Open Access

Attention and the Subject of Depiction Some Remarks on Husserl’s Approach to the Function of Attention in Phantasy, Image Consciousness and Pictorial Experience


This study aims at exposing the phenomenological description of attention as presented by Husserl in his 1904-05 Göttingen-lecture Principal Parts of the Phenomenology and Theory of Knowledge, in its relevance for the study of so-called “intuitive re-presentations”, that is, phantasy and image-consciousness. Starting with the exposition of the fundamental traits of the intentional theory of attention, this study discusses the definition of attention in the terms of meaning [Meinen] and interest, which allows it to become an encompassing modification of all kinds of lived experiences that does not imply an alteration of their act-character (Husserl, 2004: 73). We refer to this character of attention as “plasticity”. In what follows, the study underlines these two definitions of attention and their importance for the understanding of phantasy and image-consciousness. Both kinds of re-presentations will be described stressing the role of attention in the “structuring” of the intentional act and in its affective basis. Finally, the study deals more specifically with the complex description of image consciousness from the viewpoint of the attentional meaning of the image subject.