Dialectic 14 (2):7-14 (2021)

Micah Phillips-Gary
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München
In this paper I draw on Husserl's early analysis of the frustration of an intentional act to argue against orthodox transcendental idealism, the claim that our acts of cognition can be mistaken with regard to a "matter," and are therefore objective, but this matter only has conceptual structure by virtue of human activity. For example, the proposition "My coffee cup is red" can be true or false depending on the sensations I receive (the matter of the act of cognition), which are independent of my will, but it is only by virtue of my own conceptualizing activity (the form or "structure" of the act of cognition) that there exists an object which is my coffee cup and is red, as opposed to this bare sensation of redness. I will argue against this view; Objects have both matter and conceptual structure independent of the actual fact of human cognition. Our acts of cognition can be mistaken with regard to matter insofar as subsequent intentional acts give the same object as having a different, contradictory matter, in which case our earlier act is "frustrated." This contradictory matter, in order to contradict the earlier matter, which was itself a property predicated to the object insofar as it has a certain conceptual structure, must itself belong to the object insofar as it has the same conceptual structure.
Keywords Edmund Husserl  Transcendental idealism  Conceptual realism  Intentionality
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