Table of Contents

General Introduction. 3

Introduction. 4

Descartes and the notion of intentionality. 5

Husserl and the evolution of the conception of intentionality. 7

Husserl’s definition of intentionality. 8

Husserl on Brentano’s reintroduction of intentionality. 13

Intentionality as Functioning Subjectivity. 14

Conclusion. 16

General Introduction

In this paper I will analyze the notion of intentionality in the work of Husserl dedicated to The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology. Although in this work the above mentioned notion of intentionality apparently does not represent the main theme of the general investigation, it represents one of the essential elements of the philosophy of Husserl. Hence, in order to address this topic, it is my objective to underline the way in which Husserl, in this work, brings to light the notion of intentionality and how he uses it in his investigation.

In this work, Husserl focuses on the question related to sciences, exact natural sciences and human sciences as well, and on analyzing in which way the historical development of science takes a different direction from the path of the enhancement of human existence. However, from the second part of his work, Husserl’s focus shifts to the discussion on the origin of modern opposition between objectivism and subjectivism. In doing that, he involves Descartes and the description of the Cartesian concept of intentionality. This concept, according to Husserl, plays a role in allowing modern sciences to take a first step towards a subjective approach. Hence, albeit he does not establish the general investigation on the mere analysis of the question, it is clear that the importance of the research must take into account the notion of intentionality, which, for Husserl, represents the way to explain the process of knowledge of the world, that is, the way of experiencing life.

The theme I have chosen for my analysis is strictly related to the course of History of Philosophy, of which this paper represents the final step. In fact, in the course we have investigated the whole content of the mentioned work of Husserl and, in doing that, we have focused on some of the most important aspect of the German philosopher. Therefore, in this paper I will trace the role of the notion of intentionality in The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology. In doing that, I will focus on the section dedicated to Descartes, Brentano and I will show the importance of their role. Furthermore, I will give a brief definition of intentionality in general, using the sections in which Husserl explains how and why this philosophical concept represents one of the main theme of his philosophy.

Husserl’s philosophical project, in fact, aims to redefine the relationship between the reason and the world, as to say, the consciousness and the objects. This process becomes obvious thanks to the intentional act. This act, indeed, combines the two relata, which, once united, give us, for example, a theory of perception. However, this approach represents only one of the different ways to reach knowledge. Certainly, Husserl is not interested in knowledge as such, but he wants to investigate knowledge in a new phenomenological perspective. This view gives him the opportunity to focus on the result of the dispute between the sphere of the objectivity and the one of subjectivity.

In fact, the notion of intentionality allows Husserl to overcome the natural attitude given by the basic and elementary approach of the analysis of the world. Hence, he investigates the emerging dualism between the two different approaches, the objective one and the subjective one, and thanks to his philosophical system, he tries to go beyond this limitation in favor of the description of the enigma of the constituting subjectivity in which the ego is involved and plays an essential part in the general understanding of the world.

Again, in order to address this final point, I will use the sections in which Husserl analyzes the importance and the details of the intentional act in order to introduce a new perspective. Finally, in order to give a more specific analysis I will directly focus, as much as possible, on the work of Husserl.


In the last work of Husserl, The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology (hereafter Crisis),[1] the notion of intentionality does not represent the main subject of the investigation. However, Husserl provides an accurate investigation to the main stages of the development of a phenomenological philosophy, giving an insight into the concept of intentionality.

The Crisis, indeed, claims to offer a general introduction to the transcendental phenomenology. In doing that, the German philosopher aims to introduce a new universal philosophy. In fact, he begins his investigation from the critique of the failure of modern sciences (Crisis § 4). Then, he continues introducing the necessity of a new way of thinking (Crisis § 5). We must bear in mind that Husserl is the philosopher who introduced phenomenology as a new science, but his understanding of phenomenology changed during his life. The Crisis, which is the last work of his life, represents the final and mature expression of his investigation of transcendental phenomenology.[2]

Therefore, the notion of intentionality, or directedness, presented in the Crisis embodies the modifications of this way of thinking that represents, according to Husserl, a new original perspective. Thus, although the purpose of this work isn’t the direct description and the definition of intentionality, this concept represents a necessary element in the way of the understanding of the general picture.

Descartes and the notion of intentionality

Husserl, in the Crisis, introduces the notion of intentionality focusing on the first appearance of the concept in the modern age thanks to the introductions made by Descartes in his philosophy. Therefore, Husserl takes Descartes as starting point of his investigation into intentionality. Descartes, indeed, is commonly considered the initiator of modern philosophy and as a co-founder of modern science (Moran 2012, 4). Again, Descartes is for Husserl the father of transcendental philosophy. He tried to rebuild philosophy from a completely new perspective. In fact, Descartes aimed to create a philosophical system based on certain knowledge avoiding every use of which he was not sure. Husserl goes back to Descartes in order to explain the necessary reform of philosophy. Moreover, he is interested to the Cartesian principle that every philosopher has to build his own systematic knowledge on unquestionable principles. This step has to be understood as the way to protect every foundation of knowledge.

Furthermore, this way of grounding knowledge represents the emerging importance of subjectivity in terms of the importance of the ego in the selection of the value of the experiences (Husserl 1970, 75). Anyway, this last step opens a new analysis. With this step, indeed, the implicit theory of intentionality emerges, even though, according to Husserl, Descartes fails to recognize the importance and the object of his discovery.

In fact, according to Husserl’s investigation of Descartes, the French philosopher wrote, in the first meditation, a “piece of Psychology” (Husserl 1970, 82) which was missing one key element: intentionality as such. Although he recognized that it is necessary to take into account the explanation of the term to give a completion of life, this element remained “completely undeveloped” (Husserl 1970, 82).

Moreover, Descartes used a different word to introduce this notion: cogitatio, which means to have the consciousness of something. Hence, according to his philosophy, the cogitation exists in order to have its own cogitatum. The relationship between the two brings the elements to belong to each other and to investigate at what level of certainty this connection works. Husserl claims, at this point, that “we can already see that the problem entitled ‘intentionality’ contains, within itself, and inseparably, the problem of understanding, or of reason” (Husserl 1970, 83). Furthermore this issue remains implicit as soon as there is no real “presentation and treatment of the subject of intentionality in Descartes” but the whole supposition has to be understood as a theory of knowledge because it investigates how the ego takes into account the “objective knowledge” (Husserl 1970, 83).

Thus far, Husserl in the Crisis needs to show how Descartes poses the question of subjectivity, that is, how and why the investigation of the subject is, itself, a subject of investigation. Therefore, the Cartesian system of understanding the world is based on a triple relation (egocogitatiocogitata) in which the three elements are intrinsically related to each other (Husserl 1970, 171). Hence, the ego, the subject and the object, represent the different directions we may tend to in our investigation of the general notion of intention. This is because, “although these headings are inseparable from one another, one must pursue them one at a time and in an order opposite to that suggested by the Cartesian approach” (171-172). Husserl’s research of Descartes’ philosophy uncovers the complication of that approach based on the consideration that subjectivity is what it is only through intersubjectivity.

Therefore, Descartes’ conception of intentionality represents an interesting point of view. However, the validity of his approach is argued by Husserl as unsatisfactory (Husserl 1970, 85). The universal problem of intentionality is taken into account by the French philosopher as an analysis of familiar forms that we borrow from the surrounding world. This means that Descartes based his own theory of knowledge on a physical world; but this appears as a mistake to Husserl.

For that reason, when he investigates the issue, he makes use of the terminology in a modern and revisited way thanks to the new approach made possible by Brentano’s work which opened the notion, and subsequently the approach, for a new intentionality. However, before touching the role of Brentano, he gives an accurate explanation of the notion of intentionality and its development in different philosophical systems.

Husserl and the evolution of the conception of intentionality

After the sections dedicated to Descartes and his importance in modifying modern philosophy, Husserl briefly proceeds in his research into the notion of intentionality. He begins with the general investigation related to the philosophies of Locke and Kant and, in doing that, he takes into account the evolution of the path of psychology.

In Crisis § 22, he argues about the mistake made by Locke: “Especially portentous for future psychology and theory of knowledge is the fact that Locke makes no use of the Cartesian first introduction of the cogitatio as cogitatio of cogitata, that is, intentionality; he does not recognize it as a subject of investigation (indeed the most authentic subject of the foundation-laying investigation). He is blind to the whole distinction” (Husserl 1970, 85).

Later in the Crisis, when he analyzes the philosophy of Kant (specifically in Crisis § 30), Husserl takes into account the situation created after the application of the Lockean philosophy (Husserl 1970, 116). In fact, since no one has gathered the Cartesian theory about the cogitata qua cogitata, psychology arises inadequate.

Furthermore, Husserl starts discussing about the subjective system of correlation and he introduces the phenomenon of intentionality as an approach subordinate to an alteration (Crisis § 48). This alteration, which results after a careful examination of the how of the appearance of a thing, is the result that occurs between “appearance and that which appears as such” (Husserl 1970, 165). This final point helps Husserl to give a new meaning to the definition of the new correlation which represents a cardinality for the notion of intentionality itself.

Husserl’s definition of intentionality

Thus far, Husserl has investigated the evolution of the conception of intentionality and, in doing that, he analyzed some crucial points of its development in the path of modern philosophy. Finally, in the central sections of the Crisis, he takes into account a definition of intentionality. In fact, this notion opens to the world of psychic phenomena. Moreover, Husserl brings intentionality to a new and complete level of examination in order to be used in his philosophical system as the starting point for a new transcendental overture.

In Husserl’s philosophy the notion of intentionality represents the basic step of the phenomenological relation between the subject and the object. In fact, intentionality, works on the correlation between the perceiver who tries to apprehend, to intend, the object and the perceived, the object itself. The approach describes the essential action of understanding (Husserl 1970, 168). In other words, it represents the attitude which characterizes the phenomenological approach in the act of experiencing the intentional object.

Husserl adopts the notion of intentionality from Brentano’s analysis of psychology, which was based on the notion of intentionality itself.[3] However, Husserl used Brentano’s conception only as a starting point.[4] He, in fact, gives a deeper and a more accurate investigation of the notion rejecting almost “all of Brentano’s key assumptions but retained the central conception of intentionality now characterized as a ‘correlation research’, that is, every mental act or lived experience is intentionally related to an object which is given precisely in the manner determined by the mental act or lived experience” (Moran 2012, 55).

Again, Husserl gives a completely new interpretation of intentionality as the element necessary to understand the essential structures of consciousness but also the experience of the objects that give us an unclear perception of the world.[5] Hence, intentionality is the genuine act of perceiving the world, but also the way that makes it intelligible to us. Therefore, how does intentionality properly work?

Husserl claims that we look out for the objects in the life world “not in order to know them as what they really are but rather in order to inquire into the modes of their subjective manner of giveness” (Husserl 1970, 159). Therefore, objects exhibit themselves and we try to understand their meaning through their exhibition. This aspect of the investigation reveals that the act of understanding is achievable only in the way in which object’s exhibition becomes visible to the conscious that is active in perceiving. In other words, the phenomenon of perception is possible thanks to the reflection of the qualities emanated from the objects in a relation with the perceiver which is defined by Husserl as an a priori correlation.

Moreover, this implies that intentional analysis of perception begins involuntarily and this approach represents the first a priori investigation of the world. Although it is evident that intentionality always implies a degree of temporality, Husserl focuses his investigation on the analysis of the present time because, according to his interpretation, “perception is related only to the present” (Husserl 1970, 160).

However, it does not mean that Husserl avoids to recognize the flow of the consciousness. In fact, the act of perceiving, related to the exhibition of the object, necessarily implies a temporal analysis. This analysis is constituted by two different phases: the first one represents a continuity of retention; the second one represents an anticipation of protention. This double phase, indeed, occurs in every moment of perception and that represents the basic level of understanding the world.[6]

According to Husserl, the phenomenological approach is a requirement to go beyond the natural attitude, which allows us to investigate the world. Starting from this point he argues about the modus operandi of the phenomenological reduction that overcomes our experience of the world of everyday life. In this circumstance, the attention is focused on the relation between consciousness and objects through phenomenological attitude which operates on a level based on a suspension of the ordinary activity of investigating the world. Phenomenological attitude, in fact, is interested in the correlation between the parts only at this suspended level.

Therefore, it represents an approach that overcomes the question about the existence or the non existence of the world. Also, this is the point that allows Husserl to establish the correlation in an a priori level in which temporality, although considered, seems to pass by unnoticed. The temporal analysis, in fact, becomes unnecessary from the moment in which we understand the phenomenological attitude as the approach distinct by a disinterested look on the relation between object and subject.[7]

The main conception of intentionality is based on the ‘correlation research’. In fact, according to the latter, “every mental act or lived experience is intentionally related to an object which is given precisely in the manner determined by the mental act or lived experience” (Moran 2012, 55). But which implications does this theory have?

Husserl is interested in the investigation of the consciousness and not in its physical structure. In this analysis, in which he points out the ways thanks to which it is possible to have an idea of the world, he noticed that all experiences are characterized by an attribute called intentionality, or object directedness (Zahavi 2009, 14). However, the interest for the objects is a peculiarity of another object because, first of all, intentionality represents a relation between two objects in the world.

Therefore, thanks to the above mentioned suspension, we can now focus our attention on another condition of the approach: the nature of the object of correlation. This, indeed, may be of different natures, for example, existent, non-existent, ideal, absent, dreamlike, fantastic, etc. In any case, in order to investigate the relation between subject and object, it is not necessary to focus on the nature of the elements. The important characteristic that has to be analyzed is the ‘directedness’ towards these objects which embodies the essential condition of the theory itself and the element that gives value to the entire phenomenon (Hopkins 1993, 21-22).[8]

However, it is necessary to underline another particular aspect of the approach. When there is a perception of an object the perceiver must be able to recognize the difference between that which appears and the appearance itself of the object which usually never exhibits itself in all the perspectives.

This point opens a new question about the role of the reflection of the objects. The reflection that makes the understanding of the meaning of the objects possible, actually embodies the spectrum of the possibilities. In other words, it represents the totality of the intentionalities of a specific object.

Later, the question moves to a different degree of the investigation. In fact, the object that really exists and exhibits itself through many intentional states has to be understood by the perceiver. Subsequently, new problems emerge in this analysis: what is a real object? And how should it be intended?

According to Husserl it is “senseless to distinguish between the intentional and the real object. Not in the sense that all intentional objects are real, but in the sense that if we intended object really exists, then it is this real object, and no other, which is our intentional object” (Zahavi 2009, 22). Therefore, the attitude of intentionality can also be interpreted as the explanation of the perception of something as something.

However, independently from the nature of this something, we have to bear in mind that there is always a change in the act of perceiving. In fact, the conditions of the perceiver are in a progressive situation of transformation because of the change of the surrounding world and because of the possible intentionalities which the object itself embodies (Zahavi 2009, 26). This final point, according to Husserl, will open a new perspective in modern psychology.

Husserl on Brentano’s reintroduction of intentionality

Once Husserl has investigated the peculiarity of the development of intentionality and after his explanation of the meaning of the concept itself, he directly takes into account the notion of intentionality from its new beginning. Hence, in the Crisis (specifically § 68), the German philosopher analyzes the universal problem of intentionality and its new modern interpretation.

As already stated, Husserl takes over Brentano’s conception of intentionality.[9] However, he aims to clarify and improve the use that his teacher did. In fact, he finds that Brentano’s conception was related to an “internalist introspectionist outlook” (Moran 2012, 54). Conversely, Husserl aims to open the understanding of intentionality. He wants to consider mental phenomena “as composed of certain acts (presentations, judgments, emotional states of loving or hating) which are directed at what he called indifferently ‘objects’ or ‘contents’, which may or may not exist” (55). The distance between the two thinkers was already clear when “in his Fifth Logical Investigation, Husserl rejected almost all Brentano’s key assumptions” (55).

In doing that, he recalls Brentano’s introduction of the concept of intentionality as one of the peculiar characteristics of the psychic. Brentano, indeed, started a reform of psychology in which he set science of psychic phenomena as a basilar attitude with conscious experiences. Moreover, according to Husserl, he did not overcome the “prejudices of the naturalistic tradition” (Husserl 1970, 234).

However, despite the critique of Brentano’s interpretation, Husserl develops on his background the nascent “phenomenological psychology which was in sharp opposition to the naturalistic misconstruction of psychology as an inductive science of facts” (Moran 2012, 114). In order to have a pure psychology able to describe the activities of the human being in the world in which they live and behave, it would be necessary to avoid sense data. [10] But this is not going to happen, because, according to Husserl, “In straightforward world experience we find human beings intentionally related to certain things – animal, houses, fields, etc.” (Husserl 1970, 235).

Later on (Crisis § 69), Husserl aims to open up his discussion to a new issue, and he tries to “explain the constitution of the world in terms of intentionality, both individual and collective” (Moran 2012, 114). In fact, in his late research he introduces the concept of “horizon consciousness or of horizon intentionality” (Husserl 1970, 237) because he needs to show how all the different modes of intentionality, which can be seen in different ways, are included in this horizon. Therefore, this new horizon opens new perspective in the definition to the role of intentionality. Hence, in this next and last section, we will see the last feature of intentionality, represented in a new and collective form.

Intentionality as Functioning Subjectivity

Finally, the most important insertion made by Husserl is the conception of functioning subjectivity[11] (see especially Crisis § 13 and § 54): “Functioning subjectivity, according to Husserl, is the collective and anonymous intentionality that gives us our sense of world, with its horizon of future and past. This subjectivity has been misconstrued in modern philosophy from Descartes to Kant as an internal or psychological subjectivity” (Moran 2012, 37).

Husserl, indeed, notices that this problem becomes one of the central problems of the philosophy of Kant, but the last one, according to Husserl, replaced the problem of the relation of the objective world with what Husserl calls (in Crisis § 68) transcendental subjectivism.

This issue emerges in part II of the Crisis when Husserl analyzes the opposition between objectivity and subjectivity. In fact, in modern philosophy this distinction is clear and Husserl, starting from this point, wants to give to Kant’s philosophy a new perspective. By doing that, he takes into account the concept of functioning subjectivity. This term, has to be understood as the “Anonymous, collective intentionality that constitutes the sense of the world as such, as opposed to the active intentionality, that individual minds consciously initiate” (Moran 2012, 45).

In fact, Husserl wants to investigate the notion of intentionality from a different point of view. He aims to analyze the horizontal perspective of the approach which is limited: “My perceptual objects are characterized by their horizontal giveness” (Zahavi 2009, 119). I perceive objects according to an individual perspective. However, this consideration opens a new perspective in which the objects I perceive are not perceived only from me, but rather they have more profiles which could have been perceived by other subjects. Hence, my perception implicitly contains a connection with the one of the others. There is an aspect of intersubjectivity between whom that perceive (Husserl 1970, 172; and 182-186).

Moreover, the German philosopher introduces the discussion on functioning subjectivity when he analyzes the issue of the life-world.[12] This insertion is due to the fact that living in a life-world means to live a life as functioning subject where the sense of the term ‘subjectivity’ is related to the ability of an intentional life in the sphere of the social activity.[13] Again, we said that the analysis of Husserl notion of intersubjectivity is in connection with the concept of intentionality. We experience objects, not as private, but as public.[14] Hence, there is a collective intentionality. “He speaks more generally of a collective, shared intentionality or ‘we-subjectivity’. This collective intentionality and the action of subjectivity in the plural has become a matter of interest in the philosophy of mind only in the recent decades. In the Crisis. Husserl investigates the interpersonal, intersubjective, communal world, the world of what he calls ‘socialities’, families, peoples, nations, and even ‘super-nations’” (Moran 2012, 154).

Therefore, there is an attention of Husserl on this public characteristic of intentionality. The philosopher is interested in all the characterization of persons and their aspect related to every aspect of their beings: from the self-consciousness to the emotions and so on, until their ability to have social relations (Moran 2012, 159). This ability to understand the sociality of the existence of human beings is strictly connected with the notion of functioning subjectivity because for Husserl, this aspect of intentionality is the “Used to refer to the kind of anonymous, background, pre-reflective, passively experiencing subjectivity that is continuously functioning in passivity to produce the unified experience of the word as pre-given in experience” (Moran 2012, 224).

This last step of development of intentionality represents, according to Husserl, the high point of intentionality because it represents an overcoming of the notion of intentionality. Husserl, indeed, takes the notion of transcendental subjectivity as a concept partially dependent on transcendental intersubjectivity (Zahavi 2009, 110-120). In fact, functioning subjectivity embodies the characteristic of transcendental. Again, the use of this word, transcendental, is essential in order to understand the “Conditions which makes life possible (as common life within a shared world), can only be uncovered by a deliberate change of direction or orientation in intention, one that itself belongs to the nature of transcendental life” (Moran 2012, 224).

Therefore, the phenomenon of intentionality, embodied in the notion of functioning subjectivity, represents the last level of the evolution of intentionality. It maintains the a priori correlation, but no more at the level of the relation, direction, between objects and subjects. Conversely, it embodies the meaning of a collective intentionality that works in the background of the social consciousness. It symbolizes the high level of adaptation of intentionality to the problem related to the sphere of the relationship between subjectivity and objectivity; the ego and the world.

Ultimately, the move of intentionality in the sphere of transcendental phenomenology will give a new interpretation at the question of the role of modern psychology. Psychology, which has remain tied to the sphere of natural attitude, now, will be entitled to the definition of the correct relationship between inner psychology and transcendental phenomenology in terms of their understanding of subjectivity (Moran 2012, 101).


We have seen that Husserl, in the Crisis, discusses, among other things, about the structure of the ego and its relation with the external. In doing that, he makes a very complex investigation of intentionality. Actually, he does not limit himself to investigate the notion of intentionality, but rather he is involved in the development of a new theory of intentionality and psychology. Hence, in the latest work of the German philosopher, we find an accurate research into the notion of intentionality in light of the explanation of the evolution of the relationship between object and subject; the ego and the world.

Therefore, in this paper I took into account the investigation made by Husserl in the Crisis. Especially, I focused on all the parts dedicated to the notion of intentionality. I have decided to keep the same order that Husserl used in his work for two main reasons. First, the order used by the philosopher is suitable for an analysis in terms of chronological development of the conception of intentionality. Thus, the sections are organized with respect to chronology. Second, this order was also congenial in order to give a crescendo to the whole paper. Again, the insertion of Husserl’s notion of functional subjectivity is, indeed, the final point of Husserl’s investigation of intentionality.

Hence, although the introduction of functioning subjectivity represents one of the main and last concepts introduced by Husserl in his latest research, I have chosen to analyze this topic as I have analyzed the others. If I had only focused on this last introduction, I would have deprived some other aspects from their important role. Therefore, I tried to analyze every section with the same effort in order to balance the parts.

Moreover, since the general investigation of intentionality is focused on the characteristics and the perspective of Husserl’s point of view, I have decided to use this layout in order to gradually introduce the latest theory of Husserl on psychology.

At the beginning of this paper I have stated that the Crisis is not the work of Husserl addressed to give a definition of intentionality (as Husserl did, for example, in his Logical Investigation, or Ideas). However, he directly takes into account some aspects of intentionality and I have dedicated the central section of this paper to this treatise. Nonetheless, in this essay there are not dissertations of the terms which characterize the definition of intentionality, such as noema, theory of perception, intentional object, etc. As for the terminology I have used, as specified in the footnotes, the terms used by David Carr, the English translator, and by Dermot Moran, the author of the comment I used as guideline and leitmotiv of my analysis.

In the introduction of the paper I have mentioned that the main theme of the paper would have been one of the analyzed in our course of History of Philosophy. In fact, in our course we have focused on some aspect of the philosophy of Husserl (such as intentionality, the issue of life-world, etc.) starting from the analysis Crisis. In my paper I aimed to proceed in the same direction. Indeed, I have used the work of Husserl as starting point of my research on one of the crucial aspects of phenomenology.

Finally, a brief consideration to the conception of phenomenology. We have seen that Husserl’s investigation of the notion of intentionality aims to retrace the evolution and the development of the intentionality from the very beginning. Furthermore, the research focuses on the aspects of intentionality that Husserl wants to underline in order to introduce the final notion of functioning subjectivity which embodies the very last step of Husserl’s conception of intentionality. However, there is another step that we have to bear in mind. Husserl aims to develop and structure his conception of phenomenology. And this is also a characteristic of his latest work. In fact, although the main object of the work is related to the crisis of the sciences and everything is correlated to this issue, Husserl aspires to introduce in his latest work an accurate insight to transcendental phenomenology. And it is precisely in this aspiration that the notion of intentionality finds a completely new relevance.


Primary and Secondary sources

Burt Crowell Hopkins, Intentionality in Husserl and Heidegger: the problem of the original method and phenomenon of phenomenology. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1993.

Dermot Moran, Husserl’s Crisis of the European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Dermot Moran and Joseph Cohen, The Husserl Dictionary. London, New York: Continuum, 2012.

Edmund Husserl, The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology: An Introduction to Phenomenological Philosophy. Translated by David Carr, Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1970.

Ronald McIntyre and David Woodruff Smith, “Theory of Intentionality,” in J. N. Mohanty and William R. McKenna, eds., Husserl’s Phenomenology: A Textbook. Washington, D. C.: Center for Advanced Research in Phenomenology and University Press of America, 1989, pp. 147-79.

Zahavi Dan, Husserl’s phenomenology Stanford, Ca: Stanford University Press, 2003.

[1] The German original edition is Edmund Husserl, Die Krisis der europäischen Wissenschaften und die transzendentale Phänomenologie: Eine Einleitung in die phänomenologische Philosophie, Walter Biemel ed., Husserliana VI, The Hague: Nijhoff, 1954. I will use the edition partially translated by David Carr as The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology: An Introduction to Phenomenological Philosophy, Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1970.

[2] “Initially, he focused on individual processes of consciousness—perception, imagination, memory, time-consciousness, and so on—understood as ‘lived experiences’ (Erlebnisse), mental episodes. But gradually he came to recognize the need to address the manner in which the flowing, connected stream of conscious experiences is unified into a life, centred around an ego but interconnected with other egos in a communal life of what Husserl calls broadly ‘intersubjectivity’, leading, finally, to the shared experience of a world as a whole (primarily experienced as the familiar ‘life-world’). This turn to the ego especially, led Husserl’s phenomenology in a transcendental direction (and Descartes is for Husserl the father of transcendental philosophy). The Crisis revolutionized phenomenology with its introduction of the life-world understood as the historical world, as we shall discuss in the course of this book” (Moran 2012, 4).

[3] See especially Husserl 1970, 233; and Moran 2012, 54.

[4] In this section I am taking into account the importance of Brentano’s use of intentionality, but I will only analyze the investigation on his work, made by Husserl, in the next section of this paper.

[5] Although in this paper I will often use the term ‘perception’ in referring to the intentionality’s activity, I will not conceive intentionality as the result of the mere perception. In fact, I am aware of the genuine definition of the phenomenon. According to this definition we may talk of intentionality when we refer to perception, as well as to dreams, memory, imagination. Again: “It is never the existence of the intentional object that makes the act, be it a perception or a hallucination, intentional. Our mind does not become intentional through an external influence, and it does not lose its intentionality if its object ceases to exist. Intentionality is not an external relation that is brought about when consciousness is influenced by an object, but is, on the contrary, an intrinsic feature of consciousness. The intentional openness of consciousness is an integral part of its being, not something that has to be added from without. Thus, intentionality does not presuppose the existence of two different entities—consciousness and the object. All that is needed for intentionality to occur is the existence of an experience with the appropriate internal structure of object-directedness” (Dan Zahavi 2009, 21). However, in order not to create confusion, I will use only the terminology related to perception: in which the perceiver and the perceived represent the wide range of possibilities implicitly presents in the definition of intentionality.

[6] Although the notion on intentionality implies a degree of temporality (for example see the short introduction to the issue in Crisis § 46), in this paper I am not interested in taking this aspect into account. Hence, I briefly present this characteristic of intentionality only in order to specify the direction of my investigation.

[7] The concept of ‘a priori correlation’ clearly embodies the aspect of temporality. However, as I have explained in the previous footnote, it is not necessary to take into account this aspect for the purpose of this paper.

[8] On this feature, see also the notion of ‘conception-dependence’ introduced by McIntyre and Smith (1989).

[9] About the origin of the word intentionality I just want to remember the also Brentano recalls the use of the notion from its use in medieval philosophy (McIntyre and Smith 1989, 149).

[10] In this paper I do not aim to investigate the notion of pure psychology. However, about this topic, I refer to the dissertation of Hopkins 1993, especially Chapter Three and Chapter Four.

[11] As for the use of the conception of ‘Functioning subjectivity’ I decide to make use of the terminology used in the translation of Carr and subsequently in commentary to the Crisis of Moran, and not, for example, the terms ‘Functioning intentionality’ or ‘Achieving subjectivity’ present in other translations and other commentaries.

[12] The ‘life-world’ issue is one of the main topics of the Crisis. However, it is not my aim to address the investigation of this aspect.

[13] About the meaning of subjectivity in relation to the life-world see especially the analysis of Moran 2012, 190-191.

[14] See especially Dan Zahavi 2009, 110; see also the definition of ‘communalization’ in Husserl 1970, 262; 277.

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