Transcendental Phenomenology and Unobservable Entities

Open access

Abstract

Can phenomenologists allow for the existence of unobservable entities such as atoms, electrons, and quarks? Can we justifiably believe in the existence of entities that are in principle unobservable? This paper addresses the relationship between Husserlian transcendental phenomenology and scientific realism. More precisely, the focus is on the question of whether there are basic epistemological principles phenomenologists are committed to that have anti-realist consequences with respect to unobservable entities. This question is relevant since Husserl’s basic epistemological principles, such as the “principle of all principles,” seem to suggest that epistemic justification is limited to what can be originally given in the sense that if an object cannot be given in an originary presentive intuition, then one cannot be justified in believing that this object exists. It is the main aim of this paper to show (i) that interpretative reasons exist for not reading Husserl in such a way and (ii) that systematic reasons exist as to why phenomenologists should not subscribe to this criterion. I shall put forward a different criterion of justification that satisfies the spirit of Husserlian transcendental phenomenology and allows for justifiably believing in the existence of unobservable scientific entities.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Berghofer Philipp (2017a): “Why Husserl is a Moderate Foundationalist” Husserl Studies https://doi.org/10.1007/s10743-017-9213-4.

  • Berghofer Philipp (2017b): “Ontic structural realism and quantum field theory: Are there intrinsic properties at the most fundamental level of reality?” Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.shpsb.2017.09.003.

  • Erhard Christopher (2012): “Husserls moderater empirischer Fundamentalismus und das Verhältnis zwischen Phänomenologie Ontologie und Metaphysik. Kommentar zu Christian Beyer.” in Welt der Gründe ed. Julian Nida-Rümelin & Elif Özmen 31-47. Hamburg: Meiner.

  • Heelan Patrick (1987): “Husserl’s Later Philosophy of Natural Science” Philosophy of Science 54 3 368-390.

  • Heffernan George (1998): “Miscellaneous Lucubrations on Husserl’s Answer to the Question ‘was die Evidenz sei’: A

  • Contribution to the Phenomenology of Evidence on the Occasion of the Publication of Husserliana Volume XXX” Husserl Studies 15 1-75.

  • Hobson Art (2013): “There are no particles there are only fields” Am. J. Phys. 81 211-223.

  • Husserl Edmund (2008): Introduction to Logic and Theory of Knowledge: Lectures 1906/07 transl. by Claire Ortiz Hill Dordrecht: Springer.

  • Husserl Edmund (1982): Ideas pertaining to a pure phenomenology and to a phenomenological philosophy First book transl. by Fred Kersten The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff.

  • Husserl Edmund (1970): The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology transl. by David Carr Evanston: Northwestern University Press.

  • Husserl Edmund (1969): Formal and Transcendental Logic transl. by Dorion Cairns The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff.

  • Husserl Edmund (1960): Cartesian Meditations transl. by Dorion Cairns The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff.

  • Krueger Joel & Overgaard Soren (2012): “Seeing subjectivity: Defending a perceptual account of other minds” in Consciousness and Subjectivity ed. S. Miguens and G. Preyer 239-262. Heusenstamm: Ontos.

  • Lerner Rosemary (2015): “Mathesis Universalis and the Life-World: Finitude and Responsibility” in The Phenomenological Critique of Mathematisation and the Question of Responsibility ed. L’ubica Učník Ivan Chvatík and Anita Williams 155-174. Cham: Springer.

  • Luft Sebastian (2004): “Husserl’s Theory of the Phenomenological Reduction: Between Life-World and Cartesianism” Research in Phenomenology 34 198-234.

  • McKenzie Kerry (2017): “Ontic Structural Realism” Philosophy Compass https://doi.org/10.1111/phc3.12399.

  • Moran Dermot (2015): “Everydayness Historicity and the World of Science: Husserl’s Life-World Reconsidered” in The Phenomenological Critique of Mathematisation and the Question of Responsibility ed. L’ubica Učník Ivan Chvatík and Anita Williams 107-131. Cham: Springer.

  • Reynolds Jack (2017): Phenomenology Naturalism and Science: A Hybrid and Heretical Proposal New York: Routledge.

  • Rinofner-Kreidl Sonja (2015): “Mereological Foundation vs. Supervenience? A Husserlian Proposal to Re-Think Moral Supervenience in Robert Audi’s Ethical Intuitionism” Metodo. International Studies in Phenomenology and Philosophy 3 2 81-124.

  • Smith Joel (2010): “Seeing Other People” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 3 731-748.

  • Soffer Gail (1990): “Phenomenology and Scientific Realism: Husserl’s Critique of Galileo” The Review of Metaphysics 44 1 67-94.

  • Spaulding Shannon (2015): “On Direct Social Perception” Consciousness and Cognition 36 472-482.

  • Učník L’ubica with Ivan Chvatík and Anita Williams (ed.) (2015): The Phenomenological Critique of Mathematisation and the

  • Question of Responsibility Cham: Springer. Vallor Shannon (2009): “The Pregnancy of the Real: A Phenomenological Defense of Experimental Realism” Inquiry 52 1 1-25.

  • Wiltsche Harald (2017): “Science Realism and Correlationism. A Phenomenological Critique of Meillasoux’ Argument from Ancestrality” European Journal of Philosophy 25 3 808-832.

  • Wiltsche Harald (2012): “What is Wrong with Husserl’s Scientific Anti-Realism?” Inquiry 55 2 105-130.

Search
Journal information
Metrics
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 471 316 14
PDF Downloads 273 182 13