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Die Einflüsse der Brentano’schen Intentionalitätskonzeptionen auf den frühen Husserl

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Back to issue: Phänomenologische Forschungen 2014
EUR 14.90

Both the current research literature and a tradition stemming from Husserl himself agree that it was Brentano’s notion of intentionality which „gave rise“ to Husserl’s phenomenology. I rely on extensive primary materials, including unpublished sources from four archives, to revisit this thesis. Already a survey of the historical circumstances of Brentano’s second decade in Vienna, when Husserl studied under him, hints at possible discrepancies in the reception of Brentano’s thought, which are further deepened by the editing policy employed by his orthodox students. I analyze an unpublished lecture manuscript of Brentano to find three different notions of intentionality, including a strikingly a-phenomenological one, which I then relate to the discussion by modern scholarship and try to identify those notions of intentionality which were encountered by Husserl as a student of Brentano. Given this heterogeneous matrix of influences, it is far from surprising that a closer look at Husserl’s philosophical juvenilia shows that he misunderstood Brentano’s notion of intentionality and attempted to employ it in a different theoretical context (maybe motivated by an idiosyncratic notion of inner perception). Finally, the notion of intentionality Husserl later attributed to Brentano was probably mitigated to him by indirect sources, including lecture manuscripts copied by the extravagant and less-know student of Brentano, Hans Schmidkunz, and a debate between a contemporary logician Christoph Sigwart and Brentano’s orthodox disciples. The analysis of these transmission mechanisms could reveal a distinct transformation which proved to be instrumental in the development of Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology. The allegedly decisive influence of Brentano’s notion of intentionality at Husserl thus seems to consist in a productive misunderstanding (which apparently corresponds to Brentano’s surprisingly dismissive evaluation of Husserl after Husserl’s departure from Vienna).