The epistemological foundation of transcendental phenomenology : Husserl and the problem of knowledge
Bachyrycz, David John.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Georgetown University, 2009.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. The goal of this dissertation is to provide an account of Edmund Husserl's epistemology and its place within his phenomenology up through the publication of Ideas I in 1913. It represents a challenge to the view that Husserl is a Cartesian epistemologist seeking to safeguard the foundations of theoretical knowledge from the challenge of skepticism. Instead, I argue that Husserl aims to provide a transcendental clarification of knowledge understood as particular kind of intentional performance. The animating question of Husserl's theory of knowledge is not whether the achievement of objective knowledge is possible for an experiencing subject, but how it is possible.; I begin by examining Husserl's earliest attempt at a general theory of knowledge in the First Edition of the Logical Investigations, which I argue should be understood in broadly Kantian terms, as a project of disclosing the conditions for possibility of knowledge by way of a phenomenological investigation of intentional consciousness. I next look at how Husserl articulates his analysis of knowledge on the basis of the cardinal phenomenological distinction between empty and fulfilled intentions. I trace the development of this distinction from Husserl's earliest pre-phenomenological work in the philosophy of mathematics to its appearance in the Logical Investigations, first in the context of language (Investigation One) and then in the context of the theory of knowledge itself (Investigation Six). This enables us to see how the clarification of a remarkable and pervasive feature of conscious life--the dynamic interplay between empty and fulfilled intentions--is the true, distinctly phenomenological motivation behind Husserl's early theory of knowledge. Finally, I argue that Husserl's epistemology after the so-called "transcendental turn" is largely in keeping with that of the Logical Investigations, despite whatever other differences there may be between the two periods. I do so by showing how many of the developments of Ideas I draw on resources more or less explicit in the Investigations, thereby allowing us to view the later work as enriching and extending, rather than fundamentally altering, the course of phenomenological philosophy.
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