Husserl on Significance at the Core of Meaning

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I reconstruct the notion of significance [Sinnhaftigkeit] in the later Husserl, with attention to his conceptions of judgment and transcendental logic. My analysis is motivated by the idea that an account of significance can help to connect analytic, Anglo-American conceptions of meaning as a precise, law-governed phenomenon investigated via linguistic analysis and Continental European conceptions of meaning in a broader “existential” sense. I argue that Husserl’s later work points to a transcendental-logical conception of a founding level of significance [Sinnhaftigkeit] prior to language, and that this conception meets characteristically analytic demands for precision and governance by logical constraints. At the same time, since it is based in descriptions of perceptual intentionality at the level of essential possibility, it leaves room for an account of meaning as a partially undetermined phenomenon of lived experience, and not just of our language and concepts, and thereby meets the characteristically Continental demand to take at face value meaning’s vagueness and indeterminacy in everyday human life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-250
Number of pages24
JournalHusserl Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy


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