International Studies in Phenomenology and Philosophy

Book | Chapter


Constitutional problems

truth and actuality

Edmund Husserl(Humboldt University of Berlin)

pp. 56-64


Phenomenological constitution has been for us, up to now, constitution of any intentional object whatever. It has embraced the full breadth of the topic, cogito — cogitatum. We shall now proceed to differentiate this breadth structurally, and to prepare for a more pregnant concept of constitution. It has not mattered up to now, whether the objects in question were truly existent or non-existent, or whether they were possible or impossible. These differences are not perchance excluded from the field of inquiry by abstaining from decision about the being or non-being of the world (and, consequently, of other already-given objectivities). On the contrary, under the broadly understood titles, reason and unreason, as correlative titles for being and non-being, they are an all-embracing theme for phenomenology. By epoché we effect a reduction to our pure meaning (cogito) and to the meant, purely as meant. The predicates being and non-being, and their modal variants, relate to the latter — accordingly, not to objects simpliciter but to the objective sense./ The predicates truth (correctness) and falsity, albeit in a most extremely broad sense, relate to the former, to the particular meaning or intending. These predicates are not given ipso facto as phenomenological data, when the subjective meaning processes, or correlatively the meant objects as meant, are given; yet they have their "phenomenological origin". As we have said, the multiplicities of modes of consciousness that belong together synthetically and pertain to any meant object, of no matter what category, can be explored as to their phenomenological types. Among such multiplicities are included those syntheses that, with regard to the initial intending, have the typical style of verifying and, in particular, evidently verifying syntheses — or else, on the contrary, that of nullifying and evidently nullifying syntheses. When such a synthesis takes place, the meant object has, correlatively, the evident characteristic existing, or else the evident characteristic non-existing (the characteristic of annulled, of "cancelled" being). These synthetic occurences are intentionalities of a higher level, which, as acts and correlates of "reason", essentially producible by the transcendental ego, pertain (in exclusive disjunction) to all objective senses. Reason is not an accidental de facto ability, not a title for possible accidental matters of fact, but rather a title for an all-embracing essentially necessary structural form belonging to all transcendental subjectivity.

Publication details

Published in:

Husserl Edmund (1960). Cartesian meditations: An introduction to phenomenology, transl. D. Cairns, Nijhoff, Den Haag.

Pages: 56-64

DOI: 10.1007/978-94-017-4952-7_4

Full citation:

Husserl Edmund (1960). Constitutional problems: truth and actuality, in Cartesian meditations, Den Haag, Nijhoff, pp. 56-64.