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Natural and Transcendental attitude in Husserl – definition and explanation

Phenomenology and Existentialism

In Husserl’s phenomenology "natural attitude" means the point of view which is expressed through the "thesis of the world" which corresponds to what man perceives of it, as he experiences it naturally. For Husserl, the world is not posed "out there", it is actively encountered (see intentionality). Natuarl attitude means forming representations, judging, feeling, wanting etc regarding reality. Note that the world of the natural attitude has nothing to do with what is called “vision of the world”, nor with the world of everyday life. What is aimed at is what commands all the possibilities, all the attitudes. 

Each of us live in one and the same world, with variable content, unlimited in time and space. This world, in which I myself am incorporated, is not a simple world of things, but it is at the same time, in the background, a world of values, goods and a practical world. According to Paul Ricœur, in the “natural attitude”, the most constant illusion of the “thesis of the world” is the naive “belief” in the existence “in itself” of this world and that its direct empirical perception would be a priori more certain than reflection. There is no “natural attitude” except by difference and therefore in relation to the transcendental attitude.

Transcendent attitude 

The "transcendental attitude" according to Husserl is determined by opposition to the "psychological attitude" (see Husserl’s critique of psychologism). In the psychological attitude the meaning of the solution corresponds to the unveiling of the modes of consciousness in which the object as aimed, that is to say the “object representation” takes place. In the "transcendental attitude", it is a question of an intellection of the subjective operations in which the real object, the real world itself and not the representation of the world is produced in order to become intelligible as a  transcendental "correlate". In other words, the "natural attitude is the whole concept of self-apperceptions of "transcendental subjectivity" which co-belong, it is therefore a constitutive result and as such an integral moment of transcendental life itself.