Edmund Husserl, known as the founder of the phenomenological movement, was one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century. A prolific scholar, he explored an enormous landscape of philosophical subjects, including philosophy of math, logic, theory of meaning, theory of consciousness and intentionality, and ontology in addition to phenomenology. This deeply insightful book traces the development of Husserl’s thought from his earliest investigations in philosophy—informed by his work as a mathematician—to his publication of _Ideas_ in 1913. Jitendra N. (...) Mohanty, an internationally renowned Husserl scholar, presents a masterful study that illuminates Husserl’s central concerns and provides a definitive assessment of the first phases of the philosopher’s career. (shrink)
Renowned philosopher J. N. Mohanty examines the range of Indian philosophy from the Sutra period through the 17th century Navya Nyaya. Instead of concentrating on the different systems, he focuses on the major concepts and problems dealt with in Indian philosophy. The book includes discussions of Indian ethics and social philosophy, as well as of Indian law and aesthetics.
The accessibility of these essays, coupled with Mohanty's consideration of lesser-known phenomenologists (Ingarden, Scheler, Hartmann, et. al.) mark this as a major updating of phenomenology for a contemporary audience.
Searle develops a theory of intentionality which is intended to provide a foundation for his earlier and influential theory of speech acts. His basic assumption, which according to this reviewer, is well-founded, is that philosophy of language is a branch of the philosophy of mind. Speech acts have a derived form of intentionality. In its original form, some mental states and events, only some of which again are conscious states, are intentional. For Searle, intentionality = directedness towards an object, but (...) all such directedness is mediated by a "representative content" "in a certain psychological mode." The representative content determines a set of "conditions of satisfaction"; the psychological mode determines a direction of fit of its content. Intentional states such as belief have a "mind-to-world" direction of fit; desires and intentions have a "world-to-mind" direction of fit. Some others have the null direction of fit. So far Searle's is a purely descriptive theory, not much unlike the Husserlian theory. But Searle appropriates this theory into a naturalistic framework. Intentional states, on his view are both caused by and realized in the structure of the brain. The logical properties of such states, however, are to be kept apart from the forms of realization. Furthermore, there is, for Searle, no special category of objects called intentional objects. An intentional object is just an object like any other. It is intentional only in so far as there is an intentional state which is about it. Further, on this theory, an intentional state such as a belief should not be construed as a relation between a believer and a proposition. The proposition is not the object of belief, but its content. Searle uses this point to clarify the muddles surrounding the distinction between de re and de dicto beliefs. Another important feature of Searle's theory is that an intentional state is what it is, i.e., with the content it has, only against a background of practices and "pre-intentional" assumptions, and also as belonging to a network of other intentional states. A consequence of this last point is that intentional states do not neatly individuate. Another interesting point that Searle makes is that an intentional state such as belief is not itself intensional; its report may be so. Linguistic philosophers tend to confuse features of reports and features of the things reported. This theory is applied, amongst other themes, to perception and action. The novel as well as the most controversial part of the theory is the way it relates intentionality to causality, thereby embedding intentionality within a naturalistic framework while avoiding reducing the former to causal terms.--J. N. Mohanty, The University of Oklahoma. (shrink)
In order to make out a case for idealism, I will, in this essay, first present two forms of idealism in their bare outlines (these two being, in my view, the most interesting and defensible forms) and then a set of premises for an argument for idealism. I will then respond to what are the more pertinent difficulties with these, and finally, make some general remarks regarding idealism as a theory.
THERE are two conflicting motives in Husserlian phenomenology, one of which leads, in my view, to a more genuinely transcendental philosophy. According to one of its original programs, phenomenology was to be a descriptive science of essences and essential structures of various regions of phenomena and also of the empty region of object in general. The concern with meanings, as contradistinguished from essences, is equally original; it pervades the Prolegomena and the first three of the logical investigations and, of course, (...) the first volume of the Ideas. But the specifically phenomenological enterprise of clarification of meanings—and this is the second of the two motives-slowly moves to the forefront, for a while overshadowed by the essentialism of the beginning, but later on freed from it and reasserting its primacy as the philosophical activity par excellence. The concern with essences affiliates phenomenology to the classical rationalistic tradition, while the concern with meanings brings it closer to the empiricistic tradition. If in the former enterprise phenomenology appears to be an essentialism of Aristotelian sort, in the latter, Hume remains its acknowledged precursor. One of my contentions, which I will try to substantiate in the following pages, is that the peculiarly Husserlian sort of transcendental phenomenology develops out of the second concern rather than from the first. This rather broad claim needs to be qualified in various ways, which I will be doing as we proceed. For the present, I may perhaps add this much: there is a conception of transcendental subjectivity which can be reached only through an eidetic phenomenology of essences: on such a theory, transcendental subjectivity is the essence of empirical consciousness, transcendental ego is the essence of the empirical ego. But this is not exactly Husserl’s conception of ‘transcendental'. The transcendental according to Husserl is not the essence of the empirical, but the domain in which the meanings constituting the empirical have their origin. However, I should add that these two points of view are intertwined, in Husserl’s thought, in such a strange manner that my efforts to separate them may seem futile. They influence each other: there are, as a matter of fact, two conceptions of essence in Husserl, one of which is, in my view, closer than the other one to the specifically Husserlian conception of transcendental subjectivity. So also in the theory of meaning, the early essentialism did cast its shadow, but as soon as it is freed from essentialism it lays the foundation of a more truly phenomenological transcendental philosophy. (shrink)
Philosophical Questions: East and West is an anthology of source material for use in comparative courses in philosophy, religion, and the humanities. The readings—derived from the great works of the Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Islamic, and Western intellectual traditions—are presented as answers to some of the most enduring questions in philosophy.