Husserl’s 1901 and 1913 Philosophies of Perceptual Occlusion: Signitive, Empty, and Dark Intentions

Husserl Studies 36 (2):123-139 (2020)
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This paper examines the evolution of Edmund Husserl’s theory of perceptual occlusion. This task is accomplished in two stages. First, I elucidate Husserl’s conclusion, from his 1901 Logical Investigations, that the occluded parts of perceptual objects are intended by partial signitive acts. I focus on two doctrines of that account. I examine Husserl’s insight that signitive intentions are composed of Gehalt and I discuss his conclusion that signitive intentions sit on the continuum of fullness. Second, the paper discloses how Husserl transforms his 1901 philosophy in his 1913 revisions to the Sixth Logical Investigation, affirming that the occluded parts of perceptual objects are intended by empty contiguity acts. I demonstrate how he overturns the two core doctrines of his theory from the Investigations in these revisions, claiming that empty intentions are not composed of Gehalt and asserting that those acts break with the continuum of fullness. Husserl implements these changes to solve problems that arise from his recognition of two new kinds of intentions; darker and completely dark acts. Finally, in the conclusion, I cash out this analysis, by indicating that, in 1913, Husserl transforms his theory of fulfillment on the basis of his new insights about empty acts.

Author's Profile

Thomas Byrne
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


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