Husserl Studies

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 97–116 | Cite as

On Husserl’s Exhibition Principle

  • Andrea MarchesiEmail author


According to Husserl’s so-called Exhibition Principle (Prinzip der Ausweisbarkeit; henceforth: EP), the propositions “x exists” and “The exhibition of x’s existence is possible” are equivalent. The overall aim of this paper is to debate EP. First, I raise the question whether EP can properly be said to be a principle. Second, I give a general formulation of EP. Third, I examine specific formulations of EP, namely those regarding eidetic and individual objects. Fourth, I identify the readings of EP I hold to be exegetically plausible, that is the transcendental reading, the metaphysical reading, and the hybrid reading. Fifth, I present Husserl’s refutation of Berkeleyan idealism developed in 1902/03 lectures, and I argue that under certain assumptions, both esse est percipi and the metaphysical EP engender an infinite regress. In this regard, I claim there are two options for avoiding such a regress: either to commit oneself to reflexive exhibition of the ego’s actuality or to deny the universality of EP. I show that Husserl has a good argument for rejecting the first option, and I conclude that if the Husserlian idealist chooses the second option while affirming the ego’s actuality, he turns out to be as “dogmatic” as the realist.



This paper is a reworked version of the final chapter of my Ph.D. Dissertation (Sapienza University of Rome, 27 February 2017). It was presented at the workshop Phenomenology of Action and Volition (Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague) on 23 May 2018. I’d like to thank Stefano Bancalari, Emanuela Carta, Christopher Erhard, Guillaume Fréchette, Robin Rollinger, Hamid Tayeb and the anonymous referees of this journal for their comments. Part of this work was funded by the Ernst Mach Grant weltweit (ICM-2017-06528).


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sapienza University of RomeRomeItaly

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