From beginner-friendly introductions to classic works by Husserl, this page features books to suit any learning style. It’s important to note that there is no single best book on Husserl. The best book for you will depend heavily on your preferred learning style and the amount of time/energy you’re willing to spend reading. For example, if you tend to find classic works of philosophy difficult to understand, you might want to start with a short, beginner-friendly introduction. If you prefer more depth, you can choose a more comprehensive introduction or read Husserl for yourself.
It’s also worth noting that it is not a list of personal recommendations. Personal book recommendations tend to be highly subjective, idiosyncratic, and unreliable. This list is part of a collection of over 100 philosophy reading lists which aim to provide a central resource for philosophy book recommendations. These lists were created by searching through hundreds of university course syllabi, internet encyclopedia bibliographies, and community recommendations. Links to the syllabi and other sources used to create this list are at the end of the post. Following these links will help you quickly find a broader range of options if the listed books do not fit what you are looking for.
Here are the best books on or by Edmund Husserl in no particular order.
Husserl’s Phenomenology – Dan Zahavi
Category: Short Introduction | Length: 192 pages | Published: 2003
Publisher description: It is commonly believed that Edmund Husserl (1859-1938), well known as the founder of phenomenology and as the teacher of Heidegger, was unable to free himself from the framework of a classical metaphysics of subjectivity. Supposedly, he never abandoned the view that the world and the Other are constituted by a pure transcendental subject, and his thinking in consequence remains Cartesian, idealistic, and solipsistic. The continuing publication of Husserl’s manuscripts has made it necessary to revise such an interpretation. Drawing upon both Husserl’s published works and posthumous material, Husserl’s Phenomenology incorporates the results of the most recent Husserl research. It is divided into three parts, roughly following the chronological development of Husserl’s thought, from his early analyses of logic and intentionality, through his mature transcendental-philosophical analyses of reduction and constitution, to his late analyses of intersubjectivity and lifeworld. It can consequently serve as a concise and updated introduction to his thinking.
Husserl – David Woodruff Smith
Category: General Introduction | Length: 496 pages | Published: 2013 (2e)
Publisher description: This second edition of David Woodruff Smith’s stimulating introduction to Husserl has been fully updated and includes a new ninth chapter featuring contemporary issues confronting Husserl’s phenomenology. It introduces the whole of Edmund Husserl’s thought, demonstrating his influence on philosophy of mind and language, on ontology and epistemology, as well as ethical theory, and on philosophy of logic, mathematics, and science.
Starting with an overview of Husserl’s life and works, and his place in twentieth-century philosophy and in Western philosophy as a whole, Smith introduces Husserl’s conception of phenomenology, explaining Husserl’s innovative theories of intentionality, objectivity, subjectivity, and intersubjectivity. In subsequent chapters Smith covers Husserl’s logic, metaphysics, realism and transcendental idealism, epistemology, and (meta)ethics. Finally, the author assesses the significance and implications of Husserl’s work for contemporary philosophy of mind and cognitive science….
The Cambridge Companion to Husserl – Barry Smith & David Woodruff Smith
Category: Overview | Length: 518 pages | Published: 1995
Publisher description: Exploring the full range of Husserl’s work, these essays reveal just how systematic his philosophy is. There are treatments of his most important contributions to phenomenology, intentionality and the philosophy of mind, epistemology, the philosophy of language, ontology, and mathematics. An underlying theme of the volume is a resistance to the idea, current in much intellectual history, of a radical break between “modern” and “postmodern” philosophy, with Husserl as the last of the great Cartesians.
The Essential Husserl: Basic Writings in Transcendental Phenomenology – Edmund Husserl
Category: Anthology | Length: 408 pages | Published: 1999
Publisher description: The Essential Husserl, the first anthology in English of Edmund Husserl’s major writings, provides access to the scope of his philosophical studies, including selections from his key works: Logical Investigations, Ideas I and II, Formal and Transcendental Logic, Experience and Judgment, Cartesian Meditations, The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology, and On the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time. The collection is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in twentieth-century philosophy.
Ideas: General Introduction to Pure Phenomenology – Edmund Husserl
Category: Classic | Length: 432 pages
Publisher description: Widely regarded as the principal founder of phenomenology, one of the most important movements in twentieth century philosophy, Edmund Husserl’s Ideas is one of his most important works and a classic of twentieth century thought. This Routledge Classics edition of the original translation by W.R. Boyce Gibson includes the introduction to the English edition written by Husserl himself in 1931.
Husserl’s early thought conceived of phenomenology – the general study of what appears to conscious experience – in a relatively narrow way, mainly in relation to problems in logic and the theory of knowledge. The publication of Ideas in 1913 witnessed a significant and controversial widening of Husserl’s thought, changing the course of phenomenology decisively. Husserl argued that phenomenology was the study of the very nature of what it is to think, “the science of the essence of consciousness” itself….
Logical Investigations – Edmund Husserl
Category: Classic | Length: 432 pages
Publisher description: Edmund Husserl is the founder of phenomenology and the Logical Investigations is his most famous work. It had a decisive impact on twentieth century philosophy and is one of few works to have influenced both continental and analytic philosophy.
This is the first time both volumes have been available in paperback. They include a new introduction by Dermot Moran, placing the Investigations in historical context and bringing out their contemporary philosophical importance….
The following sources were used to build this list:
University Course Syllabi:
- Husserl and Merleau-Ponty – PHI 600 | Syracuse University
- Husserl’s Ideas I – PHGA | Fordham University
- Bibliography for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Husserl
- Bibliography for the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Husserl
- Starting with Husserl
- A good book to start with for Husserl?
- Husserl books
- I want to start working through Edmund Husserl’s work. Where’s a good place to start and why?
You might also be interested in the following reading lists:
- The Best Introductory Philosophy Books
- The Best Books on the History of Philosophy
- The Best Book on Phenomenology
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A History of Western Philosophy in 500 Essential Quotations – Lennox Johnson
Category: Reference | Length: 145 pages | Published: 2019
Publisher’s Description: A History of Western Philosophy in 500 Essential Quotations is a collection of the greatest thoughts from history’s greatest thinkers. Featuring classic quotations by Aristotle, Epicurus, David Hume, Friedrich Nietzsche, Bertrand Russell, Michel Foucault, and many more, A History of Western Philosophy in 500 Essential Quotations is ideal for anyone looking to quickly understand the fundamental ideas that have shaped the modern world.