Peripheral Experience and Epistemic Neutrality: Color at the Margins

Husserl Studies 37 (1):1-17 (2020)
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I argue that Husserl’s account of passive synthesis can be developed into a phenomenology of peripheral experience. Peripheral experiences are not defined by their location in visual space but by their phenomenal and intentional character, by what these experiences are like and how they present things in the world. Further, I argue that peripheral experience is of a piece with our most basic background convictions about the world. As such, the periphery is epistemically neutral, but not therefore empty of meaning. It is meaningful as holding open the possibility of further activity, both practical and intellectual. I explore these ideas by focusing on peripheral color experience. Husserl’s discussions of associative synthesis, affection, and doxic and nondoxic forms of attention prove key to detailing peripheral color experience. I end by arguing that at the periphery, intentional content and phenomenal content come apart.

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Emiliano Diaz
Purchase College, State University of New York


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