The Phenomenological Inquiry into the Being of Intentionality

  • Burt C. Hopkins
Part of the Contributions to Phenomenology book series (CTPH, volume 11)


Heidegger’s concern with securing the proper access to Dasein leads him to assess Husserl’s phenomenological understanding of the phenomenon of intentionality within the context of its principle ‘to the matters themselves’. Specifically, he is keen to find out whether the phenomenal priority and originality that is ascribed to intentionality by Husserl is based on a justified appeal to the phenomena involved in its manifestation. In order to find this out, Heidegger maintains that he must determine if both the entity that Husserl’s phenomenology understands as manifesting the structure of intentionality, as well as this phenomenology’s understanding of the Being of this structure, emerge from out of a genuine encounter with each in their respective modes of phenomena, i.e., as phenomena in the ordinary and deformalized phenomenological senses. What is at issue here, for Heidegger, then, is an “immanent critique of phenomenological research” (HCT, 102/140), which will make it “clear that the question of Being is not an optional and merely possible question,but the most urgent question inherent in the very meaning of phenomenology itself” (HCT, 115/158). Which is to say, Heidegger’s inquiry into Husserl’s understanding of intentionality will be guided by the aim of finding out whether the mode of being of the entity which manifests the phenomenon of intentionality, Dasein, has been exhibited in the way of access most proper to this entity, when it is understood in accord with Husserl’s understanding of intentionality.


Natural Attitude Intentional Relation Phenomenological Inquiry Cognitive Attitude Natural Meaning 
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  1. 1.
    “Reell” is another essentially untranslatable term. It designates an intrinsic belonging together of the terms of a phenomenal relation which, while ‘actual’, is decidedly not “real” in the physical sense.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    This is to say, instead of ‘going along with’ the thematic meaning of the concrete intention qua its non-grasping of its object, the act of this non-grasping is itself thematically grasped (and ipso facto treated ’immanently’).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    The implications of Heidegger’s account of Husserl’s understanding of the phenomenological Ënoxn, especially his characterizations of what is phenomenally at issue with respect to ‘reflection’ and the bracketing of the “material world,” both of which do not take into account Husserl’s distinction between phenomenally psychological and transcendental reflection, and the relation of each to the phenomenon of the world (see §§ 30ff. above), will be discussed in detail below (see §§ 92, 101).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Heidegger’s account of the meaning of the eidetic reduction for Husserl, in terms of the “suspension” of the individual such that concrete individual is disregarded,is crucial for the working out of his ontological critique of Husserl’s phenomenological account of intentionality. Since this critique is explicitly presented by him as an “immanent critique,” the adequacy of this understanding of Husserl’s move to the eidetic, vis-à-vis Husserl’s understanding of this move as not disregarding, but bringing into phenomenal relief, the reference to the essential implicit in the very concreteness of the individual (see §19 above), will have to be carefully considered (see §§ 92, 101 below).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cf. also BP,p. 65/92.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Parvis Emad, Heidegger and the Phenomenology of Values: His Critique of Intentionality, ( Glen Ellyn: Torey Press, 1981 ), p. 17.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ibid., p. 20.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    The failure to note the phenomenal context of Heidegger’s apparent equation here of intentionality and transcendence can lead to the mistaken conclusion, in my view, that in the BP he starts from a “contrary claim” (“Transcendence and the Overcoming of Values: Heidegger’s Critique of Scheler,” Review of Emad’s Heidegger and the Phenomenology of Values by Robert Bernasconi, in Research in Phenomenology,XIV, 1984, pp. 259–267) than in the MFL,where “transcendence… must never be identified and equated with intentionality” (MFL,p. 168/215). That there is no contrariety expressed in these seemingly opposing statements, can be seen, when the differing phenomenal statuses of the ‘intentionality’ at issue for Heidegger in each of these statements is attended to. In the BP,the “natural meaning” (MFL p. 134/168 and § 58 above) of the phenomenon of intentionality, which has been liberated from the unwarranted tendency to conceive it in terms of theoretical constructions, is at issue in Heidegger’s statement. While in the MFL,precisely the “narrowed conception” (MFL,p. 134/168) of its theoretical construction is the issue of his statement.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Burt C. Hopkins
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophySeattle UniversityUSA

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