Husserl’s Concept of Motivation: The Logical Investigations and Beyond

History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 16 (1):70-83 (2013)
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Abstract

Husserl introduces a phenomenological concept called “motivation” early in the First Investigation of his magnum opus, the Logical Investigations. The importance of this concept has been overlooked since Husserl passes over it rather quickly on his way to an analysis of the meaningful nature of expression. I argue, however, that motivation is essential to Husserl’s overall project, even if it is not essen- tial for defining expression in the First Investigation. For Husserl, motivation is a relation between mental acts whereby the content of one act make some fur- ther meaningful content probable. I explicate the nature of this relation in terms of “evidentiary weight” and differentiate it from Husserl’s notion of Evidenz, often translated as “self-evidence”. I elucidate the importance of motivation in Husserl’s overall phenomenological project by focusing on his analyses of thing-perception and empathy. Through these examples, we can better understand the continuity between the Logical Investigations and Husserl’s later work.

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Philip Walsh
Gartner (Research and Advisory Consulting Firm)

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