Intentionality and Pure Logical Grammar in Husserl's Theory of Meaning

Dissertation, Bryn Mawr College (1992)

This dissertation concerns Edmund Husserl's theory of meaning. It focuses on Husserl's position as it develops from the Logical Investigations, published in 1900-01, through the writing of the Ideas in 1913. ;I argue that there are two theories of meaning at operation in Husserl's thinking in the Logical Investigations. One which is based upon the theory of pure logical grammar, the other based upon the theory of intentional acts of consciousness. I also consider the way in which Husserl's employs the first of these to account for the distinction between sense and nonsense. ;The second chapter concerns the development of Husserl's thought from 1900 to 1913. In particular, I trace the development of this theory of the pure transcendental ego and its relationship to the notions of the epoche and the reduction. In turn, I consider the phenomenological criticism of this position made by Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty. ;Chapter three is concerned with the way in which the development of Husserl's thinking on the ego impacts on the theory of meaning. In particular, I focus on the developments which appear in the Vorlesungen Uber Bedeutungslehre: Sommersemester 1908 and Ideas I. The most significant development being the introduction of the concept of the noema as the object of the intentional act of meaning. I also consider the recent debate concerning the proper understanding of the noema as well as the relationship between sense and linguistic expression. ;These concerns lead to a consideration of Derrida's influential reading of Husserl's theory of meaning in Speech and Phenomena. While arguing that there is much of value in Derrida's reading, I criticize his claim that Husserl's theory is committed to a theory of pure self presence and intuitive presence. ;Finally, following Derrida, I question Husserl's theory of pure logical grammar. Through a consideration of poetic expression, I consider why this theory is unable to account for the distinction between sense and nonsense. However, I do argue that the intentional act theory can offer a justification for this distinction. For this reason, I conclude that a revised understanding of Husserl's phenomenological approach to meaning is still viable
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