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Title: Horizon, Modality, and Reason
Subtitle: Another Look at Husserl and the Normativity of Perception
Author(s): HUGO, Zachary John
Journal: Etudes phénoménologiques - Phenomenological Studies
Volume: 1    Date: 2017   
Pages: 65-93
DOI: 10.2143/EPH.1.0.3188843

Abstract :
In this paper, I seek to contribute to the debate regarding the normative character of perceptual experience. I argue that a new insight into the discussion can be gained if we turn to a somewhat overlooked aspect of Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology: namely, his peculiar notion of reason (Vernunft). Husserl discusses reason in terms of the process of the legitimation (Ausweisung) of a pre-predicative claim which is constitutive of all perceptual experience. According to Husserl this process unfolds in perception itself. I furthermore show how the horizonal structure of perception opens up a system of possible appearances of the perceived object. To perceive the object rationally — and thus to place oneself in the normative 'space of reasons', to use Sellars’ famous expression — is to be pre-reflectively aware of which of these possible appearances the subject ought to (or in Husserl’s terms, is more 'motivated' to) anticipate in the perceptual process.

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