Phenomenology and Intuition

Course at IAP-PUC, Second Semester 2009, Wednesdays 15.00-16.20h, by Daniel von Wachter

Contact: - replace "ABCD" by "von-wachter"

Content of this page

Descripción del curso

Do we know some things through intuition, a priori, or through reflection? For example metaphysical truths or moral truths? This question concerns one of the main differences between phenomenology and logical empiricism. This course will study some relevant texts by phenomenologists as well as by other contemporary authors. The aim of this course is to understand the questions and the debate and to be able to investigate the matter and develop and defend a view.


Written homeworks

Send me written homeworks the day before by email. If it is short (up to 1.000 words), write or paste the text in an email (plain text). If it is longer or if it contains formatting which would be lost, send it to me as a file in format ODT (OpenOffice) or PDF or RTF (if you use MS Word, save as RTF) and follow THESE instructions.


70 % final essay. 30 % written homeworks and contributions to class.

Final Essay

Hand it in until 28/11/2008. If you need to arrange another deadline, talk to me. I urge you to write the essay now.

Follow THESE instructions. There you also find the criteria for marking.

Length: 2.000 to 3.000 words.

Choose one of the following two topics. (If you want another topic, talk to me.)

Topic 1: Can we know some things through intuition?

Here are some things you should do in the essay, but not necessarily in this order.

Topic 2: Reinach's and Schlick's views on the apriori

Present the two views. Show exactly where the differences are. Say and defend which view is correct.

↑ Go back to the top

Slides (Powerpoint)

Notes for the sessions

Go to the next session.

19/8/2009: Introduction

26/8/2009: Introduction

2/9/2009: Adolf Reinach

Obligatory reading for this session:


Obligatory reading for this session:


Obligatory task for this session:

  • Summarise Reinach's view about essences and modality (i.e. necessity and possibility).
  • Study: Audi, Robert, 2003, Epistemology: An opinionated introduction, pp. 1-12.
  • 23.9.2009

    For this session read: Audi, pp. 1-29.
    Rehearse Reinach. The slides of the last lecture are HERE.

    Notes from this session:

    By saying 'I have perceived that x' one implies that x is true. So from
    'I have perceived that x' it follows that
    x is true.


    For this session read Audi, ch. 1.

    Note this: On p. 5 Audi gives examples of knowledge through reason orrational reflection. (A better example would be "If the triangle is equilateral, then its angles are 60°".) He suggests that such beliefs arise from our grasp of the concepts in question. Audi follows in this the empiricist tradition. What would Reinach's response be?


    For this session read: Audi, ch. 2 (memory).


    Written task: Summarize Audi, ch. 1 (on perception) by writing for each sub-chapter the main question which it asks and the main answers it considers.

    For this session read: Audi, ch. 3 (Consciousness).
    Repeat ch. 1.


    For this session read: Audi, ch. 4. Repeat ch. 3.


    For this session: Make sure you know Audi, ch. 4 well.


    For this session, study: Moritz Schlick, "Is there a material apriori?".


    For this session, study and bring:
    Moritz Schlick, "Is there a material apriori?"
    Huemer, Michael, 2006, Ethical Intuitionism, Kap. 5, "Moral Knowledge"

    18.11.2009 (last session)

    ↑ Go back to the top

    Internet resources