The Horizonal Structure of Perceptual Experience


Edmund Husserl’s account of the horizonal character of simple, sensuous perception provides a sophisticated account of perceptual intentional content which enables plausible responses to key issues in the philosophy of perception and in Heidegger interpretation. Section 2 outlines Husserl’s account of intentionality in its application to such perceptual experience. Section 3 then elaborates the notion of perceptual horizon in order to draw out, in Section 4, its implications for four issues: firstly, the relation between the object perceived and perceptual appearance ; secondly, the relation between the subject perceiving and perceptual appearance; thirdly, what sense of the body is inherent to perceptual experience of the horizonal kind; and fourthly, what John McDowell is getting at when he claims that traditional conceptions fail to capture how perception puts us in cognitive contact with the world. The paper concludes by using the interpretation developed to show how Husserl’s account of perceptual experience as horizonal enables one to draw out the sense and worth of what Heidegger means by worldliness and the “Da” of Dasein.

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Carleton Christensen
Australian National University

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