Husserl on reason, reflection, and attention

Hanne Jacobs

pp. 257-276

This paper spells out Husserl’s account of the exercise of rationality and shows how it is tied to the capacity for critical reflection. I first discuss Husserl’s views on what rationally constrains our intentionality (section 1). Then I localize the exercise of rationality in the positing that characterizes attentive forms of intentionality and argue that, on Husserl’s account, when we are attentive to something we are also pre-reflectively aware of what speaks for and against our taking something to be a certain way (section 2). After discussing the conditions under which this pre-reflective awareness gives way to reflective deliberation (section 3), I contrast this account to a compelling Kantian-inspired account of the activity of reason that has recently been developed by Matthew Boyle (section 4). In particular, I argue that Husserl delimits the scope of the exercise of rationality differently than Boyle, and I show how this implies different accounts of the self.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1163/15691640-12341338

Full citation:

Jacobs, H. (2012). Husserl on reason, reflection, and attention. Research in Phenomenology 42 (2), pp. 257-276.

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