Letter from Edmund Husserl written 08.07.1917

Freiburg i.B., 8.VII.17

Lorettostr. 40/III.

                       Dear Mr. Ingarden,

            I was very happy to receive your latest letter to which I can only reply briefly. It reaffirms my complete faith in your ethical personality. Not only do we agree on theoretical-scientific issues, but also on ethical-practical conceptions. The meticulous conscientiousness with which you are seeking the proper foundation for your ethical behavior under the present circumstances is truly touching. Ethical behavior as such is a super-personal (thus, also a supra-national) eidos, just as logic as such. In both spheres, any unprejudiced person can follow and comprehend or follow and decide, as far as the matter of these forms of subsequent comprehension is accessible. Hence, we could (perhaps even during times of war) appreciate, admire, or idolize political enemies. Of course, we would probably not agree on Polish issues that are dear to you and German issues that are dear to me for the material assumptions of our ethical-political judgments will, of course, be very different. But we agree that sub specie aeterni both nations have their ideal right to exist, a right to free development of the ideal value possibilities created in them. However, things or issues that are required to adjust to existing ideals and are weighted down by those ideals are difficult to implement smoothly.

            As far as your doctorate in Freiburg, i.e. a German state university, is concerned, there are no obstacles for you as would be the case with every other Pole who is an ally. It would be impossible for a German professor to administer an exam to someone of whom he knew had taken sides in spirit and action with enemies of Germany. But this certainly does not apply to you, since you have come to know and appreciate the German culture and you understand how, for all foreseeable future, the interests of Germany and the new Poland overlap, despite all current mutual disagreements, which are understandably caused by the war and constant inhibitions.

            Best regards and best wishes.

Cordially, your old teacher

E. Husserl