This work offers a provocative new historical and systematic interpretation of the epistemological doctrines of three twentieth-century giants: Husserl, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty. Pietersma argues that these three philosophers, while connected by their phenomenological doctrines, have underappreciated and interestingly-linked views on the theory of knowledge.
The notion of "seeing the object itself," basic in husserl's theory of knowledge, Can only make sense, If we interpret it with the help of his notion of horizon or implicit context. Seeing the object itself is an achievement experienced as such. This must mean that the subject has an implicit awareness of a context of other possible epistemic situations in which what is now "seen" or viewed "close up" can be referred to from a "distance." "distance" is here of (...) course not to be understood in a purely objective spatial sense. What distance, If any, Separates him from the object is a function of what cognitive steps, If any, The subject is aware of as steps he might take in order to obtain a better grasp of the object. It is beyond the scope of this article to study how this purely phenomenological contrast between modes of intentionality precisely functions within husserl's epistemology as a whole. This would require a thorough discussion of his concepts of 'evidenz' and truth and of the way in which he confronts skepticism. (shrink)
In an article which appeared in The Philosophical Review Karl Ameriks argues in favour of the rather surprising thesis that Husserl, his own statements and a host of commentators and critics notwithstanding, was a realist, i.e., a philosopher who held that “there are physical objects which exist outside consciousness and are not wholly dependent on it”. More recently, Harrison Hall, in his contribution to the volume Husserl, Intentionality, and Cognitive Science, has argued that in Husserl's view there is no legitimate (...) philosophical issue between realism and idealism, because philosophy is concerned exclusively with meanings. Both interpretations are careful, documenting each point with texts, and contain several elements that are illuminating. Yet they are fundamentally mistaken as regards their main thesis, as I shall argue in this paper. (shrink)
The paper begins with a characterization of its methodological point designed to bring out those features that would recommend it to philosophers. The concept of this method is emphatically distinguished from the scope given to it by philosophers who actually use it. Husserl, For instance, Held that all philosophical questions are accessible by this method of reduction. In the last part of the paper I am suggesting that there is a legitimate form of skepticism which husserl's position fails to recognize.
WHY HAS CONTEMPORARY PHENOMENOLOGY apparently dropped the discipline of epistemology from the rostrum of philosophy? I find it strange in the highest degree, because the philosopher generally acknowledged as the father of phenomenology, Edmund Husserl, introduced it by way of emphasizing the universality of the problem of knowledge. Facing up to the latter, he argued, will lead us to phenomenology in its full philosophical significance. Here I am, of course, thinking of the lectures of 1907, later published in the collected (...) works as The Idea of Phenomenology. Nowadays, however, an account of phenomenology that emphasizes the theory of knowledge of Husserl and later philosophers who declared their indebtedness to him, for example, Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, encounters the charge that such an account distorts everything in the phenomenological tradition. Apparently epistemology is out, and ontology is in. Even knowledge itself is spoken of in ontological language, for example, as a mode of being. How did phenomenologists get from one to the other? In the light of the so-called transcendental-phenomenological reduction and the usual argumentation surrounding it, it is a bit counterintuitive to have phenomenology end up as an ontology. (shrink)