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Phenomenology 2010

Volume 2, 2010

Selected Essays from Latin America

Natalia Petrillo
Pages 160-183

Expresión lingüística y expresión corporal
Linguistic Expression and Corporal Expression

In the Logical Investigations, Husserl demonstrates the need to distinguish between the meaning of a linguistic expression and its relationship to an extralinguistic object in reality. Husserl distinguishes two kinds of signs: the “indicative sign” (Anzeichen) and the “expressive sign”, which he also calls “expression” (Ausdruck). He draws the distinction with the claim that an indicative sign “indicates” something but does not express a “meaning” (Bedeutung). In other words, he disentangles the expression, as the sign which expresses a meaning, from its usual entanglement with the indicative sign. In the First Investigation of the Logical Investigations, Husserl dwells on intersubjective discourse only long enough to isolate the expressive sign and attempts to capture the way contents and acts become thematic in communication by contrasting the expressive and the indicative function of the signs. In order to study the logical meaning of a sign, Husserl excludes as irrelevant the indicative sign and devotes his analysis to the logical expressions. The article first clarifies the basic concepts of Husserl’s theory of meaning. To appreciate his observations, we might recall how the process of communication comes up in Husserl (I). Furthermore, an attempt is made in this paper to show that meaning is not restricted to linguistic expressions (II). Since communication is contaminated by indications, it can no longer be totally expressive. As a consequence, it is only when communication is suspended that pure expressivity is regained. In order to restore pure expression, the relation with the other has to be suspended. This means that the process of expression does not owe anything to the empirical world, including the empirically spoken world. It also means that the solitary subject does not need indications in order to have a relation with itself. The reason is the immediate presence of conscious life to itself. According to this, there arises the problem of whether the corporal movements are expressions, too. In response to this difficulty, I will take up Husserl’s considerations of the constitution of intersubjectivity through corporal movements. The main purpose of this article consists in showing a possible way to answer this question. The conclusion summarizes the main points and recalls that there is also another kind of expressions that Husserl did not consider in the Logical Investigations.

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