Northern European Journal of Philosophy
Editor-in-Chief: Addis, Mark / Hämäläinen, Nora / Pedersen, Esther Oluffa / Westphal, Kenneth R.
Ed. by Haraldsson, Robert H. / Letteval, Rebecka / Serck-Hanssen, Camilla / Timmermann, Jens / Verbeek, Peter-Paul / Wallgren, Thomas / Westerkamp, Dirk
Editorial Board: Sondergaard Christensen, Anne-Marie / Gimmler, Antje / Granberg, Anne / Gundersen, Lars Bo / Gustafsson, Martin / Heinämaa, Sara / Hutto, Daniel / Janvid, Mikael / Kappel, Klemens / Laitinen, Arto / Linnebo, Oystein / Nilsson, Jonas / Riis, Sören / Rödl, Sebastian / Thorgeirsdottir, Sigridur / Tuinen, Sjoerd / Wienand, Isabelle / Ylikoski, Petri / Zahavi, Dan
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Embodiment and Expressivity in Husserl's Phenomenology: From Logical Investigations to Cartesian Meditations
The aim of this paper is to investigate, if there is a principal disagreement between Husserl's early concept of expression and his later discussions on gestures. In the early work Logical Investigations (1900–1901), Husserl quite bluntly excludes gestures from the category of meaningful expressions; thirty years later (1928), in the second volume of Ideas, he argues to the contrary that gestures are meaningful and expressive in the very same way as linguistic units, words and sentences. The question of this paper is: What happened in Husserl's thinking in the two decades between Investigations and the last versions of Ideas II? I argue that the disagreement between Husserl's early statement and his later discussion on gestural expressions is due to a refinement in his account of embodiment. I claim that Husserl did not abandon his concept of expression, but dismissed his early analysis of embodiment as simplistic and as motivated by a certain preconception about the relationship between nature and spirit. This change became possible for him as he developed conceptual and methodic tools for distinguishing between different meanings of the body: the physical thing or the mere material body, the perceived body, and the sensuous body. The difference between the body as a physical thing and the body as a sensuous-spiritual unit proves to be crucial to the understanding of gestural expressions.
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