Objectifying and Nonobjectifying Acts

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This chapter examines the distinction between objectifying and non-objectifying acts. The latter, in reacting to the objects presented in objectifying acts, reveal further, nonmaterial determinations of objects, most notably, the value of the objects or states of affairs presented, which values, in turn, motivate desires and choices. The chapter explores the distinction and relations among the three classes of experience (logical-cognitive or intellective, evaluative, and practical) in order to reveal how Husserl tried to navigate between two theories of reason, a pure intellectualism on the one hand and a pure emotivism on the other, and how these two views of reason affected Husserl’s accounts of the three domains of reason (logical-intellective, axiological, and practical), each with its own form of justification. Husserl envisioned these three domains of reason in a determinate relationship: axiological reason is grounded in and dependent upon logical-cognitive reason, and practical reason is grounded in and dependent upon axiological reason.

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The aim of this chapter will be to reconsider a central aspect of Husserl’s analysis of the experiencing subject that many subsequent phenomenologists have regarded as unfounded: namely, his claim that a non-mundane ego-structure can be ascertained as pervading the life of consciousness as it is thematised in phenomenological reflection. Drawing not only upon Husserl’s best known presentation of this view in Ideen I, but also the critical edition of Ideen II, as well as Vorlesungen zur Phänomenologie des inneren Zeitbewusstseins and the recently published Studien zur Struktur des Bewusstseins, I will argue that Husserl’s phenomenological account of the pure ego is supported and further articulated by the results of his concrete analyses of time-consciousness, attentive engagement, and emotional valuing. Beginning with the pure ego will not only enable us to make explicit the methodological context of Husserl’s analysis of empathy and the self. Getting a clear grip on the presence of the pure ego within conscious experience – and its intimate relationship to self-consciousness – will also allow us, in the chapters that follow, to elucidate the variety of foreign subjectivity manifest in various forms of empathy, as well as to ultimately appreciate the specificity of the personal self.
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In this paper, I sketch an account of emotion that is based on a close analogy with a Husserlian account of perception. I also make use of the approach that I have limned, viz., to articulate a view of the kind of “conflict without contradiction” (CWC) which may obtain between a recalcitrant emotion and a judgment. My main contention is that CWC can be accounted for by appeal to the rationality of perception and emotion, conceived as responsiveness to experiential evidence. The conflicts in question can be regarded as obtaining between different strands of evidence, and our perceptual and emotional experiences can be thus conflicted even among themselves, not only in the special case of a conflict with a judgment.
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