Research highlights

Within the field of phenomenology, I have shown how Edmund Husserl’s phenomenological way of doing philosophy actually works in his writings. This comes particularly clear in Husserl’s lectures The Idea of Phenomenology (1907) where he at the end of them runs into an unforeseen problem. In The Train of Thought written right after the last lecture, Husserl reflects how Cartesian presupposition took him to “abysmal difficulties” and now he presents a new way of understanding truth as a correlation between appearance and that which appears. This correlation Husserl found after the lectures is, in fact, the idea of phenomenology. The phenomenological approach means that we work with this correlation, but in order to reach it, we need to start with reduction. I have worked with this theme in the following publications:

  • Reduction in Practice, Tracing Husserl’s real-life accomplishment of reduction as evidenced by his Idea of Phenomenology lectures, forthcoming Phenomenology & Practice, Spring 2019.
  • “The Idea of Phenomenology: Reading Husserliana as reductions”, Dialogue – Canadian Philosophical Association 2011.
  • “Before and after Reduction: An interpretation of the initial distinction of Husserlian phenomenology”, Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 2001.
  • “Reduction in concreto: Two readings of the Idea of Phenomenology”, Recherches husserliennes 1999.

I have also done research in understanding the difference between so-called analytical and continental philosophy (“Does the Earth Move? A Search for a Dialogue between Analytical and Continental Philosophy.” Philosophical Forum 2000). In “Heidegger and Kahn on Being and Greece: Science and Metaphysics” (Prima philosophia 1999) I focus on interesting miscommunication in relation to division between continental and analytic tradition. Charles Kahn argues in his monograph The Greek Verb ‘To Be’ and the Concept of Being strongly against Martin Heidegger’s interpretation of Greek thinking, but in the crucial section where Kahn finally presents his view of the unity of the Greek verb ‘to be’ he actually agrees with the Heidegger’s basic view of presence as the uniting factor. The authors from the different sides of the analytical/continental division actually have the same basic view that the original meaning of the verb to be is strongly connected with presence.

In relation to both Husserl’s phenomenological method and the division of 20th century philosophy, I have clarified the argumentative structure of Husserl’s most controversial study “The Earth Does not Move”. Husserl’s study is at the same time against the basic element of our world view (Copernicanism) and something we in this age of globalisation should consider seriously. Husserl’s main point is that the Earth is originally not a body but something that unites us humans and cannot be replaced. From the point of view argumentation, it is stunning that Husserl managed to argue for such a controversial view so convincingly. (“Husserl’s Argumentation for the Pre-Copernican View of the Earth”, The Review of Metaphysics 2005.)

In higher education studies I have worked on the one hand with the Aristotelian tradition, which has surprisingly strong influence to university teaching even today. Traditional lectures, and how we understand some kind of knowledge to be higher than another, have roots in Aristotelian views (“On the Aristotelian origins of Higher Education”, Higher Education 2015). On the other hand, I have studied the tradition of knowing thyself that can be interpreted to start from Socrates and Plato. I take J. V. Snellman’s essay Om det akademiska studium (1840) (“On Academic Studies”) to be a culmination of this development (“The University as a Community of Selves: Johan Wilhelm Snellman’s ‘On University Studie’”, Higher Education 2012). Currently, I am working to clarify how these two traditions (Aristotelian tradition of knowing better and Platonic tradition of ‘know thyself’) still divide our views of higher education.