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Chapter IV: Chapter IV: Phenomenological Quest for the Inter-subjective Dimensions of Transcendental Subjectivity

2.8. Husserlian Quest for Epistemic Subject


not even the slightest inkling of phenomenology –of phenomenology in the sense that my writings represent‖ (Husserl, 1980, §10, p. 49).


and given along with evidence and insight. But, very interestingly Frege criticized Husserl regarding the concept of evidence. Frege regarded the concept of evidence as psychological which is basically wrong in Husserlian sense. Moreover, Husserl rejects the view according to which, evidence is the property of Mathematics or Logic. Husserl in his Logical Investigations considers evidence as an ongoing process of ―everyday 'production' or 'achievement' (Leistung) in all cognitions where the object is given in a satisfactory form, with 'intuitive fullness'(anschauliche Fülle), or as Husserl prefers to say, where the object gives itself‖ (ibid, p. 98). Thus, Husserl explains anything logical must have to fall under the two important classes of meaning and object which are correlated.

Thus, meaning can be regarded as the main concept in Husserl‘s phenomenology which constitutes the ‗pure logic‘. But, by meaning Husserl never tries to mean the content of something but, that part of experience which is a temporal or timeless and ideal. His intention was to go beyond to establish logic of truth where truth can be addressed as truth as such but not simply by its meaning content. As a result he emphasized the concept of ‗pure logic‘ which deals with the formal ontology, the objectiveness of object.

Logic in its highest form, for Husserl, is the a priori study of all possible forms of theory, and includes a pure science of propositions, understood as the meaning of senses or judgments or linguistic statements or sentences. Thus, Husserl tried to interpret everything scientifically and gives the example of Mathematics. Thus, Husserl along with Mathematics also talks about various other state-of-affairs like cultural entity and says that there is only one Hamlet though we can find out various replicas of the same.

The most important point should be mentioned here is that though Husserl in his Logical Investigations especially in the Third Investigation talks about an a priori science of the forms of objects later described as formal ontology but at the same time he also gives emphasis on the other side of the knowledge. Husserl emphasizes that aspect as the subjective aspect of knowing. Thus, Husserl introduced the concept of subjectivity in Logic which he regarded as the ―transcendental logic‖ in the later phase of his development. For Husserl

logic remains a science in naiveté if it does not tackle this subjective dimension, which above all, as he came to realize, is the problem of exploring the modes of experiencing (or evidencing, understood as the direct givenness


of the object) in which objectivities are revealed (As cited in Moran, 2005, p.

106) Husserl named this dimension of givenness of objectivity to subjectivity as phenomenolog (ibid).

According to Husserl, the task of a philosopher is not to obstruct in the work of a proper technician. A proper inventive technician who is ―the constructor, as it were, who, looking merely to formal interconnections, builds up his theory like a technical work of art‖ (As cited in Mohanty, 1982, p. 5). But, a philosopher should not behave like a technician; a philosopher always should try to investigate the ―insight in regard to the sense and essence of his achievements as regards method and manner‖(ibid).

Husserl analogously like Frege was developing a correlation among the form of expression; meaning and object existed outside of this world. The main intention of Husserl‘s early phenomenology was to explore the meaning of an intentional act.

Phenomenology always seeks to explore the meaning aspect of both the act of thinking and also the object of knowledge. Meaning always refers to an object, whether that is an object of a natural world or individual state of affair (Zahavi, 2003).

Today, we think of logic as a calculus of written symbols, as we speak of propositional calculus and the predicate calculus. Husserl‘s conception of pure logic includes much more than the manipulation of symbols in forms of inference. In the Investigations that follow the Prolegomena, Husserl stresses the formal structure of acts of thought and speech, ideal meanings, and even states of affairs in nature __ moving beyond what we today call logic, metalogic and philosophy of logic into philosophy of language in relation to mind and wider structures of the world. Nonetheless, Husserl gives full credence to the written symbol in this theory of science, or logic (Smith, 2003/2, p. 144).

43 In this regard Findlay writes;

Husserl seeks to move beyond what Kant intended as ―pure‖ or ―formal‖ logic to the ideal of the ―science of science, which…would be most pregnantly called theory of science [Wissenschafts-lehre]‖. The essence of science, Husserl says, involves the ―systematic unity‖ of ―theories‖, and the resulting theory of theories is ―a Wissenschaftslehre, a logic‖ (As cited in ibid).

Husserl maintains that in order to have the knowledge of the ideal logical attitude or the knowledge of the physical objects we have to move back toward subjectivity, because it is the subject which possesses the ability of knowing the object and the other principles. Therefore, though our attention is to analyze the objective part but we are bound to put our concentration on the acts of consciousness. As this is the only way to obtain the knowledge of the relation between the ideal object and the conscious act of knowing. Thus, Husserl again set back himself to consciousness, though this time his move cannot be regarded as psychological, because, in his attempt he is not trying to reduce the object to the act of consciousness. His attempt is only to have the knowledge of the object in relation to the a priori act of consciousness (Zahavi, 2003). Therefore, in his Investigations he abandoned the descriptive psychology and adopted the concept of Phenomenology. Consciousness provides an epistemological criterion and there is a co-relation between the intentional object and the intentional act and by examining the manner in which objects fulfill or disappoint particular expectations. Husserl tried to explain how objective judgments are possible without lapsing into psychologism. To be sure, this psychology that described experiences as they seemed or felt to the experiencing person without the transcendent must first be de-psychologised before it is bracketed, and this Husserl intends to do with the help of phenomenological methodology i.e. the noema-noesis co-relation and the final culmination of the Logical Person.

Interestingly enough, this leads to the possibility of phenomenological approach to subjectivity and personhood, subjective pole of consciousness and the person, to that extent, none but a phenomena that needs to be bracketed at a later stage. This shows how far Husserl differs from the Cartesian dimension of subjectivity and mentality that resides within the immanent realm of consciousness. As Debabrata Sinha writes, ―phenomenology, in its descriptive phase, as already noted, reveals no evidence for the necessary dependence of


phenomena upon the empirical subject has to be taken into consideration in this context‖

(Sinha, 1969, p. 57).

This thus keeps room for ideality in experience and since the ideal realm of meaning can be investigated only in the realm of consciousness, only in relation to a conscious subject for whom something appears as meaningful, Husserlian quest for logical person now makes shift from ideal objects toward subjective pole of experience and to the acts of consciousness and to the intentional subject of consciousness with objects as its noematic co-relates. The object as meant and intended and is always an object in relation to someone and the one essentially leads to the other. This is how Husserlian quest for epistemic subject differs from Cartesian isolated cogito since unlike in Descartes here the ego or the subject pole is also to be bracketed at a later phase which will keep room for a new way of exploring subjectivity, inter-subjectivity and life-world.