To Look at the Structures of Sinnbildung: Intentionality and Constitution

To Look at the Structures of Sinnbildung: Intentionality and Constitution

Husserlian phenomenology renders the possibility to take a close look at the different stages and structures of ‘Sinnbildung.’

The key term of intentionality allows a systematic differentiation between act and content and more elaborated, between noesis and noema.

– On the one hand, the investigation of ‘noesis’ is an investigation of the intentional ‘Erlebnis’ (e.g. the Erlebnis of ‘judging’ in judgement: das Urteilen im Urteil) that looks at it like an object and thus makes those accomplishments visible which produce meaning.

– On the other hand, the intentional ‘Erlebnis’ is consciousness of something: this noematic correlate now contains all the layers of meaning in the aspect of the given (the Perceived, the Judged, the Intended…) as such.

This twofold analysis developed by Husserl grasps the eidetic structure and essence of consciousness as Bewusstsein von… and makes its apriori of correlation (Korrelationsapriori) clear.

The insight that all reality is through Sinngebung within this correlation leads to the transcendental turn in Husserl’s philosophy.

However, the activity of the transcendental ego is not necessarily an all over sovereign that is the only ‘competent authority’ of the building up of meaning.

Especially Husserl’s style of investigation and devotion to the phenomena (Zu den Sachen selbst!) has led him to diverse explications in the complicated structures of Sinnbildung – I will only mention a few aspects and exemplary approaches:

Husserl’s concept of passivity as well as the aligned modalities of sedimentation and habitualisation show, how meaning is produced, stored, modified and reproduced without the direct participation of an ego.

At the same time, the core analysis of time that touches the deepest layers of consciousness possible, fleshes out the thesis that this ego is not a mere construction but a living ‘nunc stans’.

Furthermore, the analysis of the body leads to the recognition of a passive intentional drive (Triebintentionalität) in kinaesthesis; it engages phenomena like severe pain that turn around the structures of normal experience and make a subject visible that is constituted by its openness.

All these differenciated approaches that include so many aspects, will make Husserlian phenomenology indispensable also in the future.

Its enormous potential lies in highlighting the multiple dimensions and modalities of Sinnbildung – even if Husserl himself emphasizes sovereign achievement of experience.

This has to do with his preference for the capacity of self-preservation of the subject and a certain tendency to harmonize experience.

—————————-ΟΡΙΟ: where Sinnbildung turns into Sinnereignis———————-
But what is the case for Husserl is not necessarily the case for Husserlian phenomenology: there are numerous developments and radicalisations of themes and indices that were raised by Husserl himself – this is why working with Husserl still starts from a very fruitful ground, where many issues are still in question. It is important that with Husserl it is possible to come to an edge of experience where some philosophers have chosen to speak of counter-intentionality instead of intentionality, where Sinnbildung turns into Sinnereignis and where the sovereignty of constitution is deeply in question.
But at the same time, subjectivity is never out of sight or out of question but appears as the indispensable core of self-affection and self-awareness that ensures the possibility to have experiences at all.

Given this possibility of a balanced analysis, it is possible to talk about the generation of meaning in terms of intentionality, motivation and acts of a transcendental ego, without ignoring the impact of the body, of intersubjectivity or of the mundane structures of the social and historical world. Husserl’s phenomenology thus is a transcendental philosophy that engages the fundamental structures of sensuality and acknowledges their right and role in the process of Sinnbildung.


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