Veronica Cibotaru: Le problème de la signification dans les philosophies de Kant et Husserl

Le problème de la signification dans les philosophies de Kant et Husserl Couverture du livre Le problème de la signification dans les philosophies de Kant et Husserl
Veronica Cibotaru
2023
Paperback
442

Reviewed by: Begüm Özuzun

In her book titled Le problème de la signification dans le philosophies de Kant et Husserl [The Problem of Signification in the Philosophies of Kant and Husserl] (2023) (hereafter abbreviated as PspKH), as the title suggests, Veronica Cibotaru addresses the issue of signification in the works of Kant and Husserl. Within this text, she highlights the similarity in Immanuel Kant’s (1724-1804) and Edmund Husserl’s (1859-1838) approaches to the problem of signification, both of whom engage with this issue in terms of a linguistic and logical semantic signification specific to an expression. Despite this similarity, it is necessary not to overlook the usage of signification in the sense of ‘meaning’ in Kant. That is why when we aim to examine the similarities and differences in their approaches by comparing Kant’s notion of signification with the problem of signification in Husserl, Cibotaru notes that the words Sinn [sense] and Bedeutung [reference] used by Kant are used interchangeably. However, for the sake of clarity in analysis, she distinguishes between sense and signification, suggesting that due to the linguistic and logical aspects of signification in Husserl, it is advisable to focus generally on places where the term Bedeutung appears in Kant’s writings (PspKH, p. 9). If we delve further into this choice, the word signification in French does not have a direct equivalent in German; hence, when the question of signification arises in Kant and Husserl, the German words Sinn and Bedeutung, meaning ‘sense’ and ‘reference,’ respectively, emerge. Bedeutung carries the connotation of ‘intended meaning’ distinct from Sinn. Hence, just as Sinn directs us to a general meaning, the focus on Bedeutung in Husserl indicates a semantic meaning of an expression, leading us toward a more accurate understanding (ibid.).

As previously mentioned, when discussing the problem of signification in Kant, it is necessary to expand our research beyond the instances where the term Bedeutung appears, because signification in Kant only sometimes entails an investigation and curiosity into the semantic meaning of an expression. Since Kant does not sharply distinguish between two meanings, it is suggested that we would predominantly encounter not the signification we associate with Sinn but rather the word Bedeutung (ibid., p. 10).

While these two philosophers diverge in their approaches to signification, whether focusing on a semantic expression or not, both emphasize the importance of consciousness for us to speak of signification, attributing a similar significance to consciousness (ibid.). The importance of consciousness in Husserl’s thought has always been noticed. This importance is evident in the significance attributed to signification, as early as in the Logical Investigations (1900) (ibid., p. 11).

However, a distinction can be drawn between the two philosophers; while in Kant, the issue lies in the relationship between consciousness and objects, Husserl focuses on this relational situation, radicalizing Kant’s thought by determining consciousness through the harmony it establishes with things. The intentional aspect of consciousness in Husserl also arises from this point (ibid.). This difference stems from a strategic difference between the two philosophers: namely, the motivations behind Kant’s focus on consciousness are not the same as those of Husserl. Kant, unlike Husserl, poses an epistemological question beyond the determination of an object from a phenomenological perspective; this question concerns the possibility of “a priori recognition of things” (ibid., p. 12).

While Kant’s discussion of signification may indeed have an epistemological motivation, the question pertains not to linguistic or logical aspects but rather to the connection between unity of consciousness in terms of concepts and representations of objects. Therefore, it is evident that this thought places importance on discussions of consciousness (ibid.).

In this regard, Cibotaru poses three main questions to address the problem of signification in both philosophers: 1) The question of consciousness as the giver of meaning (through this question, we will also address whether in Kant, in a Husserlian sense, consciousness is placed at the foundation of all meaning); 2) The question of separating signification from sense (through this question, we will ascertain whether in Kant, meaning can be understood as the apprehension of an object by a consciousness); 3) The question of signification within the harmony of consciousness and object (through this question, we will inquire whether in Kant, before Husserl, there is a consideration of consciousness conceptualized in terms of intentionality). This book shapes its research methodology around these three main questions (ibid., p. 13).

Following consciousness, another similarity between the two authors is their shared emphasis on intuition. However, while intuitions, a condition of our experience, serve as a fundamental question to answer the problem of signification in Kant, they will fill in the intentional content in Husserl. Although it may seem that the function of intuition has been set aside in Husserl, it will nonetheless facilitate the fulfillment of this aim via intuition via intentional content (ibid.).

This similarity also gives rise to a divergence. This distinction does not stem from the importance of intuition by the two philosophers but rather from the difference in the understanding of the role of intuition. From this perspective, we can question the applicability of Husserl’s concept of intentional content, which is attributed to intuition in Kantian philosophy. Particularly considering the difference between theoretical and practical significations in Kant, while theoretical signification is linked to our intuitions, our practical significations, deriving their essence from the noumenal realm, carry a meaning independent of our intuitions (ibid.). Regarding a Husserlian notion of signification, will these concepts, developed independently from our intuitions, be meaningless? Considering the different functions attributed to intuition, how successful are we in achieving our goal if we think both philosophers address signification in French with the words Sinn and Bedeutung? In other words, how legitimate is it to approach the problem of signification through the words Sinn and Bedeutung?

Faced with this problem, Cibotaru reformulates the three questions she previously posed: 1) What is the harmony between signification and consciousness? 2) What is the harmony between signification and intuitions? 3) Is there such a stark difference between theoretical and practical signification? (ibid., p. 14).

To answer these questions, Cibotaru presents us with the following method: She divides the study into two main parts, dedicating the first part entirely to the problem of signification in Kant, and in the second part, she reveals the extensions of the conclusions drawn in the first part within Husserlian phenomenology (ibid., p. 17). Thus, she seeks to find an answer to the question of whether the problem of signification can be addressed jointly by these two philosophers. She divides the first part into three main sections following Kant’s three Critiques, thereby addressing the problem of signification independently in each Critique and allowing for a comparison between the concepts of Sinn and Bedeutung (ibid.).

While addressing the first two Critiques, she examines the difference between theoretical and practical signification. When analyzing the Third Critique, she demonstrates how practical significations acquire meaning through the different status accorded to pure concepts such as God and Freedom (ibid.). In the second part, based on the conclusions drawn from the problem of signification in Kant, instead of approaching Husserl’s texts with key terms as in Kant’s texts, she focuses on what Husserl generally says about the connection between signification and consciousness, the connection between consciousness and intuition, and the distinction he makes between theoretical and practical significations (ibid., p. 19).

***

In the section where Cibotaru examines the First Critique, she presents three principal axes of inquiry. The first axis considers the significance of understanding concepts regarding the harmony between them and the object. However, this should not be perceived as a referential signification problem in an empirical sense, as it emphasizes that this harmony occurs not through the compatibility of the concept with the object but rather through the connection of signification to pure sensibility (ibid., p. 131). In the second axis of inquiry, she prefers to approach the problem of signification by examining how concepts are introduced in Kant’s logic lectures. In these logic lectures, concepts appear as a general representation of the modus operandi quality. According to this view, concepts are composed of essence and are not considered in terms of their conformity to reality. However, it is demonstrated that the logic theory in these lectures is based on the teachings of Georg Friedrich Meier (1718–1777), inspired by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz’s (1646-1716) theory of concepts. This contradicts Kant’s assertion in the First Critique that for signification to be possible, the object must be given, that is, perceptible. Thus, Cibotaru emphasizes the importance of perception in the problem of signification in Kant, in contrast to Leibniz’s theory of two worlds, and shows that Kant’s theory includes the problem of signification between the worlds of senses and reason (ibid., p. 132, 133). Next, Cibotaru examines the relationship between the problem of signification and the question of consciousness in the third axis of her research. She highlights the significance of Kant’s addressing this issue, considering it essential to establish a connection with Husserl’s texts, as it is a relationship often overlooked by Kant’s successors and contemporaries (ibid., p. 133).

From the analysis advancing along these three main axes, two conclusions emerge: 1) In the First Critique, Kant attributes the meaning of being a synthesis procedure of many different elements to the concept. Therefore, the concept always appears as the synthetic unity of consciousness, whether empirical or pure. This synthesis, in Kant, is adapted to our senses through transcendental schemata grounded a priori. 2) In Kant, although consciousness is not intentional in the Husserlian sense, how concepts acquire signification is defined, meaning that consciousness as the constitutive subject is also inherent and fundamental to signification. Thus, if a theory of signification were to be derived from Kant, he neither presents a conceptualist theory that eliminates the concept as a simple image of things nor proposes a nominalist theory that regards the concept as the abstract representation of many similar objects (ibid., p. 133, 134). What leads Kant away from this approach is his treatment of consciousness through its relation to objects, akin to Husserl.

***

In the second main section of the book, Cibotaru lists the sections in Kant’s Second Critique where the concept of Bedeutung is mentioned, this is because she wants to elucidate how Kant approaches the problem of signification in the Second Critique and how he arrives at the distinction between theoretical and practical signification with which arguments (or by what arguments) (ibid., p. 134).

While in the First Critique Cibotaru seeks to answer the problem of signification through the importance of the senses in determining concepts, in the Second Critique, she can develop a more direct method because the problem of signification is addressed more explicitly. She argues that Kant’s more explicit treatment of the problem of signification in the Second Critique is because moral thought is not confined to a single philosophical school and is universally relevant to everyone (ibid., p. 140). Hence, morality must possess a general signification. Additionally, while we do not experience a sense of responsibility for conformity to moral laws in our empirical experience, the justification of morality, which is a product of practical reason independent of the senses, is provided in the noumenal realm, leaving moral laws subject to a certain sense of meaninglessness. Kant endeavors to resolve this sense of meaninglessness.

As practical signification operates independently of the senses, Cibotaru continues to examine the Second Critique by focusing on the concept of Bedeutung rather than Sinn. This allows her to move away from the deficiency of the term “sens,” which remains tied to sensibility, and to explore concepts derived from linguistic practical signification (ibid., p. 140, 141). Indeed, Kant, even in the First Critique, prefers to approach signification linguistically rather than ontologically, as in Kantian thought, the function of the senses only emerges as a condition for signification, and questions such as the meaning of life are not discussed within this philosophy. Instead, the focus is primarily on the signification of concepts (ibid., p. 141).

In this context, Cibotaru focuses on the concept of freedom, which is given a separate status in Kant, and explains how, despite its lack of inherent meaning, it becomes part of the game of signification and emphasizes the difference between theoretical and practical signification, thereby demonstrating that we can still speak of signification. Then, she examines how signification operates in the Second Critique by addressing the idea of God, another pure concept in Kantian philosophy (ibid., p. 142).

Cibotaru asserts that the distinction between theoretical and practical signification is polemically introduced because it is based on a supposed moral assumption. She labels morality as “supposed” because practical signification cannot construct morality, as it is not grounded in morality. For something to have moral value, it must occur in the phenomenal realm where morality is experienced. It gains moral value to the extent that it occurs in the phenomenal realm. In this sense, when the distinction between practical and theoretical signification is initially proposed in the Second Critique, practical signification is not considered moral. Therefore, this distinction arises not initially to interpret our moral actions but rather to describe how we can approach objects of recognition within the framework of any action for specific purposes (ibid., p. 144).

Kant states in the second part of the first book “The analytic of pure practical reason” (Kant, 2015) that he is not concerned with theoretically knowing the nature of a being; for Kant, a being already appears as a pure will. A being must already adhere to causality to determine itself as a pure will (ibid., p. 146). Therefore, Kant excludes freedom from theoretical knowledge. By excluding freedom from theoretical knowledge, he expands the category of causality that depends on it because he demonstrates a practical domain of causality outside the realm of cognition (ibid.). How does Kant determine the special status that allows freedom to appear both as a pure idea and a practical concept, opening up a domain of practical signification distinct from the theoretical?

After the distinction between practical and theoretical signification becomes apparent through the concept of freedom, Kant develops the notion that the concepts of understanding in the First Critique cannot attain signification without recourse to the sensible realm. His argument suggests that while they cannot acquire theoretical signification without resorting to the sensible, they will acquire a different type of signification, namely practical significance, without recourse to the sensible. Thus, although freedom may establish itself as a pure idea in the noumenal realm, Kant demonstrates that it can also carry practical significance. Consequently, the distinct status of freedom does not pose a contradiction in signification, as it can bear both theoretical and practical significance without inconsistency (ibid., p. 147).

Due to freedom’s presence as a pure idea in the First Critique, morality maintains its necessity based on a command from the noumenal realm, even though it only occurs in the phenomenal realm. Even if we do not understand freedom, we must still enact it (ibid., p. 149). The exclusion of freedom from the realm of cognition does not imply that it cannot be thought; instead, I can assume it in the practical domain precisely because I can think it (ibid., p. 149, 150). In this sense, moral causality is not a domain where the concepts of understanding are simply applied to objects; instead, it is the realization of its object’s conformity through a kind of interpretation, through thought (ibid., p. 161).

Freedom, while operating within the framework of moral law in the phenomenal realm and being subject to a kind of causality due to its conformity to the law, demonstrates that members of the ethical community can consist only of rational beings. This is because freedom can only be exercised by agents who apply their will according to conditions and determine themselves. In this sense, individuals can be part of this ethical community to the extent that they can exercise reason; this necessitates an intersubjective moral consciousness in the phenomenal realm (ibid., p. 183).

Following this, Cibotaru addresses the issue of signification in the idea of God, which does not derive its source from the sensible realm but emerges as a pure idea. Although Kant touches upon the immortality of the soul, God, and Freedom as the three concepts of pure reason in the First Critique, in the Second Critique, while discussing God and Freedom as conditions of practical reason, he does not address the immortality of the soul (ibid., p. 195, 196). This underscores that God and freedom have a functional aspect beyond their theoretical significance in practical signification. For instance, Kant discusses the necessity of the idea of God for moral reason in the Second Critique. Kant speaks of an indirect necessity because although the moral law is obligatory, it is subjective rather than objective, and its subjectivity is realized only through an imagination of a good sovereign. Without the functionality of the idea of God, just as it would be without the objective nature, finite beings like us would not be able to fulfill it (ibid., p. 196). It’s essential to emphasize that the function of the idea of God lies not in the possibility of morality but in our ability, as finite beings, to actualize morality by acting under moral reasons. I feel the moral law within me without resorting to the idea of God in my experiences; I am immediately conscious of the moral laws (ibid., p. 197). Thus, although its origin is derived from a residue of thought in the noumenal realm because it is based on the assumption of a world of reason, God can manifest himself in the phenomenal world because of the subjectivity he gains. Through this idea, Kant ensures we can guide our actions within morality and happiness and govern our desires accordingly (ibid., p. 201). Thus, through this special status, God presents himself as the legislator of the ethical community, enabling the subject to govern according to these laws (ibid., p. 202).

Despite the difference between theoretical and practical signification, for instance, connecting practical significations with the phenomenal world through imagination, both signification theories lead to objective reality. The givenness of the sensible guarantees the connection with objective reality in the concepts of the mind. In contrast, in the ideas of pure practical reason, the connection with objective reality is ensured by the subjective necessity of the supreme good (ibid., p. 206).

***

Cibotaru points out that the signification issue is addressed in the three parts of the Third Critique. First, it is discussed in §50 of the “Analytic of the Sublime” section. In this paragraph, it is mentioned that without laws, freedom is merely absurd. The word absurde used in the French translation corresponds to Unsinn in German, meaning freedom lacks meaning without laws or, in other words, without moral causality (ibid., p. 215, 216). Second, in the final paragraph of the “Methodology of Teleological Power of Judgment,” in the section “General Remark on the Teleology,” the concept of Bedeutung, not Sinn, is used (Kant, 2000). Once again, the concept of God is discussed in terms of its limits, with a negative connotation (PspKH., p. 217). Finally, the signification issue is addressed at the end of the “Methodology of Teleological Power of Judgment” (Kant, 2000). Here, Kant also refers to the concept of Bedeutung, discussing signification in the context of the limits of our categories, stating that without these limitations, our categories would be meaningless (PspKH., p. 217).

The issue of signification, although less addressed in the Third Critique, has a broader scope than in the other two critiques. Cibotaru finds the explanation for this in the remarks of Alexis Philonenko (1932-2018), the French edition translator of Critique de la faculté de juger (2000). According to Philonenko, this book presents an intersubjective logic. Thus, Philonenko considers the Third Critique as a logic of signification (ibid., p. 241). Since the act of signification is also a form of communication, it always finds its essence in human encounters. To speak of a universal beauty in these encounters, one must delve into the depths of the issue of signification. Without delving into these issues, such an investigation into signification would not be possible (ibid.). In a sense, although Kant addresses signification in different contexts, he uses signification in meanings found in the assumptions of the First and Second Critiques without introducing a new definition of signification in the Third Critique.

***

Kant and Husserl both agree on the role of intuition in enabling signification. However, as previously mentioned, they attribute different roles to intuition. In the First Critique, Kant pursues pure intuitions to make signification possible, while Husserl defines signification as pure ideality in the Logical Investigations’ First Investigation. After defining signification as linguistically pure ideality, Husserl discusses intuitions’ function in intentional acts. Unlike Kant, he examines intuition not to reach the conceptual domain but to investigate intuition in the conceptual flow (ibid., p. 247). In other words, in the Logical Investigations, the problem of signification arises as a correlation problem between thought [signification] and intuition. At the same time, in the First Critique, Kant arrives at a duality between intuition and thought. This dichotomy, stemming from the radical distinction between the sensible and the intellectual, leads Kant, unlike Husserl, to the inability to conflate intuition and thought (ibid., p. 248).

Husserl proposes categorical intuitions to establish a correlation between intuition and thought. Thus, unlike sensory intuition, which perceives objects in their spatio-temporal extension, Husserl defines intuition as perceiving objects as general and non-temporal entities (ibid.). By giving intuition a categorical meaning, Husserl addresses the problem of synthesis between thought and the sensible world found in Kant (ibid., p. 249).

Linguistic expressions carry meaning through this function of intuition. Husserl distinguishes linguistic signs from indicators. Linguistic signs carry meaning inherently, not based on their relationship with something else; indicators, on the other hand, are part of a process of signification about something external to themselves. By addressing signification through the distinction between linguistic signs and indicators, Husserl elevates signification to an independent structure and ensures its definition as an ideal unity. This ideal unity distinguishes between linguistic expressions and physical phenomena in Husserl’s framework. Physical phenomena, lacking an ideal unity, do not enter into a signification game alone (ibid.). On the other hand, linguistic signs carry a different meaning because they always refer to a determined entity, even if it does not exist (ibid., p. 250).

In this sense, Cibotaru identifies a fundamental difference between the two thinkers. In contrast, Husserl sees signification not as the emergence of the sensory, as in Kant, but as an intentionality inherent in phenomena already carrying meaning (ibid.).

Husserlian thought manifests itself in two senses: Firstly, by distinguishing between physical phenomena and linguistic signs, and by extension, between Bedeutung and Sinn; secondly, by assigning a foundational role to intuition in signification. While Kant uses Bedeutung and Sinn interchangeably, Husserl’s theory assigns distinct meanings to both (ibid.).

Husserl does not directly reference Kant in his discussions on the problem of signification. However, significant Kantian references in Husserl’s texts indicate his stance. For instance, in §100 of Formal and Transcendental Logic (1929), Husserl adopts a critical stance towards Kant’s formal logic. He directs this critique by praising its a priori nature against Humean conceptual understanding (ibid., p. 251, 252). This critique reveals Husserl’s views on formal logic. It reflects his opposition to Kant’s failure to acknowledge the presence of an objective ideal in formal logic within the problem of signification (ibid., p. 252).

The second reference comes from Husserl’s lectures on ethics delivered between 1920 and 1924. Here, Husserl highlights that in Kantian ethics, the phenomenological method is only applied through how words are understood, and he criticizes Kant for not focusing on acts that give meaning instead (ibid.).

The third reference is from an unpublished fragment of manuscript B IV 1, where Husserl draws a parallel between the theory of analytic judgments in his work and Kant’s theory of analytic judgments. This parallelism arises from both gaining their validity through simple significations, implying that in both thinkers, it is possible to establish a connection between simple signification and a simple concept (ibid.).

However, all these references do not provide us with enough material to develop a systematic theory of signification between the two thinkers. This is because Husserl only aligns with Kant on analytic judgments, which remain more within the realm of pure logic, theory of knowledge, and phenomenological methodology due to their applicability only to simple concepts. In other words, there is no parallelism between the two thinkers regarding signification.

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Cibotaru aims not to examine systematically the moments when the term “signification” emerges or the passages in Husserl’s texts that refer to Kant. Instead, they seek to compare how the two thinkers respond to the question of signification by clinging to the similarity based on the importance given to consciousness and intuition by them.

In Kant, the connection between consciousness and signification is indirect. This connection is established to explain how concepts are possible. Without consciousness, speaking of concepts or any signification is impossible. Thus, Kant’s understanding of constitutive consciousness is similar to Husserl’s. However, Kant does not explicitly characterize consciousness as constitutive; for him, consciousness is seen merely as the field that unifies sensible multiplicity (ibid., p. 260).

Nevertheless, consciousness is a fundamental discussion of signification. On the other hand, Husserl emphasizes more directly in Logical Investigations that consciousness is necessary for all kinds of signification (ibid.). At this point, Cibotaru suggests examining the interconnectedness of consciousness and signification in Husserl’s Logical Investigations and Ideas (1913) texts.

Husserl distinguishes physical phenomena and linguistic expression in the ninth paragraph of First Investigation. He reaches a radical separation between the word and its object, defining the word as an ideal. According to this view, an object can only acquire meaning when a word is intended for it. In other words, when the intended object, targeted by linguistic expression, becomes intended towards the physical object. However, the object intended through consciousness already possesses signification because it comes from consciousness (ibid., p. 261).

Then, in the eleventh paragraph, he presents three reasons the intended object is ideal. Firstly, the intended object is ideal because it can never be reduced to a single word or group of words. In other words, the word itself cannot explain the object’s ideality. The second reason is that the ideal object is never reduced to the relationship between the object and consciousness. Therefore, this ideality cannot be reduced to subjective, ever-changing representations each time. Thirdly, the intended object is ideal because it never becomes identical to the actual object. The concept of ideality, for Husserl, renders the actual object insignificant in terms of the problem of signification, thus diminishing the importance of intuition compared to consciousness. While the intended object presents itself with signification as it is, the actual object only realizes signification in intuition. This indicates that the actual object is the body of the intended object, but to acquire meaning, the actual object does not require intuition afterward (ibid., p. 262). Husserl also states that complex significations combine these simple significations (ibid., p. 265).

Kant, unlike Husserl, does not perceive signification as an ideal objectivity. Still, he defines it based on the relationship between consciousness and an object or an objective reality, as Husserl does (ibid., p. 268). However, in the case of theoretical signification and practical signification, the object intended in Husserl’s theory, as opposed to Kant’s, would be categories rather than objective reality. Cibotaru offers an interpretation at this point: the difference between ideality in Husserl and reality in Kant arises from one being timeless and the other being spatio-temporal. Kant’s theory requires the precondition of pure sensory spatio-temporality for signification. However, according to Husserl, in a Kantian sense, space and time only provide an idealized perception of space-time. In other words, they are not objects perceived empirically (ibid., p. 269). From this perspective, although Kant’s philosophy may not seem to attribute a priori characteristics to reason beyond categories, it legitimizes all our experiences through an idealized space-time, providing us with a philosophy before orientation towards experience in a sense (ibid.).

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In Husserl, as we ’ve shown, there’s less emphasis on intuition than in Kant. Therefore, Cibotaru turns to Husserl’s Sixth Investigation to compare the relationship between intuition and signification in the Kantian and Husserlian sense. In this book, Husserl investigates not directly signification but rather the possibilities of knowledge. In this sense, he demonstrates that intuitions are necessary not for signification but for knowing. An ideal object must already be presented to our intuitive consciousness for us to know. So, while intuition is not necessary for signification in this sense, it gains a fundamental function in recognizing an object, termed as Auffassungssinn. Through this definition, the function of intuition in the general process of object recognition expands, as it enables a Kantian-like extension of intuitive consciousness (ibid., p. 324), thereby allowing Kant to include the sensory in the realm of knowledge.

However, Husserl attributes a role to intuition quite different from Kant’s. While Kant shows our pure intuitions as conditions for our experience, he does not assign them an operational role in these conditions; if there were to be any operation, it would be performed by the understanding. Conversely, Husserl defines intuition as the meeting point between the ideal and actual objects, asserting that cognition occurs in this manner, thereby intertwining the realms of understanding and intuition. For instance, in Kantian thought, categories belong to the realm of understanding, whereas in Husserl, we can speak of categorical intuitions.

***

The exploration of the topic of signification between Husserl and Kant and its transformation from Kantian thought to phenomenological inquiry is one of the significant areas of inquiry due to its limited treatment and its influence on contemporary French philosophy. In this regard, two points stand out: 1) The frequent examination of the distinction between “sens” and “signification” in contemporary French philosophy (For instance, Jean-Luc Nancy attributes distinct importance to “sens” as opposed to other senses as the provider of externality (Derrida, 1998), while excluding “signification,” which denotes a more active, linguistically meaningful interpretation); 2) This distinction transforms “signification” from being something apprehensible to being an actively given element. From these perspectives, it can be said that this work occupies an essential place among current research endeavors.

While initially, it may seem possible to establish a parallel between Kant and Husserl by examining the roles attributed to consciousness and the practical significance of pure ideas in Kant and to interpret Husserl as a complement to Kantian idealism, it becomes evident that the positions they hold regarding intuition and signification diverge. Kant views intuitions not as where intentionality realizes, as Husserl does, but as conditions for apprehending objects. This indicates that, unlike Husserl’s phenomenological act, Kant does not speak of a general act of signification. With his persistent stance on Bedeutung, Husserl radically distinguishes between “sens” and “signification,” transforming the act of giving meaning into a phenomenological act mediated by intentional consciousness. In this regard, PspKH successfully reveals the fundamental differences between the two thinkers and can be characterized as a significant publication for contemporary research due to its systematic approach.

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