A HUSSERLIAN THEORY OF PERCEPTUAL CONSTITUTION
These discussions deal with a number of themes which have been important for the development of analytic philosophy and phenomenology in the 20th century. The first chapter centers on the work of Gottlob Frege, tracing his construction of a new method for analyzing sentences from the primitive notions of sign, identity, content and reference, to the functional analysis of language. Two important features of this method of analysis are stressed, the concept-object distinction and the introduction of quantifiers as a way of expressing generality. In the second chapter Husserl's views in Logical Investigations are explicated and analyzed. These efforts demonstrate that Husserl develops a theory of concepts which is the experiential counterpart of Frege's functional analysis of language. This theory of concepts is seen to be an important precursor to Husserl's later and more famous doctrine of essences. The third and fourth chapters offer alternatives to the interpretation of Husserl developed earlier. Aron Gurwitsch's appeal to Gestalt theory is examined as a way of applying Husserl's insights to perception. Gurwitsch's attempt to give a Husserlian theory of perception based on psychology's rejection of the constancy hypothesis fails because he cannot account for the development of our knowledge of the world from the information contained in perceptual experience. Jaakko Hintikka's interpretation of Husserl from the perspective of possible worlds semantics is considered next. This alternative accounts for some difficulties in the expression of Husserlian acts, but violates the requirements of Husserl's theory by importing existential commitments with its use of an objectual quantifier. The final chapter suggests a novel way of understanding Husserl's views on perception by appealing to the use of substitutional quantifiers, which carry no existential commitment, to express the content of phenomenological acts. The justification for this move is found in the Frege-Husserl theory of concepts and objects developed earlier in the thesis.
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