Article

Transcendental phenomenology and the seductions of naturalism: subjectivity, consciousness, and meaning

Steven Crowell

in The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Phenomenology

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199594900
Published online January 2013 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199594900.013.0003

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Transcendental phenomenology and the seductions of naturalism: subjectivity, consciousness, and meaning

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This paper introduces phenomenology as a distinctive form of transcendental philosophy by exploring a problem that arises with the phenomenological concept of “constitution,” namely, the “paradox of human subjectivity” – the idea that under the transcendental reduction the human subject is both a (constituted) entity in the world and the ground of all such constitution. Focusing on the question of what conditions must obtain for something to be the bearer of normatively structured intentional content (i.e., meaning/Sinn), the paper argues that the appearance of paradox here rests upon a certain naturalistic assumption – namely, that the aspect of subjectivity responsible for transcendental constitution is consciousness conceived as the kind of phenomenal experience we share with other animals. In a final section I try to suggest how transcendentalism and a certain naturalism might nevertheless be reconciled on phenomenological grounds.

Keywords: transcendental phenomenology; Edmund Husserl; human being; transcendental-phenomenological reduction; pre-given world; transcendental subject

Article.  11847 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Epistemology ; Metaphysics

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