The Phenomenological Notion of Sense as Acquaintance with Background

Tetsushi Hirano
Universität Bonn
In this paper, I will focus on the phenomenological notion of sense which Husserl calls in Ideen I noematic sense. My reading of Ideen I is based on the interpretation of noema as “object as it is intended”. This notion is developed from “filling sense” in LU. Similar to the Russellian “knowledge by acquaintance”, Husserl means by this notion the direct intuitive acquaintance with an intentional object. However, unlike Russell, Husserl doesn’t restrict this notion to sense data, but extend it to the acquaintance with the perspective way of appearance of an intentional object (Erscheinungsweise, Abschattungen). This is because, unlike Frege, Husserl includes not only intension (Materie), but also illocutionary force (Aktqualität) into his notion of sense (LU, 6. Untersuchung, p. 617). This performative notion of sense requires him to take account of the acquaintance with the background of speech acts as a constitutive part of the broadest notion of sense (Ideen I, p. 233f., 322). If a conjecture e.g. about the back side of a cube: “the back side must be a square”, changes through a perception into a claim about it: “this side is indeed a square”, the change of the illocutionary forces, that is, the “filling sense” of the perception is expressed not by intentional materials (side, square etc.), but by indexicals, modal verbs or tenses, which are understood in a direct acquaintance with the perspective appearance of the cube. Thus, “the changing noematic way of appearance of the whole object as sense” (Husserliana vol. XI, p. 333) is the background or horizon, in implicit acquaintance with which illocutionary forces (Aktqualität in LU, noetischer Charakter in Ideen I) of propositional attitudes towards perceptual objects can be understood.
Keywords Husserl  Noema  Sense  Phenomenology  Subjectivity
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