Is There a Crisis of the Modernity? The Problem of Theory and Practice

JVF Conference Papers

In Vienna in 1935 the philosopher Edmund Husserl read a paper entitled “Philosophy and the Crisis of European Humanity” by which he intended “to awaken new interest in the oft-treated theme of the European crisis.”

In another lecture in 1935 Husserl spoke on “The Crisis of the European Sciences and Psychology.” The crisis of European humanity is the same thing as the crisis of the European sciences, because the European or Western aspiration to guide all human or political affairs by reason or science had fallen into perplexity. It shows some recognition of this crisis that this aspiration was originally and traditionally termed the Enlightenment, but recently it is more often termed “modernity,” which appears to endorse the historicism that followed Enlightenment thought without endorsing the Enlightenment’s legitimacy or the prospect of irreversible historical progress.