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Husserl's theory of the mental

Thomas Nenon

pp. 223-235


The organization of the text in Husserl's Ideas II is notoriously difficult to follow. In its focus and in its method of procedure, it shifts back and forth from one attitude to another, from the practical to the theoretical and back again, the transcendental to the mundane, the naturalistic to the personalistic, and the scientific to the everyday. Furthermore, it exhibits a recurring tendency to double back and fill in something that the reader thought had already been established, and then in other places seems to make assumptions that cannot be justified at the level of analysis on which the chapter purports to operate. The text is occasionally repetitive, often sketchy, and sometimes, it seems, simply contradictory. In this paper, I would like to examine two examples of such problems, one at the beginning of the Second Section, and one at the beginning of the Third and explain why the place they have in the text is appropriate after all and why the appearance of contradiction, at least in these cases, is an illusion. In each case, the issue concerns the status of mental events—one in the naturalistic and the other in the personalistic attitude—so that a few reflections upon these passages may also contribute to a better understanding of Husserl' s view of the mental in general.

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