The Puzzling Case of Alterity in Husserl’s Logical Investigations

  • Bertrand Bouckaert
Part of the Phaenomenologica book series (PHAE, volume 164)


The following paper deals with the question of alterity or intersubjectivity1 in Husserl’s Logical Investigations.2 The research is broken down into five main parts. First I will examine the present scholarly consensus to focus the study of Husserl’s intersubjectivity on his writings done at Freiburg from 1917 until 1938, and not on those from Göttingen (1901–1916) or Halle (1887–1901). Then the reasons which seem to be at the origin of this present consensus will be critically examined. This will lead to the search for a kind of “intersubjective structure” in the Logical Investigations themselves. It will be shown that in this text, as in Cartesian Meditations, that such an “intersubjective structure” is present; however, from one text to the other this structure is—so to speak—“reversed”. Finally, I will try to formulate some hypotheses to explain this development.


Logical Investigation Phenomenological Reduction Ideal Meaning Linguistic Communication Cartesian Meditation 
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  1. 1.
    Cf. B.Bouckaert, “Geistiger Verkehr et fOr wen immer Geltung: figures de l’intersubjectivité dans les Recherches Logiques de Edmund Husserl,” in Etudes phénoménologiques 25, 1997, 77–104. In this article, I was not yet aware of the ambiguity in the concept of intersubjectivity.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Husserl’s works are cited according to the Husserliana: Edmund Husserl Gesammelte Werke (abbreviated as Hua). When an English-language edition of the cited text is available, this reference is given first, followed by the original reference, cited in brackets. I use Findlay’s translation of Husserl’s Logical Investigations,London: 1970; other translations are my own.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Husserl’s Cartesian Meditations,written in 1929, were first published in French, the translation having been attributed to G. Peiffer and E. Levinas, even though A. Koyré also contributed to a large extent. This translation was published by Armand Colin in Paris in 1931.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    It is interesting to note that Husserl also made reference in his notes to his 1910 lectures titled Grundprobleme der Phänomenologie and that he addresses the question here in a radically different way than how he does in Cartesian Meditations.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cf. E. Fink’s introduction to: E. Husserl, “Entwurf einer `Vorrede’ zu den `Logischen Untersuchungen’.” Tijdschrift voor Filosofe 1, 1939, 106–109. (English translation by Ph. J. Bossert and C. Peters, The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1975 ).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cf. E. Fink’s discussion of A. Schütz’s paper, “Le probléme de l’intersubjectivité transcendantale chez Husserl”Philosophie 3, 1959, 373. And: E. Fink, “Die Spatphilosophie Husserls in freiburger Zeit,” in Nähe und Distanz. Phänomenologische Vorträge und Aufsätze, Freiburg/München: Alber, 1976, 221–222.Google Scholar
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    Cf. “Intersubjektivität.” In Enzyklopädie Philosophie und Wissenschaftstheorie 2, ed. J. Mittelstrass, Mannheim/Wien/Zürich: B.1. Wissenschaftsverlag, 1984.Google Scholar
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    Our reference source here is chiefly the Historische Wörterbuch der Philosophie,Band 4, 1-K, eds J. Ritter and K. Gründer, Basel/Stuttgart: Swabe and C° Verlag, 1976.Google Scholar
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    Cf J.R. Mensch, Intersubjectivity and Transcendental Idealism, New York: SUNY Press, 1988.Google Scholar
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    Cf. J. St. Mill, Logic, Book H, chap VII, § 5. Cited by HUSSERL in LI, 111 (Hua XVIII, 79 ).Google Scholar
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    Cf. I. Kern, “Einleitungen des Herausgebers,” in Hua XIII-XIV-XV; N. DEPRAZ, “Les figures de l’intersubjectivité. Etude des Husserliana XIII-XIV-XV Zur Intersubjektivität.” Archives de philosophic 55, 1992, 479–498; J.-L. Petit, Solipsisme et intersubjectivité. Quinze leçons sur Husserl et Wittgenstein, Paris: Cerf, 1996.Google Scholar
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    We are definitely talking of the suprasubjective and not of the intersubjective. See, for example, R. Mcintyre and D.W. Smith, “Husserl’s Identification of Meaning and Noema.” The Monist 59, 1975, 118; J.N. Mohanty, “Husserl’s Thesis of the Ideality of Meanings,” in Readings on Edmund Husserl ‘s Logical Investigations,Den Haag: Martinus Nijhoff, 1977, 77; D. Zahavi, Intentionalität und Konstitution. Eine Einführung in Husserls Logische Untersuchungen,Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 1992, 71; R. Bernet, “Bedeutung und intentionales Bewusstsein. Husserls Begriff des Bedeutungsphänomen” Phänomenologische Forschungen 8, 1979, 34; J. J. Drummond, Husserlian Intentionality and Non-Foundational Realism. Noema and Object,Dordrecht/London/Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1990, 36, etc.Google Scholar
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    The major difference between the theory of ideality developed in Logical Investigations and that developed in later texts such as Formal and Transcendental Logic consists chiefly in that Husserl, during his time in Halle, believed that idealities become particularised in experiences like species, whereas later texts describe a noematic constitution of these idealities. This difference is important for our problem, but we cannot develop it more deeply here. Cf. Th. De Boer, The Development of Husserl ‘s Thought,Den Haag: Martinus Nijhoff, 1978, 252–255 and 443–445Google Scholar
  17. R. Sokolowski, Husserlian Meditations, Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1974, 113Google Scholar
  18. J.N. Mohanty, “Husserl’s Thesis of the Ideality of Meaning” in Readings on Edmund Husserl’s Logical Investigations, Den Haag: Martinus Nijhoff, 1977, 77–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. R. Bernet, “Bedeutung und intentionales Bewusstsein. Husserls Begriff des Bedeutungsphänomens.” Phänomenologische Forschungen 8, 1979, 31–64Google Scholar
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  • Bertrand Bouckaert

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