Husserl’s Theory of Signitive and Empty Intentions in Logical Investigations and its Revisions: Meaning Intentions and Perceptions

Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 52 (1):16-32 (2020)
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This paper examines the evolution of Husserl’s philosophy of nonintuitive intentions. The analysis has two stages. First, I expose a mistake in Husserl’s account of non-intuitive acts from his 1901 Logical Investigations. I demonstrate that Husserl employs the term “signitive” too broadly, as he concludes that all non-intuitive acts are signitive. He states that not only meaning acts, but also the contiguity intentions of perception are signitive acts. Second, I show how Husserl, in his 1913/14 Revisions to the Sixth Logical Investigation, amends his 1901 theory of non-intuitive acts, which he now calls “empty” intentions. He there accurately distinguishes empty meaning acts from the empty intentions of perception. In the conclusion, I reveal how Husserl’s alterations to his theory of non-intuitive intentions can inform our understanding of a larger shift in his philosophy

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Thomas Byrne
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


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