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Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 25, 2000

James R. Mensch
Pages 231-260

An Objective Phenomenology
Husserl Sees Colors

This paper proposes an explanatory bridge between structures of processing and qualia. It shows how the process of their arising is such that qualia are nonpublic objects, i.e., are only accessible to the person experiencing them. My basic premise is that the subjective “felt” character of qualia is a function of this first-person character. The account I provide is basically Husserlian. Thus, I use Husserl’s analyses to show why qualia always refer to a single point of view, that of a subjective “center” of experience. The very processes that set up this center yield qualia in their first-person quality. These processes involve the temporal sequencing of experience in the perspectivally arranged patterns that center experience about a given “here.” They also include the processes of retention and protention that center it about a given “now.” The paper concludes with a discussion of the ontological status of qualia.

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