"Husserl's views on mind and body address issues central to more recent debates about mind, brain, and computer. Indeed, Husserl's views are more articulate in ontology as well as phenomenology than most of the familiar theories of recent decades. A brief comparison will place Husserl’s views in the midst of contemporary philosophy of mind. This placement will help to indicate some of the issues that would have to be addressed in a thorough evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of Husserl's complex ontology of mind and body….
In Individuals (1959) P.F. Strawson proposed that mental and physical predicates are predicates of the same things, namely, persons. Husserl would agree but would go beyond the linguistic claim to ask what phenomenological structures these predicates express and what essences (or moments) these predicates ascribe.
Donald Davidson’s anomalous monism, in 'Mental Events' (1970), we saw, held that the same events are described in two types of theory — physical theory and psychological theory — between which there are no 'bridge laws,' leaving the psychological sphere of the intentional a seamless whole unaddressed by physical theory. Now, Husserl distinguished phenomenology from natural theory, both physical and psychological theory, holding that the same events are described in different ways by these different types of theory. But he assumed an ontology of essences and moments (Davidson remained neutral on such issues), and he distinguished different aspects or moments of mental events which are ascribed by these different types of theory. In particular, according to Husserl, phenomenology describes the aspect of intentionality as a property of 'pure' consciousness (bracketing physical properties of the mental event), psychology describes intentionality as a property of mental events in nature, and physical theory describes brain process. Assuming these are different aspects of the same event, would Husserl allow any 'bridge laws' between these types of theory? Such laws would describe causal relations between the neural and intentional aspects or moments of a mental event. But for Husserl, we saw, causal relations are restricted to the natural aspects of an event. So Husserl would agree with Davidson only on condition that 'psychological theory' be 'pure' intentional psychology, i.e., phenomenology" (Smith and Woodruff Smith 1999:367-368).
Smith, Barry, and David Woodruff Smith
1999 The Cambridge Companion to Husserl. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
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