Farber, Marvin

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FARBER, MARVIN (1901–1980), U.S. philosopher, founder of the International Phenomenological Society in 1939 and editor of the journal Philosophy and Phenomenological Research from 1940 and, from 1951, American Lectures in Philosophy. Farber was born in Buffalo, New York, and educated at Harvard University and in Germany. He taught at Ohio State University, State University of New York at Buffalo, and at the University of Pennsylvania. Starting as an instructor in philosophy at the University of Buffalo in 1927, he became successively assistant professor, professor, department chairman, acting dean of the graduate school, distinguished professor and, in 1964, distinguished service professor.

Farber was the first to bring Husserl's phenomenology to the attention of American philosophers. In 1928 he published Phenomenology as a Method and as a Philosophical Discipline, and in 1943 The Foundation of Phenomenology. He edited Philosophical Essays in Memory of Edmund Husserl (1940). Though Farber was a follower of Husserl and expositor of contemporary German and French thought, he criticized the anti-scientific attitude of Husserl, Max Scheler, and others, as well as the anti-rationalist tendencies in other contemporary European thinkers such as Heidegger. His views tended toward naturalism and pragmatism, as expressed in his volume Naturalism and Subjectivism (1959) and in his many articles.

Other books by Farber include The Aims of Phenomenology: The Motives, Methods, and Impact of Husserl's Thought (1966), Phenomenology and Existence: Toward a Philosophy within Nature (1967), Foundation of Phenomenology: Edmund Husserl & the Quest for a Rigorous Science of Philosophy (1967), Basic Issues of Philosophy: Experience, Reality, and Human Values (1968), and The Search for an Alternative: Philosophical Perspectives of Subjectivism & Marxism (with R. Chisholm, 1984).

Farber was a member of philosophy societies around the world, such as the Institut Philosophe, Paris; International Phenomenological Society (past president); American Philosophical Association (president of the Eastern Division), C.S. Pierce Society, Symbolic Logic Association (executive committee), and American Association of University Professors, Phi Beta Kappa.


H. Spiegelberg, The Phenomenological Movement, 2 (1960), 627–9; add. bibliography: D. Mathur, Naturalistic Philosophies of Experience: Studies in James, Dewey and Farber against the Background of Husserl's Phenomenology (1971).

[Richard H. Popkin /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]