Arguing for the “destruction” of the a priori. The prompts from Husserlian phenomenology

HORIZON. Studies in Phenomenology 11 (1):114-140 (2022)
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Abstract

This article argues against the concept of a priori and essence as they have been traditionally thematized in the course of the old metaphysical-idealist tradition. Specifically, I argue against the existence of an ontological a priori, often endowed with metaphysical-platonic connotations, by attempting to “relocate” it in the subjective sphere and thus reduce it to the being and modes of being of a transcendental subjectivity. To do so, I will be appealing to a phenomenological, Husserlian approach, while pointing to a possible connection with the Kantian views on the matter and also taking into account certain views in the secondary literature. Since a substantial part of my position is associated with the notion of a constituting, transcendental subjectivity further reducible to the origin of inner temporality, I intend to show that the objectivity constraints put in this way on the conception of the transcendental a priori may ultimately lead to a “destruction” of its traditional ontological sense. Given that in transcendental phenomenology the concept of a priori “appears” both in the constituting and the constituted level, I aim to show that it is precisely in this context that the a priori cannot rid itself of the vestiges of factuality brought in by means of the very constitutive, subjective processes implying ipso facto the question of the role of the constituting origin of temporality.

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Stathis Livadas
University of Patras (Alumnus)

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References found in this work

Critique of Pure Reason.I. Kant - 1787/1998 - Philosophy 59 (230):555-557.
Cartesian meditations.Edmund Husserl - 1960 - [The Hague]: M. Nijhoff.
Experience and judgment: investigations in a genealogy of logic.Edmund Husserl - 1973 - London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Edited by Ludwig Landgrebe.

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