We get a preliminary description of what is required from Fink: “Our era can really attain to Husserl’s philosophy, which down to today is still unknown and ungrasped, only by ascending out of the cave of world-constraint, by passing through the pain of self-releasement—and not through ‘critiques’ that are thoroughly bound to the naïve understanding of the world, enslaved to the natural thought-habits and entangled in the pre-constituted word-meanings of the everyday and scientific language” (p. 161/10). Here, again, we find familiar language; language that might have been encountered in any number of Husserl’s other writings, but what is of interest to us in this passage is the picture of what it is we are “ascending out of.” In this regard, it is helpful to recall the phrase used in Sixth Cartesian Meditation to describe the same thing, namely, “captivation-in-an-acceptedness.” The situation Fink is describing is this: the lives that we live in our everyday world are lived in toto with that world, i.e., the world, as we understand it, is part of what makes us who we think we are; and, conversely, the world is only what it is (what we think it is) by virtue of having us in it, because when we think of the totality of the world, we must remember that it is a totality already containing us thinking it. Hence, we (the world and ourselves) hold each other mutually captive by virtue of what we accept—the acceptednesses—to be true. This reflexive containment is part of what Fink means when he says, “To know the world by returning to a ‘transcendence’ which once again contains the world within it signifies the realization of a transcendental knowledge of the world. This is the sole sense in which phenomenology is to be considered as a ‘transcendental philosophy’” (Criticism, p. 100).


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