My interest in working through Husserl’s The Crisis of European Sciences has waxed and waned. This is probably due to the sharp transition I feel in moving from Kierkegaard’s style to the more straightforward work of ‘real’ philosophy. What has kept my attention though is Husserl’s genuine impression of having discovered something and of its significance and secondly of the fact that in historical context the work he did has had tremendous historical significance. So what is he doing? I understand a primary motivation of his work to be a method of thinking subjectivity scientifically. How can I be included in scientific investigation? For this reason the natural sciences and mathematics always play a secondary (but certainly not disparaged) role. These secondary sciences work from the assumptions of a pre-given world that accord with our experience of that world. These sciences always rest on something prior. So Husserl is trying to carry out to completion Descartes’s emphasis on the primacy of the ego. But the ego is not a ‘premise’ from which the rest of knowledge is deduced.
The point is not to secure objectivity but to understand it. One must finally achieve the insight that no objective science, no matter how exact, explains or ever can explain anything in a serious sense. To deduce is not to explain. To predict, or to recognize the objective forms of composition of physical or chemical bodies and predict accordingly – all this explains nothing but is in need of explanation. The only true way to explain is to make transcendentally understandable. (Crisis, 189)
This is not particularly shocking to anyone with exposure to philosophical hermeneutics but it is a helpful reminder for what continues presently to be a common and serious misconception, namely, that scientific findings are self-evidently meaningful. These findings are framed as such because they give the air of authority and therefore power to various expressions. While I am not sure I will follow Husserl in his own project I think this point remains sound.