Journal of Chinese Philosophy 20 (1):29-42 (1993)

The phenomenology of Edmund Husserl is, in one sense, a theory of pure consciousness that aims to set forth an absolute, ultimate, rigorous ground for the sciences based on the field of pure consciousness. Husserl believed that, on the basis of this field of pure consciousness, he could secure eternal significance for the spiritual life of man. Intentionality is the key element in this theory of pure consciousness and it plays a crucial part in the realization of Husserl's philosophical goal. By contrast, traditional Chinese philosophy was not concerned to seek an absolute, ultimate ground for the sciences or to derive a set of moral norms and a theory of value for human life from logical and scientific truths. Rather, Chinese philosophy sought to adjust the relationships between man and nature and between man and man in their ordinary, secular existence. It placed no value in the ideas of pure logic, pure science, or pure consciousness. Traditional Chinese philosophers inquired into the experiential, intuitive ‘mind' . This approach to ‘mind‘was understood by the Chinese to require rigorous logical proof or scientific theory:— anyone can perceive one's ‘mind‘in daily life and, by analogy, anyone can ‘perceive‘other ‘minds'. If Husserl's intentionality is the transcendental reason of Western philosophy, the ‘mind‘is the practical reason of Chinese philosophy. What, then, are the essential features of Husserl's ‘intentionality‘and the Chinese ‘mind'? What are their respective theoretical features? Can they be brought together and compared in a philosophically significant fashion?
Keywords Husserl  Intentionality  MInd
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DOI 10.1111/j.1540-6253.1993.tb00132.x
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