Husserl's concept of Urstiftung
from passivity to history
The aim of this chapter is to examine Husserl's concept of "Urstiftung.' Not only will I analyze the development of this concept in different contexts, ranging from the most basic fields of passive constitution up to the philosophy of history, but I will also highlight its connection to other concepts directly related to it, such as "Nachstiftung,' "Neustiftung,' "Endstiftung,' etc. First, I present some historical and etymological considerations regarding the German concepts of "Stiftung' and "stiften.' Second, I trace the first references to the concept back to the analyses of perception and the I as correlate. Third, I examine the multiple genetic analyses of passivity. Fourth, I address the constitution of the "I', with special attention paid to the ethical "I'. Finally, I analyze the problem of history and the crisis of European rationality and mankind. I argue, in particular, that the meaning of the concept of Urstiftung is rooted in the legal notion of Stiftung, which implies the idea of an active and legal institution of sense based on certain motivations which pursue a specific aim established at the very moment of this institution. I will conclude with the idea that despite its (passive) motivations, the Urstiftung implies an active commitment that constantly has to be renewed through Nachstiftungen, and in this way one can see both its teleological guiding force as well as the inner fragility embedded in every institution of sense.
Niel, L. (2017)., Husserl's concept of Urstiftung: from passivity to history, in R. Walton, S. Taguchi & R. Rubio (eds.), Perception, affectivity, and volition in Husserl's phenomenology, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 137-161.
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