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The School of Brentano and Husserlian Phenomenology, Studia Phaenomenologica vol III, nr. 1-2/2003

Franz Brentano (1838-1917) gave lectures both at the University of Würzburg (1866-1873) and at the University of Vienna (1874-1894). His most important students from the Würzburg period were Carl Stumpf (1848-1936) and Anton Marty (1847-1914) and from the Vi­ennese period Edmund Husserl (1859-1938), Alexius Meinong (1853­1920), Kasimir Twardowski (1866-1938) and Christian von Ehrenfels (1859-1932).
Setting aside the influence Brentano’s dissertation (especially the chapter on the categorial meanings of being) had on “the young Hei­degger”, the Brentanian themes that were most decisive for the for­mation of Husserl’s phenomenology and for the phenomenological movement in general are the following: a) the idea of philosophy as a rigorous science and of psychology as a fundamental philosophical discipline; b) the differentiation between descriptive and genetic psy­chological aspects and the grounding of psychological research on the data of inner perception as source of evidence; c) the definition of the psychical according to the traditional concept of the intentional inex­istence of the object or, according to the modern one, the intentional reference of the act together with the use of the two criteria as a ground for a unitary classification of psychic phenomena (presentations, judg­ments, acts of love or hate); d) the understanding of the existential judg­ment as a fundamental form of judgment and the grounding of logic, ethics and esthetics on the analysis of the psychical acts involved in the formation of the basic concepts of these disciplines; e) the analysis of the structure of inner perception as well as the study of the unity of consciousness.
The main themes of the Brentanian School have been shaped by the adoption and elaboration of the aforementioned theses by Brentano’s followers in various areas of scientific and philosophical investigation that were in certain salient cases found highly objectionable by Brenta-no and were also criticized in detail (especially in the cases of Husserl and Meinong) by the more orthodox disciples of Brentanian “scholas­ticism” (Oskar Kraus and Alfred Kastil, both students of Marty). The most important contributions of Brentano’s followers are: a) Twar­dowski’s investigation of the object and content of presentation, with a special concern for the objectless presentations; b) Meinong’s theo­ry of beingless objects and his newly established class of psychical phenomena called “assumptions”; c) Stumpf’s concept of state of af­fairs (Sachverhalte) and the investigations which he as well as von Ehrenfels conducted regarding the structuring of the field of percep­tion; d) Marty’s analysis of the place and of general grammar in rela­tion to psychology and logic; e) The Husserlian attempt to find a psychological ground for the concept of number and later the criti­cism of psychologism that had been presupposed in such a project and was still prevalent in logic during the late nineteenth and twentieth century; f) The disagreement between Husserl and Twardowski con­cerning intentional objects and Husserl’s own theory of intentionali­ty as presented in the fifth “Logical Investigation” (as an answer to Brentano); g) Husserl’s analysis of meanings as ideal entities, along with his theory of parts and wholes, his pure logic and grammar and the phenomenological grounding of knowledge.
All the questions point to the similar analyses conducted in the school of Brentano and prove how deeply Husserl’s phenomenology and especially his early work has its roots in the problematic of this school.
In relation to the time-period of the emergence of phenomenology as a philosophical movement in the past century, the retrieval of the role held by Brentano’s School in the formation of Husserl’s phe­nomenology is a relatively recent phenomenon, belonging mainly to the last two decades. This is motivated not only by the interest in the clarification of the historical aspects of the genesis of phenomenology, but also by the necessity of understanding and re-thinking the works of Brentano and his followers, including Husserl’s. Such interest aris­es in large measure from central concerns in analytic philosophy: mereology as a theory of parts and wholes, formal ontology, philoso­phy of mind and the cognitive sciences.
The articles that give shape to this volume are meant to cover the main topics and paths of contemporary research. They deal with mat­ters that had been more or less discussed within the Brentanian School, but which prove to be of great interest for contemporary debates – it is the case of the principle of the summation of good and its possible concern for bioethics. Wilhelm Baumgartner’s article begins with the image of Brentano as the “grandfather” of phenomenology and puts forward a systematic approach to the Brentanian matters relevant to phenomenology. In order to sustain this thesis, the article contains a previously unpublished and very large abstract from Brentano’s Meta­physik-Vorlesung given, starting in 1867, at the University of Würzburg. Husserl knew this text which already exhibits fundamental positions of Brentanian empirical psychology: the relation between inner and outer perception, the necessity of a “phenomenology of the content of rep­resentation” which arises out of both the modern dissolution of the concept of substance and the questioning of the truth-character of “ex­ternal world”.
The evidence of the inner perception represents another main idea in Brentano’s aforementioned lectures. Regarding this aspect, Jocelyn Benoist’s article centers upon the problems and the paradoxes specific to an epistemology of evidence and endorses the idea of an expressive dimension of Brentano’s evidence. The Brentanian “mental realism” is based on this very direct perceptibility of the content of consciousness. Starting from this aspect, which has not been taken into consideration in Husserlian phenomenology, Ion Tãnãsescu’s study deals with the intentionality of sensation according to Brentano: starting from the fa­mous text on intentionality, every psychical act is characterized by two aspects: the act’s reference to the object and the object’s existence in the mind. T?n?sescu’s study revolves around the question of whether one can find such a reference in the case of sensations and whether one can actually speak of a Brentanian unitary classification of psychic phe­nomena.
The difficulties presented by Brentano’s concept of intentionality as depicted in the 1874 Psychologie vom empirischen Standpunkte were soon noticed by his students. In Zur Lehre vom Inhalt und Gegenstand der Vorstellungen. Eine psychologische Untersuchung (1894), Kasimir Twardowski clarified one of the equivocations of Brentano’s theory by distinguishing rigorously between the psychical act, its content and the object to which they both refer. This distinction is constitutive both for the Husserlian concept of intentionality and for Meinong’s theory of objects. Dale Jacquette’s study begins with Meinong’s placing inten­tional objects into different ontic categories: existent spatiotemporal objects, subsistent abstract or nonspatiotemporal objects and beingless objects. Jacquette also raises the question whether the realm of being-less objects can be conceived as mind-independent. According to him, the main role is played here by the freedom of assumptions, the fourth class of psychical phenomena as introduced by Meinong as an inter­mediate class between presentations and judgments.
The theory of parts and wholes is central to both the Brentanian School and to Husserlian phenomenology. Already starting with the Metaphysik-Vorlesung, Brentano made the difference between physi­cal, metaphysical and logical parts. Later on, in the lectures on de­scriptive psychology given at the University of Vienna, he elaborated a precise mereological model of the states of consciousness. Victor Popescu’s article deals with the implications of mereology in Carl Stumpf’s and Husserl’s analyses of the spatial structuring of sense data. The differences between the two types of descriptive approach are also presented as follows: While Stumpf’s “phenomenology” is limited to empirical contents, Husserl expands the analysis of spatial perception to intentional objects and to kinesthetic coordinations.
According to Brentano’s “idiogenetic” theory of judgment from 1874, the difference between the categorical and existential judgments is a purely linguistic one and the former class of judgments be reduced to the latter. During the Viennese period Brentano revised his position and elaborated the theory of the double judgment. According to this new vision, categorical judgments differ from the existential ones by asserting the identification between the subject of the existential (“thetic”) judgment and the same subject presented as having a certain determination. The possibility of the predicative synthesis implied here was developed by Anton Marty, one of Brentano’s orthodox stu­dents, in his sixth study dedicated to impersonal propositions (“sub­jectless sentences”) and to the relation among grammar, logic and psychology. The novelty of a formal distinction, besides the linguistic one, between the categorical and existential judgments, was one that Husserl encountered with great interest. Claudio Majolino’s article analyses the various aspects of the Husserl-Marty controversy over the categorial synthesis and places it within the boundaries of their lat­er debate concerning the nature and purposes of a logical grammar.
Robin Rollinger’s study explores Husserl’s position regarding the fundamental topics of elementary logic (concepts, propositions and inferences) in relation to the most influential logics from the end of 19th century (Bolzano, Brentano, Frege, Herbart, Sigwart, Lotze etc.). The characterization of elementary logic as pure logic and the view that the elements, especially propositions, are non-psychical objective entities allow us to see to what extent Husserl adopts a Bolzanian po­sition contrary to Brentano, though Rollinger also emphasizes at the same time that Husserl’s conception of logic as a whole, including the doctrine of method as well as elementary logic, left room for psychol­ogy. In comparison to Husserl’s later programmatic works, the 1896 lectures have the advantage of offering us a logic, not merely a philos­ophy of logic.
Although the role which the occasional or indexical expressions play in Husserl’s Logische Untersuchungen seems to be rather mar­ginal, Bernhard Waldenfels tries to show in his study that they lead us to a real Sprachphänomenologie. There are three crucial points. First, the reference to the speech situation implies a close connection be­tween saying and showing; secondly, by a sort of self-doubling the speech event refers to itself, before being ascribed to somebody as an act; thirdly, far from being only a special topic, language dwells in the heart of a creative phenomenology. Such a phenomenology shows by saying and brings up to language which has not yet been said. Refer­ences made to Bühler and Jakobson, to Wittgenstein, Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, point beyond the limits of a mere school phenome­nology.
In his article, Bruce Bégout discusses the role of judgment and per­ception as a doxic orientation in the project of the foundation of log­ic in Husserl’s genetic phenomenology, especially in Erfahrung und Urteil and Analysen zur passiven Synthesis. Logic is extended here to the sphere of experience, i.e. of external perception, in a discussion of the pre-logical conditions of logic. The author analyses the way this extension of logic determines the modification of Husserl’s theory of judgment. As Bégout argues, by founding the judging in passive syn­theses and Urdoxa, Husserl opposes the modern theory of judgment and especially against the definition given by the certain partisans of the Brentanian School, as acceptance or rejection of a Sachverhalt.
The mathematical dimension of Husserl’s early work is well-known. Unlike his professor Weierstrass who was searching for a mathemati­cal framework of arithmetic, Husserl is concerned with a philosophical and psychological foundation for it. Carlo Ierna focuses on the rela­tionship between Husserl and Bolzano regarding the problem of the infinite and analyses the role played by symbolic presentations, espe­cially surrogate presentations, in founding the concept of the infinite.
Vom Ursprung sittlicher Erkenntnis (1889) is exemplary for Brentano’s method of obtaining the main concepts of his ethics, begin­ning with the analysis of emotions considered as correct or incorrect and consequently, with reference to their objects, as “good” or “bad”. In this context Bretnano’s principle of preference seems to allow the conclusion that the sum of several goods is “better” than one of its in­herent summands. The problematic character of this assumption, ob­served already by his early disciples, lies in the combination of hetero­geneous items and thus in its axiological vagueness. Klaus Hedwigs’s study brings forward the Aristotelian background of this problem. However, while Aristotle insists that actions which are bad in itself cannot enter into any axiological comparison, Brentano tends to split up theses acts in order to introduce the principle of preferability of values and thus the possibility of quantification. In his penetrating criticism Katkov, one of the most ingenious members of the later Brentano-School, points out the parallogism according to which the quantitative increase of a value must not be misunderstood as a quali­tative improvement. The central point of his critique, however, un­derlines the fact that a whole of values cannot not be justified if one of its elements proves to be radically bad or unworthy to exist (Daseins­unwürdig) – unless the bad be healed in itself. The view of per­fectibility Katkov adopts in the lager framework of a theodicy, starts form an experience having suspended any illusion.
Obviously, these aforementioned studies do not fully cover the topics of a field where much is yet to be discovered and investigated. However, we are honored to dedicate this volume to an author who was decisively and productively involved, during the past decades, in the research of the topics presented here: Karl Schuhmann.


Wilhelm Baumgartner, Franz Brentano, “Grossvater” der Phänomenologie
Jocelyn Benoist, Quelques remarques sur la doctrine brentanienne de l’Évidence
Ion T?n?sescu, Ist die Empfindung intentional? Der Brentanosche Hintergrund einer Kritik Husserls
Klaus Hedwig, “Inseln des Unglücks”. Die Stellung des Schlechten im Summationsprinzip der Güter. Aristoteles-Brentano-Katkov
Victor Popescu, Espace et mouvement chez Stumpf et Husserl. Une approche méréologique
Claudio Majolino, Le différend logique: jugement et énoncé. Eléments pour une reconstruction du débat entre Husserl et Marty
Dale Jacquette, Meinong on the Phenomenology of Assumption
Carlo Ierna, Husserl on the Infinite
Robin Rollinger, Husserl’s Elementary Logic
Bernhardt Waldenfels, Zwischen Sagen und Zeigen. Überlegungen zu Husserls Theorie der okkasionellen Ausdrücke
Bruce Bégout, Percevoir et juger. Le rôle de la croyance originelle (Urdoxa) dans la phénoménologie du jugement de Husserl


Carlo Ierna, Carl Schuhmann


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Madalina Diaconu, “Material Events, Vibrant Essences and Resonant Atmospheres: An Approach to Perfumery in the Light of Contemporary Aesthetics”, in: Aesthetics in Dialogue. Applying Philosophy of Art in a Global World (Peter Lang, 2020)

The impact of aesthetics is increasing again. For today’s scholars, aesthetic theories are a significant companion and contribution in studying and ana-lysing cultural phenomena and production. Today’s scene of aesthetics is more global than what it is in most...