16 Dec 2008

Husserl Ideas §55 Conclusion: All Reality Existent by Virtue of "Sense-bestowal." Not a "Subjective Idealism," summary


by Corry Shores
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"All real unities are 'unities of sense'" that presuppose a sense-bestowing consciousness which "exists absolutely and not by virtue of another sense-bestowal" (128-129). Reality and world are merely names for "certain valid unities of sense" that are "related to certain concatenations of absolute, of pure consciousness, by virtue of their essence, bestow sense and demonstrate sense-validity precisely thus and not otherwise" (128b).

Those who might accuse Husserl of Berkeleyan idealism have misunderstood him. Husserl takes "nothing away from the fully valid being of the world as the all of realities" (128bc). Husserl does not reinterpret nor deny real actuality, but rather sees it from a less naive perspective (128c). He merely recognizes that absolute consciousness bestows the world with "sense" and that pure consciousness may be studied so to produce findings of "the highest scientific dignity," which Husserl will provide in the forgoing (128-129).

Husserl concludes that the universality that absolute consciousness gives the natural world is not objectionable; he emphasizes instead that phenomenology will provide its own valuable universal statements (129b). Husserl does not aim to create a new theory of knowledge, rather he wants to shed light on transcendentally pure consciousness, which remains as residuum after performing the phenomenological reduction (129c).


Husserl, Edmund. Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and to a Phenomenological Philosophy, First Book. General Introduction to a Pure Phenomenology. Transl. Fred Kersten. The Hague: Nijhoff, 1982.

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