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Husserl and language

Peer F. Bundgaard

pp. 368-399

From a purely quantitative point of view, Edmund Husserl has devoted a rather small amount of time and space to the study of language proper. Essentially, his contributions within this domain amount to the description of language use in the First Logical Investigation (Husserl 1901), and the determination of the essential properties of language as such (independent of any specific use) in the Fourth Logical Investigation. Otherwise, language is only sparsely dealt with in Husserl's writings: the unpublished note "On the Logic of Signs (Semiotics)" (Husserl 1890) anticipates the distinction between "expression" and "index" which constitutes the starting point of the First Logical Investigation; i.e. the difference between a linguistic or any other sign bestowed with intentional meaning and any type of sign which is immediately or physically linked to its meaning: smoke → fire; scar → wound; weathercock → wind, etc.); Formal and Transcendental Logic (Husserl 1929) contains an appendix related to the theory of syntax outlined in the Fourth Logical Investigation; and, finally, a number of passages from Experience and Judgment (Husserl 1939) reexamine the relation between perceptually formed or antepredicatively structured meaning and its linguistic, predicative articulation (as we shall see this issue is also in the heart of the discussions unfolded in the Fourth Logical Investigation).

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-90-481-2646-0_21

Full citation:

Bundgaard, P. F. (2010)., Husserl and language, in S. Gallagher & D. Schmicking (eds.), Handbook of phenomenology and cognitive science, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 368-399.

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