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The Importance of William James’ Theory of “Fringes” to the Constitution of a Phenomenology of Perception


This paper focus on the phenomenological theories of perception and intuitive acts in general, and aims to show the relevance of William James’ concept of fringe to understand them. Although Husserl claims that James’ analysis were carried on without the phenomenological reduction and were thus biased by psychological and physiological prejudices, the paper stresses the high value of those analysis: James’ intended to remain faithful to the meaning of lived experience and avoided any considerations where descriptions could be entangled with uncriticized philosophical theories (e.g. about the nature of brain states). The paper also aims to show that James’ importance for Husserl could be extended beyond the explanation of acts intending singular individuals to the acts intending universal objectivities and essences.