The Origin of the Phenomenology of Feelings

Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 53 (4):455-468 (2022)
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This paper accomplishes two goals. First, I present a distinct interpretation of the inception of the phenomenology of feelings. I show that Husserl’s first substantial discussion of intentional and non-intentional feelings is not from his 1901 Logical Investigations, but rather his 1893 manuscript, “Notes towards a Theory of Attention and Interest”. Husserl there describes intentional feelings as active and non-intentional feelings as passive. Second, I show that Husserl presents a somewhat unique account of feelings in “Notes”, which is partly different from his later theories of feelings found in Lectures on Ethics and Value Theory and Studies Concerning the Structures of Consciousness. In contrast to those mature writings, in “Notes”, Husserl describes intentional feelings while avoiding cognitivism and he analyses non-intentional feelings without employing the content-apprehension schema. On this basis, I argue that “Notes” is an important untapped resource for constructing original phenomenologies of feelings.

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Thomas Byrne
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


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