chapter  3
35 Pages

Husserl

Intentionality, Consciousness, Nature
WithCorijn van Mazijk

Unlike Kant and the neo-Kantians of the late 19th century, Husserl based his early theories of perception and knowledge on a Brentanian concept of intentionality. The first part of this chapter discusses the basics of these theories, which involves overthrowing key facets of Kant’s philosophy, as well as committing to the idea that intuitive acts involve extra-conceptual content. In the second part, I turn to Husserl’s mature efforts to demarcate what I call the ‘space of consciousness’ as opposed to a space of nature, arguably the central concern of Husserl’s thinking. I argue that these two spaces do not refer to distinct tracts of reality; they instead comprise of the same totality of things considered from two different perspectives. The picture this yields was knowingly posited by Husserl as an alternative to attempts to draw a line ‘within’ consciousness, exemplified in Husserl’s time in different ways by Kantian philosophy and naturalistic psychology, and with a more recent parallel in the works of McDowell, or so I argue. In the final sections, I turn to Husserl’s discussion of Descartes and the threat of idealism, which, I show, is quite similar to Kant’s discussion, although there are a few important differences.