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James and Husserl

the horizon as a psychological and a philosophical theme

Saulius Geniusas

pp. 41-54

The fundamental goal of this chapter is to answer the question, in which sense is the horizon a specifically philosophical notion and a specifically philosophical theme. With this in mind, the chapter examines how Husserl's notion of the horizon derives from James' analysis of the halo, background, and fringe of consciousness. I argue that Husserl is to be considered the founder of the horizon-problematic in philosophy, yet not because he was the first to have thematized the phenomenon of the horizon. James had already done so at a great depth. The significance of Husserl's analyses consists in having depsychologized the horizon-problematic and in having disclosed its transcendental dimensions. Thus, as a philosophical notion and a philosophical theme, the horizon is irreducibly transcendental. The single most significant philosophical upshot of such a transformation consists in eliminating arbitrariness that is entrenched in James' notion of the fringe of consciousness. Far from compromising the phenomenon's objective sense, the subject-relativity of the horizon is what allows one to identify and secure the phenomenon's objective significance.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-4644-2_3

Full citation:

Geniusas, S. (2012). James and Husserl: the horizon as a psychological and a philosophical theme, in The origins of the horizon in Husserl's phenomenology, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 41-54.

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