Synthese 199 (3-4):10059-10076 (2021)

Abstract
Responding to the myth of a purely sensuous “given”, we turn to phenomenology, to the structure of consciousness in an everyday perception of an everyday object. We first consider Brentano’s model of an act of consciousness: featuring the presentation of an object “intentionally” contained “in” the act, joined by the presentation of that object-presentation in “inner consciousness”. We then dig into Husserl’s intricate “semantic” theory of intentionality: featuring “noematic” meaning within a “horizon” of implicated meaning regarding the object of perceptual consciousness. Brentanian inner consciousness morphs into “inner time consciousness” for Husserl, where noematic sense shapes more basic sensory elements of temporal experience. Drawing on these Brentanian and Husserlian analyses, we develop an enhanced account of how an object is “given” in perceptual acquaintance or “intuition”: by virtue of a structure of meaning entertained in the experience. This account we develop further in a “modal” model of the structure of consciousness in everyday perception: distinguishing fundamental factors of phenomenal intentional experience, including inner awareness, phenomenality, and spatiotemporal awareness. Within this model, we specify how the external object of perception is “constituted” in consciousness by virtue of ideal meaning, all within the real world wherein an intentional relation of acquaintance links the perceptual experience with its object. What is “given” in a familiar type of perceptual acquaintance turns out to be quite complex, embracing: the object perceived, the visual experience, its subject, the spatiotemporal context including consciousness and object, and the manifold of meaning shaping the “constitution” of the given object. Where we refer to historical figures, including Husserl, the aim is theoretical rather than exegetical, seeking to develop a contemporary theory of “the given” with roots in classical philosophical views. The resulting theory develops in a series of explorations of increasing complexity in the phenomenology and attendant ontology of “the given”.
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-021-03236-y
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Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind.Wilfrid S. Sellars - 1956 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 1:253-329.

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