From a historico-cultural point of view the notion of normativity is closely tied to the apparently descriptive category of normality. This relation seems even tighter on the level of experience. As Husserl shows that normality, in the form of concordance and optimality, is a constitutive feature of experience itself. But in what sense can we speak of normativity in the realm of experience? Husserl himself saw no need to pose this question. But to explain the possibility of normal and coherent perception one needs more than merely formal criteria (like concordance and its adjustment to an optimum): one must also take into account the attentional nature of perception. In this regard, the present paper will consider Husserl's early treatment of attention and integrate it with its genetic implications on the level of affection. Doing so shows that subjective experience is characterized by a preference-structure, motivated by the embodied subject's individual and cultural horizons of interest. It is this that allows one to speak of a precursor to normativity in the realm of experience. Moreover it can be argued that interest not only influences perception from the lowest level, but can be seen as a precondition for any current attention. Thus to speak of normativity in experience in this stronger sense, means not only that perception already contains traces of intersubjective norms; it also means that such norms determine what you can see at all.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL,
Journal Husserl Studies
Wehrle, M. (2010). Die Normativität der Erfahrung - Überlegungen zur Beziehung von Normalität und Aufmerksamkeit bei E. Husserl. Husserl Studies, 26(3), 167–187. doi:10.1007/s10743-010-9075-5