Act psychology and phenomenology
Husserl on egoic acts
Husserl famously retracted his early portrayal, in Logische Untersuchungen, of phenomenology as empirical psychology. Previous scholarship has typically understood this transcendental turn in light of the Ideen’s revised conception of the ἐποχή, and its distinction between noesa and noemata. This essay thematizes the evolution of the concept of mental acts in Husserl’s work as a way of understanding the shift. I show how the recognition of the pure ego in Ideen I and II enabled Husserl to radically alter his conception of mental acts, coming to understand them all in terms of genuine acts (doings or performances) in a way that had been essentially precluded for descriptive psychologists (Brentano, Natorp, and the early Husserl) so long as the pure ego was denied. This reading challenges a widespread assumption in the secondary literature that “mental act” is a merely technical term or misnomer.
Sheredos, B. (2017). Act psychology and phenomenology: Husserl on egoic acts. Husserl Studies 33 (3), pp. 191-209.
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