Phenomenological descriptions disclose the elements of the intentional field of lived-experience. The elemental material of this disclosure is intuitive insight of that field where act and object are forever enjoined. The “objective” feature of phenomenology is the claim that this intuitive insight of this overall intentional relation is the very process and privileged standpoint of all experience. In fact, as Husserlians may claim, it’s the only way into that transcendental position by which we can know the very preconditions of an experience.
Like many, I doubt these claims, but in that overall relation, I’ve always wondered about the compositional elements that make up the intuitive insight. If phenomenology is as it claims to be, then like intuitionism in moral theory, the intuitive insight reports the content and structure of that relation. What if we take from Husserl that this is the function of intuition within intentionality?
Intuitionists argue that moral agents possess an intuitive understanding of the morally salient property in a situation and situations remain particular to their own features. Intuitionism explains the moral epistemology as well as the irreducible nature of moral cognition better than its rivals. It contains an openness to disclosure of a particular phenomenon that leads to apprehension about it and a non-reductive orientation that doesn’t wish to filter and control the objects of experience before looking to experience—this is the problem of natural attitude and it is only a problem when people excessively think that reducing all lived-experience to causal objects is the only way to explain aspects of the human experience.
The struggle of intuitionism’s reliability is best demonstated by the struggle between Husserl and Heidegger. Heidegger sought to constrain the claims of phenomenology. At best, a phenomenological description interprets that which shows itself from itself. We might say that Heidegger embraced a limited phenomenological view though the paradox is that he employs phenomenology to disclose what’s fundamental to Dasein such that he wants to arrive at a fundamental ontology of Dasein. Such priority is, at best, only one such interpretation though it seems like Heidegger always wants more than just to call it an interpretation. I’ve often wondered if the attempt to redescribe the structure again in Being and Time again in Division 2 is not an attempt to show how fundamentally universal the care structure is. Needless to say, however, it seems Heidegger may want universality in the same way that Husserl set out to achieve with his transcendental phenomenology, but Heidegger’s embrace of the historicity of the understanding is a limit that can’t be transcended.
Husserl is not blind to these issues. Many who run to the same judgment about Husserl either only read Derrida or flock to Heidegger’s judgment about Husserl. In Husserl, however, he developed several types of phenomenological reductions depending on the phenomenon described. I think it’s fair to say that Husserl saw something in Heidegger, and that static phenomenology on its own (the type of descriptions about coffee cups and profiles of the object) wouldn’t cut it. Sadly, many reading Husserl for the first time see his work as only doing static phenomenology. They do not consider that eventually Husserl wanted to describe the transcendental subject as he/she participates in the very temporality of their own life in genetic phenomenology, and describe the transcendental intersubjective experience of collective intentionality, too. It’s within the historical horizon as we participate in it that we both can disclose the very meanings we are generating in experience. It’s in this participation in the field of lived-experience where the immanent phenomenon reveals the transcendence within that very immanence. It’s here that phenomenology reveals the conditions and ontology of lived-experience, and where I sought the ontology of values in Scheler. Such claims can only be validated, however, if intuitions are reliable in historical horizons to reveal more than the historicity of understanding allows. Intuitions would have to be about the transcendence-in-immanence of the phenomenon. Now, I keep asking myself the question I did not ask when I was younger and more brash in philosophy. How do intuitions work given these commitments? Is it like Scheler says an immediate cognition of the interconnection between act and object? Perhaps, the larger question (and the same question worded differently) is also: Do intuitions work as Scheler and Husserl claim they do?
For me, a lot is riding on this question. I’m now arguing that phenomenological methods are an attempt to refine our intuitions, our initial intuitive contact about the deliverances of reality itself to us. It's a nonnatural intuitionism.