What has Transparency to do with Husserlian Phenomenology?

ProtoSociology 36:221-242 (2019)
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This paper critically evaluates Amie Thomasson’s (2003; 2005; 2006) view of the conscious mind and the interpretation of Husserl’s phenomenological reduction that it adopts. In Thomasson’s view, the phenomenological method is not an introspectionist method, but rather a “transparent” or “extrospectionist” method for acquiring epistemically privileged self-knowledge. I argue that Thomasson’s reading of Husserl’s phenomenological reduction is correct. But the view of consciousness that she pairs with it—a view of consciousness as “transparent” in the sense that first-order, world-oriented experience is in no way given to itself—is not compatible with it. Rather, Thomasson’s view is, from a Husserlian vantage point, self-undermining in the same way that any genuinely skeptical view is self-undermining: it undermines the conditions of its own possibility. This is one of the motives Husserl has for developing a same-order view of self-consciousness as the complement to his transparent method for self-knowledge acquisition.

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Chad Kidd
City College of New York (CUNY)


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