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Husserl and externalism

Abstract

It is argued that Husserl was an “externalist” in at least one sense. For it is argued that Husserl held that genuinely perceptual experiences—that is to say, experiences that are of some real object in the world—differ intrinsically, essentially and as a kind from any hallucinatory experiences. There is, therefore, no neutral “content” that such perceptual experiences share with hallucinations, differing from them only over whether some additional non-psychological condition holds or not. In short, it is argued that Husserl was a “disjunctivist”. In addition, it is argued that Husserl held that the individual object of any experience, perceptual or hallucinatory, is essential to and partly constitutive of that experience. The argument focuses on three aspects of Husserl’s thought: his account of intentional objects, his notion of horizon, and his account of reality.

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Correspondence to A. David Smith.

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Smith, A.D. Husserl and externalism. Synthese 160, 313–333 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-006-9082-4

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Keywords

  • Husserl
  • Externalism
  • Disjunctivism
  • Reality
  • Horizon
  • Intentionality