Cartesian Meditations: An Introduction to Phenomenology is a book by the philosopher Edmund Husserl, based on two two-hour lectures he gave at the Sorbonne, in the Amphithéatre Descartes on February 23 and 25, 1929. Over the next two years, he and his assistant Eugen Fink expanded and elaborated on the text of these lectures. These expanded lectures were first published in a 1931 French translation by Gabrielle Peiffer and Emmanuel Levinas.
The Cartesian Meditations were never published in German during Husserl's lifetime, a fact which has led some commentators to conclude that Husserl had become dissatisfied with the work in relation to its aim, namely an introduction to transcendental phenomenology. The text introduces the main features of Husserl's mature transcendental phenomenology, including (not exhaustively) the transcendental reduction, the epoché, static and genetic phenomenology, eidetic reduction, and eidetic phenomenology.
France's greatest thinker, René Descartes, gave transcendental phenomenology new Impulses through his Meditations; their study acted quite directly on the transformation of an already developing phenomenology into a new kind of transcendental philosophy. Accordingly one might almost call transcendental phenomenology a neo-Cartesianism, even though It Is obliged --- and precisely by its radical development
of Cartesian motifs --- to reject nearly all the well-known doctrinal content of the Cartesian philosophy.
The work is divided into five "meditations" of varying length, whose contents are as follows:
- Presents the 'Cartesian Way' into transcendental phenomenology.
- Introduces several of Husserl's concepts relating to static phenomenology.
- Mainly concerned with the topic of reality.
- Introduces genetic phenomenology and uses the conclusions reached so far to argue for a form of transcendental idealism.
- Cartesian Meditations, 1960 . Cairns, D., trans. Dordrecht: Kluwer.