Husserl Studies 25 (2):121-140 (2009)
I develop a “two-systems” interpretation of Husserl’s theory of belief. On this interpretation, Husserl accounts for our sense of the world in terms of (1) a system of embodied horizon meanings and passive synthesis, which is involved in any experience of an object, and (2) a system of active synthesis and sedimentation, which comes on line when we attend to an object’s properties. I use this account to defend Husserl against several forms of Heideggerean critique. One line of critique, recently elaborated by Taylor Carman, says that Husserl wrongly loads everyday perception with explicit beliefs about things. A second, earlier line of critique, due to Hubert Dreyfus, charges Husserl with thinking of belief on a problematic Artificial Intelligence (AI) model which involves explicit rules applied to discrete symbol structures. I argue that these criticisms are based on a conflation of Husserl’s two systems of belief. The conception of Husserlian phenomenology which emerges is compatible with Heideggerean phenomenology and associated approaches to cognitive science (in particular, dynamical systems theory).
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