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Husserl - to offer a wholly different conception of science. 

What Husserl called ‘phenomenological science’ followed 

Berkeley in totally rejecting the whole notion of ‘explaining’ 

experienced phenomena as mere subjective ‘effects’ of 

abstract physico-mathematical quantities.

What is regarded as the scientific ‘revolution’ then, did 

indeed turn common sense notions of reality on their head. 

Far from being ‘materialistic’ the essence of this revolution 

lay in treating the ‘immaterial’ or ‘ideal’ mathematical 

abstractions, conceptions and formulae of science as more real 

than the very phenomena they were supposed to explain. Thus, as 

Husserl argued in his ground-breaking work on ‘The Crisis 

in the European Sciences’ the idea that natural science is 

‘materialist’ or ‘empirical’ is a con. For in actuality it 

substitutes “.a world of idealities for the only real world, 

the one that is actually given through perception, that is ever 

experienced and experienceable – our everyday lifeworld”. 

Husserl here follows in the footsteps of Bishop Berkeley, 

who first saw through the myth that science offers us a more 

‘solid’ account than religion of our actual sensory experience 

of phenomena. Which is why Heidegger insisted that: 

“Phenomenology is more of a science than natural science 

is.” Phenomenology is that science which explores our direct 

experience of phenomena.


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