for an understanding of spirit

In our time we everywhere meet the burning need for an understanding of spirit, while the unclarity of the methodological and factual connection between the natural sciences and the sciences of the spirit has become almost unbearable. Dilthey, one of the greatest scientists of the spirit, has directed his whole vital energy to clarifying the connection between nature and spirit, to clarifying the role of psychophysical psychology, which he thinks is to be complemented by a new, descriptive and analytic psychology. Efforts by Windelband and Rickert have likewise, unfortunately, not brought the desired insight. Like everyone else, these men are still committed to objectivism. Worst of all are the new psychological reformers, who are of the opinion that the entire fault lies in the long-dominant atomistic prejudice, that a new era has been introduced with wholistic psychology (Ganzheitspsychologie). There can, however, never be any improvement so long as an objectivism based on a naturalistic focusing on the environing world is not seen in all its naïveté, until men recognize thoroughly the absurdity of the dualistic interpretation of the world, according to which nature and spirit are to be looked upon as realities (Realitäten) in the same sense. In all seriousness my opinion is this: there never has nor ever will be an objective science of spirit, an objective theory of the soul, objective in the sense that it permits the attribution of an existence under the forms of spatio-temporality to souls or to communities of persons.

EDMUND HUSSERL: Philosophy and the Crisis of European Man

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