Axiomathes 28 (5):539-563 (2018)

Philipp Berghofer
University of Graz
Husserl claims that his phenomenological–epistemological system amounts to a “universal” form of empiricism. The present paper shows that this universal moment of Husserl’s empiricism is why his empiricism qualifies as a rationalism. What is empiricist about Husserl’s phenomenological–epistemological system is that he takes experiences to be an autonomous source of immediate justification. On top of that, Husserl takes experiences to be the ultimate source of justification. For Husserl, every justified belief ultimately depends epistemically on the subject’s experiences. These are paradigms of empiricist claims and thus Husserl seems to subscribe to empiricism. However, what is universal about Husserl’s “empiricism” is that he does not limit the concept of experiences to sensory experiences or sensory experiences plus introspective intuitions but broadens the concept of experience such that also a priori intuitions are included. Husserl insists that logical, mathematical, and phenomenological intuitions such as ~, 2 + 2 = 4, and “Experiences necessarily bear the mark of intentionality” provide non-inferential justification analogous to how sensory experiences can non-inferentially justify beliefs such as “There is a table in front of me.” Importantly, Husserl makes clear that such a priori intuitions are not about our concepts but about reality. This is why Husserl’s universal empiricism is a rationalism. Husserl differs from traditional rationalism as he allows that a priori intuitions can be fallible and empirically underminable. This distinguishes Husserl’s rationalism from Descartes’ and makes him a proponent of moderate rationalism as currently championed by Laurence BonJour.
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DOI 10.1007/s10516-018-9388-0
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References found in this work BETA

Logische Untersuchungen.Edmund Husserl (ed.) - 1900 - Felix Meiner Verlag.
The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences.Eugene Wigner - 1960 - Communications in Pure and Applied Mathematics 13:1-14.
Modal Epistemology and the Rationalist Renaissance.George Bealer - 2002 - In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. Oxford University Press. pp. 71-125.

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Citations of this work BETA

Husserl’s Noetics – Towards a Phenomenological Epistemology.Philipp Berghofer - 2018 - Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 50 (2):120-138.

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