Non-classical Intentionality: An Existential View

  • Vladimir Chernus
Keywords: phenomenology, intentionality, Husserl, Berdyaev, structure of the intentional act


This paper compares the ideas of intentionality and ‘pure Self ’ in the phenomenological and existential traditions. The purpose of the research is to compare and identify the meaning of these categories that is different from the phenomenological approach. While phenomenology was conceived as an epistemological program, the existential view represented in the paper by Nikolai Berdyaev shows the negative ontological consequences to which it leads. For example, the idea of intentionality (the direction of consciousness toward an object) can lead to the elimination of subject from the life picture of the world, whereas the idea of a ‘transcendental Self ’ leads to the justification of the lack of content in consciousness. Therefore, there is a conflict between these philosophical approaches. The topicality of the problem under study is due to identification of details and specific features of this conflict. The goal of phenomenology is purification of consciousness from subjective premises for achieving objective cognition. The goal of existentialism is the formation of existence of the subject, the actualization of his/her immanent freedom. Thus, the existential approach broadens the ideas on the nature of the consciousness orientation, which can be directed not only toward the phenomenal world, but also to the transcendental one. The scientific value of this study is due to the reconstruction of the existential approach concerning the issue of the direction of consciousness and the ‘pure Self ’ using the example of Berdyaev’s philosophy, as well as the possibility of creating ‘ontology of consciousness’ based on his philosophy. The article is based on the method of theoretical reconstruction and conceptual analysis of the arguments put forward by E. Husserl and N. A. Berdyaev, as well as numerous researchers of their work. The methodological basis of this work is a philosophical reconstruction and a comparative approach. The scientific significance of the research is justifying that the existential approach to ‘intentionality’ does not deny the phenomenological approach but enlarge it adding ontological content in this notion.
Being, Knowing and the Self