As noted above, the matter of an intentional act is its content: So the act-matter both determines to what object, if any, a thought refers, and determines how the thought presents that object as being. For Husserl, the matter of an intentional act does not consist of only linguistic descriptive content. The notion of act-matter is simply that of the significant object-directed mode of an act, and can be perceptual, imaginative, or memorial, linguistic or non-linguistic, particular and indexical, or general, context-neutral and universal.
This makes intentionality and intentional content act-matter the fundamental targets of analysis, with the theory of language and expression to be analyzed in terms of these notions rather than the other way around. Motivated by his anti-psychologism he wants to treat meanings as objective and independent of the minds of particular subjects. However, having done this Husserl also needs to explain how it is that these abstract meanings can play a role in the intentional thought of actual subjects.
Whereas Fregean accounts deal with the fact that one individual can have the same thought at different times and different individuals can think about the same thing at any time by positing a single abstract sense that is the numerically identical content of all of their thoughts, Husserl views particular act-matters or contents as instances of ideal act-matter species. These include the distinction between linguistic types and tokens, the distinction between words and sentences and the meanings that these express, the distinction between sentence meaning and speaker meaning, the meaning and reference of proper names and the function of indexicals and demonstratives.
As noted above, Husserl takes the intentionality of thought to be fundamental and the meaning-expressing and reference fixing capabilities of language to be parasitic on more basic features of intentionality. Husserl is interested in analyzing the meaning and reference of language as part of his project of developing a pure logic. This leads him to focus primarily on declarative sentences from ordinary language, rather than on other kinds of potentially meaningful signs such as the way in which smoke normally indicates or is a sign of fire and gestures such as the way in which a grimace might indicate or convey that someone feels pain or is uncomfortable.
Husserl maintains that the meaning of an expression cannot be identical to the expression for two reasons. Husserl also maintains that the meaning of a linguistic expression cannot be identical with its referent or referents. In support of this Husserl appeals to phenomena such as informative identity statements and meaningful linguistic expressions that have no referent, among others. Thus Husserl, like Frege, distinguishes the meaning of a term or expression both from that term itself and from the object or objects to which the term refers.
A subject who utters this expression to a companion is in an intentional state, which includes an act-matter or intentional content that presents the weather as being cool today. The subject performing the utterance does, in principle, three things for his interlocutor. Second, assuming the interlocutor grasps that this is what is being expressed, her attention will itself be directed to the referent of this ideal sense, namely the state of affairs involving the weather today her act-matter will then also instantiate the relevant ideal act-matter species.
This last point is very important for Husserl. Such expressions have two facets of meaning. Husserl recognizes, however, that the sentences expressing these semantic functions cannot simply be substituted for indexicals without affecting the meaning of sentences containing them. This makes it necessary to identify a second facet or component of indexical content.
Husserl thus has a relatively clear understanding of some of the key issues surrounding indexical thought and reference that have been recently discussed in the work of philosophers of language such as John Perry , , as well as an account of how indexical thought and reference works.
In the year Husserl published both a revised edition of Logical Investigations and the Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and to a Phenomenological Philosophy hereafter, Ideas. In the Ideas, Husserl proposes the systematic description and analysis of first person consciousness, focusing on the intentionality of this consciousness, as the fundamental first step in both the theory of consciousness itself and, by extension, in all other areas of philosophy as well.
With hints of the idea already present in the first edition of Logical Investigations , by Husserl has come to see first person consciousness as epistemologically and so logically prior to other forms of knowledge and inquiry. Whereas Descartes took his own conscious awareness to be epistemically basic and then immediately tried to infer, based on his knowledge of this awareness, the existence of a God, an external world, and other knowledge, Husserl takes first-person conscious awareness as epistemically basic and then proposes the systematic study of this consciousness itself as a fundamental philosophical task.
In order to lay the foundations for this project Husserl proposes a methodology known as the phenomenological reduction.
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The idea behind this is that most people most of the time do not focus their attention on the structure of their experience itself but rather look past this experience and focus their attention and interests on objects and events in the world, which they take to be unproblematically real or existent. The eidetic reduction involves not just describing the idiosyncratic features of how things appear to one, as might occur in introspective psychology, but focusing on the essential characteristics of the appearances and their structural relationships and correlations with one another.
It involves focusing on a kind of object, such as a triangle, and systematically varying features of that object, reflecting at each step on whether the object being reflected upon remains, in spite of its altered feature s , an instance of the kind under consideration.
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Each time the object does survive imaginative feature alteration that feature is revealed as inessential, while each feature the removal of which results in the object intuitively ceasing to instantiate the kind such as addition of a fourth side to a triangle is revealed as a necessary feature of that kind. Husserl maintained that this procedure can incrementally reveal elements of the essence of a kind of thing, the ideal case being one in which intuition of the full essence of a kind occurs. The eidetic reduction compliments the phenomenological reduction insofar as it is directed specifically at the task of analyzing essential features of conscious experience and intentionality.
The considerations leading to the initial positing of the distinction between intentional act, intentional object and intentional content would, according to Husserl, be examples of this method at work and of some of its results in the domain of the mental. Whereas the purpose of the phenomenological reduction is to disclose and thematize first person consciousness so that it can be described and analyzed, the purpose of the eidetic reduction is to focus phenomenological investigations more precisely on the essential or invariant features of conscious intentional experience. However, Husserl does both modify and expand his views about intentionality, as well as the kinds of analyses of it that he pursues.
The sections that follow concentrate on the core ideas concerning intentionality and intentional content from the Ideas, leaving many of these other areas out of consideration. Husserl does not simply change his terminology, however.
This change in terminology coincides with an apparent change in metaphysical understanding of the relationship between the noema as an ideal meaning and the particular mental activities of actual subjects, and also with a much more intense interest in analyzing the different elements of the noema, as well as understanding its relationships, both temporal and semantic, to other noemata. Metaphysically the main change is that Husserl seems to abandon the model of meanings as ideal species that get instantiated in the act-matters of particular subjects in favor of a more direct correlative relationship between the noesis intentional acts and the noemata their objects.
In Ideas it is noemata themselves that are the objects of intentional thought, that are graspable and repeatable and that, according to Husserl, are not parts of the intentional acts of conscious subjects. While the difference between these two interpretations may seem rather small, they are actually quite different in terms of their metaphysical commitments and in terms of the particular issues of meaning, reference, and epistemology that they are able to resolve or be challenged by.
For a general introduction and overview see the introduction to Smith and Smith and for more detailed discussion of some of the main differences see Dreyfus and Hall , Zahavi , Drummond In the Ideas Husserl identifies three central features of the noema, focusing especially on the case of perception. What Husserl is focusing on here is the idea that to be conscious of an object is not just to be conscious of something under one description or way of viewing it, but it is also to be conscious of the object as an identity of its own, one that is simultaneously given through discrete noematic perspectives or experiences, but is also more than what any one of these experiences presents it as being.
Consider the perceptual experience of a red barn in a field in southeastern Wisconsin.
The intentional content or noema of this experience will provide immediate awareness of one side or profile of the barn, perhaps intended as a barn, or perhaps just intended as a structure of some sort. This will be the descriptive sense or content of the intention.
However, in this very perception the barn is not experienced as merely a facet or a two-dimensional stretch of color in space. Rather, it is experienced as a three dimensional object possessing other sides, parts and properties, and capable of being explored, investigated and determined, in short intended with regard to each of these further features. The barn, as an object of perception, transcends the information that can be given regarding it, the intention of it that can be made via any given noema, and this fact is a feature that is already intended in the very first thought a subject has about the barn.
From the first experience, the subject already has a sense of how to go about further determining, further intending and experiencing the object of thought, in this case, the barn. Regarding such a system of experiences of the same object, Husserl says,. Thus, it is possible to distinguish, phenomenologically speaking, between the way in which the object is intended via a particular noema or sense, and the seemingly transcendent self-identical object that is intended, and which is the ultimate determinant of the accuracy or inaccuracy, truth or falsity of the intentions that are directed toward it.
Indeed, Husserl explicitly denies this possibility. This conception of the noema, as divided into a descriptive sense and the pure X or identity of the object intended via the sense, leads Husserl to the view that, phenomenologically speaking, it is possible to view an object the underlying X as determining a system of possible senses noemata or intentions of it, each of which is both a about that very same object and b able to be consciously recognized as about the same determinable X as the others when they are experienced in a sequence.
Thus, in the example of the barn already discussed, a subject might begin by looking at it from the front and focusing on its color. This would be the first noema intending the very object X, the barn perceptually before one, as red. The subject could then go on to have further perceptual intentions of the barn by walking around it. Each time the subject shifts her perspective on or reconceptualizes the object of her thought, she entertains a new content or noema, a new possible way in which the barn can be experienced as being.
If the barn is indeed the way she conceptualizes and experiences it, then that thought, that possibility is fulfilled by her ongoing experience. Nevertheless, the idea that a single numerically identical object can be conceived, phenomenologically speaking, as the correlate of systems of contents or noemata all experienceable as directed towards one and the same object X gives rise, for Husserl, to the idea of an object as, phenomenologically speaking, the correlate of a complete set of such experiences.
Here, then, we have what amounts to an analysis of the object of an intention considered from a phenomenological perspective. To be an object, phenomenologically speaking , is to be the correlate of a complete maximally consistent system of noematic senses, all synthesizable as directed towards one and the same underlying substrate or object X. This idea itself is given rise to by the three crucial features of the structure of definite intentional content that have been discussed here: It is possible to distinguish between i possible determinations that are motivated by the current noema or intentional content, ii possible determinations that are consistent with but not motivated by the current noema, and iii possible determinations that are neither motivated by nor consistent with the current noema.
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If a subject is intending a given object perceived from a particular side as a barn, then the motivated further determinations in the horizon will include further experiences of that same object as a barn: Art House Oy, Acta Philosophica Fennica 28, nos. Appears also in Dialectica 31 Meaning , —51, New York: Also in Jaakko Hintikka, Ludwig Wittgenstein: Katsauksia kielifilosofiaan ja merkityksen teoriaan , —83, Helsinki: Presses Universitaire de France, A Comment on Urs Egli.
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A Profile , edited by Radu Bogdan, — A Profile , edited by Radu Bogdan, 3—40, Dordrecht: Proceedings of the 12th International Wittgenstein Symposium , — Nykyfilosofian kartoitusta [The Poverty and Richness of Philosophy: Selected Essays , Synthese Library , — Appears also in Synthese 83, no. The Library of Living Philosophers Entretiens de Palermo , no editor indicated , 89— Appears also in The Opened Curtain: Also in Jaakko Hintikka, Lingua Universalis vs. Gombocz, Heiner Rutte and Werner Sauer, — Appears also in Scientific Philosophy: Origins and Developments , edited by Friedrich Stadler, 27—46, Dordrecht: A much expanded version appears in Jaakko Hintikka, Ludwig Wittgenstein: Appears also in Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science : Anderson and Nils-Eric Sahlin, 93—, Nora: Times Literary Supplement, September 28—October 4, , Acta Philosophica Fennica 49 listed as , appeared in Also appears in Jaakko Hintikka, Ludwig Wittgenstein: Appears also in Jaakko Hintikkka, Ludwig Wittgenstein: Appears in Italian translation in Iride , Philosophical Encounters , edited by Harry Lewis, — Appears also in Wittgenstein in Florida.
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