Sophist Vs Skeptic: Two Paradigms of Intentional Transaction

Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 194)


In the course of drawing together the many strands of Husserl’s thought, James Tuedio succeeds in bringing into focus an issue too often faced only obliquely by “methodological solipsists” in both cognitive science and phenomenological research. [1] “Interface” is the term of art sometimes used by cognitive scientists to capture this issue. Tuedio has rendered it in phenomenologese as “intentional transaction.” In naturalistic terms, the issue is this: What distinguishes an organism from its environment, and how does the organism come to draw that distinction? Notice that I have not at the outset drawn-as Tuedio and other phenomenologists tend to do—the distinction in terms of “subject” and “object,” which would imply the differentiation of two equally well-defined things, say, a human being and a tree. Rather, I am striking a contrast implying one well-defined thing and something else defined only as not being that thing. Organism-environment has this character, insofar as such a distinction suggests an island of order in a sea of relative disorder. So too do less naturalistic contrasts, such as figure/ground in Gestalt psychology, or the original conscious/unconscious in German idealism. By shifting the distinction in this way, a more “transactional” account of intentional transaction can be given. Moreover, this shift has other interesting implications for the project which Tuedio has aptly called “cognitive phenomenology.”


External World Actual Object Newtonian Mechanic Regulative Ideal Intentional Object 
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© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1988

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