The notion of constitution is quite ubiquitous in Husserl’s texts, but is not often clarified. Constitution occurs when, by functioning of certain experiential resources, a kind of stable unity is produced in experience. There is typically an aspect of experience that undergoes a kind of interpretation, another that interprets it, and, thirdly, the constituted item, distinct from the constituting resources. E.g., series of visual and kinesthetic sensations, by “animation” of the former by the latter, function to constitute a spatially extended object (“the phantom”). For Husserl, there are several levels of constitution. E.g., the level for phantoms is followed by the levels for material things and Lifeworldly things. The items constituted at a certain level will be available to function constitutively on the next levels.
|Key works||The following key works provide discussions of various aspects of the topic of constitution. Sokolowski 1964 investigates the development of Husserl’s concept of constitution, while Sandmeyer 2009 studies the topic of constitution with a view to understanding the unity and purport of Husserlian phenomenology. A study of Husserl’s ideas concerning truth, Tugendhat 1967, emphasizes the need to understand constitution by constant recourse to varieties of intuition. The reasons that led Husserl to abandon the position of the Logical Investigations for that of Ideas I, are discussed in Mensch 1981. Claesges 1965 offers an investigation into the constitution of space. Biceaga 2010 considers the passive aspects of constitution, arguing that they are interwoven with the active aspects in complex ways, rather than settling for a clear-cut distinction between levels of active and passive synthesis.|
|Introductions||Zahavi 2003, Ch. 2, Bernet et al 1993, Ch. 7, Smith 2006, Ch. 6|
Graduate studies at Western
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