Apperception, the influence of culture, and interracial humor
Recent discussions of passive synthesis and genetic and generative phenomenology have revealed a very different Edmund Husserl than the standard one—a new Husserl much more aware of how, prior to reflection and beneath the control of the ego, experiences, and aspects of experience are synthesized in us and social groups and cultures leave their imprint on us. In this chapter, I will explain how apperception in Husserl's view provides a locus in which cultural influences make their entry into our experience. I will focus on how apperception facilitates the "culturalization" of experience in Husserl's Die Lebenswelt: Auslegungen der vorgegebenen Welt und ihrer Konstitution.1 I will describe what apperception is, its development and function in experience, its role in the transmission of culture, and its place in intercultural exchange. I believe that because Husserl recognized how passive-synthetic apperception is pervasively at work in us, he returned over and over again to the importance of phenomenological reduction as a philosophical method for the reflective recovery of what is taken for granted. Finally, to illustrate how apperceptive expectations work in intercultural exchange and to illustrate how humor and intercultural exchange can play a role analogous to reduction in enabling us to appropriate our apperceptive intentionality, I will consider some humorous exchanges between me and an African-American friend, whose cultural background differs from mine.
Barber, M. (2015)., Apperception, the influence of culture, and interracial humor, in M. J. . Rozbicki (ed.), Perspectives on interculturality, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 27-38.
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