Representationalism and Husserlian Phenomenology

Husserl Studies 27 (3):197-215 (2011)
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Abstract

According to contemporary representationalism, phenomenal qualia—of specifically sensory experiences—supervene on representational content. Most arguments for representationalism share a common, phenomenological premise: the so-called “transparency thesis.” According to the transparency thesis, it is difficult—if not impossible—to distinguish the quality or character of experiencing an object from the perceived properties of that object. In this paper, I show that Husserl would react negatively to the transparency thesis; and, consequently, that Husserl would be opposed to at least two versions of contemporary representationalism. First, I show that Husserl would be opposed to strong representationalism, since he believes the cognitive content of a perceptual episode can vary despite constancy of sensory qualia. Second, I then show that Husserl would be opposed to weak representationalism, since he believes that sensory qualia—specifically, the sort that he calls “kinesthetic sensations”—can vary despite constancy in representational content

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Michael K. Shim
California State University, Los Angeles

Citations of this work

Husserl’s hyletic data and phenomenal consciousness.Kenneth Williford - 2013 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 12 (3):501-519.
Extending Gurwitsch’s field theory of consciousness.Jeff Yoshimi & David W. Vinson - 2015 - Consciousness and Cognition 34 (C):104-123.
Husserl on Perception: A Nonrepresentationalism That Nearly Was.Matt Bower - 2017 - European Journal of Philosophy 25 (4):1768-1790.

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References found in this work

Consciousness, Color, and Content.Michael Tye - 2000 - Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
The intrinsic quality of experience.Gilbert Harman - 1990 - Philosophical Perspectives 4:31-52.
The Significance of Consciousness.Charles Siewert - 1998 - Princeton University Press.
Naturalizing the Mind.Fred Dretske - 1995 - Philosophy 72 (279):150-154.

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