The paper aims at reconstructing the conception of descriptive analysis shared by Brentano and the early Husserl. According to this shared conception, the descriptive analysis consists in the articulation of the multi-layered part-whole structure of consciousness. Focusing on the problem of intentional reference, the paper shows how they make different distinctions among parts of consciousness to carry out the descriptive analyses thus defined. Further, it shows how such a difference is closely connected to the two philosophers’ views on the nature of intentional reference.
I begin this paper by outlining two senses of “phenomenology.” First, the “what it is like” or “analytic tradition” sense: the verbalization of qualitative states of consciousness of which we are aware. Second, the “Continental” sense: the rigorous study of the structures of consciousness. I outline the ways in which these two senses diverge. First, Continental phenomenology involves a diversified account of consciousness, states of awareness, and the human person. The phenomenologist articulates this account not by introspection but via acts of phenomenological reflection concerning eidetic intuitions about essential structural features. Second, via the method of “sense explication,” the phenomenologist can articulate an account of passive and subconscious states which we are not strictly “aware” of. The conclusion shows these divergences of senses are sometimes overlooked, leading to equivocation. Zahavi and Gallagher must be employing the “what it is like” sense when they make certain “phenomenological” arguments concerning social cognition, yet Spaulding’s ensuing critique of phenomenology is directed at Continental phenomenology. Also, it is only phenomenology in the “what it is like” sense which cannot contribute to subpersonal psychology. Genetic Continental phenomenology describes the lawful relations amongst the precursors and preconditions which give rise to conscious experience, constituting a type of (non-causal) subpersonal explanation.
The essence of Husserl’s intentionality does not lie in any object, but in the marginal horizon presupposed by intentional acts. This characteristic can be seen whether on the level of intensional act or that of noema (intentional object). The reason is that all intentional act and noema come from the stream of internal time consciousness, and thus have Zeithof (time halo or time aureole), while the original meaning constituted by such a halo is prior to the object they are concretized into, and the noema that contains the possibility of meaning will also be intuited together with the perceived adumbration. Using Husserl’s idea that the meaning of non-objectification is prior to the object, Scheler breaks through Husserl’s dogma that the presentation of an object must precede the giving of value to the object, and thus puts forward the new train of thought that the feeling of value is not later than the objectification, or even prior to it. Heidegger deepens and expands the sense of the marginal horizon, revealing in all human behaviors and world presentation such an ontological structure, that is, halo-like meaning or the act of Being itself precedes objects and beings created by the separation of subject and object. Maurice Merleau-Ponty states that the body field is prior to the separation of body and mind, and the body’s perception of external phenomena is first carried out in the manner of field rather than definite objects, therefore, it must have the original ambiguity and be realized in the form of body schema instead of a causal chain. So, the philosophical vitality of phenomenology does not significantly lie in the explanation of the levels and functions of intentional objects, but in the construction premise of such objects, namely, the spatio-temporal halo manifested as marginal horizon, time stream, and the displaying of existential vista.
The COVID-19 pandemic will inevitably change the evolutionary process of human civilization. It not only affects everyone’s understanding of globalization, but also makes people reflect on many cultural values and on the institutional arrangements of society. The underlying problems are ultimately men’s survival and life’s meaning. The outbreak, which was so sudden, has forced people to reconsider the possible forms of a reasonable lifestyle, the relationship between individual and collective rights, the boundaries of men’s right to freedom, the relationship between man and nature, the relationship between man and other creatures, and so on.
There are two critical, but opposite interpretations of Heidegger’s understanding of being as a social ontology. One charges Heidegger with adhering to an anti-social “private irony,” while the other charges him with promoting a “self-canceling” totality. The current essay replies to these two charges with a discussion of Heidegger’s understanding of being as “communal being,” which is implicated both in the early Heidegger’s concept of “being-in-the-world-with-others” and in the later Heidegger’s keyword of Ereignis. It argues that Heidegger’s understanding of being as communal being is neither identical with totalitizing publicness nor the same as voluntaristic egotism. According to Heidegger, both the publicness of das Man and voluntaristic egotism are the real threats to humanity at present. Because of them, we human beings are in danger of being uprooted from the earth upon which we—as communal beings—have already and always dwelled and lived with others from the very beginning of human history.
There are at least three foundational relationships between the three conscious acts of intellect, emotion, and willing. Section 2 covers the structural foundational relationship (Brentano and Husserl in his early period): all conscious acts are intentional and can be divided into objectifying (intuition and representation) and non-objectifying acts (emotion and willing). Because a non-objectifying act cannot constitute an object, things must be based on objectifying acts and the object constituted by the latter; in this sense, a non-objectifying act is rooted in an objectifying one. Section 3 explains the genetic foundational issue with consciousness (Husserl in his later period, Scheler, and Heidegger): the stream of consciousness has its earliest origins and follows a process where it gradually unfolds. The earliest origin is the intentional willing, followed by nonintentional feelings, and, finally, the representation and thinking of willing. Intentional activity taking place afterward must be based on the conscious activity that has come already. Section 4 points out that, apart from the two aforementioned kinds of foundational relationships (i.e. structural and genetic), a third foundational relationship (i.e. dynamic) can also be found between the conscious acts of intellect, emotion, and willing in the Consciousness-only school (a Buddhist tradition in the East). In a continuous activity, the foundational relationship between the three aspects of intellect, emotion, and willing always remains encased in dynamic changes, and the change of primary and secondary roles (i.e. a change in the foundational relationship) could happen at any time. From this perspective, one can explain and resolve the confrontation and conflicts between the two former foundational relationships.
In the Kaizo articles, written between 1922 and 1924, Husserl touched on the intercultural relationship between “the European” and “the non-European.” Husserl addressed Japan as he dealt with ethical and cultural renewal in his Kaizo articles. Husserl wished to spread the European spiritual gestalt, which he comprehended as a universal theoretical rationality to remote cultures. At that time, Husserl imagined China as unfamiliar and remote. He even used China as a typical example of alienworld when he dealt with the problem of cultural difference. This paper reappraises Husserl’s thesis by exploring Eurocentrism as a factor that might impede the willingness for non-Western or non-European cultures to accept the idea of European spiritual gestalt. This paper suggests that the non-Western or non-European cultures should take delight in learning from Europe and carry out what Husserl had in mind about the meaning of “renewal.”
This paper reinterprets the relation between Derridian deconstruction and Husserlian phenomenology on the basis of their respective methodological commitments. According to the proposed view, epoché, reduction, and eidetic variation are the fundamental methodological principles of Husserlian phenomenology. This paper interprets Derrida’s reading of Husserl as presenting a type of semiological reductionism, which is marked by the absorption of the fundamental phenomenological principles within a semiological framework. Conceiving of meaning as a sign that refers to other signs, Derrida contends that neither epoché, nor reduction, nor eidetic variation can be carried through successfully; their validity is thereby indefinitely deferred. This paper also addresses the relationship between indication and expression, the Principle of all Principles, the living present, and their alleged deconstruction in Derrida’s writings. I conclude with some suggestions concerning how, apart from deconstructing phenomenology, one could also phenomenologize deconstruction. According to my suggestion, this would require problematizing evidence that underlies the central claims and commitments of deconstruction.
With insight from the methodology of phenomenology, Jan Patočka draws multiple meanings from the special front-line experience, including new understanding of the fringe of death, absolute freedom, universal responsibility, and solidarity with enemies. The front-line experience is in sharp contrast with daily life experience, and is regarded by Patočka as a continuous consciousness of problematization toward history. This consciousness, which the front-line experience gives rise to, can be maintained through true care for reality and history. Patočka names this “care for the soul” and regards it as the core of the European spirit. The potential philosophical and historical value of the front-line experience urges Patočka to maintain an eternal fight, and he eventually concludes that it is this eternal fight that brings forth eternal peace.
Most research into ethical leadership depends on Western corporate experience, however current research findings may not fit the Chinese context. As a result, it is necessary to appeal to indigenous and traditional Chinese sources of wisdom when defining and evaluating ethical leadership in China. Both rule-following ethics and instrumental approaches, which are mainly used in recent empirical studies about ethical leadership, cannot enable people to have inner motivation to behave ethically. Accordingly, this article intends to establish an ethical leadership model in China by appealing to Confucian virtue ethics. A Confucian ethical leader possesses benevolence (ren 仁) inside and treats others in a proper way according to ritual and rites (li 禮). He/she makes self-cultivation as the first priority and is a virtuous role model, influencing others in a natural way by of his/her moral charisma. For such a person, economic profitableness is not a primary concern, where instead the goals, strategies and practices of his/her organization are defined by the principle of righteousness (yi 義).
How should Scheler’s critique of Kant’s ethics be interpreted? This paper focuses on two aspects of Scheler’s critique of Kant’s ethics: 1) the problem of “formalism” in Kant’s ethics, and 2) the problem of the “ethics of autonomy” and “ethics of heteronomy.” Generally speaking, Scheler’s project has a “modern” starting point; that is to say, his work starts with the rejection or critique of Kant and Aristotle. Most essentially, Scheler’s “material ethics of values” (ethics of person) must stay autonomous. Following Kant, Scheler takes Aristotle’s theory as an “ethics of heteronomy,” and then competes with Kant within the “ethics of autonomy” and further develops his own “ethics of personal autonomy.”
Interest concerning the problem of technological activity has grown in philosophical discussions during recent decades. The crux of the matter is whether technological objects are mere means for achieving human goals or possess some sort of inherent active quality of their own that influences our behavior, perception, goals, and ethical beliefs. In this article, I aim to show that technology exhibits a specific quality of engagement that can be more clearly understood through the notion of technological intentionality. The term “technological intentionality” was first coined by the postphenomenological school of thought. However, it continues to beg for a more comprehensive and profound elucidation. In my investigation, I introduce the notion of technological intentionality from two major perspectives. The first perspective is deeply intertwined with Husserl’s notion of intentionality. Intentionality, in this context, represents an act through which a connection (or unity) between humans and the world can be reached. In my examination of the second perspective, I unpack the notion of technological intentionality and offer a conceptual description of its structure. Here I argue that technological intentionality is a specific sort of active relationship that appears between human consciousness and the world each time a technological object is in use. Technological objects here are not just passive instruments, but they also actively connect us with the environment in which we live.
This paper starts with the social and moral implications of wall in history and in the contemporary world, to usher in the early Confucian discourse on wall and gate. The Confucian discourse implies that walls—either actual, virtual or symbolic—are there to defend and/or to separate, while gates enable the managed access to and opening-up the self-imposed insularity or moderate the self-centred exclusiveness that walls imply. By way of reinterpretation and reconstruction, we will extract from a variety of Confucian discussions the ethical awareness that however strongly built, walls must be associated with gates, and that the wall and the gate are therefore locked in mutuality to make possible the reality of interconnectedness between the inside and the outside and between the self and the other. It will be argued that by using ethical virtues as tools to moderate separation and exclusiveness, Confucian discourses highlight the dynamics of the self-other relationship, and establishes an ethics that may well be still applicable to contemporary situations and can be drawn upon to help dissolve the tension between the values of populist self-centrism and those of globalist interconnectedness.
Complexity science, which arose in the second half of the 20th century, initiated research into the emergence of complex systems and led to the rise of the concept of diachronic emergence. Compared to British emergentism, research on diachronic emergence underwent some crucial changes—namely, (1) putting the enterprise of unveiling the mechanics of emergence at its core; (2) taking inter-disciplinary research as its viewpoint; (3) and taking computer simulation as its method. Because of this new approach, “diachronic emergence” is closely related to terms from complexity science such as “systems,” “self-organization,” “complexity,” and “chaos.” In this paper, we examine two cases of purported diachronic emergence and argue that both count as genuine cases of ontological emergence. The first is Paul Humphreys’ fusion emergence and the second is Mark Bedau’s simulation emergence. In both cases, the emergent entity/property possesses genuine causal powers, and hence counts as a form of ontological, not merely epistemological emergence. Fusion emergence is a kind of strong diachronic emergence that emphasizes diachronicity and non-supervenience. The kind of emergence based on computer simulations can be seen as a kind of weak diachronic emergence. Bedau studies the process and mechanics of emergence with the help of computer simulations, and he argues that weak diachronic emergence has characteristics such as underivability without simulation, explanatory incompressibility, and underivability without crawling the micro-causal web. Moreover, he tries to present an explanatory model of weak emergence that posits the existence of higher-level entities with weak downward causation and claims the emergent level to be explanatorily autonomous. The core of both strong diachronic emergence and weak diachronic emergence is a focus on unpredictable emergent entities, which are new properties or new structures generated from evolution, and a characteristic emphasis on the diachronicity of the generation of emergent entities. Therefore, diachronic emergence has characteristics such as novelty in evolution, unpredictability, and autonomy of macro-explanation.
This paper aims to establish a dialogue between contemporary research on the problem of other minds and classical Chinese philosophical theories. It first explores the idea, inspired by the recent discovery of the mirror neuron mechanism, that a direct exchange of experience may occur between the observer and the observed. Next, it analyzes the ways in which the ancient Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi and Confucian thinkers reflected on the problem of other minds, which are quite similar to the idea inspired by the latest research on mirror neurons. In these thinkers’ views, knowledge of other minds is the result of mental activity and what it provides is, to a large extent, something related not to epistemology but rather to a situational understanding of other minds from the perspective of value theory. The author points out that this solution takes two aspects, humans’ innate nature and human experience, into consideration simultaneously. In terms of humans’ innate nature, the body of a human being is a body that represents the unity of man and nature, and it has something in common with the natural world, which lays a foundation for the perception of other minds. In terms of human experience, human beings have such actual needs as emotions, pursuits, and desires, and their behaviors need to conform to certain norms. It is in a body of this kind that the mind of human beings can be formed and enjoy the potential to develop. Effective interpersonal communication can thus be achieved.