Constancy and Constitution

Theoria 87 (3):781-798 (2021)
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I argue for the following claims: (1) A core Husserlian account of perceptual constancy needs to be given in terms of indicative future-oriented conditionals but can be complemented by a counterfactual account; (2) thus conceived, constancy is a necessary aspect of content. I speak about a “core Husserlian” account so as to capture certain ideas that Michael Madary has presented as the core of Edmund Husserl's approach to perceptual constancy, viz., that “perception is partly constituted by the continuous interplay of intention and fulfilment” and that this “gives us a way to understand the relationship between different appearances of the same object” (See Madary, M. (2012) “Husserl on Perceptual Constancy.” European Journal of Philosophy 20(1): 145–165.). I take myself to be developing, and perhaps correcting, Madary's view as I discuss the role of the core Husserlian ideas, and counterfactuals, in accounting for shape and color constancy, respectively. I bridge constancy and fulfilment-conditional content by appealing to the Husserlian notion of constitution, which captures the process in which objectivity and, correlatively, intentional experience, are built up in the experiential flow.

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Kristjan Laasik
Zhejiang University


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