Intellectual and Ethical Inhibition: A Meeting of Pragmatism and Phenomenology
In Josiah Royce’s 1902 address to the American Psychological Association, he became the first to discuss Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology in the English language. This chapter focuses on this address and a theme suggested therein by Royce—on inhibition, self-limitation, and passivity as preceding and making possible functional activity. Inhibition grounds human knowledge and activity, as manifested in the classification begun by the ancient human practice of taboo, but extending to higher-order inhibitory processes discoverable in psychology, logic, mathematics, and empirical phenomena. Here we may find fruitful relations to Husserl’s concept of ‘noema’ and ‘eidos’, of meanings-as-such and essences as discovered through inhibitory limitation, to the shared importance of intersubjectivity in pragmatism and phenomenology, and to the possibility of interdisciplinary conversation among philosophy, mathematics, psychology, and history.