I focus on the problem of perception in the literature of phenomenology, i.e., how Edmund Husserl, Aron Gürwitsch, Edith Stein, Max Scheler, as well as Maurice Merleau-Ponty address the problem of dis/illusion in perceptual experience. Husserl, mainly in Experience and Judgment, formulates his phenomenological thesis of perceptual constancy in explaining how one misperceives a distant mannequin as a man and corrects this illusion in successive perceiving acts. This was criticized by Gürwitsch, in The Field of Consciousness, for Husserl’s formulation assumes the sameness of experienced object, which begs the question, and ignores the potential mutual affect between the external stimuli and the metal state.
Whereas Merleau-Ponty argues that illusions can be useful because an illusion, distinct from a pure imagination, has its distorted object in the world and facilitates an amendment of that distorted perception by virtue of dis-illusion, i.e., the dissipation of the illusory or a failure of the adequation of an intention in a Husserlian sense. Scheler and Stein start to examine this problem from a more empirical standpoint of phenomenological psychology, with relatively less commitment to metaphysics and transcendentalism. They invest more in making empathic deception and correction intelligible but end up with different understandings of the completion of an empathic act. Besides the literature of phenomenology, I also seek to look at the very same problem from the perspective of analytic philosophy of mind, trying to minimize the risk of misreading the early phenomenologists as doing empirical psychology, or the analytic philosophers as doing phenomenology, and maximize the potentially intellectual benefits of trans-traditional conversation.
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