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Studia Phaenomenologica

Volume 12, 2012

Possibilities of Embodiment

Vittorio De Palma
Pages 331-357

Die Phänomenologie als radikaler Empirismus

This paper tries to show that Husserl’s phenomenology can be considered as a form of radical empiricism in the sense of James, since it holds—like traditional empiricism—that sensuous experience is the foundation and the source of justifi cation of knowledge, but—in contrast with traditional empiricism—it holds that there are relations, which are given in the sensuous experience just as well contents. Reality is sensuous and the structure of reality is equally sensuous. By an analysis of the concepts of the sensuous relation, of the material a priori, and of association, it is showed that Husserl—in contrast with transcendentalism—confers a normative role to the peculiarity of sensuous contents, which determines their objective connections and also the structure of the world before the intellectual activities of the subject. At the same time, it is pointed out that Husserl has never entirely gotten over the Cartesian psychologism of Brentano and of traditional empiricism, that leads him to consider only the immanent as properly present. Finally, the paper discusses Husserl’s concept of the life-world, which originates from Avenarius’ idea of the natural concept of the world, and his position regarding the relation between experience and science.

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