Published online by Cambridge University Press: 06 November 2020
The aim of this chapter is to understand how the themes of ordinary experience and common sense form a central vein in Husserl’s thinking, albeit in a way that cannot be directly identified with a philosophy of common sense, given its transcendental orientation. After a discussion of the formative influence of Avenarius’s notion of ‘natural conception of the world’ on Husserl’s thinking, this chapter examines Husserl’s contention that ordinary experience exhibits the taken-for-granted structured contours of any possible human experience. Husserl’s detailed descriptions of the various commonsensical ways in which we ordinarily experience the world are meant to showcase the richness of ordinary experience while also delineating in advance intentionality’s manifold structures that are to become the explicit theme of a phenomenological analysis of consciousness. In this manner, it is argued, Husserl ascribes a transcendental significance to ordinary experience in terms of what he dubs an ‘a priori of common sense’. The thrust of Husserl’s phenomenology of ordinary experience in the natural attitude sets up his later and more fully developed conception of the life-world as centred around the ‘presentness’ of the world that remains as elusive as it stands plainly there in all its obviousness.