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Philipp Berghofer

Demystifying Originary Givenness

(Volume 19 (2023) — Numéro 3: Il ne suffit pas d'ouvrir les yeux: Intuitions médiées et dispositifs producteurs d'évidence (Actes n°13))
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Résumé

This paper aims at demystifying the doctrine of originary givenness. By the doctrine of originary givenness I understand the Husserlian claims that (i) originary presentive experiences are a source of immediate justification,
(ii) originary presentive experiences are our ultimate source of justification, and (iii) originary presentive experiences gain their justificatory force precisely from their phenomenal character of originary givenness. It is shown that these claims are immune to Sellars’ objections. Clarifying why the doctrine of originary givenness avoids Sellars’ objections will help us to better understand the relationship between experience and belief as well as the relationship between experiential justification and inferential justification.

Keywords : givenness, Sellars, Husserl, justification

1. Introducing the doctrine of originary givenness

1It is natural to assume that experiences can justify beliefs. I undergo an experience that presents me with a tree in front of me, I’m justified in believing that there is a tree. It is also natural to assume that an experience’s justificatory force is linked to its phenomenology.1 If I undergo an experience that presents me with a tree in front of me, but I believe that there is a car (and no tree), this belief would be strange and unjustified. Assuming that this phenomenological-epistemological parallelism is no coincidence, the most straightforward view is that certain experiences justify by virtue of their phenomenology. Recently, this view has been developed against the backdrop of Husserl’s phenomenology (Berghofer 2020a, 2018a).

2However, this view that experiences justify by virtue of their phenomenology is not popular in contemporary analytic epistemology. Instead, current debates are dominated by externalist approaches. In the externalist picture, the epistemic status of our beliefs is not determined by what is internally accessible to us but by external factors such as reliability. This implies that there is nothing intrinsically special about experience. The process of experiencing may lead to justified beliefs, but only if this process qualifies as reliably producing true beliefs. I take it that such approaches are decisively less in agreement with common sense than the phenomenological approach that links an experience's justificatory force to its phenomenology.

3So why is the phenomenological approach less popular in contemporary analytic epistemology? One reason is Wilfrid Sellars’ influential attack on what he called the myth of the given. Prima facie, a phenomenological approach to experiential justification is particularly vulnerable to Sellars’ attack. This is due to Husserl’s terminology of originary givenness. Most notably, here is Husserl’s “principle of all principles”:

No conceivable theory can make us err with respect to the principle of all principles: that every originary presentive intuition is a legitimizing source of cognition, that everything originarily (so to speak, in its “personal” actuality) offered to us in intuition is to be accepted simply as what it is presented as being, but also only within the limits in which it is presented there. (Husserl 1982, 44)

4In the light of Sellars’ criticism, to say that something is “originarily offered2 in experience and that this “is to be accepted simply as what it is presented as being” seems particularly problematic. This is because it suggests that an originally presentive experience3 can immediately justify some belief. Sellars, however, is typically interpreted as rejecting any kind of foundationalism. Husserl's foundationalism becomes even more obvious when we consider the following passage that appears a couple of pages before the principle of all principles:

Immediate ‘seeing’, not merely sensuous, experiential seeing, but seeing in the universal sense as an originally presentive consciousness of any kind whatever, is the ultimate legitimizing source of all rational assertions. This source has its legitimizing function only because, and to the extent that, it is an originally presentive source. (Husserl 1982, 36)

5While the principle of all principles suggests that originary givenness is sufficient for justification, this passage suggests that originary givenness is necessary for justification in the sense that all epistemic justification leads back to originary presentive experiences. Furthermore, this passage suggests that originary presentive experiences gain their justificatory force simply from their phenomenology of originary givenness (see also Husserl 1984c, 347). Accordingly, this phenomenological approach to epistemic justification can be encapsulated in three claims:

6 

7C1. Every originary presentive experience is a source of immediate justification.

8C2. Originary presentive experiences are our ultimate source of justification.

9C3. Originary presentive experiences gain their justificatory force by virtue of their phenomenal character of originary givenness.

10 

11In this paper, I defend these three claims. More precisely, I show that these claims are immune to objections that are typically associated with Sellars’ attack on the myth of the given. Each of the following three sections aims at busting one of these myths. For instance, in Section 2, I agree with Sellars that it is a myth to believe that experiences are transparent windows, but I make it explicit that a proponent of originary givenness is not committed to this myth. In my terminology, C1-C3 constitute the doctrine of originary givenness. A “proponent of originary givenness” is a proponent of C1-C3. A “proponent of the myth of the given,” by contrast, is a proponent of the kind of epistemology that is rightfully criticized by Sellars. The central point of this paper, the key to avoid Sellars’ objections, is that for the proponent of originary givenness all depends on how an experience presents its object/content, but nothing hinges on why it does so!

2. Busting Myth #1: Experiences are not transparent windows

12When it comes to Sellars’ attack on the “myth of the given,” the first thing to note is that Sellars does not deny that we can use the term of givenness in order to denote what is disclosed within experience.

If the term 'given' referred merely to what is observed as being observed, or, perhaps, to a proper subset of the things we are said to determine by observation, the existence of 'data' would be as noncontroversial as the existence of philosophical perplexities (Sellars 1997, 13).

13What Sellars denies is that experiences are transparent windows through which objects are given as what they are in themselves independently of any subjective factors. Here is how Sellars spells out his criticism:

For they [the proponents of the myth of the given] have taken givenness to be a fact which presupposes no learning, no forming of associations, no setting up of stimulus–response connections (Sellars 1997, 20).

14By contrast, here is how Sellars summarizes his position:

And this brings us face to face with the fact that most empirically minded philosophers are strongly inclined to think that all classificatory consciousness, all knowledge that something is thus-and-so […] involves learning, concept formation, even the use of symbols (Sellars 1997, 20).

15Accordingly, Sellars believes that the proponents of the myth of the given are forced to subscribe to three mutually inconsistent claims.

It is clear from the above analysis, therefore, that [the proponents of the myth of the given] are confronted by an inconsistent triad made up of the following three propositions:

A. X senses red sense content s entails x non-inferentially knows that s is red.

B. The ability to sense sense contents is unacquired.

C. The ability to know facts of the form x is ϕ is acquired.

A and B together entail not-C; B and C entail not-A; A and C entail not-B. (Sellars 1997, 20f.)

16How should the proponent of a phenomenological-epistemological theory of originary givenness who subscribes to the claims C1-C3 specified in Section 1 respond to this criticism? I believe the answer is simple. There is no reason for the proponent of originary givenness to insist that experiences are transparent windows. There is no reason to deny that for an experience to be originarily presentive it is necessary that some previous learning, concept-formation, etc. have been taking place. In particular, there is no reason to insist on Sellars’ proposition B. This is to say that the proponent of originary givenness can simply accept that the ability to undergo originarily presentive experiences is acquired.

17Importantly, Husserl clearly rejects this myth that experiences are transparent windows. In his words, “experience is not an opening through which a world, existing prior to all experience, shines into a room of consciousness; it is not a mere taking of something alien to consciousness into consciousness” (Husserl 1969, 232). This allows for the possibility that prior experiences shape the way we experience the world: A phenomenon that is now known as perceptual learning (see Gibson 1969, Siegel 2010, Connolly 2019). What is more, Husserl also allows for the possibility that language shapes the way we experience. For instance, supplement XII of Husserliana XV has the subtitle: “The function of linguistic communication for the constitution of the surrounding world.” In this text, Husserl claims that “[t]he surrounding world of man […] is substantially determined by language” (Husserl 1973, 224f.). Admittedly, this text remains vague regarding how exactly language shapes experience and it remains an open question whether language can have an effect on what is originarily presented (and not “just” co-given) in experience.

18Most importantly, systematically, there is no reason for the proponent of originary givenness to deny that previous experiences, beliefs, concepts, etc., shape the way we experience. The idea is that all depends on how an experience presents its object/content, but nothing hinges on why it does so. Let me illustrate this with a couple of examples.

19Case 1:

20I look to my right and undergo an experience that presents me with a red table. However, if I had not been familiar with the concept of “red,” I would have experienced this object differently. In particular, I would not have experienced it as red.

21Question: Can my red-experience be immediately justifying if it depends on previously learned concepts?

22Answer: Yes. If a subject S undergoes an experience that originarily presents, for instance, a table as red, then S is immediately justified in believing that the table is red. For an experience to be immediately justifying all that matters is whether the experience exhibits the phenomenal character of originary givenness. It does not matter why it is originarily presentive.

23Case 2:

24I look to my right and undergo an experience that presents me with a red table. However, if I had been socialized in a totally different culture that does not know tables but uses such objects for an entirely different purpose, then I would have experienced this object not as a table but as an X.

25Question: Can my table-experience be immediately justifying if it depends on my cultural background?

26Answer: Yes. If a subject S undergoes an experience that originarily presents, for instance, an object as a table, then S is immediately justified in believing that there is a table. For an experience to be immediately justifying all that matters is whether the experience exhibits the phenomenal character of originary givenness. It does not matter why it is originarily presentive.

27Comment: Of course, it is controversial whether experiences can be originarily presentive with respect to high-level properties such as “being a table.” But this only concerns the scope of originary givenness and not the question of whether originary presentive experiences can be immediately justifying. If you believe that only low-level properties can be originarily presented, you would need to say that the “table-experience” presents you with certain colors and shapes and from this you infer that there is a red table. In this paper, I assume that high-level properties can be originarily given, but nothing central to this paper hinges on this assumption.

28Case 3:

29I look to my right and undergo an experience that presents me with a dog. Based on this experience, I believe that there is a dog. However, as a matter of fact, this object is no dog but a robot that, by stipulation, is visually indistinguishable from a real dog.

30Question: Can my dog-experience be immediately justifying if the experienced object is no dog at all?

31Answer: Yes. What matters according to the proponent of originary givenness is the internal factor of the experience’s phenomenology, not external factors such as veridicality.

32Case 4:

33I look to my right and undergo an experience that presents me with a dog. Based on this experience, I believe that there is a dog. However, as a matter of fact, I am systematically deceived by an evil demon and all my perceptual experiences are hallucinatory in nature.

34Question: Can my dog-experience be immediately justifying if all my perceptual experiences are systemically deceiving?

35Answer: Yes. What matters according to the proponent of originary givenness is the internal factor of the experience’s phenomenology, not external factors such as reliability or veridicality.

36By discussing these four examples, I hope to have shown not only how the proponent of originary givenness should react to Sellars’ criticism but also to have further clarified the phenomenological epistemology outlined in Section 1.

3. Busting Myth #2: Beliefs can shape experiences but experiences are not (quasi-)beliefs

37I began this paper by stating that experiences justify beliefs. In the course of the paper, we have specified the phenomenological-epistemological position endorsed in this paper as saying that certain experiences justify by virtue of their phenomenology of originary givenness. More formally, we may express this as follows:

38 

39If a subject S undergoes an experience that is originarily presentive with respect to object O/ proposition p, then S is immediately justified in believing that there is O/p obtains.

40 

41I formulated this principle deliberately in a way that leaves it open whether experiences are propositional or not. Importantly, however, the relationship between experience and belief is no one-way road. Experiences justify beliefs but beliefs shape experiences. This phenomenon that beliefs (or other cognitive states such as wishes and desires) have an influence on how we experience the world is currently discussed under the label of cognitive penetration. Many believe that cognitive penetration puts some pressure on internalist conceptions of justification (Markie 2005, Siegel 2017). I disagree. Again, all depends on how the respective experience presents its objects/contents.

42Case 5:

Before seeing Jack, Jill fears that Jack is angry at her. When she sees him, her fear causes her to have a visual experience in which he looks angry to her. She goes on to believe that he is angry. (Siegel 2017, 67)

43Comment: The first thing to note with respect to this famous example is that it is phenomenologically underspecified.4 Is Jack’s face presented in the way angry faces typically look (e.g., red face, slanted eyebrows, frowning mouth), or is it presented like a “normal” face and the fear-content is only represented within Jill’s experience without a presentive phenomenology? In our Husserlian terminology: Is Jack’s face originarily given as angry or is the content of being angry co-given in the horizon of the experience? For the sake of the argument, I assume that the face is originarily given as angry. The point is that Jill’s original belief that Jack is angry causes her to experience Jack as angry which means that her new belief that Jack looks angry is causally influenced by the original belief.

44Question: Can a belief be immediately justified that depends for its existence on other beliefs?

45Answer: Yes. For a belief to be immediately justified all that matters is that the belief does not depend on other beliefs epistemically, it does not matter whether the belief depends on other beliefs for its genesis. This is to say that even if it is true that an experience’s presentive phenomenology depends on some background beliefs for its genesis, the belief immediately justified by this experience does not depend on these beliefs epistemically. The experiential justification for the respective belief is exclusively determined by the phenomenology of the justification-conferring experience.

46Perhaps all our beliefs depend on other beliefs for their existence, but if the doctrine of immediate justification is right, some beliefs do not depend on other beliefs for their justification. As James Pryor puts it,

The fact that you have immediate justification to believe P does not entail that no other beliefs are required for you to be able to form or entertain the belief that P. Having the concepts involved in the belief that P may require believing certain other propositions; it does not follow that any justification you have to believe P must be mediated by those other propositions. (Pryor 2005, 183)

47Accordingly, we can update our understanding of the relationship between experience and belief as follows: Beliefs shape experiences, experiences justify beliefs, but experiences are not in need of justification themselves! This brings us to the Sellarsian dilemma that has been summarized by BonJour as follows:

[T]he proponent of the given is caught in a fundamental and inescapable dilemma: if his intuitions or direct awarenesses or immediate apprehensions are construed as cognitive, at least quasi-judgmental (as seems clearly the more natural interpretation), then they will be both capable of providing justification for other cognitive states and in need of it themselves; but if they are construed as noncognitive, nonjudgmental, then while they will not themselves need justification, they will also be incapable of giving it. In either case, such states will be incapable of serving as an adequate foundation for knowledge. This, at bottom, is why empirical givenness is a myth. (BonJour, 1985, p. 69)

48According to the first horn, experiences are cognitive and quasi-judgmental, according to the second horn, they are noncognitive and nonjudgmental. Different proponents of originary givenness may approach this dilemma differently. In my view, the most natural response would be to say that originary presentive experiences are non-judgmental but in some sense cognitive. I begin by elaborating why experiences are nonjudgmental.

49Phenomenologically, there is a clear difference between judgments/beliefs on the one hand and presentive experiences on the other hand. A central Husserlian teaching is that we can distinguish between empty acts and intuitive acts. In fact, it has been argued that, epistemologically speaking, this is the most significant distinction.

Among conscious objectifying acts, the distinction between those which are intuitive and those which are empty is the most important, both phenomenally and epistemologically. (Hopp 2022, 302; see also Heffernan 1998, 30)

50The distinction between empty or signitive acts and full or intuitive acts is most prominently developed in Husserl’s Sixth Logical Investigation. Here it is made clear that emptiness and intuitiveness refer to different modes of givenness. The same object can be given signitively or intuitively (Husserl 1984b, 556). If the object is given signitively, one is directed toward the object via one of its meanings; what is given is not the object in its actual presence but the object as something that only is meant. If the object is given intuitively, the object is given in a “fleshed out” manner (Husserl 1984a, 458). If you believe that there is a table in the room next to you, this belief is a signitive, empty act. If you go and check and see the table, this perceptual experience is an intuitive act. Perceptual experiences are Husserl’s prime example of intuitive acts.

51What is more, Husserl explicitly distinguishes between perception and (perceptual) judgment (Husserl 1984b, 556) as well as between perceptual sense and perceptual statement or judgment-sense (Husserl 2002, 71). The perceptual judgment (Wahrnehmungsurteil) is based on the perceptual experience. The perceptual statement (Wahrnehmungsaussage) expresses “what is given in perception” (Husserl 2002, 70). Importantly, Husserl points out that the perceptual judgment must not go beyond what is given within experience. Husserl gives the following example: If you have an indistinct perceptual experience of something black that moves and based on this perceptual experience you judge, “A blackbird flies up,” this judgment is not really a perceptual judgment (Husserl 2002, 71). This is because the judgment goes beyond what is given in perception, it is not part of the perceptual sense. In this case, a truly perceptual judgment would have been, “Something black moves” (Husserl 2002, 71). Thus, perceptual sense and perceptual judgment are intrinsically connected.5 However, for Husserl, it is clear that perception cannot be identified with judgment since the same perceptual experience can be expressed by many different perceptual judgments, and, in most cases, the perceptual sense clearly goes beyond the judgment-sense (Husserl 1984b, 550). The perceptual sense or content is, so to speak, richer than the judgment. Whether Husserl considers perceptual content to be conceptual or not is a much debated exegetical question I do not want to address here. What we note is that Husserl has provided us with convincing phenomenological arguments that perception is distinct from judgment/belief.6

52Also, in contemporary analytic epistemology there are prominent voices arguing that perceptual experiences could be propositional without being judgments/beliefs. One popular argument in favor of this is based on so-called known illusions. Consider, for instance, the Müller-Lyer illusion. In this example, one undergoes an experience that originally presents two lines as being different in length, but we know that they are of the same length. Phenomenal conservatives such as Michael Huemer and Chris Tucker argue that in such a case it seems to one that p but one neither believes that p nor is one inclined to believe that p (Tucker 2013, 4). I take it that such examples and Husserl’s detailed analyses presented above convincingly show that experiences are distinct from judgments and should not be regarded as quasi-judgmental.

53On the other hand, as discussed above, experiences are influenced by language and shaped by beliefs. Accordingly, it is natural to assume that in some sense they are cognitive. Thus, my proposed approach to the Sellarsian dilemma is to reject the distinction between two horns according to which experiences are either cognitive and (quasi-)judgmental according to one horn or noncognitive and nonjudgmental according to the other. Instead, originary presentive experiences are clearly distinct from judgments and sufficiently cognitive to constitute sources of immediate justification. We might turn the tables, pointing out that proponents of Sellars’ criticism cannot have it both ways. They cannot insist that experiences are shaped by language, concepts, and beliefs and simultaneously deny that they are in some sense cognitive. What is more, if proponents of Sellars’ criticism want to go down this road, insisting that experiences are not sufficiently cognitive to constitute sources of immediate justification, this seems like an overintellectualization of experiential justification.

4. Busting Myth #3: Justification-conferring experiences are not a source of infallible knowledge

54The proponent of originary givenness, as outlined in Section 1, is a proponent of foundationalism. This is because C1 says that there is immediate justification (i.e., justification provided by originary presentive experiences). And C2 says that all epistemic justification leads back to epistemically foundational experiences (i.e., originary presentive experiences). Foundationalism, however, is often misunderstood as implying that (immediate) justification must be infallible. In contemporary analytic epistemology, a helpful distinction has been made between strong, moderate, and weak foundationalism. These types of foundationalism differ in their respective understandings of the epistemic status of basic beliefs. Strong foundationalism holds that basic beliefs are “not just adequately justified, but also infallible, certain, indubitable, or incorrigible” (BonJour 1985, 26). This strong foundationalism is the one best known from the history of philosophy, but it is outdated and implausible. The kind of foundationalism I propose is a moderate foundationalism. Moderate foundationalism has it that basic beliefs are adequately justified but still fallible, dubitable, and corrigible. Recently, it has been argued that this is the foundationalism we find in Husserl (Berghofer 2018b). Here is how Robert Brandom approaches the topic of foundationalism in his Study Guide to Sellars’ Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind.

One of Descartes's signal innovations was to define the mind in epistemic terms: for a state to be a mental state is for being in that state to entail knowing that one is in that state (transparency, ruling out ignorance) and for believing that one is in that state to entail being in that state (incorrigibility, ruling out error). The mind is the realm of what is known immediately, not just in the sense of noninferentially, but in the stronger sense that its goings-on are given to us in a way that banishes the possibility both of ignorance and of error. (Brandom in Sellars 1997, 121)

55Importantly, this is not the kind of foundationalism or understanding of givenness that I want to support. Justified immediately means given originarily, and given originarily denotes the way certain experiences present their objects/contents. Originary givenness, accordingly, is a name for the phenomenology of certain experiences. My perceptual experience has the phenomenology of originary givenness with respect to a black laptop if it presents me a black laptop as bodily present. But this experience is not necessarily veridical, and the respective belief is not infallible or incorrigible. Again, here it is helpful to consider the case of (known) illusions. In the Müller-Lyer illusion, two lines are presented to me as differing in length. Hence, according to C1, I have non-inferential justification for believing that the lines differ in length. But my experience is non-veridical, my experiential justification can be defeated by further evidence, and my belief can be corrected. In my view, justification is always prima facie justification, i.e., justification that might be defeated by future evidence. Accordingly, any kind of criticism that targets the infallibility of givenness can be avoided by the proponent of originary givenness.

56In this context, it is helpful to shed more light on the relationship between experiential justification and inferential justification. In my terminology, a subject S has experiential justification with respect to p, iff p is originarily given to S. Accordingly, experiential justification is always immediate justification and immediate justification is always experiential justification. (This follows from C1 & C2). Inferential justification is always epistemically dependent on experiential justification. Importantly, immediate justification and inferential justification are labels for distinct types of justification; they are not labels for different strengths of justification. Immediate justification is not always stronger than inferential justification. Of course, in many cases it is. When a person I know to be reliable tells me that in the room next to me there is no table, I’m inferentially justified in believing that there is no table. But when I go and check and see that there is a table, my testimonial justification is defeated by my experiential justification and I’m justified in believing that there is a table.

57On the other hand, however, there are cases in which experiential justification is defeated by inferential justification. Cases of known illusions exemplify such situations. Importantly, this is not to say that when experiential justification is defeated by inferential justification, this means that the experiential justification has vanished. This would violate C1 according to which every originary presentive experience is a source of immediate justification. Instead, the idea is that the experiential justification that p remains untouched but that there is stronger inferential justification that non-p. When I look at the Müller-Lyer diagram, for instance, two lines are presented to me as differing in length. Thus, I’m experientially justified in believing that the two lines differ in length. This justification is defeated by my inferential justification for believing that the two lines do not differ in length. Accordingly, I determine the relationship between experiential and inferential justification as follows: Experiential justification is epistemically independent of inferential justification and although inferential justification can defeat or support experiential justification, it cannot bear directly on the degree of experiential justification. The same holds vice versa.

Conclusion

58In this paper I aimed at motivating and clarifying what I called the doctrine of originary givenness by defending it against arguments that are often associated with Sellars’ famous criticism of what he referred to as the myth of the given. My strategy can be summarized as follows: (i) Identifying myths that surround the notion of givenness, (ii) agreeing with Sellars and his followers that these myths constitute problematic views, and showing (iii) that proponents of originary givenness — as this doctrine has been outlined in Section 1 — are not committed to these myths. In Section 2, I argued that experiences are not transparent windows but are shaped by previous experiences, concepts, and language and I showed that this is perfectly consistent with the doctrine of the given. Accordingly, two myths have been busted: It is a myth that experiences are transparent windows but it is also a myth that proponents of originary givenness are committed to such a view. Section 3 addressed the relationship between experience and belief. I pointed out that the view that experiences are shaped by (background) beliefs is perfectly consistent with the doctrine of the given. Experiences justify beliefs and beliefs shape experiences. However, while beliefs can be justified, experiences are not in need of justification themselves; they are justifying but not (un)justified. Addressing the Sellarsian dilemma, I argued that beliefs are clearly distinct from judgments/beliefs but are sufficiently cognitive so that they can constitute sources of immediate justification. In Section 4, I showed that the doctrine of originary givenness is perfectly consistent with the claim that experiential justification is fallible and that basic beliefs are corrigible. I addressed the relationship between experiential justification and inferential justification, clarifying that experiential justification is epistemically independent of inferential justification and that although inferential justification can defeat or support experiential justification, it cannot bear directly on the degree of experiential justification.

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Notes

1 By an experience's phenomenology I understand its phenomenal character, i.e., the way it presents its objects/contents to the experiencing subject.

2 See also: “Empirical intuition or, specifically, experience, is consciousness of an individual object; and as an intuitive consciousness it ‘makes this object given,’ as perception it makes an individual object given originarily in the consciousness of seizing upon this object ‘originarily,’ in its ‘personal’ selfhood.” (Husserl 1982, 9f.)

3 Regarding terminology: What Husserl calls originary presentive intuition, I call originary presentive experience. Any mental state that exhibits the phenomenal character of originary givenness qualifies as such an experience. This includes perceptual experiences but also introspective experiences and eidetic intuitions. The focus of this paper is on perceptual experiences.

4 See also Chudnoff 2020, 263.

5 Husserl says that “in perceptual judgments the perception is in an inner relation to the signifying [Bedeuten] of the statement such that the sense of latter ‘lies’ somehow in the perception” (Husserl 2002, 70).

6 For Husserlian phenomenologists who are used to Husserl’s terminology and familiar with his arguments, it may seem absurd to hold that perception is judgment. Thus, it ought to be pointed out that Brentano and Meinong, for instance, have explicitly argued that perceptions essentially are judgments. Interestingly, based on his experimental investigations of the Müller-Lyer illusion, Vittorio Benussi, pupil of Meinong, argued that perception is distinct from judgment. Instead, he reasoned, perception, by its very nature, has the character of “presence” (Antonelli & Manotta 2009; see also Berghofer 2020b).

To cite this article

Philipp Berghofer, «Demystifying Originary Givenness», Bulletin d'Analyse Phénoménologique [En ligne], Volume 19 (2023), Numéro 3: Il ne suffit pas d'ouvrir les yeux: Intuitions médiées et dispositifs producteurs d'évidence (Actes n°13), URL : https://popups.ulg.ac.be/1782-2041/index.php?id=1434.

About: Philipp Berghofer

Universität Graz

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