Noemata Senses, and Meanings

  • John J. Drummond
Part of the Contributions to Phenomenology book series (CTPH, volume 4)


Previous chapters have argued for an interpretation of the concrete noema of an act as the object intended in that act just as it is intended. It was further argued that (i) this object is an identical objectivity presenting itself in a manifold of noematic phases, including the correlates of the momentary impressional phase and the phases horizonally (retentively and protentively, i.e. associatively) intended in the momentary phase. The horizonally intended phases can be brought to actual presence in the reproduction of prior phases and the generation of new phases through the temporal extension of the act As such, the object is intended both (concretely) in and (horizonally) through the noema. Consequently, (ii) the noema is neither ontologically distinct from the object nor simply identical with it. The noema is the object abstractly considered in its presentation to a conscious experience, i.e. as the objective correlate of that experience, as the object’s significance for a knowing subject. Therefore, (iii) the noema is both the intended object just as intended and the objective sense of the experience.


Intentional Object Intentional Content Logical Objectivity Intended Object Objective Sense 
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  1. 2.
    For similar but lengthier accounts of the judgmental noema, cf. Sokolowski, Husserlian Meditations, §§12–15; Presence and Absence, chs. 6–9; and “Intentional Analysis and the Noema,” Diabetica 38 (1984): 113–29. That this is Husserl’s view of the relation between the judged objectivity and the proposition is confirmed by his generalization of the possibility inherent in all experience of turning our attention away from the objectivity straightforwardly experienced to the experienced objectivity precisely as experienced, a possibility which underlies our ability to distinguish appearances from reality, falsity from truth, and, in general, to criticize and evaluate our views (FTL, §50).Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Sokolowski, Presence and Absence, chs. 8 and 9, esp. pp. 94–98.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    Mohanty, Husserl and Frege, pp. 62–69.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    Mohanty, Husserl and Frege, pp. 112–16. Cf. also Mohanty “Intentionality and noema,” The Possibility of Transcendental Philosophy (Dordrecht, Boston, and Lancaster: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1985), p. 19: “A Fregean reading of Husserl I reject, but a Husserlian reading of Frege is what I espouse.” Nevertheless, as we shall see, Mohanty is somewhat sympathetic to the Fregean interpretation of Husserl on the particular issue of the noema.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 8.
    Mohanty, Husserl and Frege, p. 70.Google Scholar
  6. 9.
    Mohanty, Husserl and Frege, p. 71.Google Scholar
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    Mohanty, Husserl and Frege, p. 72.Google Scholar
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    Mohanty, Husserl and Frege, p. 79.Google Scholar
  9. 14.
    Cf. supra, §§9–10.Google Scholar
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    Cf. supra, §13.Google Scholar
  11. 16.
    Donn Welton, The Origins of Meaning, §§4.1, 5.4, 6.4 and chap. 7. After I wrote these sections, Mary Jeanne Larrabee’s “The noema in Husserl’s phenomenology” [Husserl Studies 3 (1986): 209–30] appeared. Larrabee takes a similar approach, and while I can agree with much of what she claims, esp. (1) that “neither Sinn nor noema … should be immediately identified with linguistic or conceptual meaning” (211), and (2) “that between the perceived object and its properties, on the one hand, and the noema with its noematic Sinn and its predicates, on the other, there is an identity, but also a difference,” which difference “stems from the change in attitude called the phenomenological epoché” (216), I cannot agree when she claims:Google Scholar
  12. … if we are discussing perception, then the noema is the “perceived object”—both as it is presently perceived and as a self-identical object. On the other hand, if we are discussing judgemental activity, the noema is the judgement as the correlate of judging, but is not the object or state of affairs judged about. For Husserl, then, in the terminology of linguistic philosophy, perception is referentially transparent and judgement is referentially opaque (227).Google Scholar
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    Welton, The Origins of Meaning, p. 126.Google Scholar
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    Welton, The Origins of Meaning, p.200; my emphases. Cf. also p. 209: “[Husserls’s] characterization of the Anschauungssinn is one which moves toward an integration of it with the concrete appearances of the object.”Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • John J. Drummond
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyMount Saint Mary’s CollegeEmmitsburgUSA

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