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Feelings as the Motor of Perception”? The Essential Role of Interest for Intentionality

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Husserl seldom refers to feelings, and when he does, he mainly focuses on their axiological character, which corresponds to a specific kind of value apprehension (Melle 2012). This paper aims to discuss the role of feelings in Husserl from a different angle. For this purpose it makes a detour through Husserl’s early account of attention. In a text from 1898 on attention the aspect of interest, which is said to have a basis in feeling, plays an essential role. Although Husserl argues here that every specific interest is dependent on an objectifying act of perception, he at the same time states that every act of perception necessarily has to be accompanied by an interest of some sort. In the latter sense, the genuine motivational force and necessity of this feeling aspect, namely interest, is emphasized. This ambiguity – or even contradiction – shall be the point of departure for the following considerations. The paper argues that it is possible to interpret the role of feelings in intentionality in a different way, namely not as an effect of current perception but as a cause of further perceptions. This tendency is first indicated in the text from 1898 and elaborated further in Husserl’s genetic approach in Experience and Judgment. In Experience and Judgment Husserl develops a broader notion of interest, defining it as a general perceptual drive. This general drive (as a general interest in perceiving) – so the paper will argue – expresses itself in concrete perception as a specific preference: it discloses or makes manifest what is relevant for an individual subject at a given time.
Journal: Husserl Studies
ISSN: 0167-9848
Issue: 1
Volume: 31
Pages: 45 - 64
Publication year:2015
CSS-citation score:2
Authors from:Higher Education