McDowell, Phenomenology and the Awareness of the World
John McDowell has claimed that the rational link between perceptions and empirical judgements allows us to perceive objects as belonging to a wider reality, one which extends beyond the objects perceived. In this way, we can be said to have a perceptual awareness of the world. I argue that McDowell's account of this perceptual awareness does not succeed. His account as it stands does not have the resources to explain how our perceptions can present objects as belonging to a wider reality, regardless of the judgements we make about that reality. I suggest that we can give a better account of this perceptual awareness of the world by appealing to transcendental phenomenology. A phenomenological study of perceptual experiences describes how they are structured by a sense of the perceived objects as belonging to a world containing other objects of possible perception. I shall outline this sense we have of the world, and argue that it allows us to perceive objects as belonging to a wider reality. Transcendental phenomenology can thus help to explain our perceptual awareness of the world.
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Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Durham University, United Kingdom
Publication date: 01 October 2012