Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology

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The Nature of Belief and the Method of Its Justification in Husserl’s Philosophy

Carlos Sanchez


The present paper attempts to accomplish the following: (1) to clarify and critically discuss the phenomenology of “belief” as we find it in Husserl’s Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and to a Phenomenological Philosophy, First Book (1913) (henceforward, Ideas I); (2) to clarify and critically discuss the manner in which the phenomenological method treats beliefs; (3) to clarify and critically discuss the manner of belief justification as described by the phenomenological method; and (4) to argue that, just as the phenomenological method can be used to validate scientific hypotheses, it can likewise be practised in our everyday worldly comportment to justify our everyday, commonsense beliefs. The paper proceeds from the idea that the phenomenological method is not the static descriptive method some make it out to be, but, rather, a living method at the service of life. The author begins with some preliminary remarks about Husserl’s concerns with unfounded or presupposed beliefs and their necessary “suspension” as dictated by the phenomenological reduction and epoche (“the method”). He then engages the text of Ideas I, especially sections 101 to 106, where Husserl presents a phenomenological conception of the character of belief. The paper concludes by treating the nature of belief justification, or “rational positing”, and puts forward the view that the phenomenological method in everyday practice can aid us in the realization of responsible epistemic conduct and, ultimately, lead toward responsible conduct towards ourselves and, hence, authentic being.

Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology, Volume 7, Edition 2 September 2007
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