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

Main Article Content

Corijn van Mazijk


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.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
VAN MAZIJK, C. Kant, Husserl, McDowell: The Non-Conceptual in Experience. Diametros, n. 41, p. 99-114, 12 Sep. 2014.
Author Biography

Corijn van Mazijk, University of Groningen (Netherlands), University of Leuven (Belgium)

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
Share |


Allais [2009] – L. Allais, "Kant, Non-Conceptual Content and the Representation of Space", Journal of the History of Philosophy, vol. 47, no. 3, pp: 383-413

Barber, [2008] – M. D. Barber, "Holism and Horizon: Husserl and McDowell on Non-conceptual Content", Husserl Studies, 24, pp. 79-97

Bermúdez [2003] – J. L. Bermúdez, "Nonconceptual mental content", in E. Zalta (Ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. URL = http//www.plato.stanford.edu/archives/ spr2003/entries/content-nonconceptual/

De Sá Pereira [2013] – R. H. De Sá Pereira, "What is Non-Conceptualism in Kant′s Philosophy?", Philosophical Studies, 164: pp. 233-254

Dreyfus [2013] – H. L. Dreyfus, "The myth of the pervasiveness of the mental", in: Mind, Reason, and Being-in-the-World: The McDowell-Dreyfus Debate. Ed. by Schear, New York: Routledge

Ginsborg [2008] – H. Ginsborg, "Was Kant a Nonconceptualist?", Philosophical Studies, 137: pp. 65-77

Gomes [2014] – A. Gomes, "Kant on Perception: Naïve Realism, Non-Conceptualism, and the B-Deduction", Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 64, pp. 1-19

Griffith [2010] – A. M. Griffith, "Perception and the Categories: A Conceptualist Reading of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason", European Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 20, No. 2, pp. 193-222

Grüne [2009] – S. Grüne, Blinde Anschauung: Die Rolle von Begriffen in Kants Theorie sinnlicher Synthesis, Frankfurt am Main, Klostermann

Grüne [2011] – S. Grüne, "Is there a Gap in Kant’s B-Deduction", International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 19:3, pp. 465-490

Hanna [2008] – R. Hanna, "Kantian Non-Conceptualism", Philosophical Studies, 137: pp. 41-64

Hanna [2011a] – R. Hanna, "Beyond the Myth of the Myth: A Kantian Theory of Non-Conceptual Content", International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 19:3, pp. 323-398

Hanna [2011b] – R. Hanna, "Kant’s Non-Conceptualism, Rogue Objects, and the Gap in the B-Deduction", International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 19:3, pp. 399-415

Hopp [2010] – W. Hopp, "How To Think About Non­-Conceptual Content", The New Yearbook for Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy, 10 (1), pp. 1-24

Hopp [2011] – W. Hopp, Perception and Knowledge: A Phenomenological Account. Cambridge University Press

Husserl [1997] – E. Husserl, Experience and Judgment: Investigations in a Genealogy of Logic. Evanston, Northwestern University Press

Husserl [2001] – E. Husserl, Logical Investigations. Vol. 2, Transl. N. Findlay, ed. D. Moran, New York, Routledge

Kant [1979] – I. Kant, Prolegomena. Original title: "Prolegomena zu einer jeden kunfitgen Metaphysik die als Wissenschaft wird auftreten können" (1783), Meppel, Boom

Kant [1996] – I. Kant, "What does it mean to orient oneself in thinking?" In: Religion and Rational Theology. Transl. Wood, A., Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, pp. 1-18

Kant [1998] – I. Kant, Critique of Pure Reason. Ed. And trans. P. Guyer and A Wood. Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Cambridge University Press

Lohmar [1998] – D. Lohmar, Erfahrung und kategoriales Denken: Hume Kant und Husserl űber vorprädikative Erfahrung und prädikative Erkenntis, Dordrecht, Boston, London, Kluwer Academic Publishers

McDowell [1994] – J. H. McDowell, Mind and World. Cambridge, London, Harvard University Press

McDowell [2009] – J. H. McDowell, Having the World in View: Essays on Kant, Hegel, and Sellars. Cambridge, Harvard University Press

McDowell [2013a] – J. H. McDowell, "Are the Senses Silent?", Agnes Cuming Lectures and Seminar, UCD School of Philosophy, April 24, 2013. URL = <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBQHEGg5JSo>

McDowell [2013b] – J. H. McDowell, "The Myth of the Mind as Detached", In: Mind, Reason, and Being-in-the-World: the McDowell-Dreyfus Debate. Ed. by J. K. Schear, London, New York, Routledge

Mooney [2010] – T. Mooney, "Understanding and Simple Seeing in Husserl", Husserl Studies, 26, pp. 19-48

Schear [2013] – J. K. Schear, "Are we Essentially Rational Animals?", In: Mind, Reason, and Being-in-the-World: the McDowell-Dreyfus Debate. Ed. by J. K. Schear, London, New York, Routledge

Sellars [1963] – W. Sellars, "Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind", in Science, Perception and Reality. London, Routledge

Van Mazijk [2014a] – C. van Mazijk, "Why Kant Is a Non-Conceptualist But Is Better Regarded a Conceptualist", Kant Studies Online, pp. 170-201

Van Mazijk [2014b] – C. van Mazijk, "Phenomenology and Non-Conceptual Content", book review of: J. K. Schear’s Mind, Reason, and Being-In-the-World: The McDowell/Dreyfus-Debate (2013), Metodo, Vol. 2, No. 2 (forthcoming)

Van Mazijk [2014c] – C. van Mazijk, "Walter Hopp: Perception and Knowledge: a Phenomenological Account", Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 10.1007/s11097-014-9382-y

Watkins [2008] – E. Watkins, "Kant and the Myth of the Given", Inquiry, 51: 5, pp. 512-531