Kant, Husserl, McDowell: The Non-Conceptual in Experience

Corijn van Mazijk

About author

Corijn van Mazijk
Higher Institute of Philosophy (Leuven, Belgium)
Faculty of Philosophy (Groningen, Netherlands)
Oude Boteringestraat 52
9712GL Groningen
e-mail: c.m.a.van.mazijk@rug.nl


In this paper I compare McDowell′s conceptualism to Husserl′s later philosophy. I aim to argue against the picture provided by recent phenomenologists according to which both agree on the conceptual nature of experience. I start by discussing McDowell′s reading of Kant and some of the recent Kantian and phenomenological non-conceptualist criticisms thereof. By separating two kinds of conceptualism, I argue that these criticisms largely fail to trouble McDowell. I then move to Husserl’s later phenomenological analyses of types and of passive synthesis. Although Husserl appropriates McDowell’s idea of conceptually ‘saddled’ intuitions as a ‘secondary passivity’, I argue that he also provides a strong case for non-conceptual synthesis.

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