2022-01Discussion Papers, Comments, Book Reviews
The First Lady of German Philosophy: Husserl’s Rebellious Student Hedwig Conrad-Martius


/Review: James G. Hart, Hedwig Conrad-Martius’ Ontological Phenomenology, ed. Rodney K.B Parker (Cham, Switzerland:  Springer, 2020), 284 pages./

James Hart is an important phenomenological scholar and thinker who is the author of several books and many articles on Husserl, Husserl’s Utopian Poetics, and the phenomenological movement. This book is Hart’s dissertation written at the University of Chicago between 1969 and 1972.  The book has an appendix of the opening sections of Conrad-Martius’s Metaphysics of the Earthly translated by Rodney Parker, who encouraged Hart to publish this dissertation almost 50 years after he had defended it at the University of Chicago.
Hart first encountered Conrad-Martius through his mentor at Catholic University, Thomas Prufer (1929–1993), who was a friend of Hedwig Conrad-Martius. The Prufers spent summers in Munich where Conrad-Martius taught and Prufer attended her lectures as a student. Hart’s major professor at Chicago was Mircea Eliade and his interest in myth coincided with Conrad-Martius’s work. But Hart’s dissertation was directed by Langdon Gilkey. Hart went to study in Munich in 1967, unfortunately, Conrad-Martius had died in 1966.
Hedwig Conrad-Martius’ Ontological Phenomenology is the only monograph in English on the Munich phenomenologist Hedwig Conrad-Martius. She is usually considered a “marginal thinker” in the phenomenological movement and one of the Munich circle of phenomenology. The book is part of Springer’s series on “Women in the History of Philosophy and Sciences.”  The discussion of women in the history of philosophy could give a broader picture of whether Conrad-Martius is a marginal figure or whether her thought should have a broader audience. Historical accident certainly has something to do with her relative obscurity. Being a woman, she had a difficult time getting to her habilitation. This situation only became worse in the Third Reich.

How to cite:

McLachlan, James. “The First Lady of German Philosophy: Husserl’s Rebellious Student Hedwig Conrad-Martius.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 6, no. 1 (2022):  122-125. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2022.0009.


James McLachlan
Philosophy and Religion Department, Western Carolina University
Stillwell 234, Cullowhee, NC 28723, USA

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