Phenomenology is the study of structures of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view. The central structure of an experience is its intentionality, its being directed toward something, as it is an experience of or about some object. An experience is directed toward an object by virtue of its content or meaning (which represents the object) together with appropriate enabling conditions.
Husserl’s philosophy, by the usual account, evolved through three stages: 1. development of an anti-psychologistic, objective foundation of logic and mathematics, rooted in Brentanian descriptive psychology; 2. development of a new discipline of "phenomenology" founded on a metaphysical position dubbed "transcendental idealism"; transformation of phenomenology from a form of methodological solipsism into a phenomenology of intersubjectivity and ultimately (in his Crisis of 1936) into an ontology of the life-world, embracing the social worlds of culture and history. We show that this (...) story of three revolutions can provide at best a preliminary orientation, and that Husserl was constantly expanding and revising his philosophical system, integrating views in phenomenology, ontology, epistemology and logic with views on the nature and tasks of philosophy and science as well as on the nature of culture and the world in ways that reveal more common elements than violent shifts of direction. We argue further that Husserl is a seminal figure in the evolution from traditional philosophy to the characteristic philosophical concerns of the late twentieth century: concerns with representation and intentionality and with problems at the borderlines of the philosophy of mind, ontology, and cognitive science. (shrink)
Philosophical work on the mind flowed in two streams through the 20th century: phenomenology and analytic philosophy. This volume aims to bring them together again, by demonstrating how work in phenomenology may lead to significant progress on problems central to current analytic research, and how analytical philosophy of mind may shed light on phenomenological concerns. Leading figures from both traditions contribute specially written essays on such central topics as consciousness, intentionality, perception, action, self-knowledge, temporal awareness, and mental content. Phenomenology and (...) Philosophy of Mind demonstrates that these different approaches to the mind should not stand in opposition to each other, but can be mutually illuminating. (shrink)
For Brentano, an act of consciousness features a presentation of an object joined with an inner presentation – an ‘inner consciousness’ or inner awareness – of that object-presentation. On Mark Textor’s articulation of Brentano’s model, the act has the structure of a single experience directed upon a plurality, viz.: the object and the experience itself. I consider an alternative development of this Brentanian model. Drawing on Husserl’s part-whole ontology, I submit, the act itself has the structure of a whole formed (...) from two co-dependent parts, viz., the object-presentation and inner awareness of that presentation. Looking to Husserl’s analysis of inner time-consciousness, Textor proposes an enhancement of Brentano’s model of inner consciousness. On Textor’s model, inner awareness is such that one may be aware of one’s experience, in the stream of one’s consciousness, ‘without grasping any adumbrations [of the experience], but temporal ones’. I dig into Husserl’s doctrine of ‘abumbration’ (as where a tree is given visually with adumbrations of its shape on the back side, of its color in gradations, etc.). On my reconstruction, inner awareness of an experience presents the experience within a manifold of ‘adumbrated’ temporal retentions and protentions that place the experience in its stream of consciousness. (shrink)
This collection explores the structure of consciousness and its place in the world, or inversely the structure of the world and the place of consciousness in it. Amongst the topics covered are: the phenomenological aspects of experience, dependencies between experience and the world and the basic ontological categories found in the world at large. Developing ideas drawn from historical figures such as Descartes, Husserl, Aristotle, and Whitehead, the essays together demonstrate the interdependence of ontology and phenomenology and its significance for (...) the philosophy of mind. (shrink)
§1. Intentionality; §2. Husserl's Phenomenological Conception of Intentionality; §3. The Distinction between Content and Object; §4. Husserl's Theory of Content: Noesis and Noema; §5. Noema and Object; §6. The Sensory Content of Perception; §7. The Internal Structure of Noematic Sinne; §8. Noema and Horizon; §9. Horizon and Background Beliefs.
This essay is a study of Edmund Husserl’s conception of meaning. In this first section we indicate its importance for his conception of phenomenology. In Section 2 we see that Husserl’s conception of linguistic meaning, of its nature as “ideal” and its role in mediating reference, is almost exactly that of his contemporary Gottlob Frege. In Sections 3 and 4 we further argue that, for Husserl, linguistic meaning and noematic Sinn are one and the same. For, according to Husserl, every (...) linguistic meaning is a noematic Sinn expressed, and every noematic Sinn is in principle expressible and therefore a linguistic meaning. Section 3 argues the former; Section 4, the latter. (shrink)
This is a study of the epistemology of indexical reference, Or its foundation in the intentionality of the speaker's awareness of the referent. Where the referent is the object of the speaker's acquaintance on that occasion, The sense expressed is the generic content of that awareness. This, Indexical sense determines indexical reference, But indexical sense works by appeal to the context of the speaker's awareness of the referent. It is discussed how, By virtue of indexical sense, Indexical reference is rigid, (...) I.E. Picks out the same referent in any possible world. (shrink)
This essay explores an ideal notion of form (mathematical structure) that embraces logical, phenomenological, and ontological form. Husserl envisioned a correlation among forms of expression, thought, meaning, and object—positing ideal forms on all these levels. The most puzzling formal entities Husserl discussed were those he called ‘manifolds’. These manifolds, I propose, are forms of complex states of affairs or partial possible worlds representable by forms of theories (compare structuralism). Accordingly, I sketch an intentionality-based semantics correlating these four Husserlian levels of (...) form—thereby integrating logic, phenomenology, and ontology. (shrink)
"This is a sea urchin", I declare while strolling the beach with a friend. What do I refer to by uttering the demonstrative pronoun "this"? The object immediately before me, of course. As it happens on this occasion, the object in the sand at my feet. I may point at it to aid my hearer - or I may not. BUt now , if the meaning of the term is distinguished from the referent, what is the meaning of this, or (...) of my utterance of this? I think we can distinguish the meaning of this, or of its utterance, from its referent. And if we attend carefully to what meanings should be, we can see just what ,after all, is the meaning of this. (shrink)
Initially, Realism is related to perception and its intentionality, And perception is analyzed as a form of acquaintance, Or intuition, A direct cognitive relation to its object. Then several commitments to realism are detailed in the phenomenological content of everyday perception. At issue is internal, As opposed to external, Realism, In a sense defined. The demonstrative content of perception (i see "this object (visually before me)") contains a commitment to a causal relation between the perceptual experience and the object perceived, (...) Hence a commitment to the object's independence from the experience, Hence realism. The content of a perception typically includes as well other implicit commitments to other "conditions of the possibility" of perceptual experience. (shrink)
: In prior essays I have sketched a “modal model” of consciousness. That model “factors” out several distinct forms of awareness in the phenomenological structure of a typical act of consciousness. Here we consider implications of the model à propos of contemporary theories of consciousness. In particular, we distinguish phenomenality from other features of awareness in a conscious experience: “what it is like” to have an experience involves several different factors. Further, we should see these factors as typical of consciousness, (...) rather than essential features, allowing that some elements of awareness may be absent while others are present in certain less typical cases. Keywords : consciousness; Higher-order Theories of Consciousness; Self-representational Theories of Consciousness; Phenomenality; Phenomenological Theories of Consciousness I diversi elementi della coscienza Riassunto : In lavori precedenti ho cercato di proporre un “modello modale” della coscienza. Questo modello “considera” forme differenti e distinte di consapevolezza che sono presenti nella struttura fenomenologica di un atto tipico di coscienza. Qui intendo considerare alcune implicazioni di questo modello in relazione ad alcune teorie contemporanee della coscienza. In particolare, distingueremo la fenomenicità da altre proprietà della consapevolezza all’interno di un’esperienza cosciente: il “che cosa si prova” a essere titolari un’esperienza implica elementi differenti e distinti. Inoltre, dovremo considerare questi elementi come caratteri tipici della coscienza e non come proprietà essenziali, riconoscendo che alcuni elementi della consapevolezza possono essere assenti, mentre altri sono presenti in alcuni casi meno frequenti. Parole chiave : coscienza; Teorie della coscienza di alto livello; Teorie auto-rappresentazionali della coscienza; Fenomenicità; Teorie fenomenologiche della coscienza. (shrink)
This chapter, which is concerned with the phenomenology of perception, especially the role of content and context in the intentionality of perception, tries to provide an account of the structure of perceptual experience and its intentional relation to its objects. In particular, it presents an analysis of consciousness and intentionality in perception. Perceptual experience is sensuous and paradigmatically intentional. The intentional character of a visual experience of an object is different to the successful intentional relation between the experience and the (...) object. The twin-tomatoes experiment reveals that content alone does not settle which tomato is the correct object of perception. Perception gives a direct awareness of an object in the sense that the external object is itself the object of perception, and the object is actually present to the subject and experienced as actually present in the context of perception. (shrink)
Phenomenology and philosophy of mind can be deﬁned either as disciplines or as historical traditions—they are both. As disciplines: phenomenology is the study of conscious experience as lived, as experienced from the ﬁrst-person point of view, while philosophy of mind is the study of mind—states of belief, perception, action, etc.—focusing especially on the mind–body problem, how mental activities are related to brain activities. As traditions or literatures: phenomenology features the writings of Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Roman (...) Ingarden, Aron Gurwitsch, and many others, while philosophy of mind includes the writings of Gilbert Ryle, David Armstrong, Hilary Putnam, Jerry Fodor, Daniel Dennett, John Searle, Paul Churchland and Patricia Smith Churchland, and many others. Historically, philosophy of mind has been considered part of the wider tradition called analytic philosophy, while phenomenology has been considered part of the wider tradition called continental philosophy. But all that is changing as we write, and the present volume is designed to express the change. (shrink)
Is consciousness or the subject part of the natural world or the human world? Can we write intentionality, so central in Husserl's philosophy, into Quine's system of ontological naturalism and naturalized epistemology — or into Heidegger's account of human being and existential phenomenology? The present task is to show how to do so. Anomalous monism provides a key.
Husserlian phenomenology develops around Husserl’s theory of the complex structure of intentionality, featuring key notions of noesis, noema, horizon, and the constitution of objects of consciousness. By virtue of the structures of noema and horizon found in our experience, things in the world around us are said to be “constituted” in consciousness (along with self and other). The present essay explores intentionality and constitution as modeled in lines of interpretation that extend classical Husserlian phenomenology. The resulting “semantic” approach to intentionality (...) draws on the ontology of consciousness, meaning, and horizon, unfolding a “constitutive” realism whereby our consciousness takes its place in the world beyond our consciousness, yet we experience things in the world around us by virtue of noema and horizon. The “logical” and the “transcendental” aspects of phenomenal intentionality appear in due course, within a formal model of intentionality, a model taking shape within a meta-phenomenological and meta-metaphysical framework. (shrink)
Pike’s phenomenology of mystical experiences articulates sharply where theological content may enter the structure of Christian mystics’ experiences (as characterized in their own words). Here we look to Buddhist (and other) accounts of pure or nibbanic consciousness attained in experiences of deep meditation. A contemporary modal model of inner awareness is considered whereby a form of pure consciousness underlies and embraces further content in various forms of consciousness, including mystical experiences in different traditions and experiences of full union (with God).
Responding to the myth of a purely sensuous “given”, we turn to phenomenology, to the structure of consciousness in an everyday perception of an everyday object. We first consider Brentano’s model of an act of consciousness: featuring the presentation of an object “intentionally” contained “in” the act, joined by the presentation of that object-presentation in “inner consciousness”. We then dig into Husserl’s intricate “semantic” theory of intentionality: featuring “noematic” meaning within a “horizon” of implicated meaning regarding the object of perceptual (...) consciousness. Brentanian inner consciousness morphs into “inner time consciousness” for Husserl, where noematic sense shapes more basic sensory elements of temporal experience. Drawing on these Brentanian and Husserlian analyses, we develop an enhanced account of how an object is “given” in perceptual acquaintance or “intuition”: by virtue of a structure of meaning entertained in the experience. This account we develop further in a “modal” model of the structure of consciousness in everyday perception: distinguishing fundamental factors of phenomenal intentional experience, including inner awareness, phenomenality, and spatiotemporal awareness. Within this model, we specify how the external object of perception is “constituted” in consciousness by virtue of ideal meaning, all within the real world wherein an intentional relation of acquaintance links the perceptual experience with its object. What is “given” in a familiar type of perceptual acquaintance turns out to be quite complex, embracing: the object perceived, the visual experience, its subject, the spatiotemporal context including consciousness and object, and the manifold of meaning shaping the “constitution” of the given object. Where we refer to historical figures, including Husserl, the aim is theoretical rather than exegetical, seeking to develop a contemporary theory of “the given” with roots in classical philosophical views. The resulting theory develops in a series of explorations of increasing complexity in the phenomenology and attendant ontology of “the given”. (shrink)
What are we to make of the cogito (cogito ergo sum) today, as the walls of Cartesian philosophy crumble around us? The enduring foundation of the cogito is consciousness. It is in virtue of a particular phenomenological structure that an experience is conscious rather than unconscious. Drawing on an analysis of that structure, the cogito is given a new explication that synthesizes phenomenological, epistemological, logical, and ontological elements. What, then, is the structure of conscious thinking on which the cogito draws? (...) What kind of certainty does the experience of thinking give one about one's thinking and about one's existence? What form of inference is the cogito, and what is the source of its validity and soundness? Does the cogito itself lead to an ontology of mind and body like Descartes's dualism? The discussion begins with Descartes's own careful formulations of some of these issues. Then the cogito is parsed into several different principles, the phenomenological principle emerging as basic. In due course the analysis sifts through Husserl's epistemology, Hintikka's logic (or pragmatics) of the cogito, and Kaplan's logic of demonstratives, as these bear specifically on the cogito. (shrink)
This chapter contains sections titled: The Emergence of Phenomenology Amid Varieties of Rationalism Phenomenology in Brief From Logic to Phenomenology A Phenomenological Theory of Knowledge Intuition of Essences Intuition of Meanings A Phenomenological Critique of Empiricism and Rationalism.