Abstract

Abstract:

This paper argues that specifically Kantian concepts of "appearance," "representation," and 'form and content" are crucial to Jaspers' phenomenology. Kant was the first major philosopher to use the word "phenomenology." It appears first in his early correspondence and then in The Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science (1786), where he uses it to mean the "theory of appearance." "Appearance" is a crucial concept in the Critique of Pure Reason. It is "the undetermined object of an empirical intuition"; that is, it is the root in sensation of all experience and knowledge. In order to become experience or knowledge, appearance must be "represented" in our intellect or understanding. Kant's theory of knowledge entails that such "representation" (Vorstellung/ Vergegenwärtigung) must divide into an intuitive content given from without and a conceptual form imposed from within. Jaspers' phenomenology, correspondingly, is the description, definition, differentiation, and classification of subjective experience as appearance by the form or mode of its representation in consciousness. The fundamental concepts of this phenomenology are therefore appearance (Erscheinung), representation (Vergegenwärtigung), and form and content (Form und Inhalt). These concepts, it will be argued, as they are used in Jaspers' phenomenology, are essentially Kantian. They are completely absent from Husserl's phenomenology. It is concluded therefore that Jaspers himself radically misunderstood Husserl to be a descriptive psychologist. The real philosophical origins of Jaspers' phenomenology are to be found not in Husserl's philosophical phenomenology but in Kant's theory of knowledge.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3303
Print ISSN
1071-6076
Pages
pp. 65-82
Launched on MUSE
2009-01-01
Open Access
No
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