Phenomenology as radical reflection

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


What does it mean to adopt a phenomenological approach when doing philosophy of perception? What form should such an approach take? This chapter addresses these questions by first distinguishing three different kinds of phenomenological approach: ‘Humean’ phenomenology, which attempts to discern the structure of perceptual experience via reflection on its surface properties; ‘Kantian’ phenomenology, which aims to provide a priori arguments about the structure perceptual experience must have if it is to possess manifest properties; and ‘Husserlian’ phenomenology, which aims to achieve an intuitive grasp of the essential properties of perceptual experience via imaginative variation. It then argues that the shortcomings of each of these approaches motivate a ‘Merleau-Pontian’ conception of phenomenology as ‘radical reflection’—a mode of reflection on perceptual experience that simultaneously attempts to understand the origins and authority of reflection itself. The methodology that results is thoroughly interdisciplinary, aiming to reconcile philosophical conclusions about the necessary structures of perceptual experience with our best empirical knowledge of the contingencies that shape both our experiences and our reflective capacities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPurpose and Procedure in Philosophy of Perception
EditorsHeather Logue, Louise Richardson
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)9780198853534
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2021


  • perception
  • phenomenology
  • Merleau-Ponty
  • introspection
  • philosophical method


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