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Positionality and Consciousness in Husserl’s Ideas I

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In this paper I argue that in Husserl’s Ideas I (1913) there is a seeming contradiction between the characterization of pure consciousness as the residue of the performance of the phenomenological reduction and the claim that in the natural attitude consciousness is taken to be an entity is the world. This creates a puzzle regarding the positional status of consciousness in the natural attitude. After reviewing some possible options to solve this puzzle in the existing literature, I claim that the positional status of conscious experiences in the natural attitude is best characterized as unsettled. The act that settles the positional status of conscious experiences (i.e. our manifold Erlebnisse) is reflection. In reflection, experiences are posited as beings, either in a psychological or in a phenomenological key. I conclude by arguing that the problem of positing is of paramount importance to understand correctly Husserl’s claim that phenomenology is voraussetzungslos.

Affiliations: 1: Boston College


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