Phantasie and Phenomenological Inquiry - Thinking with Edmund Husserl

Dissertation, (2012)
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Abstract
This dissertation explores and argues for the import of the imagination (Phantasie) in Edmund Husserl's phenomenological method of inquiry. It contends that Husserl's extensive analyses of the imagination influenced how he came to conceive the phenomenological method throughout the main stages of his philosophical career. The work clarifies Husserl's complex method of investigation by considering the role of the imagination in his main methodological apparatuses: the phenomenological, eidetic, and transcendental reductions, and eidetic variation - all of which remained ambiguous despite his extensive programmatic discussions. The work illuminates and clarifies aspects of the Husserlian phenomenological method never before explored. In order to clarify Husserl's eidetic method of inquiry, I propose a new way of thinking about the imagination - as direct intuitive presentation (eigentliche anschauliche Vorstellung) and as horizonal-nexic level of consciousness exhibiting the neutrality, freedom, and possibility as its essential features. Following Husserl's studies of the imagination, I propose a three-level model of consciousness (realizing, imagining, and eidetic) and explore the dynamic flexibility of each level (as horizon within which acts such as judgments or memories can unfold). This model of consciousness allows for a rethinking of the sources and conditions for the possibility of eidetic phenomenological inquiry - topics Husserl was mostly silent about. Through a rethinking of the model of consciousness, I propose a tight and substantial relationship between the natural (everyday) and artificial (methodological, theoretical) attitudes. I argue that the structure and systems of possibilities pertaining to the artificial attitude - i.e., our actual as well as possible methodological tools - are structurally and well as informationally bound to the structure and system of possibilities pertaining to the natural attitude. In order to explore the nature of the relationship between these two attitudes I argue that we must take a closer look at the structure and abilities of imagining consciousness - the sole nexic-horizonal level that can function both naturally and artificially. This insight regarding the nature of consciousness clarifies Husserl's transcendental idealism in its intimate connection to the everyday. Understanding Husserl's philosophical stance is thus purged of all possibility of mistakenly labeling it as entailing immanent detachment, solipsism, or Platonic idealism.
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Archival date: 2019-05-29
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The Art of Memory.Hunter, Ian M. L. & Yates, Frances A.

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