The Freiburg Encounter: Aron Gurwitsch and Edmund Husserl on Transformations of Consciousness

  • Daniel Marcelle
Part of the Contributions To Phenomenology book series (CTPH, volume 100)


The “Freiburg Encounter” begins with a short history painting the picture of Aron Gurwitsch’s factual encounters during the time of his doctoral studies in 1920s Germany. These encounters included exposure to Gestalt theory as well as Husserlian phenomenology, both of which would make a major impact on him. The point is to show how such encounters can shape the thought of an individual who can then go on to shape regional movements. The bulk of the essay concentrates on Gurwitsch’s encounter with Edmund Husserl, the development of his field theory of consciousness, and the manner in which such can be understood as an advancement of Husserlian phenomenology through modifications of consciousness in particular. Close attention is paid to Husserl’s texts available to Gurwitsch at the time and the ways in which Husserl had anticipated such a theory. These approaches are closely compared and it is ultimately shown how Gurwitsch’s critique of the searchlight theory of attention marks his field theory as a genuine advancement. The essay finishes with Gurwitsch emigrating to the United States, describing the encounters he has there, and outlining his tremendous impact on North American phenomenology.


Aron Gurwitsch Gestalt Attention Modifications Field theory Consciousness 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Marcelle
    • 1
  1. 1.Herzing UniversityMinneapolisUSA

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