Husserl’s appropriation of the psychological concepts of apperception and attention

Husserl Studies 23 (2):83-118 (2007)

Abstract

In the sixth Logical Investigation, Husserl thematizes the surplus (Überschuß) of the perceptual intention whereby the intending goes beyond the partial givenness of a perceptual object to the object as a whole. This surplus is an apperceptive surplus that transcends the purely perceptual substance (Gehalt) or sensed content (empfundene Inhalt) available to a perceiver at any one time. This surplus can be described on the one hand as a synthetic link to future, possible, active experience; to intend an object is to intend it as it would appear if we were to have an exhaustively synthetic explication of it. This perceptual apperceptive surplus is, on the other hand, distinguished from the surplus that categorial form represents over the perceptual sense data. In this paper I show how the apperceptive surplus can also be understood as a synthetic link to past experience that is passively operative in any present perception. The synthetic link to both past and possible experience is a link to non-actual perceptions. Links to non-actual experience are despite their non-actuality nevertheless genuinely intentional in that they enter into the sense of any actively constituted object understood as a unity of sense. Key to this interpretation is an explanation of how Husserl appropriated the key concepts of attention and apperception from psychologists of his day, such as Stumpf and Wundt.

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References found in this work

Philosophical Investigations.Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein - 1953 - New York, NY, USA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Two Dogmas of Empiricism.W. Quine - 1951 - [Longmans, Green].
Two Dogmas of Empiricism.Willard V. O. Quine - 1951 - Philosophical Review 60 (1):20–43.

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