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Husserl distinguishes between the human body, as experienced from a first-person perspective (Leib, rendered in English as “the Body” or “lived body”), and the human body, as it is experienced from a third-person, especially from a scientific, perspective (Körper). The Body plays important roles in his discussions of self-awareness, other-awareness, and perceptual experience. Thus, the Body, with its kinaesthetic systems, shapes the ways in which I can come into perceptual contact with objects, or the “horizons” in terms of which objects are given to me (See Husserl: Horizonality.). In the experience of encountering the other, the constitutive empathy could not set to work, were it not for the other’s embodiment, enabling one to experience the relevant similarities and differences between oneself and the other. Also, the Husserlian ego is not to be regarded as akin to a Cartesian mental substance, but is constituted as embodied. This accounts not only for our perceptual abilities, but also for our capacity to will and act. Thus, our experiences have passive and active aspects, and these are interwoven in complex ways.  

Key works

Gallagher 1986 rejects the Husserlian view that there are “hyletic data” (or sensations), and develops a Merleau-Pontyan account of perception, based on the notion of the lived body. Countering the view that embodiment was only first thematized by Merleau-Ponty and the other later phenomenologists, Zahavi 1994 argues that Husserl systematically integrated this topic into his transcendental phenomenology. Mensch 2003 regards Husserl’s discussions of embodiment as unified by the idea that “presence and embodiment imply each other”, and discusses a number of topics from the point of view of an embodied, “postfoundational” philosophy. Dodd 1997, too,  argues that the problem of the body is of central importance for Husserl’s transcendental idealism, and that it eventually provides the key to understanding human beings as “spiritual”. Lotz 2007 discusses the lived body as rendering possible various forms of “affection”, thereby facilitating one’s commerce with the environment, as well as one’s relationships with other subjects. Based on Bernhard Waldenfels’ university lectures, Waldenfels 2000 offers thorough discussions of different aspects of embodied subjectivity. Behnke 1996 puts forward a program for the study of the lived body.

Introductions Zahavi 2003, Ch. 3, Moran 2005, Ch. 7
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  1. Alia Al-Saji (2010). Bodies and Sensings: On the Uses of Husserlian Phenomenology for Feminist Theory. [REVIEW] Continental Philosophy Review 43 (1):13-37.
    What does Husserlian phenomenology have to offer feminist theory? More specifically, can we find resources within Husserl’s account of the living body ( Leib ) for the critical feminist project of rethinking embodiment beyond the dichotomies not only of mind/body but also of subject/object and activity/passivity? This essay begins by explicating the reasons for feminist hesitation with respect to Husserlian phenomenology. I then explore the resources that Husserl’s phenomenology of touch and his account of sensings hold for feminist theory. My (...)
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  2. Alia Al-Saji (2000). The Site of Affect in Husserl’s Phenomenology: Sensations and the Constitution of the Lived Body. Philosophy Today 44 (Supplement):51-59.
  3. Holly Andersen (2013). The Representation of Time in Agency. In Adrian Bardon & Heather Dyke (eds.), Blackwell Companion to Philosophy of Time. Wiley-Blackwell.
    This paper outlines some key issues that arise when agency and temporality are considered jointly, from the perspective of psychology, cognitive neuroscience, phenomenology, and action theory. I address the difference between time simpliciter and time as represented as it figures in phenomena like intentional binding, goal-oriented action plans, emulation systems, and ‘temporal agency’. An examination of Husserl’s account of time consciousness highlights difficulties in generalizing his account to include a substantive notion of agency, a weakness inherited by explanatory projects like (...)
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  4. Aron Pilotto Barco (2012). A concepção husserliana de corporeidade: A distinção fenomenológica entre corpo próprio E corpos inanimados. Synesis 4 (2).
    Ao contrário do que as diversas aproximações entre Husserl e Descartes podem sugerir, Husserl foi um severo crítico do dualismo mente-corpo. Esse texto tem por objetivo explicar o conceito husserliano de corporeidade para assim expor como o autor defende uma concepção não dualista da corporeidade. Para Husserl não se trata de propor ‘eu tenho um corpo’ – o que pressupõe um componente anímico possuidor –, mas sim ‘eu sou um corpo’.
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  5. Elizabeth Behnke (1996). Study Project in the Phenomenology of the Body. In Thomas Nenon & Lester Embree (eds.), Issues in Husserl's Ideas II.
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  6. Elizabeth A. Behnke (2011). Husserl's Phenomenology of Embodiment. In James Fieser & Bradley Dowden (eds.), Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  7. Elizabeth A. Behnke (2011). Critique of Presuppositions, Apperceptive Traditionality, and the Body as a Medium for Movement. Studia Phaenomenologica 11 (1):77-98.
    This paper 1) examines Husserl’s critique of presuppositions, a critique that realizes a desideratum of the Western philosophical tradition precisely by clarifying and grounding the latter’s own tacit presuppositions; 2) surveys Husserl’s descriptions of the apperceptions whose operative efficacy make tradition itself effective, holding good at both the individual and the generative levels; 3) identifies the need for a further critique of the psychophysical apperception in particular; and 4) offers a phenomenologically grounded alternative to the latter way of understanding and (...)
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  8. Elizabeth A. Behnke (2010). Edmund Husserl's Contribution to Phenomenology of the Body in Ideas II. In Thomas Nenon & Lester Embree (eds.), Issues in Husserl's II (Contributions to Phenomenology). 135--160.
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  9. Elizabeth A. Behnke (2009). Bodily Protentionality. Husserl Studies 25 (3):185-217.
    This investigation explores the methodological implications of choosing an unusual example for phenomenological description (here, a bodily awareness practice allowing spontaneous bodily shifts to occur at the leading edge of the living present); for example, the matters themselves are not pregiven, but must first be brought into view. Only after preliminary clarifications not only of the practice concerned, but also of the very notions of the “body” and of “protentionality” is it possible to provide both static and genetic descriptions of (...)
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  10. Elizabeth A. Behnke (2008). Interkinaesthetic Affectivity: A Phenomenological Approach. [REVIEW] Continental Philosophy Review 41 (2):143-161.
    This Husserlian transcendental-phenomenological investigation of interkinaesthetic affectivity first clarifies the sense of affectivity that is at stake here, then shows how Husserl’s distinctive approach to kinaesthetic experience provides evidential access to the interkinaesthetic field. After describing several structures of interkinaesthetic-affective experience, I indicate how a Husserlian critique of the presupposition that we are “psychophysical” entities might suggest a more inclusive approach to a biosocial plenum that includes all metabolic life.
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  11. Debra B. Bergoffen (1996). From Husserl to de Beauvoir: Gendering the Perceiving Subject. Metaphilosophy 27 (1-2):53-62.
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  12. Rudolf Bernet (2013). The Body as a 'Legitimate Naturalization of Consciousness'. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 72:43-65.
    Husserl's phenomenology of the body constantly faces issues of demarcation: between phenomenology and ontology, soul and spirit, consciousness and brain, conditionality and causality. It also shows that Husserl was eager to cross the borders of transcendental phenomenology when the phenomena under investigation made it necessary. Considering the details of his description of bodily sensations and bodily behaviour from a Merleau-Pontian perspective allows one also to realise how Husserl (unlike Heidegger) fruitfully explores a phenomenological field located between a science of pure (...)
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  13. A. Berthoz (2008). The Physiology and Phenomenology of Action. Oxford University Press.
    Though many philosophers of mind have taken an interest in the great developments in the brain sciences, the interest is seldom reciprocated by scientists, who frequently ignore the contributions philosophers have made to our understanding of the mind and brain. In a rare collaboration, a world famous brain scientist and an eminent philosopher have joined forces in an effort to understand how our brain interacts with the world. Does the brain behave as a calculator, combining sensory data before deciding how (...)
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  14. Daniel Bischur (2011). Animated Bodies in Immunological Practices: Craftsmanship, Embodied Knowledge, Emotions and Attitudes Toward Animals. [REVIEW] Human Studies 34 (4):407-429.
    Taking up the body turn in sociology, this paper discusses scientific practices as embodied action from the perspective of Husserl’s phenomenological theory of the “Body”. Based on ethnographic data on a biology laboratory it will discuss the importance of the scientist’s Body for the performance of scientific activities. Successful researchers have to be skilled workers using their embodied knowledge for the process of tinkering towards the material transformation of their objects for data production. The researcher’s body then is an instrument (...)
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  15. Matt Bower (2014). Developing Open Intersubjectivity: On the Interpersonal Shaping of Experience. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-20.
    The aim of this paper is to motivate the need for and then present the outline of an alternative explanation of what Dan Zahavi has dubbed “open intersubjectivity,” which captures the basic interpersonal character of perceptual experience as such. This is a notion whose roots lay in Husserl’s phenomenology. Accordingly, the paper begins by situating the notion of open intersubjectivity – as well as the broader idea of constituting intersubjectivity to which it belongs – within Husserl’s phenomenology as an approach (...)
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  16. M. J. Cantista & M. M. Martins (2002). Phenomenology: Corporeity and Intersubjectivity in Husserl; the Most Significant Influences of Husserl. Analecta Husserliana 80:532-543.
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  17. Taylor Carman (1999). The Body in Husserl and Merleau-Ponty. Philosophical Topics 27 (2):205-226.
    The terminological boxes into which we press the history of philosophy often obscure deep and important differences among major figures supposedly belonging to a single school of thought. One such disparity within the phenomenological movement, often overlooked but by no means invisible, separates Merleau-Pontys Phenomenology of Perception from the Husserlian program that initially inspired it. For Merleau-Pontys phenomenology amounts to a radical, if discreet, departure not only from Husserls theory of intentionality generally, but more specifically from his account of the (...)
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  18. Monica E. Alarcon Davila (2013). From Hands to the Whole of the Body. Husserl's Double Sensation in Thinking and Experience. Filozofia 68 (5):358-366.
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  19. Roberta De Monticelli (2011). Alles Leben ist Stellungnehmen - Die Person als praktisches Subjekt. In Verena Mayer, Christopher Erhard, Marisa Scherini & Uwe Meixner (eds.), Die Aktualität Husserls. Karl Alber.
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  20. Janet Donahoe (2011). The Place of Home. Environmental Philosophy 8 (1):25-40.
    In this paper, I address the normative power of place, specifically the place of home, on our embodied constitution. I explore the Husserlian notion of homeworld and its counterpoint, alienworld, to address the reasons why place would have a normative power and to what extent that normativity can be drawn into question through encounters with the alienworld. I address this with a focus upon the interconnection between place and body. Finally, I briefly think through theramifications of this priority of the (...)
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  21. Hubert L. Dreyfus (2000). XIV: A Merleau-Pontyian Critique of Husserl's and Searle's Representationalist Accounts of Action. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 100 (3):287–302.
    Husserl and Searle agree that, for a bodily movement to be an action, it must be caused by a propositional representation. Husserl's representation is a mental state whose intentional content is what the agent is trying to do; Searle thinks of the representation as a logical structure expressing the action's conditions of satisfaction. Merleau-Ponty criticises both views by introducing a kind of activity he calls motor intentionality, in which the agent, rather than aiming at success, feels drawn to reduce a (...)
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  22. John J. Drummond (1979). On Seeing a Material Thing in Space: The Role of Kinaesthesis in Visual Perception. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 40 (September):19-32.
  23. Rolf Elberfeld (2000). Ichiro Yamaguchi: Ki AlS Leibhaftige Vernunft. Beitrag Zur Interkulturellen Phänomenologie der Leiblichkeit. [REVIEW] Husserl Studies 17 (1):65-69.
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  24. Lester Embree (2010). Advances Regarding Evaluation and Action in Husserl's Ideas II. In Thomas Nenon & Lester Embree (eds.), Issues in Husserl's II (Contributions to Phenomenology). 173--198.
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  25. Lester Embree (2010). Some Noetico-Noematic Analyses of Action and Practical Life. In J. J. Drummond & Lester Embree (eds.), The Phenomenology of the Noema (Contributions to Phenomenology). Springer.
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  26. Molly Brigid Flynn (2009). The Living Body as the Origin of Culture: What the Shift in Husserl's Notion of “Expression” Tells Us About Cultural Objects. [REVIEW] Husserl Studies 25 (1):57-79.
    Husserl’s philosophy of culture relies upon a person’s body being expressive of the person’s spirit, but Husserl’s analysis of expression in Logical Investigations is inadequate to explain this bodily expressiveness. This paper explains how Husserl’s use of “expression” shifts from LI to Ideas II and argues that this shift is explained by Husserl’s increased understanding of the pervasiveness of sense in subjective life and his increased appreciation for the unity of the person. I show how these two developments allow Husserl (...)
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  27. Dagfinn Follesdal (2013). Husserl und Heidegger über die Rolle des Handelns bei der Konstitution der Welt. In Stefania Centrone (ed.), Versuche über Husserl. Meiner.
  28. Dagfinn Føllesdal (1993). Le rôle de l'action dans la constitution du monde chez Husserl et Heidegger. Philosophiques 20 (2):267-284.
  29. Shaun Gallagher (2011). Embodiment and Phenomenal Qualities: An Enactive Interpretation. Philosophical Topics 39 (1):1-14.
    I argue that an older debate in phenomenology concerning Husserl’s notion of hyletic data can throw some light on contemporary debates about qualia and phenomenal consciousness. Both debates tend to ignore important considerations about bodily experience and how specific kinds of bodily experience can shape one’s consciousness of the world. A revised and fully embodied conception of hyletic experience enriches the concept of enactive perception.
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  30. Shaun Gallagher (1986). Hyletic Experience and the Lived Body. Husserl Studies 3 (2):131-166.
  31. Jason Del Gandio (2012). From Affectivity to Bodily Emanation: An Introduction to the Human Vibe. Phaenex 7 (2):28-58.
    This essay investigates a particular form of “affection” that has been neglected by the phenomenological tradition. This particular phenomenon is often referred to as the vibe, vibrations, or some variation thereof. This essay rearticulates “the vibe” as bodily emanation: human beings emanate feeling that is experienced by and through our bodies. My study of bodily emanation begins with Edmund Husserl’s notion of affectivity and then moves to Eugene T. Gendlin’s notion of the sentient body. This discussion enables my own argument: (...)
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  32. A. Giorgi (1998). Idealism and Corporeity: An Essay on the Problem of the Body in Husserl's Phenomenology by James Dodd. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 29:152-153.
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  33. James G. Hart (2010). Agent Intellect and Primal Sensibility. In Thomas Nenon & Lester Embree (eds.), Issues in Husserl's II (Contributions to Phenomenology).
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  34. Sara Heinämaa (2010). Embodiment and Expressivity in Husserl's Phenomenology: From Logical Investigations to Cartesian Meditations. SATS 11 (1):1-15.
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  35. Edmund Husserl (1999). Material Things in Their Relation to the Aesthetic Body. In Simon Critchley (ed.), The Body: Classic and Contemporary Readings. Blackwell Publishers. 11--23.
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  36. Edmund Husserl (1970). Embodied Consciousness and the Human Spirit. Analecta Husserliana 1:197.
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  37. Albert A. Johnstone (2012). The Deep Bodily Roots of Emotion. Husserl Studies 28 (3):179-200.
    This article explores emotions and their relationship to ‘somatic responses’, i.e., one’s automatic responses to sensations of pain, cold, warmth, sudden intensity. To this end, it undertakes a Husserlian phenomenological analysis of the first-hand experience of eight basic emotions, briefly exploring their essential aspects: their holistic nature, their identifying dynamic transformation of the lived body, their two-layered intentionality, their involuntary initiation and voluntary espousal. The fact that the involuntary tensional shifts initiating emotions are irreplicatable voluntarily, is taken to show that (...)
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  38. Adam Konopka (2012). The Environed Body. Studia Phaenomenologica 12:289-307.
    This article is an attempt to retrieve phenomenological resources for the purposes of identifying and clarifying the lived situation of embodiment in an environing world (Umwelt). Drawn primarily from Husserlian resources, it identifies several essential perceptual features of the operative intentionality of environed embodiment. Through an engagement with Husserl’s analyses of instinctual experience, I identify an essential feature of environed embodiment: the principle of association governing the nexus among objects in an environing world that are animated toward an instrumental resolution (...)
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  39. Gregg Lambert (2008). Decrypting 'the Christian Thinking of the Flesh, Tacitly, the Caress, in a Word, the Christian Body' in le Toucher—Jean-Luc Nancy. Sophia 47 (3):293-310.
    This article responds to the question of the ‘implicit and presupposed theological turn of phenomenology’ by providing a close reading of Jacques Derrida’s Le Toucher—Jean-Luc Nancy (2000 French/2005 English translation), particularly concerning what Derrida alludes to as ‘the Christian thinking of the flesh’ in the French phenomenological tradition post-Husserl. In reading Derrida’s own text, the article identifies and then performs a ‘cryptonomy’ of references to the ‘Christian body,’ and of the ‘return of religion.’ The article also focuses on the more (...)
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  40. C. Lotz (2002). Husserl's Enjoyment-The Connection Between Body, Affect, Feeling and Value. Husserl Studies 18 (1):19-39.
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  41. Christian Lotz (2007). Cognitivism and Practical Intentionality: A Critique of Dreyfus's Critique of Husserl. International Philosophical Quarterly 47 (2):153-166.
    Hubert L. Dreyfus has worked out a critique of what he calls “representationalism” and “cognitivism,” one proponent of which, according to Dreyfus, is Husserl. But I think that Dreyfus misunderstands the Husserlian conception of practical intentionality and that his characterization of Husserl as a “representationalist” or as a “cognitivist” is thereby wrongheaded. In this paper I examine Dreyfus’s interpretation by offering a Husserlian critique of Dreyfus’s objections to Husserl, and then by outlining Husserl’s account of practical intentionality and the practical (...)
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  42. Christian Lotz (2007). From Affectivity to Subjectivity: Husserl's Phenomenology Revisited. Palgrave Macmillan.
    Christian Lotz shows in this book that Husserl's Phenomenology and its key concept--subjectivity--is based on a concrete anthropological structure, such as self-affection and the bodily experience of the other. The analysis of the sensual sphere and the lived Body forces Husserl to an ongoing correction of his strong methodological assumptions. Subjectivity turns out to be an ambivalent phenomenon, as the subject is unable to fully present itself to itself, and therefore is forced to allow for a fundamental non-transparency in itself.
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  43. Filip Mattens (2009). Perception, Body, and the Sense of Touch: Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind. [REVIEW] Husserl Studies 25 (2):97-120.
    In recent philosophy of mind, a series of challenging ideas have appeared about the relation between the body and the sense of touch. In certain respects, these ideas have a striking affinity with Husserl’s theory of the constitution of the body. Nevertheless, these two approaches lead to very different understandings of the role of the body in perception. Either the body is characterized as a perceptual “organ,” or the body is said to function as a “template.” Despite its focus on (...)
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  44. Filip Mattens (2008). Body or Eye. New Yearbook for Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy 8:93-125.
  45. U. Melle (1992). Husserls Phänomenologie Des Willens. Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 54 (2):280 - 305.
    This article presents some of the main topics in Husserl's descriptive analyses of volitional consciousness which Husserl worked out in research manuscripts between 1910 and 1914. Husserl was well acquainted with the psychologies of will of W. James and Chr. von Ehrenfels. But in opposition to James and von Ehrenfels, Husserl defended a strictly nonreductionist conception of willing. According to Husserl, the acts of willing are necessarily founded on intellectual and emotional acts but they can never be reduced to these (...)
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  46. James Mensch (2003). Postfoundational Phenomenology: Husserlian Reflections on Presence and Embodiment. Pennsylvania State University Press.
    A study of Edmund Husserl's philosophy as a non-foundational approach to understanding the self as an embodied presence.
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  47. James Richard Mensch, Husserlian Reflections On Embodiment.
    To say we are present to ourselves through our bodies is to express something so obvious that most people hardly give it a thought. Philosophers, however, came late to this recognition. The idea that our embodiment shapes our apprehensions seemed to Descartes to designate a problem rather than a topic of study. His effort was to overcome embodiment, that is, to reach a realm where the unencumbered mind could confront the world. The same prejudice informed the modern tradition he founded. (...)
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  48. Dieter Misgeld (1980). Ultimate Self-Responsibility, Practical Reasoning, and Practical Action: Habermas, Husserl, and Ethnomethodology on Discourse and Action. [REVIEW] Human Studies 3 (1):255 - 278.
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  49. Soren Overgaard (2003). The Importance of Bodily Movement to Husserl's Theory of "Fremderfahrung. Recherches Husserliennes 19:55-66.
  50. Henning Peucker (2012). 2 Husserl's Approaches to Volitional Consciousness. In Christel Fricke & Dagfinn Føllesdal (eds.), Intersubjectivity and Objectivity in Adam Smith and Edmund Husserl. Ontos Verlag. 8--45.
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