This article traces a new line of thought through, or actually to, Ludwig Wittgenstein's writings on aspect perception. Its point of bearing is the second part of the Brown Book. It show that the trail of philosophical reflection that apparently naturally leads Wittgenstein in the Brown Book from questions concerning how we ought to conceive of our various mental states (and processes) — that is, from what is arguably one of the underlying overall concerns of the first part of Philosophical Investigations — to the topic of aspect perception, is in fact philosophically interesting. It is also different from what previous attempts to relate the remarks on aspects to the first part of the Investigations would have made one expect. An important point of departure for Wittgenstein's work was that he found literally incredible the dominating conception of philosophy. This article explores aspect perception, aspect-blindness, and philosophical difficulty. It discusses the ‘illusion’ or ‘delusion’ that Wittgenstein detects in those moments in which we attend to instances of Φing in order to find out what Φing is.
The notion of sublimation is essential to Nietzsche and Freud. However, Freud’s writings fail to provide a persuasive notion of sublimation. In particular, Freud’s writings are confused on the distinction between pathological symptoms and sublimations, and on the relation between sublimation and repression. After rehearsing these problems in some detail it is proposed that a return to Nietzsche allows for a more coherent account of sublimation, its difference from pathological symptoms and its relation to repression. In summary, on Nietzsche’s account, while repression and pathological symptoms involve a disintegration (of the self), sublimation involves integration. The chapter provides a brief consideration of some post-Freudian accounts of sublimation that, arguably, represent a return to a more Nietzschean approach. In closing, the chapter contrasts the different bases of Nietzsche’s and Freud’s valorization of sublimation.
This article argues that modern philosophy is haunted by the specter of Cartesian dualism: the view that a human being is a composite of two fundamentally different substances, one material (the body) and the other immaterial (the mind or soul). Medieval philosophers did not know about Descartes, yet they were well aware of a “Platonic dualism” that has most of the features of Cartesian substance dualism. With Scotus's account of the unity of the composite substance, the medieval elaboration of the Augustinian solution reached its apex. Another version of it held sway as the mainstream consensus for the remainder of the Middle Ages, until philosophical materialism came into its own. The article examines medieval Platonism, medieval Artistotelianism, philosophical materialism, and the metaphysics of hylomorphic compounds.
Sara Heinämaa and Timo Kaitaro
The chapter clarifies the connections between Descartes’ discussion of the mind–body union and classical phenomenology of embodiment, as developed by Husserl and Merleau-Ponty. It argues that the perplexing twofoldness of Descartes’ account of the mind–body union—interactionistic on the one hand, and holistic on the other—can be explicated and made coherent by phenomenological analyses of the two different attitudes that we can take toward human beings: the naturalistic and the personalistic. In the naturalistic attitude, the human being is understood as a two-layered psycho-physical complex, in which mental states and faculties are founded on the material basis of the body. In the personalistic attitude, the human being forms an expressive whole in which the spiritual and the sensible-material are intertwined. The chapter ends with a discussion of the most important similarities and differences between Descartes’ and Husserl’s conceptions of philosophy as a radical science.
E. J. Lowe
Dualism in contemporary philosophy of mind comes in many different varieties, but following long-standing tradition is normally divided into two main kinds: substance dualism and property dualism, the former maintaining the distinctness of mental and physical substances and the latter maintaining the distinctness of mental and physical properties. By a substance, in this context, is standardly meant an individual object, or bearer of properties, not a kind of stuff. However, much of the contemporary debate concerning dualism in fact focuses on the relationship between mental and physical events or states, largely because it is these that are commonly supposed to be the relata of causal relations and causal considerations play a very important role in that debate. This might lead one to suppose that a third main kind of dualism should be recognized, namely event or state dualism, maintaining the distinctness of mental and physical events or states.
Daniel O. Dahlstrom
This chapter attempts to shed some light on Heidegger’s early conception of phenomenology in light of its conscious departure from Husserl’s conception of phenomenology. The period in question extends from Heidegger’s first Freiburg lectures in 1919 to his return to Freiburg from Marburg in the fall of 1928. After flagging some prima facie differences between their phenomenological projects during these years, this chapter suggests how Heidegger adapts into his phenomenology four basic aspects of Husserl’s phenomenology (the phenomenological reduction, formalization, and the performative and constitutive aspects of the analysis). In conclusion the chapter calls attention to a fundamental, arguably irreconcilable difference between their phenomenologies.
Edith Stein viewed her work with Husserl as a project of collaboration aimed at developing and promoting phenomenology, but rather than conceiving of constitution or sense-bestowal as belonging to the elements of logic and language, as it does in Husserl’s Logical Investigations and his transcendental structures of noesis and noema or in Reinach’s early work in phenomenology (1951), Stein argued that meaning-making must be grounded in both material nature and spiritual realities. Her early work in phenomenology was not only a critique of the perceived shortcomings of her teachers but also a constructive attempt to expand the account of how phenomenology can seize the objectivity of things themselves by showing how consciousness itself is embodied in a psycho-spiritual unity, which Stein called a person.
The chapter clarifies Husserl’s phenomenological approach to embodiment by explicating his analytical concepts and his transcendental arguments concerning the constitution of living bodiliness (Leiblichkeit). The chapter argues that Husserlian phenomenology does not establish any simple opposition between naturalistic and phenomenological inquiries but instead offers a comprehensive account of the many senses of the body operative in human practices, including the practices of the sciences. The human body is given, not just as a material thing, but also as an instrument, as an agent, and an expressive stylistic whole. The second part of the chapter discusses recent applications of Husserlian philosophy of embodiment in the investigation of human plurality. By analyzing the exemplary phenomena of sexuality and sexual difference, the chapter demonstrates that the phenomenological concepts of style and stylistic unity can serve investigations into the diversity of human embodiment in its many forms.
This chapter engages in a conversation between two seemingly disparate discourses of Hegelian philosophy and psychoanalytic theory. In the work of Jean Hyppolite, the chapter locates the first use of the term intersubjectivity in relation to Hegel’s theory of recognition as found in Phenomenology of Spirit (1977) and argues that Hyppolite pioneered a mode of thinking about Hegel and psychoanalysis. The chapter traces the transmutation initiated by Hyppolite through the work of Paul Ricouer, Jacques Lacan, Judith Butler, Jessica Benjamin, and others to locate the influence of Hegel’s philosophy on a particular line of psychoanalytic thinking. The author’s reading of Hegel incorporated here argues that the majority of attention paid to the concept of recognition, and its translation into terms of intersubjective relating, has confined it to the episode of the Lord and Bondsman and that further attention should be paid to the drama of the Unhappy Consciousness which follows.
How can a spatial world appear to a non-extended mind? This chapter focuses on two moments in which this question steered the development of phenomenology. The first part explains how Husserl’s understanding of perception took shape against the background of nineteenth-century debates on the psychological origin of spatial presentations. It is in his phenomenological reconsideration of this matter that the subject comes to be understood as a subject of bodily capacities, engaged in a primal form of praxis. The second part focuses on Straus’s crusade against the dominant, praxis-based understanding of spatiality. Radically rejecting the question itself as originating in a Cartesian misconception of sense-perception, Straus introduced a plurality of spaces by revealing different “forms of spatiality” flowing from the affective dimension underlying all perception.
The chapter presents the topic of “historicity” (Geschichtlichkeit) as a core concern for phenomenological thinking in the intersection with hermeneutics. It is first coined as a philosophical term by Dilthey and Yorck von Wartenburg as a way to capture the unique way in which humans exist historically and belong to history. Through their correspondence published posthumously in 1923 it enters the orbit of Heidegger’s existential phenomenology, as he quotes extensively from these letters in Being in Time. For Heidegger, historicity was the key to transforming Husserlian phenomenology into hermeneutical ontology. In his reappraisal of hermeneutic thinking, Gadamer also locates historicity at the center of his magnum opus Truth and Method. The chapter also shows how Husserl was a thinker of historicity. This is brought out in particular in Derrida’s early interpretations of Husserl, where the deconstructive approach emerges literally from the problem of the historicity of ideal objects.
Henry E. Allison
How would Hume have addressed William Molyneux’s question to Locke: would a man born blind but able to distinguish between a sphere and cube by touch, immediately on acquiring sight, distinguish these figures visually? As a central issue in eighteenth-century epistemology and psychology, one would expect Hume to have dealt with it in his Treatise and, like Locke and Berkeley, answered in the negative. After offering a possible reason for Hume’s neglect of this problem, the paper argues that Hume’s focus on the problem of a vacuum and a relational theory of space would have prompted a response more akin to Leibniz than Molyneux. The paper first analyzes Hume’s position, then discusses the central features of Hume’s account of extension. It argues that this account commits Hume to the thesis that both visual and tangible ideas of space are three-dimensional and, if developed, would lead to a positive answer to Molyneux’s question.
This paper focuses on Hume’s discussions of evil, with an eye toward both contemporary disputes in philosophy of religion and Hume’s own eighteenth-century context. Following preliminary remarks about the texts and context, the second section explores the wide variety of problems of evil found in Hume’s writings, arguing that this multifaceted presentation is one of Hume’s greatest contributions to contemporary discussions of evil. In the third section, the focus shifts to the unfolding discussion of evil in Dialogues X–XI, offering a close, critical reading of the exchanges between Philo and Cleanthes. The final section consists of a critical evaluation of Hume’s main claims concerning God and evil, ending with an overview of Hume’s enduring legacy on this topic.
Like Descartes, Locke, and Berkeley before him, Hume propounds a theory of the external world or of what, in his case, is better called belief in the existence of body. The success or failure of his discussion rests not on any conclusion reached about the status of this belief—its reasonableness or unreasonableness, its truth or falsity--but only on whether, in accordance with his purpose of providing a “science of MAN,” his explanation of why we have the belief is convincing. Furthermore, Hume identifies two versions of the belief: an ordinary or “vulgar” version that we all hold until we confront the arguments that demonstrate its falsity and a “philosophical” version that we are driven to by those arguments but that has no rational foundation. This chapter analyzes Hume’s treatment of both versions and offers an internal criticism as well as some criticism from the standpoint of contemporary analytic philosophy.
The common tendency to characterize Hume’s philosophy as simply “skeptical,” “naturalist,” “empiricist,” or “irreligious” is a mistake. Rather, his philosophy is best seen as responding to a number of specific issues that captured his attention in the 1730s, mostly involving causation and thus explaining his particular enthusiasm for applying the Copy Principle to that idea. Other enthusiasms that shaped Book 1 of the Treatise (e.g., for sensory atomism and a crude theory of relations and mental acts) later faded, but the “Chief Argument” around causation—and causal/inductive inference—remains the consistent core of Hume’s theoretical philosophy through the Abstract and the many editions of the first Enquiry. In the Enquiry, moreover, Hume manages to tame the corrosive skepticism of the Treatise, enabling him to pursue his ambitions towards a naturalistic “science of man” while maintaining a discriminating skepticism towards aprioristic metaphysics and religion.
Commentators divide on whether the basic elements of Hume’s philosophy—perceptions, their division into impressions and ideas, and their associative relation—should be construed as objects and relations between objects or as representations of objects and their relations. Although the latter reading is generally favored, in this chapter the author argues that the textual evidence favors the former and that Hume’s philosophy should be interpreted accordingly. The focus is on Part 1 of the first book of the Treatise (T 1.1) but subsequent texts are considered as well, particularly passages in Part 4, Sections 2 and 6 (T 1.4.2 and 6).
Peter Andras Varga
In order to provide a balanced original exposition of the early period of Husserl’s philosophy, first his biography is surveyed, including the historiographical trends that influenced the scholarly views of the origins of Husserl’s phenomenological philosophy. Husserl’s development prior to the Logical Investigations is reconstructed by virtue of both his published juvenilia and the transformations of his underlying project of explaining (mathematical) inauthenticity. Husserl’s phenomenological breakthrough in the Logical Investigations is presented in a historical-genetic way, considering its influence on the Munich and Göttingen phenomenologists and the idealism–realism debate. Besides relying on a wide and modern textual basis, special attention is paid to the obvious or inconspicuous elements that connect the beginnings of Husserl’s philosophy to his mature transcendental phenomenology, as well as to those roots of his philosophy that extend beyond the confines of the School of Brentano.
John J. Drummond
This chapter considers several important themes of Husserl’s middle period through the prism of important developments in his ethical thought. The chapter examines the transformation in Husserl’s ethics from the idealized consequentialism of his early thought to a personalist ethics based on the notion of absolute loves and the absolute duties they impose. The examination proceeds by considering, first, the role the Husserlian themes of the personalistic attitude, time-consciousness, and absolute consciousness play in this transformation. Consideration is given, second, to the Fichtean themes introduced into Husserl’s later ethical reflections and their consistency with the more general phenomenological positions Husserl has taken in the middle period. The chapter concludes that the metaphysical directions taken in Husserl’s later ethical thought cannot be justified phenomenologically.
This chapter focuses on a number of respects in which Husserl’s, Heidegger’s, and Merleau-Ponty’s accounts of the world differ, despite other significant commonalities. Specifically, it discusses how both Heidegger’s and Merleau-Ponty’s accounts of our experience of the world challenge Husserl’s assertion of the possibility of a worldless consciousness; how Heidegger’s discussion of the world entails a rejection of Husserl’s claim that the world is at bottom nature; and how Merleau-Ponty puts pressure on Husserl’s account of the necessary structure of the world. In concluding, and as a propaedeutic to adjudicating these disputes, this chapter aims to show why Husserl makes these contested claims. Specifically, it suggests that it is Husserl’s phenomenological conception of reason and his commitment to (this conception of) reason that motivate him to make the claims about our experience and world with which the later phenomenologists take issue.
Husserl maintains that there is an essential relationship between consciousness and being. Understanding the details of that relationship is one of the principal tasks of Husserl’s phenomenology. A. D. Smith characterizes Husserl’s position as “ideal verificationism,” according to which “There is nothing, no possible entity, that is not in principle experienceable”—and, therefore, knowable on the basis of experience. This chapter presents Husserl’s principal argument for ideal verificationism. More specifically, it discusses Husserl’s views on the relationships among truth and being, truth and evidence, and evidence and consciousness. The chapter then discusses Husserl’s view that it is at least ideally possible that any object could be intuited adequately or completely. It then turns to Merleau-Ponty’s argument against that view. Finally, the chapter examines Merleau-Ponty’s account of perception and perceptual faith, and argues that a version of Husserl’s ideal verificationism is compatible with Merleau-Ponty’s position.