European Journal of Philosophy 25 (4):1768-1790 (2017)

Matt Bower
Texas State University
There is a longstanding debate among Husserl scholars about whether Husserl thinks perception involves mental representation. The debate, I believe, has not been settled. I deny that the existentialist-inspired charge of representationalism about perception in Husserl is precise enough to stick. Given a clearer understanding of just what mental representation amounts to, I contend that those who defend Husserl against the accusation of representationalism fare little better than Husserl's existentialist-leaning critics. I argue that he is in fact a representationalist about perception insofar as it involves a noematic sense. Nevertheless, Husserl opens up the possibility for a representation-free form of perceiving in certain later discussions of the matter in which he suggests that some perceptual states lack noematic sense. What they lack in noematic sense is compensated for by other means, namely, by two sorts of affect and their functional interrelation with abilities for bodily movement. The texts that entertain this possibility, though, severely limit the scope of its actual occurrence. Husserl never commits to a generally or substantially nonrepresentational view of perception. I attempt to sketch out, however, what this nonrepresentationalism about perception that Husserl nearly landed on might look like, rearranging various more or less familiar elements already present in his theory of perception to that end.
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DOI 10.1111/ejop.12261
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The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception.Marc H. Bornstein - 1980 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 39 (2):203-206.
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Perceptual Content Defended.Susanna Schellenberg - 2011 - Noûs 45 (4):714 - 750.
Consciousness, Color and Content.Michael Tye - 2003 - Philosophical Quarterly 53 (213):619-621.

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