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Phenomenology 2010

Volume 5, Issue Part 1, 2010

Selected Essays from North America Part 1

Elizabeth Behnke
Pages 19-69

The “Remarkably Incompletely Constituted” Body in Light of a Methodological Understanding of Constitution
An Experiment in Phenomenological Practice (I)

Merleau-Ponty’s appropriation of Husserl’s reference to the lived body as a “remarkably incompletely constituted thing” transforms the sense of the phrase. My aim is to recover Husserl’s original sense by turning not only to his writings, but to the relevant experiential evidence. I show that any attempt to account for the constitution of the body as a thing necessarily presupposes a body that is constituting rather than constituted, then suggest how “constitution” can be understood methodologically rather than metaphysically, concluding with some reflections on how descriptions produced through Husserlian phenomenological practice both sustain and outrun specific positions in phenomenological philosophy.