Re-examining Husserl's Non-Conceptualism in the Logical Investigations

CFS Lecture by Chad Kidd, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, The City College of New York (CUNY).


A recent trend in Husserl scholarship takes the Logical Investigations (LI) as advancing an inconsistent view about the content of perceptual experience. Within the confines of the same work, these commentators claim, Husserl advances both conceptualist and non-conceptualist views about perceptual content.

In this paper, I argue that there is no confusion over non-conceptualism in LI. Rather, LI contains a consistent view of the content of perceptual experience, which can easily be misread as inconsistent, since it works on the implicit assumption of a distinction between two varieties of non-conceptualism about perception: one is a thesis about the nature of perceptual content (or matter), the other a thesis about perceptual acts. This allows Husserl to combine a conceptualist view of perceptual content (or matter) with a non-conceptualist view of perceptual acts.