International Studies in Phenomenology and Philosophy

Series | Book | Chapter


Conversation with Husserl and Fink, 5/1/32

Dorion Cairns

pp. 63-64


Speaking on the general theme of universal voluntarism which he had opened on 28/12/31, Husserl observed that each act as we come upon it is a doing (Handel) which presupposes a situation which itself results from previous acts, previous doings. This would seem to lead us to an endless regress, but in fact it leads to the necessary construction of situations wherein there is an activity, a doing, which did not presuppose previous doings. Such situations are those wherein the ego, let us say in early infancy, is confronted with the self-constituting hyletic flux, but has not yet actively constituted objects, has not yet constituted any of the objective strata which are presupposed for the constitution of objects. The child has, over and against the hyletic flux, a more or less organized kinaesthetic flux which evinces correlations with the kinaesthetic* flux. Though originally uncontrolled, the kinaesthesia is essentially a subjective, volitional matter. What Husserl means by kinaesthesia is not the bodily sensations accompanying movement or muscular tension, or the inner sensations, but rather something volitional or quasi-volitional that remains when one abstracts from such sensations. This had not been clear to me before, as my reports of previous conversations on this subject probably show. The infant, like the adult, is impelled to evoke actively those kinaesthetic sequences which show themselves to bring about the endurance or recurrence of something valued, in the first instance something pleasant. Yet not a pleasant "object" in the full sense — such objects are not yet constituted — but a pleasant feeling. The whole psychic life is determined by a tendency to evoke or constitute the enduring, the self-identical, the recurrent.

Publication details

Published in:

Cairns Dorion (1976). Conversations with Husserl and Fink, Nijhoff, Den Haag.

Pages: 63-64

DOI: 10.1007/978-94-015-6890-6_42

Full citation:

Cairns Dorion (1976). Conversation with Husserl and Fink, 5/1/32, in Conversations with Husserl and Fink, Den Haag, Nijhoff, pp. 63-64.