Panos Theodorou
University of Crete
In his Prolegomena to the History of the Concept of Time (1925), Heidegger develops what at first sight could be seen as a masterful presentation of the “three fundamental discoveries” of Husserl’s Phenomenology: intentionality, categorial intuition, and the new conception of the a priori. Nevertheless, closer examination of the text discloses a series of subtle but serious problems. Our interest here will be restricted to Heidegger’s presentation of his understanding of Husserl’s theory regarding the intentionality of perception and of categorial intuition. In §6 of that work (48/64), we read that Husserl’s discovery of categorial intuition means two things. Firstly, it means that there is an experience of objectities in which we also have a simple apprehension of categorial constituents, i.e., of the elements which the tradition, in a “crude” fashion, called “categories” (48/64). Secondly, it means that this apprehension is already present in every experience and, as Heidegger explains a few lines later, according to what he has “already suggested” in his preceding analyses of the fundamental discovery of intentionality (in §5), categorial intuition is found even in every perception (48/64). Heidegger insists on this claim, and at several points of his presentation (see, e.g., §6.b.“), he repeats the idea that the intentional act of perception is, after all, permeated with categorial elements, with “categorial intuition.” Now, how should we understand this dense and heavy idea? Is it a hidden criticism of Husserl’s views on perception, or is it Heidegger’s sincere understanding of Husserl’s original discovery? The relevant literature seems to take Heidegger’s reading as a true depiction of Husserl’s theory of categorial intuition. However, as we will see, this reading of the latter theory is far from self-evident, a fact that also casts doubt on the corresponding stance regarding its actual motive. In this chapter, I plan to cast new light on the details of Husserl’s theory, and thus also on this fold of the philosophical relation between Husserl and Heidegger.
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