Phenomenology is the study of structures of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view. The central structure of an experience is its intentionality, its being directed toward something, as it is an experience of or about some object. An experience is directed toward an object by virtue of its content or meaning (which represents the object) together with appropriate enabling conditions.
Edmund Husserl (1859-1938) was one of the most influential philosophers of the Twentieth Century. Founder of the phenomenology movement, his thinking influenced Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty and Derrida. In this stimulating introduction, David Woodruff Smith introduces the whole of Husserl's thought, demonstrating his influence on philosophy of mind and language, on ontology and epistemology, 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, David Woodruff Smith introduces Husserl's concept of phenomenology, explaining his influential theories of intentionality, objectivity and subjectivity. In subsequent chapters he covers Husserl's logic, metaphysics, realism and transcendental idealism, and epistemology. Finally, he assesses the significance and implications of Husserl's work for contemporary philosophy of mind and cognitive science. Including a timeline, glossary and extensive suggestions for further reading, Husserl will be essential reading for anyone interested in Husserl, phenomenology and Twentieth century philosophy. (shrink)
Philosophical work on the mind flowed in two streams through the 20th century: phenomenology and analytic philosophy. This volume aims to bring them together again, by demonstrating how work in phenomenology may lead to significant progress on problems central to current analytic research, and how analytical philosophy of mind may shed light on phenomenological concerns. Leading figures from both traditions contribute specially written essays on such central topics as consciousness, intentionality, perception, action, self-knowledge, temporal awareness, and mental content. Phenomenology and (...) Philosophy of Mind demonstrates that these different approaches to the mind should not stand in opposition to each other, but can be mutually illuminating. (shrink)
This collection explores the structure of consciousness and its place in the world, or inversely the structure of the world and the place of consciousness in it. Amongst the topics covered are: the phenomenological aspects of experience (inner awareness, self-awareness), dependencies between experience and the world (the role of the body in experience, the role of culturally formed background ideas) and the basic ontological categories found in the world at large (unity, state-of-affairs, connectedness, dependence and intentionality). Developing ideas drawn from (...) historical figures such as Descartes, Husserl, Aristotle, and Whitehead, the essays together demonstrate the interdependence of ontology and phenomenology and its significance for the philosophy of mind. (shrink)
This essay explores an ideal notion of form (mathematical structure) that embraces logical, phenomenological, and ontological form. Husserl envisioned a correlation among forms of expression, thought, meaning, and object—positing ideal forms on all these levels. The most puzzling formal entities Husserl discussed were those he called ‘manifolds’. These manifolds, I propose, are forms of complex states of affairs or partial possible worlds representable by forms of theories (compare structuralism). Accordingly, I sketch an intentionality-based semantics correlating these four Husserlian levels of (...) form—thereby integrating logic, phenomenology, and ontology. (shrink)
Over the past century phenomenology has ably analyzed the basic structuresof consciousness as we experience it. Yet recent philosophy of mind, lookingto brain activity and computational function, has found it difficult to makeroom for the structures of subjectivity and intentionality that phenomenologyhas appraised. In order to understand consciousness as something that is bothsubjective and grounded in neural activity, we need to delve into phenomenologyand ontology. I draw a fundamental distinction in ontology among the form,appearance, and substrate of any entity. Applying (...) this three-facet ontology toconsciousness, we distinguish: the intentionality of consciousness (its form),the way we experience consciousness (its appearance, including so-called qualia),and the physical, biological, and cultural basis of consciousness (its substrate).We can thus show how these very different aspects of consciousness fit togetherin a fundamental ontology. And we can thereby define the proper domains ofphenomenology and other disciplinesthat contribute to our understanding of consciousness. (shrink)
Phenomenology is the study of conscious experience from the first-person point of view. Husserl used principles of formal ontology even as he bracketed the natural-cultural world in describing our experience, and Heidegger pursued fundamental ontology in his variety of phenomenology describing our own modes of existence. I shall address the role of ontology in phenomenology, and vice versa. Our account of what exists depends on our account of what and how we experience. But, moreover, our understanding of the structure of (...) consciousness depends on our understanding of structure, basic ontological structure, and hence of the place of consciousness in the structure of the world. What makes consciousness “hard” for contemporary philosophy of mind is understanding how intentionality and subjectivity fit into the structure of the world: how phenomenology fits with ontology. (shrink)
The essays in this volume explore the full range of Husserl's work and 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. Husserl is (...) seen in this volume as a philosopher constantly revising his system in order to be able to integrate philosophy with ideas emanating from science and culture. The so-called rift between analytic and 'continental' philosophy emerges as an artificial construct. (shrink)
Is consciousness or the subject part of the natural world or the human world? Can we write intentionality, so central in Husserl's philosophy, into Quine's system of ontological naturalism and naturalized epistemology — or into Heidegger's account of human being and existential phenomenology? The present task is to show how to do so. Anomalous monism provides a key.
What are we to make of the cogito (cogito ergo sum) today, as the walls of Cartesian philosophy crumble around us? The enduring foundation of the cogito is consciousness. It is in virtue of a particular phenomenological structure that an experience is conscious rather than unconscious. Drawing on an analysis of that structure, the cogito is given a new explication that synthesizes phenomenological, epistemological, logical, and ontological elements. What, then, is the structure of conscious thinking on which the cogito draws? (...) What kind of certainty does the experience of thinking give one about one's thinking and about one's existence? What form of inference is the cogito, and what is the source of its validity and soundness? Does the cogito itself lead to an ontology of mind and body like Descartes's dualism? The discussion begins with Descartes's own careful formulations of some of these issues. Then the cogito is parsed into several different principles, the phenomenological principle emerging as basic. In due course the analysis sifts through Husserl's epistemology, Hintikka's logic (or pragmatics) of the cogito, and Kaplan's logic of demonstratives, as these bear specifically on the cogito. (shrink)
A phenomenology of action is outlined, analyzing the structure of volition, kinesthesis, and perception in the experience of action, and, finally, the experience of embodiment in action. The intentionality of action is contrasted with that of thought and perception in regard to the role of the body, and the relations between an action, the experience of acting, and the context of the action are specified.
§1. Intentionality; §2. Husserl's Phenomenological Conception of Intentionality; §3. The Distinction between Content and Object; §4. Husserl's Theory of Content: Noesis and Noema; §5. Noema and Object; §6. The Sensory Content of Perception; §7. The Internal Structure of Noematic Sinne; §8. Noema and Horizon; §9. Horizon and Background Beliefs.
The body, merleau-ponty claimed, carries a unique form of intentionality that is not reducible to the intentionality of thought. i propose to separate several different forms of intentionality concerning such ``bodily intentionality'': awareness of one's body and bodily movement; purposive action; and perception of one's environment in acting. these different forms of awareness are interdependent in specific ways. no one form of intentionality--cognitive or practical--is an absolute foundation for the others.