Husserl’s treatment of intentionality does not
just account for how the mind picks out objects in the world. Rather, it
accounts for how the object comes to be given for the subject, with the kind of
orderliness and permanence, vis-à-vis the changeable materials of
consciousness, as to invest it with objectivity and materiality in the first place.
The account is developed from the first-person perspective, and it involves a
methodical “bracketing” of the world and the objects in it, so as to
investigate their constitution in intentional acts. Husserl’s discussions of
intentionality contain a variety of more or less arcane technical terms:
“constitution,” “the horizons,” “the noesis,” and “the noema,” giving rise to various
issues. A discussion in the secondary literature may thus appear to focus on
the topic of “constitution,” another, say, on “the horizons,” or on “the noema.”
It may be no easy matter to decide whether these are mere terminological
differences, or whether we are indeed dealing with important differences in
perspective or subject matter.