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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. Bruce Bégout (2000). L'héritage ambigu: Kant, Husserl et la question de la synthèse passive. Recherches Husserliennes 13:31-68.
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  3. 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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  4. M. Bosch (2002). Symbolic Pregnance and Passive Synthesis-Genetic Phenomenology of Perception in Cassirer and Husserl. Philosophisches Jahrbuch 109 (1):148-161.
  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. James Collins (1966). "The Formation of Husserl's Concept of Constitution," by Robert Sokolowski. The Modern Schoolman 43 (2):187-188.
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  9. 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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  10. Dan Dahlstrom (2007). The Intentionality of Passive Experience. New Yearbook for Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy 7:25-42.
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  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. 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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  14. 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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  15. Dagfinn Follesdal (2013). Husserl und Heidegger über die Rolle des Handelns bei der Konstitution der Welt. In Stefania Centrone (ed.), Versuche über Husserl. Meiner.
  16. 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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  17. Dagfinn Føllesdal (1993). Le rôle de l'action dans la constitution du monde chez Husserl et Heidegger. Philosophiques 20 (2):267-284.
  18. 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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  19. 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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  20. 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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  21. Errol E. Harris (1977). The Problem of Self-Constitution For Idealism and Phenomenology. Idealistic Studies 7 (1):1-27.
    Following kant, idealists establish the transcendental unity of the subject as the prior condition of experience of objects. this is necessarily all-inclusive and the finite self becomes one of its phenomena, which cannot be identified with the transcendental ego, nor yet be wholly divorced from it. this is the basis of kant's paralogism of reason. t h green, f h bradley and edmund husserl are all victims of this paralogism, each in his own way. green fails to avoid it by (...)
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  22. James Hart (2004). Edmund Husserl, Analyses Concerning Passive and Active Synthesis. Lectures on Transcendental Logic. Husserl Studies 20 (2):135-159.
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  23. Patricia Limido Heulot (2004). L'origine en question. Le sens de la constitution chez Husserl (II). Recherches Husserliennes 21:35-62.
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  24. Patricia Limido Heulot (2003). Constituer, produire, interpréter. Le sens de la constitution chez Husserl (I). Recherches Husserliennes 20:27-62.
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  25. Juha Himanka (2006). How Does a Dark Room Appear: Husserl's Illumination of the Breakthrough of Logical Investigations. Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology 6 (2):1-8.
    Evidence is the very core of Husserlian phenomenology, with the term “evidence” signifying for Husserl the phenomenological perspective on the question of truth. In contrast to the conventional philosophical understanding of “truth” in mainly epistemological terms, Husserl’s notion of “evidence”, as elaborated in his Logical Investigations (1900–1), is more essentially ontological, pointing to the way in which a phenomenon becomes clear to us in its constitution. Husserl’s main point in the Sixth Investigation was that we can “see” how evidence functions (...)
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  26. Wolfgang Huemer (2005). The Constitution of Consciousness: A Study in Analytic Phenomenology. Routledge.
    Through the work of philosophers like Sellars, Davidson, and McDowell, the question of how the mind is related to the world has gained new importance in contemporary analytic philosophy. This book demonstrates that Husserl's phenomenological analyses of the structure of consciousness can provide fruitful insights for developing an original approach to these questions.
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  27. Wolfgang Huemer (2004). The Constitution of Consciousness. Routledge.
    Through the work of philosophers like Sellars, Davidson and McDowell, the question of how the mind is related to the world has gained new importance in contemporary analytic philosophy. This book demonstrates that Husserl's phenomenological analyses of the structure of consciousness can provide fruitful insights for developing an original approach to these questions.
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  28. Wolfgang Huemer (2003). Husserl and Haugeland on Constitution. Synthese 137 (3):345-368.
    Both Husserl and Haugeland develop an account of constitution to address the question of how our mental episodes can be about physical objects and thus, through the intentional relation, bridge the gap between the mental and the physical. The respective theories of the two philosophers of very different background show not only how mental episodes can have empirical content, but also how this content is shaped by past experiences or a holistic background of other mental episodes. In this article I (...)
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  29. Edmund Husserl (1981). The World of the Living Present and the Constitution of the Surrounding World External to the Organism. In Peter McCormick & Frederick A. Elliston (eds.), Husserl: Shorter Works. University of Notre Dame Press. 238--250.
  30. Hanne Jacobs (2014). Transcendental Subjectivity and the Human Being. In Sara Heinämaa Mirja Hartimo & Timo Miettinen (eds.), Phenomenology and the Transcendental. Routledge. 87-105.
    This article addresses an ambiguity in Edmund Husserl’s descriptions of what it means to be a human being in the world. On the one hand, Husserl often characterizes the human being in natural scientific terms as a psychophysical unity. On the other hand, Husserl also describes how we experience ourselves as embodied persons that experience and communicate with others within a socio-historical world. The main aim of this article is to show that if one overlooks this ambiguity then one will (...)
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  31. A. Johnstone & M. Sheets-Johnstone (2005). Edmund Husserl: A Review of the Lectures on Transcendental Logic. [REVIEW] Journal of Consciousness Studies 12 (2):43-51.
    The centerpiece of the Analyses is a translation from the German of notes for a series of lectures given by phenomenologist Edmund Husserl in the early twenties, which is to say some eighty years ago. Husserl designated the topic of the lectures 'transcendental logic'. In this context, the term, 'transcendental', is not to be understood in some mystical sense, but rather in a Kantian sense: pertaining to the conditions of possibility of experience. Likewise, the term, 'logic', is not to be (...)
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  32. Laurent Joumier (2000). Généalogie de l'En Soi. Husserl," de la Synthèse Passive". Recherches Husserliennes 13:91-112.
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  33. J. N. Kaufmann (1974). Phaenomenologie der Assoziation: Zu Struktur und Funktion eines Grundprinzips der passiven Genesis bei E. Husserl. Par Elmar Holenstein. Phaenomenologica 44. Den Haag, Martinus Nijhoff, 1972. 369 pages. [REVIEW] Dialogue 13 (02):424-428.
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  34. Rolf Kuhn & Michael Staudigl (2002). Passivity as Pre-Predicative Constitution in Husserl: Structure and Discussion. Analecta Husserliana 80:119-133.
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  35. D. Lohmar (1993). Principles of a Model for the Synthesis of Interpretation-Kant and Husserl on the Degree of Order of Sensory Assumptions and the Elements of a Phenomenology of Interpretation. Husserl Studies 10 (2):111-141.
  36. Dieter Lohmar (1993). Grundzüge Eines Synthesis-Modells der Auffassung: Kant Und Husserl Über den Ordnungsgrad Sinnlicher Vorgegebenheiten Und Die Elemente Einer Phänomenologie der Auffassung. [REVIEW] Husserl Studies 10 (2):111-141.
  37. Gabriel Mahéo (2005). La question de l'amour chez Max Scheler: par-delà l'activité et la passivité? Bulletin d'Analyse Phénoménologique 1 (1).
    L?entreprise philosophique de Scheler se présente comme une application de la phénoménologie des Recherches logiques au domaine des valeurs, et procède pour cela à une transposition de l?objectivisme séman­tique husserlien en un objectivisme axiologique. C?est pourquoi, au premier abord, le statut de la passivité ne semble pas poser problème dans la phénoménologie de Scheler, tant ce dernier insiste sur l?objectivité, l?absolui­té et l?indépendance des valeurs qui ne peuvent être, comme l?affirme le Formalisme, « ni créées, ni détruites », mais « (...)
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  38. Javier San Martín (1971). AGUIRRE, ANTONIO: Genetische Phänomenologie und Reduktion zur Letztbegründungder Wissenschaft aus der radikalen Skepsis im Denken E. Husserls. Logos. Anales Del Seminario de Metafísica 6 (6):121-123.
  39. Filip Mattens (2012). On the Introduction of the Concept of Phantom in Ideas II: A Case-Study in Husserl's Theory of Constitution. The New Yearbook for Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy 6 (1):83-108.
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  40. Filip Mattens (2008). Body or Eye. New Yearbook for Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy 8:93-125.
  41. Filip Mattens (2006). On the Introduction of the Concept of Phantom in Ideas II. New Yearbook for Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy 6:83-107.
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  42. Ronald McIntyre (2012). &Quot;we-Subjectivity&Quot;: Husserl on Community and Communal Constitution. In Christel Fricke & Dagfinn Føllesdal (eds.), Intersubjectivity and Objectivity in Adam Smith and Edmund Husserl. Ontos Verlag. 8--61.
    I experience the world as comprising not only pluralities of individual persons but also interpersonal communal unities – groups, teams, societies, cultures, etc. The world, as experienced or "constituted", is a social world, a “spiritual” world. How are these social communities experienced as communities and distinguished from one another? What does it mean to be a “community”? And how do I constitute myself as a member of some communities but not of others? Moreover, the world of experience is not constituted (...)
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  43. Darian Meacham (2013). What Goes Without Saying: Husserl's Concept of Style. Research in Phenomenology 43 (1):3-26.
    The idea of “style” emerges at several important points throughout Husserl’s oeuvre: in the second part of the Crisis of the European Sciences, the lectures on intersubjectivity published in Husserliana XV, and in the analyses of transcendental character and intersubjectivity in the second book of the Ideas. This paper argues that the idea of style, often overlooked, is in fact central to understanding Husserl’s conception of the person and intersubjective relations, its role in the latter captured in his odd turn (...)
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  44. Thomas A. Michaud (1987). Schutz's Theory of Constitution. Philosophy Research Archives 13:63-71.
    Alfred Schutz formulated his phenomenology with the aim of circumventing what he perceived to be the idealistic character of Husserl’s theory of meaning constitution. Schutz contended that constitution for Husserl was idealistically creationistic in the sense that the meanings and very being of phenomena were merely the created products of the constitutive acts of consciousness itself. This article argues, however, that Schutz’s theory of constitution is not without an idealistic character in that the meanings which consciousness constitutes and predicates to (...)
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  45. Frédéric Moinat (2006). Catégories et analyse intentionnelle chez Husserl. Revue de Théologie Et de Philosophie 138 (2):97-110.
    La notion de «catégorie» traverse de manière centrale l�histoire de la philosophie depuis sa première formulation par Aristote. Elle tient une place importante dans la logique développée par Husserl. Cet article a pour visée de montrer comment, au-delà d�une simple exposition d�ontologie formelle, les catégories relèvent de la constitution transcendantale. Comme tout objet, réel ou idéel, les catégories sont corrélées à un ensemble structuré d�actes intentionnels qui peut rendre compte de leur émergence et de leur thématisation explicite. Cela permettra de (...)
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  46. Richard T. Murphy (1965). Husserl and Pre-Reflexive Constitution. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 26 (1):100-105.
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  47. Shigeto Nuki (1998). The Theory of Association After Husserl: “Form/Content”Dualism and the Phenomenological Way Out. [REVIEW] Continental Philosophy Review 31 (3):273-291.
    This paper will address one of the “unsolved” problems that has traditionally been called the “form/content” dualism. Husserl writes in Ideas I: “This remarkable duality and unity of sensory hyle and intentional morphe plays a dominant role in the whole phenomenological sphere (in the whole sphere, namely within the stage of constituting temporality, which can be constantly verified)” (Hua III, 192). To be sure, Husserl has defined the sensory hyle “descriptively” as the really immanent [reell] part of consciousness with differences (...)
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  48. Nythamar Oliveira (2000). 'Philosophia semper reformada': Husserlian theses on constitution. Manuscrito 23 (2).
    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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  49. Andrés Miguel Osswald (2014). El concepto de pasividad en Edmund Husserl. Areté 26 (1):33-51.
    The change from static to genetic perspective involves an enlargement of the phenomenological field. The main subject is not anymore the description of the essential notes of a phenomenon but rather the search for its origins. New levels of objects and consciousness arise as consequence of this new approach. The structures of subjectivity revealed by the genetic inquiry constitute the field of passivity.
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  50. John K. O.’Connor (forthcoming). Husserl and Carnap: Structural Objectivity, Constitution, Grammar in Advance. International Philosophical Quarterly.
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