Phenomenologizing Epistemology: Essays in Husserlian Philosophy
AuthorLarsen, Tarjei Mandt
The general aim of the three essays that make up the substance of the dissertation is to contribute to the assessment of Husserl’s epistemology, which has received relatively little attention in the Husserlian renaissance of recent years. Their upshot is a critical one, in that I find reason to question important aspects of both Husserl’s metaepistemology and his substantive epistemology. Husserl’s main metaepistemological claim is that epistemology is possible only as phenomenology. And his arguably most important argument for this claim, the transcendence argument, as I propose to call it, is that the “problem of transcendence”, which Husserl regards as the central problem of epistemology, by its nature entails methodological requirements that phenomenology alone can satisfy. In the first essay, “Husserl’s Riddle of Cognition”, I seek to clarify Husserl’s problem of transcendence. I argue that it must, ultimately, be specified as the problem of the possibility of defeasible cognition, and that this, when combined with the transcendence argument, commits him to an arguably unsustainable view of epistemological cognition, on which it must be indefeasible. In the second essay, “Husserl’s Argument from the Problem of Transcendence”, I proceed to clarify the basic structure of the transcendence argument itself, and evaluate its most decisive step, the claim that any attempt to solve the problem of transcendence requires performance of an “epistemological reduction”. Arguing that Husserl’s support for this step is less than compelling, I conclude that there is reason to think that the argument fails. Should Husserl’s main metaepistemological claim turn out to be unsustainable, it need not follow that all the considerations that make up his substantive epistemology would be too. In the essay “Perceptual Givenness and Justification in Husserl”, I pose a challenge to Husserl’s view of the epistemic role of perception that is independent of the fate of his metaepistemology. Specifically, I suggest that Husserl’s view of perceptual justification is in tension with his basic conception of epistemic justification, and hence that at least one of these must be rejected or revised.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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