Husserl Studies

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 25–45 | Cite as

Perceptual Error, Conjunctivism, and Husserl

  • Søren OvergaardEmail author


Claude Romano (2012) and Andrea Staiti (2015) have recently discussed Husserl’s account of perception in relation to debates in current analytic philosophy between so-called “conjunctivists” and “disjunctivists”. Romano and Staiti offer strikingly different accounts of the nature of illusion and hallucination, and opposing readings of Husserl. Romano thinks hallucinations and illusions are fleeting, fragile phenomena, while Staiti claims they are inherently retrospective phenomena. Romano reads Husserl as being committed to a form of conjunctivism that Romano rejects in favour of a version of disjunctivism. Staiti, by contrast, claims that, from a Husserlian viewpoint, conjunctivism and disjunctivism are equally untenable. I suggest that both Romano and Staiti offer implausible accounts of illusions and hallucinations, and deliver premature verdicts on Husserl in relation to the analytic debates on perception.


  1. Aristotle (1984). The complete works of Aristotle, Volume One. J. Barnes (Ed.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Austin, J. L. (1962). Sense and sensibilia. G. J. Warnock (Ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Berendzen, J. C. (2013). Disjunctivism and perceptual knowledge in Merleau-Ponty and McDowell. Res Philosophica, 91(3), 1–26.Google Scholar
  4. Brewer, B. (2011). Perception and its objects. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Drummond, J. J. (2012). Intentionality without representationalism. In D. Zahavi (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Phenomenology (pp. 115–133). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Hopp, W. (2011). Perception and knowledge: A phenomenological account. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hua III/1. Husserl, E. (1976). Ideen zu einer reinen Phänomenologie und phänomenologischen Philosophie. Erstes Buch. K. Schuhmann (Ed.). The Hague: Nijhoff. Ideas pertaining to a pure phenomenology and to a phenomenological philosophy. First book. F. Kersten (Trans.). The Hague: Nijhoff, 1983.Google Scholar
  8. Hua VI. Husserl, E. (1976). Die Krisis der europäischen Wissenschaften und die transzendentale Phänomenologie. W. Biemel (Ed.). The Hague: Nijhoff.Google Scholar
  9. Hua VII. Husserl, E. (1956). Erste Philosophie (1923/24). Erster Teil: Kritische Ideengeschichte. R. Boehm (Ed.). The Hague: Nijhoff.Google Scholar
  10. Hua VIII. Husserl, E. (1959). Erste Philosophie (1923/24). Zweiter Teil: Theorie der phänomenologischen Reduktion. R. Boehm (Ed.). The Hague: Nijhoff.Google Scholar
  11. Hua IX. Husserl, E. (1962). Phänomenologische Psychologie: Vorlesungen Sommersemester 1925. W. Biemel (Ed.). The Hague: Nijhoff.Google Scholar
  12. Hua XI. Husserl, E. (1966). Analysen zur passiven Synthesis. M. Fleischer (Ed.). The Hague: Nijhoff; Analyses concerning passive and active synthesis. A. J. Steinbock (Trans.). Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2001.Google Scholar
  13. Hua XVI. Husserl, E. (1973). Ding und Raum: Vorlesungen 1907. U. Claesges (Ed.). The Hague: Nijhoff; Thing and space: Lectures of 1907. R. Rojcewicz (Trans.). Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1997.Google Scholar
  14. Hua XVII. Husserl, E. (1974). Formale und transzendentale Logik. P. Janssen (Ed.). The Hague: Nijhoff.Google Scholar
  15. Hua XIX/1. Husserl, E. (1984). Logische Untersuchungen. Zweiter Band. Erster Teil. U. Panzer (Ed.). The Hague: Nijhoff; Logical investigations. Volume II. J. N. Findlay (Trans.). London: Routledge 2001.Google Scholar
  16. Husserl, E. (1999). Erfahrung und Urteil: Untersuchungen zur Genealogie der Logik. 7th Reprinting. L. Landgrebe (Ed.). Hamburg: Felix Meiner Verlag, 1999; Experience and judgment: Investigations in a genealogy of logic. J. S. Churchill and K. Ameriks (Trans.). London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973.Google Scholar
  17. Jensen, R. T. (2013). Merleau-Ponty and McDowell on the transparency of the mind. International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 21, 470–492.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Johnston, M. (2006). Better than mere knowledge? The function of sensory awareness. In T. S. Gendler & J. Hawthorne (Eds.), Perceptual experience (pp. 260–290). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Martin, M. G. F. (2002). The transparency of experience. Mind and Language, 17, 376–425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Merleau-Ponty, M. (2012). Phenomenology of perception. D. Landes (Trans.). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  21. Overgaard, S. (2012). Disjunctivism and the urgency of scepticism. In M. Willaschek (Ed.), Disjunctivism: Disjunctive accounts in epistemology and in the philosophy of perception (pp. 86–102). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  22. Overgaard, S. (2013). Motivating disjunctivism. Husserl Studies, 29, 51–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Parnas, J., & Henriksen, M. G. (2016). Mysticism and schizophrenia: A phenomenological exploration of the structure of consciousness in the schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Consciousness and Cognition, 43, 75–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Riccardi, M. (2016). Max Scheler, cousin of disjunctivism. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 15, 443–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Robinson, H. (1994). Perception. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Romano, C. (2011). Challenging the transcendental position: The holism of experience. Continental Philosophy Review, 44, 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Romano, C. (2012). Must phenomenology remain Cartesian? Continental Philosophy Review, 45, 425–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Russell, B. (1917). Knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description. In Mysticism and logic (pp. 209–232). London: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  29. Sacks, O. (2012). Hallucinations. London: Picador.Google Scholar
  30. Searle, J. R. (1983). Intentionality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Smith, A. D. (2002). The problem of perception. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Smith, A. D. (2008). Husserl and externalism. Synthese, 160, 313–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Smith, D. W. (2012). Perception, context, and direct realism. In D. Zahavi (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of contemporary phenomenology (pp. 134–157). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Soldati, G. (2012). Epistemology. In S. Luft & S. Overgaard (Eds.), The Routledge companion to phenomenology (pp. 384–393). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  35. Staiti, A. (2015). On Husserl’s alleged cartesianism and conjunctivism: A critical reply to Claude Romano. Husserl Studies, 31, 123–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Zahavi, D. (2017). Husserl’s legacy: Phenomenology, metaphysics, and transcendental philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Media, Cognition and Communication, Centre for Subjectivity Research and Philosophy SectionUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagen SDenmark

Personalised recommendations