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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
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  1. Bernard Barsotti (1999). Synthèse passive et affinité chez Husserl. Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 3:379-400.
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  2. Jules Bednarski (1964). La teneur phénoménologique du monde constitué chez Husserl. Les Etudes Philosophiques 19 (1):49 - 56.
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  3. Bruce Bégout (2000). L'héritage ambigu: Kant, Husserl et la question de la synthèse passive. Recherches Husserliennes 13:31-68.
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  4. Bruce Bégout (2000). La Généalogie de la Logique: Husserl, L’Antéprédicatif Et le Catégorial. Vrin.
    Si le concept husserlien de passivité a fasciné toute une génération de philosophes , il a rarement fait l’objet d’une étude qui adopte la perspective du fondateur de la phénoménologie. Husserl considère que la passivité appartient sans reste à la sphère de la constitution et qu’elle consolide par conséquent son transcendantalisme. Loin d’être un domaine de sens irréductible à la rationalité, elle représente même le fondement des opérations de la pensée catégoriale. C’est en son sein que doivent être cherchées les (...)
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  5. Elizabeth A. Behnke (2002). Merleau-Ponty's Ontological Reading of Constitution. In Ted Toadvine & Lester Embree (eds.), Merleau-Ponty’s Reading of Husserl. Kluwer. 31-50.
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  6. Victor Biceaga (2010). The Concept of Passivity in Husserl's Phenomenology. Springer.
    The book outlines the contribution of passivity to the constitution of phenomena as diverse as temporal syntheses, perceptual associations, memory fulfillment and cross-cultural communication.
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  7. M. Bosch (2002). Symbolic Pregnance and Passive Synthesis-Genetic Phenomenology of Perception in Cassirer and Husserl. Philosophisches Jahrbuch 109 (1):148-161.
  8. M. Bosch (2002). Symbolische Pragnanz und passive Synthesis. Genetische Phanomenologie der Wahrnehmung bei Cassirer und Husserl. Philosophisches Jahrbuch 109:148-161.
  9. Matt Bower (forthcoming). Husserl’s Theory of Instincts as a Theory of Affection. Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology.
    Husserl’s theory of passive experience first came to systematic and detailed expression in the lectures on passive synthesis from the early 1920s, where he discusses pure passivity under the rubric of affection and association. In this paper I suggest that this familiar theory of passive experience is a first approximation leaving important questions unanswered. Focusing primarily on affection, I will show that Husserl did not simply leave his theory untouched. In later manuscripts he significantly reworks the theory of affection in (...)
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  10. Thiemo Breyer (2010). Unsichtbare Grenzen. Zur Phänomenologie der Normalität, Liminalität und Anomalität. In Philippe Merz, Andrea Staiti & Frank Steffen (eds.), Geist-Person-Gemeinschaft: Freiburger Beiträge zur Aktualität Husserls. Ergon-Verlag GmbH.
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  11. John B. Brough (2008). Consciousness is Not a Bag: Immanence, Transcendence, and Constitution in the Idea of Phenomenology. [REVIEW] Husserl Studies 24 (3):177-191.
    A fruitful way to approach The Idea of Phenomenology is through Husserl’s claim that consciousness is not a bag, box, or any other kind of container. The bag conception, which dominated much of modern philosophy, is rooted in the idea that philosophy is restricted to investigating only what is really immanent to consciousness, such as acts and sensory contents. On this view, what Husserl called the riddle of transcendence can never be solved. The phenomenological reduction, as Husserl develops it in (...)
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  12. Derrick Roy Calandrella (2001). Husserl, Heidegger and the Phenomenology of Logic. Dissertation, The Pennsylvania State University
    This dissertation deals with the ways in which Husserl and Heidegger as phenomenologists are guided by the commitment to a logical theory of science. It considers the internal relationship between, respectively, Husserlian and Heideggerian phenomenology and a conception of logic that would link phenomenological philosophy of logic to the contemporary definition of this discipline. The dramatic transition in the modern history of logic is played out explicitly in Husserl's conception of formal theory of science, which hinges on his idea of (...)
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  13. John D. Caputo (1979). Transcendence and the Transcendental in Husserl's Phenomenology. Philosophy Today 23 (3):205-216.
    The author attempts to isolate the defining characteristic of the distinction between the transcendental and the transcendent in husserl and argues that it is found, Not in husserl's notion of reflection, But in his theory of constitution. Reflection is shown to be compatible with a transcendent interpretation of consciousness. Finally, Heidegger's phenomenology is shown to have rejected pure reflection but to have incorporated, Mutatis mutandi, A version of constitution.
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  14. Maria Catena (2005). Touch and the Constitution of the Thing in Husserl’ s Vorlesungen of 1907. Archivio di Storia Della Cultura 18.
    This essay aims, first of all, at underlining the peculiar idea of perception that emerges from Husserl’s Ding und Raum. Vorlesungen 1907. In analysing the constitution of the Thing and the external perception, Husserl describes an activity which is, at the same time, legal and dependent from the data of reality. In so doing, he manages to avoid both the scepticism, which is ingrained in the idea of perception as simple and spontaneous opening to facts, and the idealism that, on (...)
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  15. D. R. Cerbone (2006). Wolfgang HUEMER: The Constitution of Consciousness: A Study in Analytic Phenomenology. New York: Routledge, 2005. Grazer Philosophische Studien 73:249.
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  16. Ulrich Claesges (1965). Edmund Husserls Theorie der Raumkonstitution. Springer Netherlands.
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  17. Elba M. Coleclough (2008). Genesis Passive and Time's Consciousness in E. Husserl: Its Importance in Early Relations. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 19:205-213.
    Undoubtedly, Edmund Husserl's work is one of the most important contributions to the philosophy of the Twentieth Century to the field of culture, specifically influence on the formation of a new psychiatric - psychological paradigm embodied in the phenomenological psychology and psychiatry - existential. Thispaper aims to draw a brief introduction to the issues concerning the constitution originating from the life of the subject as the psychological level of objectivity and intersubjectivity, with emphasis on aspects related to the synthetic processes (...)
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  18. James Collins (1966). "The Formation of Husserl's Concept of Constitution," by Robert Sokolowski. Modern Schoolman 43 (2):187-188.
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  19. Eusebi Colomer (1974). Holenstein, E.: Phänomenologie der Assoziation. Zu Struktur und Funktion eines Grundprinzips der passiven Genesis bei E. Husserl. [REVIEW] Pensamiento 30 (119):337.
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  20. Ion Constantin (2012). Husserl on the World as an Ontologically Dependent Correlate of the Transcendental Subject. Linguistic and Philosophical Investigations 11:103-108.
  21. Alexander Cooke (2003). Jacques Derrida, The Problem of Genesis in Husserl's Phenomenology. [REVIEW] Philosophy in Review 23:380-382.
  22. Ion Copoeru (2003). Sensory Fields And Seriality In Husserl’s Theory Of Constitution / Sinnliche Felder Und Serialität In Husserls Konstitutionstheorie. Studia Philosophica 1.
    In an different manner than the classical works of Sokolowski, Tugendhat and Schuhmann, who treated the Husserlian problematic of constitution as reality – subjectivity relation, this study tries to explain that relation in a pure immanent and formal way. The constitution of the object as such presupposes a system of constitution, which, as a part of the system of "transcendental" phenomenology, takes explicitly into account the legality or typicality of the processes and requires their global articulation. Thus, in the first (...)
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  23. Ion Copoeru (2002). Analysis And Interpretation In The Husserlian Phenomenology. Studia Philosophica 1.
    In spite of some remarkable contributions, Husserl’s project of phenomenology as universal phenomenology still remains incomplete, and therefore may be questionable both in its fundamental idea – that that phenomenology should encompass all the ontologies and all the sciences in general in a final foundation - and in its accomplishments. In order to complete this task, I believe that the methodological orientation of phenomenology should be stressed, and that the distinctions operating in this second-order critique must be prolonged till their (...)
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  24. Grégory Cormann & Bruno Leclercq (2012). Présentation : la passivité en phénoménologie, un vieux problème à réactiver. Bulletin d'Analyse Phénoménologique (1).
    Les textes rassemblés ici constituent les « Actes » du cinquième séminaire annuel de l?Unité de recherches Phénoménologie s , qui s?est tenu à l?Université de Liège du 2 au 6 mai 2011 et avait pour intitulé Entre phéno­ménologie et psychologie. Le problème de la passivité . Sans doute le thème de la passivité n?est-il pas neuf en phénoméno­logie. Très souvent, notamment dans le monde francophone, il a été brandi pour nuancer, voire contrecarrer, une certaine conception de la phénoméno­logie qui (...)
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  25. Mariano Crespo (2009). ¿Hay Una teoría no idealista de la constitución? Revista de filosofía (Chile) 65:105-114.
    Este artículo intenta mostrar que una teoría de la constitución de los objetos del conocimiento no conlleva necesariamente una teoría idealista del conocimiento. El punto de partida es, por un lado, la reconstrucción de los principales elementos de la teoría husserliana de la constitución y, por otro, el análisis de un argumento usado por Husserl en las Investigaciones lógicas a fi n de probar la existencia de objetos ideales. En este orden de cosas, Antonio Millán-Puelles ha mostrado la posibilidad de (...)
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  26. Dan Dahlstrom (2007). The Intentionality of Passive Experience. New Yearbook for Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy 7:25-42.
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  27. Maria Da Penha Petit Villela De Carvalho (1982). Man and Nature: Does the Husserlian Analysis of Pre-Predicative Experience Shed Light on the Emergence of Nature in the Work of Art? Analecta Husserliana 12:301.
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  28. A. S. Errano de Haro (2010). Husserl's Mereological Argument for Intentional Constitution. In Carlo Ierna, Hanne Jaccobs & Filip Mattens (eds.), PHILOSOPHY PHENOMENOLOGY SCIENCES. Springer.
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  29. Nythamar de Oliveira (2000). PHILOSOPHIA SEMPER REFORMANDA: HUSSERLIAN THESES ON CONSTITUTION. Manuscrito 23 (2):251-274.
    Starting from the sensuous perception of what is seen, an attempt is made at re-casting a Husserlian theory of constitution of the object of intuition, as one leaves the natural attitude through a transcendental method, by positing several theses so as to avoid the aporias of philosophical binary oppositions such as rationalism and empiri-cism, realism and idealism, logicism and psychologism, subjectivism and objectivism, transcendentalism and ontologism, metaphysics and positivism. Throughout fifty-five theses on constitution, the Husserlian proposal of continuously reforming philosophizing (...)
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  30. Arnaud Dewalque (2012). Intentionnalité cum fundamento in re : La constitution des champs sensoriels chez Stumpf et Husserl. Bulletin d'Analyse Phénoménologique (1):70-96.
    J?aborderai ici le problème de la passivité de l?esprit dans le cadre d?une analyse de la perception sensible 1 . La question qui m?occupera sera la sui­vante : quel est le rôle des matériaux sensoriels ou des phénomènes sensibles dans la perception ? Plus exactement : quel sens faut-il donner ? s?il faut en donner un ? à la notion de « champs sensoriels » ( Sinnesfelder ) dans l?ana­lyse intentionnelle de la perception ? Je commencerai par rappeler que l?ap­proche (...)
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  31. Carmine Di Martino (2012). Husserl: intenzionalità versus realismo? Quaestio 12:263-290.
    Many contemporary theoretical perspectives - whether internal to the phenomenological tradition or not - endorse, more o less explicitly, a realistic and anti-phenomenological stance. The issue at stake is, precisely, the question of “reality”. Many of these authors interpret the notion of intentionality, and therefore phenomenology, in an idealistic sense, in continuity with modern, and especially Kantian, philosophy. The heart of the matter lies in the topic of «constitution» and in the operative character of intentionality. Whether our object of inquiry (...)
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  32. Luigia Di Pinto (1991). The Archeology of Modalization in Husserl: From Analogies to Passive Synthesis. Analecta Husserliana 34:179.
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  33. William Allen Dickens (2000). Eidos and Facticity in Husserl's Phenomenology of Judgment. Dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    This study, as its main focus, critically examines Husserl's phenomenology of judgment in terms of its constituting a transcendental explanation of the phenomenon. But it also examines Heidegger's fundamental ontological phenomenology to the extent that it, too, aims to reveal the basis of the general possibility of objective warrant in judgment. Ultimately, the study's prime concern is one for philosophical methodology. By considering two different phenomenological approaches, it seeks to determine phenomenology's general viability as an approach to accounting for judgment. (...)
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  34. James Dodd (2009). La passivité de la logique. Methodos 9.
    Quel est le chemin qui, chez Husserl, nous mène de la logique formelle à celle transcendantale? S’agit-il de la voie kantienne qui va de la “logique générale” à celle “transcendantale” ou le caractère mathématique de la logique moderne interdit que celle-ci puisse jouer le rôle de “fil conducteur transcendantal”? Dans cet article, à la lumière de ce que l’on pourrait appeler la réciprocité entre passivité et logique, on avance la thèse selon laquelle c’est justement la logique mathématique qui pour Husserl (...)
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  35. J. J. Drummond (1984). I. Yamaguchi, "Passive Synthesis Und Intersubjektivität Bei Edmund Husserl". [REVIEW] Husserl Studies 1 (2):218.
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  36. Paul Ducros (2007). La Terre: La théorie du géostatisme d'Edmund Husserl. Bulletin d'Analyse Phénoménologique (5).
    Entre le 7 et le 9 Mai 1934 Husserl écrit un texte, publié posthumément, répertorié comme Manuscrit D 17 dans les Archives Husserl et désormais très célèbre: L’archè-originaire-Terre ne se meut pas. Lié au projet d’ensemble de la Krisis, il s’efforce — dans le cadre rigoureux de la phénoménologie en tant qu’idéalisme transcendantal — de reconduire l’astronomie à sa source originaire: le corps propre se mouvant sur le sol irréductiblement immobile de la Terre. L’auteur commente ce texte en le liant (...)
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  37. James M. Edie (1967). The Formation of Husserl's Concept of Constitution. Journal of the History of Philosophy 5 (2):184-187.
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  38. Lester Embree (2001). The Constitution of Basic Culture. Phainomena 35.
    This essay has two parts. In the first, Husserl's account of categorial forming and Schutz's account of common-sense constructs are used to sketch an interpretationist theory of culture. In the second part, the question is raised of whether that theory is adequate to account for cultural phenomena and the negative answer is supported with a sketch of the pre-conceptual constitution of intrinsic and extrinsic values and uses in valuational and volitional processes of secondary passivity. This stratum below thinking and concepts (...)
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  39. Christian Ferencz-Flatz (2009). Quasi-Constitution And Consciousness Of Opportunity In Husserl / Quasi-Konstitution Und Möglichkeitsbewusstsein Bei Husserl. Studia Philosophica 2.
    The article comments upon Husserl’s attempts to outline, in a brief text dated 1922/23, the concept of Quasi-Konstitution. With its help, Husserl wishes to address the way objects are and can be constituted in the realm of pure phantasy. In discussing the various strata of their constitution, he reaches several problematic issues, concerning concordance, individuality, inter-subjectivity or reality. However, the chief aspect that governs Husserl’s reflections is the questionable relation between phantasy and the manifold senses of “possibility”.
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  40. Miriam Fischer (2010). Leben im Vollzug des Sinns. Zur Sinnbegabtheit der Animalien. In Philippe Merz, Andrea Staiti & Frank Steffen (eds.), Geist-Person-Gemeinschaft: Freiburger Beiträge zur Aktualität Husserls. Ergon-Verlag GmbH.
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  41. Margot Fleischer (1968). Edmond Husserl Analysen zur passiven synthesis. Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 73 (1):127-128.
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  42. Dagfinn Follesdal (2013). Husserl und Heidegger über die Rolle des Handelns bei der Konstitution der Welt. In Stefania Centrone (ed.), Versuche über Husserl. Meiner.
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  43. G. Forni (1967). HUSSERL E., "Analysen zur passiven Synthesis". [REVIEW] Giornale di Metafisica 22:552-557.
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  44. Fausto Fraisopi (2010). Questions de co-intentionnalité : Expérience et structure d?horizon. Bulletin d'Analyse Phénoménologique (8: Questions d'intentionnalité ().
    Le dedans intentionnel (das intentionnale Innen) est en même temps le dehors (Aussen). (E. Husserl, Intentionnalité et être-au-monde, Hua. XV, p. 549-556 (§ 8), tr. fr. in D. Janicaud (éd.), L?intentionnalité en question entre phénoménologie et recherches cognitives, Paris, Vrin, p. 145.) En introduisant l?enracinement de l?expérience (et surtout de la logique) dans « le sol universel du monde », Husserl affirme, de façon très claire, dans Expérience et jugement , que « toute saisie d?objet singulier et toute activité ultérieure (...)
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  45. Dagfinn Føllesdal (1993). Le rôle de l'action dans la constitution du monde chez Husserl et Heidegger. Philosophiques 20 (2):267-284.
  46. Joerald Gadia (2012). The Influence of Tradition and Historicity in Husserl’s Intersubjective Act of Constituting Meaning and its Effect in Making Ethical Decisions Regarding the Beginning of Human Life. Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 22 (1):39-42.
  47. Saulius Geniusas (2009). Husserl et la phénoménologie de la donation. Methodos 9.
    Cet essai a pour but de montrer comment la notion de plasticité articule la façon dont Husserl engage la problématique de la donation. Pour ce faire, il interprète le passage de la phénoménologie statique à la phénoménologie génétique comme le chemin qui mène de l’analyse du cogito éveillé à celle de son éveil ; il montre par la suite comment cette réorientation méthodologique lie la question de la donation à celle des origines du cogito. Ce texte se compose ainsi de (...)
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  48. Nicoletta Ghigi (2005). La sensibilità a fondamento delle sintesi passive ed attive. Una riflessione sulla fenomenologia genetica di Husserl. Idee 59:47-63.
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  49. A. Giorgi (2005). Husserl, E.(2002). Analyses Concerning Passive and Active Syntheses: Lectures on Transcendental Logic. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 36 (2).
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  50. Paul Gyllenhammer (2004). Three Dimensions of Objectivity in Husserl's Account of Passive Synthesis. Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 35:180-200.
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