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|July 13, 2012
Transcendental Truth with Heidegger and Davidson
|In his last, posthumously published
book, Truth and Predication, Davidson suggests that the application of
Tarskian truth-definitions for particular languages depends upon a
pre-existing grasp of a general concept of truth (that is not simply
truth-in-L for a particular language). Davidson argues that this
cuts against both correspondence and coherence definitions of truth,
but also against disquotationalist views on which the notion of truth
is empty or redundant. Recently, both Mark Wrathall and Mark
Okrent have suggested connections between Davidson’s translational
project and Heidegger’s understanding of truth as disclosure in
practical situations of action and comportment. I shall consider
whether and to what extent Heidegger’s understanding of truth as
disclosure or aletheia indeed can underwrite a general understanding of
the basis of truth and predication in such a way as to be capable of
synthesis with Davidson’s Tarskian picture. In conclusion, I
consider the implications of this synthesis for Davidson’s argument
against the dualism of scheme and content in “On the Very Idea of a
|What is Pre-reflective Self-Awareness? Brentano’s Theory of Inner Consciousness Revisited||abstract
paper I reconsider Brentano’s
notion of inner consciousness both from a historical and a systematic
point of view. Although the basic outlines of his theory are well
known, an important feature that Brentano made explicit only in later
writings has largely gone unnoticed. Brentano allows inner
consciousness to vary on a scale from indistinct to distinct forms of
awareness. In the first part of this paper I explain how Brentano
embeds this idea into his conception of the intentional structure of
experience. In the second part I employ this idea in defending a
neo-Brentanist theory of pre-reflective self-awareness against various
objections that have been raised in the recent literature.
I dismantle a family of
arguments suggested by M.G.F. Martin to the effect that a naïve
realist view of perceptual experience is inextricably wed to what I
call an austere relational view of the phenomenal character of
perceptual experience. Naïve realism is a two-part thesis
about the structure and phenomenology of perceptual experience: 1.
Perceptual experience is a relation to external, mind-independent
objects; 2. From the first-person perspective, perceptual experience
ostensibly provides a direct awareness of the objects we naïvely
take ourselves to be related to in perception. Austere
relationalism is the thesis that the phenomenal character of perception
– the first-personally accessible features of experience, the 'what its
like' of perception, if you will – consists solely in relations between
the mind and external, mind-independent objects. I show that Martin's
arguments for the connection between these two theses are
unsound. And I indicate how an aspect of the explanation of
phenomenal character found in standard versions of representationalism
(i.e., like those advocated by Dretske, Tye, and most clearly Lycan)
can maintain naïve realism while providing a more satisfactory
account of phenomenal character when it is placed under certain
constraints not typically endorsed by representationalists. This
latter project results in an explicit formulation of a relatively
neglected form of disjunctivism about perception that I call
intentional disjunctivism – a view which is prefigured in the
phenomenological theory of perception put forward by Edmund
Husserl. In this view, genuine perception as a different type of
activity from hallucination (and perhaps also illusion), which also has
a common intentional content with hallucination.
|May 22, 2010
|Husserl and Heidegger on Truth
does the logical
structure of propositions and assertions play in phenomenological
analyses of meaning and truth? After briefly considering
Husserl's position in the Logical Investigations and Formal and
Transcendental Logic, I examine Heidegger's critique of the
"propositional" conception of truth in
Being and Time and his attempt to replace it with a more "original" phenomenologically grounded "disclosive" or aletheiac conception. Through a discussion of Ernst Tugendhat's classic critique of Heidegger's own conception of truth, I conclude that Heidegger's attempt here is not entirely successful and that its partial failure points to a deeper and more original role for logos and language in phenomenology and fundamental ontology than Heidegger allows, at least in Being and Time itself.
|On the interpretation of the
|A central topic will be the noema, how to interpret Husserl's texts on the noema and the consequences the different interpretations have for the interpretation of other core elements in Husserl's phenomenology.|
|December 11, 2009
|December 11, 2009
(CSU Dominguez Hills)
|Heidegger's Aporetic Ontology of
|December 11, 2009
|Ronald McIntyre (CSU Northridge)||We-subjectivity' and Communal
||Walter Hopp (Boston College)||The New Representational Realism||abstract
According to Alva Noe and Susanna
Schellenberg, the contents of many perceptual experiences seem to be
incoherent. A penny viewed from an oblique angle looks round but also
looks elliptical, and a tree will look both the same size and larger
than another tree of the same size if the latter is farther away.
According to the Dual Content Theory, which both defend, this is
because perceptual experiences represent both intrinsic properties and
perspectival or situation-dependent properties. Perspectival
properties—or P-properties—are relational but objective features of
objects. The penny viewed from an oblique angle is intrinsically round
but relationally elliptical or “elliptical from here,” while the two
trees have the same intrinsic size but have different relational sizes.
I will argue that the Dual Content Theory is false. I examine several ways of understanding what spatial P-shapes and P-sizes are, and argue that they either lead to absurdities or describe properties that are not typically presented in perception. I also argue that the phenomena that the theory is designed to explain do not exist. Finally, I argue against the assumption that we must explain the inadequate or incomplete perception of something in terms of a two-step process involving the adequate perception of some other thing and a process of “going beyond” it.
|Trauma and Human Existence: The
Mutual Enrichment of Heidegger’s
Existential Analytic and a Psychoanalytic Understanding of Trauma
16-year period after having
the experience of a traumatic loss, I strove, in a series of articles
culminating in a book (Stolorow, 2007), to grasp and conceptualize the
essence of emotional trauma. Two interweaving central themes
crystallized in the course of this work. One pertains to the
context-embeddedness of emotional life in general and of the experience
of emotional trauma in particular. The other pertains to the
recognition that the possibility of emotional trauma is built into the
basic constitution of human existence.
In this paper I first explicate these two themes and show how Heidegger’s (1927) existential analytic can provide a philosophical grounding for them. Next I propose a synthesis of the two themes—trauma’s contextuality and its existentiality—from a perspective that I believe can encompass them both. Lastly I show how this broader perspective on trauma can enrich aspects of Heidegger’s existential analytic that concern “Being-with” (Mitsein), the existential structure underpinning relationality. Although Heidegger’s philosophy may in some respects be regarded as a forerunner of postmodern thought, this enriched conception of Mitsein will be shown to extend his existential analytic far beyond the moral relativism characteristic of postmodernism.
|Heidegger's translations of Logos: Rede, Sprache, Sage||abstract
show that the apparent turn
to language in Heidegger's later work needs to be understood on the
basis of a consistent view of the structure of logos and its function
in opening up a world. Heidegger's accounts of discourse (Rede),
language (Sprache), and saying (Sage) are each attempts to capture what
is essential about logos.
|The Role of Time-Consciousness in the Contemporary Consciousness Debate||abstract
stands to benefit from an understanding of Husserl's account of
time-consciousness, which holds that normal awareness includes an
awareness of the immediate past and future, in retentions and
protentions respectively. I will focus on two problems in that debate,
how to deal with the Grand Illusion worry, then how to account for the
behavior of sleepwalkers.
1) The Grand Illusion worry arises when experiential facts about perception seem irreconcilable with anatomical facts about perceptual organs. While I think I experience a certain level of color or shape detail in the periphery of my visual experience, I do not have the necessary density of rods and cones in the corresponding areas of my retina to account for that experience, thus, the Grand Illusion worry goes, my experience of that level of detail must be illusory. I argue that an understanding of time-consciousness can account for those experiential facts about perception, without making them illusory; I am aware of that level of detail thanks to my rententions and protentions of them.
2) Sleepwalkers who cannot recall their sleepwalking behavior present a problem. Such sleepwalkers seem to have time-consciousness, though they obviously lack normal consciousness. I'll argue, against the likes of Zahavi, that the sleepwalker has an impoverished form of time-consciousness, which accounts for the sleepwalker's lacking normal consciousness. I'll conclude with some speculations about how the structure of time-consciousness might help distinguish the various levels of consciousness.
|April 4-5, 2008. San Luis
Second Annual Meeting -- Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
|Thursday, March 20, 2008.
|Dagfin Føllesdal and Martin Schwab||on Language and Constitution|
|Sunday, January 27, 2008.
|The Unreliability of Naive Introspection||abstract
prone to gross error,
even in favorable circumstances of extended reflection, about our own
ongoing conscious experience, our current phenomenology. Even in
this apparently privileged domain, our self-knowledge is faulty and
untrustworthy. We are not simply fallible at the margins but
broadly inept. Examples highlighted in this essay include:
emotional experience (for example, is it entirely bodily; does joy have
a common, distinctive phenomenological core?), peripheral vision (how
broad and stable is the region of visual clarity?), and the
phenomenology of thought (does it have a distinctive phenomenology,
beyond just imagery and feelings?). Cartesian skeptical scenarios
undermine knowledge of ongoing conscious experience as well as
knowledge of the outside world. Infallible judgments about
ongoing mental states are simply banal cases of self-fulfillment.
Philosophical foundationalism supposing that we infer an external world
from secure knowledge of our own consciousness is almost exactly
|Introspective Availability of Intentional Content||abstract
philosophers have recently
been defending the thesis that there’s “something it’s like” to
consciously think a particular thought, which is qualitatively
different from what it’s like to be in any other kind of conscious
mental state and from what it’s like to think any other thought, and
which constitutes the thought’s intentional content. (I’ll call this
the “intentional phenomenology thesis”). One objection to this thesis
concerns the introspective availability of such content: If it is true
that intentional phenomenology is constitutive of intentional content,
and that conscious phenomenology is introspectively available, then it
ought to be true that the content of any concept consciously
entertained is introspectively available. But it is not. (For example,
one can know introspectively that one is thinking that one knows that p
without knowing introspectively what the content of the concept of
knowledge is.) Hence, it cannot be that intentional content is
constituted by cognitive phenomenology.
I develop three responses to this objection. First, it is not clear that all of the contents of consciousness must be equally available to introspection. The capacities for conscious experience and introspective attention to it are distinct. It is not implausible that the latter’s resolving power might be insufficient to discern all of the fine-grained details of the former, or that its scope might be limited. Second, it is possible that in cases of incomplete accessibility one is entertaining only part of the concept the relevant term expresses in one’s language. In the knowledge case, for example, perhaps one is thinking only that one has justified true belief that p (one’s self-attribution of a thought about knowledge is in fact false). Finally, in such cases one might be consciously entertaining only part of the relevant concept, the rest remaining unconscious, and so unavailable to conscious introspection. I conclude that the objection is not decisive against the intentional phenomenology thesis.
|June 2, 2007. San Luis Obispo,
The Phenomenology of Cognition -- A One Day Conference
|David Pitt, Joe Schear, Charles
Siewert, and Jeff Yoshimi
||Sven Bernecker (UC Irvine)||Causation and the Objects of Perception and Memory||abstract
of the talk is to clarify
the distinction between direct and indirect realism about perception
and memory and to argue against the widespread view that the causal
theory of perception and memory is incompatible with direct realism.
|Saturday, June 3, 2006. Irvine, CA.||Michelle Montague||Particularity in Perception||abstract
doubts that we perceive
particular objects—I see a particular desk in front of me, hear the
roar of a particular car engine and touch a particular apple. So
everyone accepts the following datum: we perceive particular objects.
It is also clear that it is part of the phenomenology of perception
that we perceive particular objects; it seems to us that we perceive
particular objects. I don’t think anyone doubts that either. So, we
have two pieces of data:  we perceive particular objects—call this
the metaphysical datum; and  it seems to us that we perceive
particular objects—call this the phenomenological datum. If everyone
agrees about the data, why is there any philosophical puzzle
surrounding the topic of the particularity of perception at all?
There are a host of arguments that attempt to show that the content of perception must be specified in wholly general terms, and that this is so even in the case of experiences that have the character of being experiences of particular thing. So, for example, in one’s perception of a book on the table, the content might be specified as ‘one has an experience as of a book with a certain character…’ The content is thus specified in terms of qualities shareable across experiences and in this sense this general. Qualitative properties such as color, shape and superficial texture are obvious candidates for specifying the content. There seem to be two distinct worries about taking perceptual content to be general:  content that is wholly general seems to flout the phenomenological datum that we seem to perceive particular objects;  If the content of perceptual experience can be specified in wholly general terms, then in what sense are we are aware of particular objects?
One attempt to account for the particularity of perception, while remaining a generalist about content, is in terms of external relations (e.g. causal or historical) between perceivers and external objects. But although this seems to account for the metaphysical datum—we perceive particular objects because particular objects cause our experiences—the phenomenological datum is left unexplained.
In this paper I will consider the following attempts at accounting for the phenomenological datum: [a] include a ‘sense’ of particularity explicitly in the content, i.e. that one is taking X as a particular—‘this very thing is particular’ (this seems consistent with a generalist view of content); [b] Evans’s and McDowell’s object-dependent senses; and [c] the idea that the content of perceptual experiences can only be specified relative to a context.
|Saturday, February 19, 2006. Los Angeles, CA.||Jeff Yoshimi
|Heideggerean Misreadings of Husserlian Phenomenology||abstract
that Heideggerrean critiques
of Husserl, including Heidegger's own, rest on a series of
equivocations and mistakes. (1) tacit beliefs and positings are
mistaken for explicitly framed beliefs and posits, (2) the natural
attitude is mistaken for a naturalistic attitude, (3) analysis of
abstract essences is taken to imply that human existence is abstract,
(4) the bracketing of the world is taken to imply an experience of the
world as bracketed, and (5) the absolute givenness of consciousness is
alleged to be a mere presupposition inherited from Descartes, when in
fact it is argued for on original phenomenological grounds. Other
topics will be covered as time permits.
|Saturday, October 15, 2005. Irvine, CA.||Jeff Ogle||Husserl's concept of Empathy from the Fifth Cartesian Meditation||abstract
supposed to explicate, at least in a preliminary way, the sense of the
entire objective world from the perspective of the transcendental ego.
Ostensibly, the point of such an explication is to ground the sciences
on as firm a base as possible. We find in the fifth meditation that, in
order to gain a sense of objectivity, and thus of the objective world,
we need a sense of otherness in general, and this comes to us initially
from the sense of another ego. We are then, if committed to this
Husserlian project, forced to work through the problem of how the sense
‘alter ego’ could be motivated, both in everyday life, and originally
in a primal instituting.
The latter kind of motivation poses many difficulties. To name two, one cannot have a fully developed sense of self, nor can one have a sense of one’s own body as something objective, before one has any conception of other egos. What is needed to make the primal institution of the sense ‘alter ego’ possible is some minimal conception of a self, explicitly as opposed to what I call pre-objects, recurrent objects that are not yet construed as existing in a public three-dimensional space. This indicates that some minimal conception of recurrent objects is needed as well. Once such minimal conceptions are in place, the primitive ego can both see its own body as such an object, and associate itself in a fundamental way with that body. The descriptions of the self and its pre-objects given in my paper go some way toward providing the minimal conceptions of self and object needed for Husserl’s project. Once the primitive ego is in possession of these conceptions, it can pair its body with some other pre-object in the environment, motivating an analogical apperception of that object AS an ego. This finally allows the ego to begin to develop a notion of what egos are like in general.
Because Husserl over-emphasizes the visual similarities that the ego might seize upon to motivate this pairing, and because the primitive ego cannot have a well-developed sense of what it looks like from an external perspective, I try to make his account more plausible by noting other similarities that the primitive ego would be in a position to appreciate, namely both kinematic and vocal similarities. Taken together, the descriptions and considerations provided in my paper aim to make the primal institution of the alter ego a more plausible achievement, and thus contribute to the overall aim of phenomenology, which is not only to clarify the sense of the objective world, as we currently possess it, but also to uncover, through a phenomenological archaeology, the genesis of this sense.
|Saturday, May 22, 2005. Los Angeles, CA.||Charles Siewert (UC Riverside)||In Favor of (Plain) Phenomenology||abstract
paper I describe and defend a
philosophical approach I call “plain phenomenology” to distinguish it
both from the “pure phenomenology” of Husserl, and from Daniel
Dennett’s “heterophenomenology.” In plain phenomenology one explains
theoretically salient mental or psychological distinctions with an
appeal to their first-person applications, but without requiring or
assuming (as does heterophenomenology) that whatever warrant is to be
had for such first-person judgment is derived from an explanatory
theory constructed from the third-person perspective. Discussions in
historical phenomenology can be treated as plain phenomenology in the
sense explained. This is illustrated by a critical discussion of
Brentano’s account of consciousness, drawing on some ideas in early
Husserl. I argue that Dennett’s advocacy of heterophenomenology on the
grounds of its supposed “neutrality” does not show it is preferable to
plain phenomenology, and that in fact the latter is more neutral in
ways we ought to want, and permits a desirable (and desirably critical)
use of first-person reflection that finds no place in the former.
|Sunday, February 27, 2005. Irvine, CA.||Martin Schwab
|Philosophy of Life in Husserl's Philosophy||abstract
discussion: 1. Start with an
intro into Philosophy of Life. Focus on Nietzsche as the earliest and
most influential representative. Readings: Will To Power excerpts,
Genealogy excerpt. 2. Focus in through a sketch of Dilthey's Philosophy
of Life. Readings: Dilthey excerpts. Heidegger on Yorck and Dilthey3.
Turn to Husserl. Discussion on Pholosophy of Life elements, focus on
Husserl's theory of time consciousness. Readings: The Phenomenology of
Internal Time Consciousness, §§8-13, 34-36. (not in the
excerpts; please bring your own text). Logical Investigations, Volume
2. Intro and §§1-3, pp. 81-85. Levinas excerpt. Possible
additional reading - not documented: Husserl on
"Weltanschauungsphilosophie" (i.e. Dilthey) in "Philosophy as Rigorous
Science." Husserl on 'Lebenswelt' in "Crisis." Heidegger on Husserl in
"Geschichte des Zeitbegriffes."
|Fulfillment and Perception in Husserl's Logical Investigations||abstract
|The Sixth Logical Investigation is Husserl's most complete account of the manner in which acts of meaning or thought are verified or fulfilled on the basis of corresponding intuitions, thereby laying hold of "the things themselves." According to Husserl, all knowledge whatsoever is ultimately grounded upon such acts of fulfillment. Moreover, the ideal of phenomenology as a purely descriptive, presuppositionless science, whose task is to ground our knowledge by consulting the things themselves, presupposes a sharp distinction between mere "theory" and the sorts of experiences in which the things themselves are given to consciousness, and given just as they themselves are. Nevertheless, Husserl's account is not entirely free of difficulties. In particular, there are fairly compelling textual and philosophical grounds for both asserting and denying that perceptual acts are acts of fulfillment. The purpose of the present discussion is to draw attention to some of these difficulties and, with your aid, to discuss some alternatives that respect Husserl's central insights.|
|Sunday, May 23,2004. UC Irvine.||Jason Ford
||Attention, Phenomenology, and the Self in Consciousness||abstract|
|What does phenomenology tell us about the role of the self in normal conscious experience? Husserl shows us that the awareness of an experience as belonging to the person whose experience it is (mine to me and yours to you) must be part of the experience itself, not a separate experience. David Smith, in The Circle of Acquaintance, calls this "the reflexive character of consciousness". I will show that David LaBerge's account of attention can be extended to accommodate and support those phenomenological results. In the process, I will explain LaBerge's model of attention as a triangular circuit, and his explanation of the more straightforward cases of self-awareness in conscious states where we are dividing our attention between the self-image and the other object of attention (whatever it might be). I will argue that we should extend LaBerge's model to cover all normal conscious experience, and then show how that can be done. I will consider some objections to my position (from those who favor Higher-Order models of consciousness). Finally, I will close with some remarks on methodology and integrating phenomenology and cognitive science.|
|Sunday, April 18,2004. UC Irvine.||Wayne Martin
|Fichte's Transcendental Phenomenology of Agency||abstract
|The paper, "Fichte's Transcendental Phenomenology of Agency" is (somewhat oddly) both in progress and in press. I wrote this version of it last summer for inclusion in a collaborative commentary dealing with Fichte's Sittenlehre -- the main ethical work of his Jena period. This explains several oddities: The essays in that collection will all appear in German, and this version of the paper was accordingly written to be sent to a professional translator who handled the preparation of the German version of the piece. I point this out mainly to excuse the odd inclusion here of some seemingly misplaced German words and sentences. These appear in places where I did not want to leave the translator with any uncertainty as to how particular terms were to be rendered. For the same reason I left the primary citations untranslated, although in this version of the piece I have included English translations. These translations are the collaborative product of the participants in the UCSD German Translation Workshop, to whom I owe thanks. Footnotes marked with letters indicate queries and uncertainties about our translation. Finally, this piece will be the lead article in that collection, and the editors specifically asked me to include certain biographical information, which accordingly appears here in section 1. The editors also imposed length restrictions, which explains the brevity of the piece. Enough about the oddities. The more important matters concern its status as Work In Progress. I think of this version as a very preliminary stab at issues I want to pursue further. At this point my hope is to produce a longer English version as a research article.|
|Sunday, October 19, 2003. Laguna Beach||Martin Schwab||Remarks on the Place of History in Later Husserl||abstract
|A discussion of history and historicism in later Husserl.|
|Saturday, June 14, 2003. UC Irvine||David Kasmier||Husserl's A Priorism and the Method of Free Variation||abstract
|Husserl's a priorism is usually ignored or maligned, yet it is both essential to the very possibility of phenomenology, as well as being by far the most comprehensive account of rational intuition provided in the 20th century. In the process of explicating the theory and its importance, I will present an interpretation of free variation that unifies it with Husserl's early work, and saves it from contemporary phenomenological critique.|
|Sunday, March 16th, 2003. Irvine, CA||Ryan Hickerson||Positive Facts About Intentionality: Why Brentano's Problem Wasn't Brentano's Problem, And What Was||abstract
paper considers contemporary (mis)-readings of
Brentano by philosophers of mind.
|Saturday December 14th, 2002. USC.||Dallas Willard
|Finding The Noema|
|Sunday, November 24th. 2002. CSU Northridge.||Ron McIntyre
|Discussion of Welton's "The Other Husserl"||abstract
and summaries -- not much argument or detail):
Introduction, pp. 1-10; Appendix, pp. 393-404; Ch. 1, pp. 21-24; Ch. 9,
pp. 246-256. Priority 2 (more detailed and controversial positions on
specific topics; listed by topics so that those of you who don't have
time for all can select): world and horizon, pp. 76-95;
perception and perceptual meaning, pp. 177-184; linguistic meaning, pp.
186-197; meaning and intentionality, pp. 205-210; evidence and the ego,
pp. 138-148, 279-282. Since Welton considers it a crucial text for his
interpretation, you might want to look at Husserl's "On Static and
Genetic Phenomenological Method," in Husserl, Analyses Concerning
Passive and Active Synthesis, pp. 624-648.
|August 3, 2002. UC San Diego||Jeff Yoshimi
|Husserl's Many Manifolds||abstract
|I begin the talk by doing some constructive work, setting up a framework within which Husserl’s various applications of set-theory can be situated. I then use this framework to (partially) formalize Husserl’s notions of (1) internal horizon, (2) regional ontology and free variation, (3) motivational systems, (4) fulfillment, and (5) noesis-noema correlation. The last item (5) draws some secondary literature into the mix, and shows how controversies concerning the noema are clarified in a set-theoretic framework. Having unearthed what I take to be a new stratum of Husserl’s thought, I end by considering this “other Husserl” on his own and vis-à-vis contemporary work in philosophy and cognitive science. The problem of how Husserl could apply mathematical concepts to phenomenology in light of the fact the he did not want to “mathematize” experience is given special consideration.|
|Sunday, June 2, 2002. UC Irvine.||David Woodruff Smith
|The Logical Investigations as a System||abstract
be Husserl's Logical Investigations and my overall
interpretation of Husserl's philosophical system. I've a short version
of my overview of LI, as well as an outline of the book on Husserl that
I'll be writing for a new series called The Routledge Philosophers.