A Critique of Two Recent Husserl Interpretations

Henry Pietersmaa1

a1 University of Toronto

In an article which appeared in The Philosophical Review Karl Ameriks argues in favour of the rather surprising thesis that Husserl, his own statements and a host of commentators and critics notwithstanding, was a realist, i.e., a philosopher who held that “there are physical objects which exist outside consciousness and are not wholly dependent on it” (498). More recently, Harrison Hall, in his contribution to the volume Husserl, Intentionality, and Cognitive Science, has argued that in Husserl's view there is no legitimate philosophical issue between realism and idealism, because philosophy is concerned exclusively with meanings. Both interpretations are careful, documenting each point with texts, and contain several elements that are illuminating. Yet they are fundamentally mistaken as regards their main thesis, as I shall argue in this paper.