The following paper is dedicated to a perennial theme pertaining to Husserl’s phenomenology, namely its ontological orientation. The main objective in this connection is to throw a shadow of doubt on an interpretation that over the years had its adherents: the understanding of phenomenology as just a special brand of material idealism. In order to accomplish this aim, one will employ a strategy that has as its main point of attack the correlation between Husserl’s phenomenology and the Cartesian project. Thus, it will be exhibited firstly those key aspects that sustain this correlation. Secondly, we will show how Descartes’ philosophy can be linked with idealism, reaching as a result a preliminary conclusion: phenomenology is tantamount to idealism insofar as it is Cartesian in nature. In the end we will contest this conception by alluding to Husserl’s critique of Descartes, one that has as its forefront the notion of transcendental idealism.


phenomenology, material idealism, theory of perception, the riddle of knowledge, transcendental realism

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