From Phenomenology to Metaphysics
Chapter 2: The Constitution of the Body
The Constitution of the Body
In On the Problem of Empathy Stein presents a phenomenology of the body which forms part of a constitutional analysis of the psycho-physical individual. To approach it, we shall start by situating her work in relation to that of Husserl and other phenomenologists of the time (1). Then we shall characterise the nature of inter-subjective constitution according to her later Philosophy of Psychology and the Humanities, since the body is also inter-subjectively constituted (2). Finally we turn to the analysis of the body as it is found in her doctoral dissertation (3).
Stein’s place in the phenomenological movement
Stein became Husserl’s assistant following the death of Adolph Reinach during the First World War. In that capacity she was editor of Ideas II and III. But before that she had already attempted to underpin Husserl’s understanding that empathy was foundational for inter-subjectivity by writing her doctoral dissertation on the topic. On the Problem of Empathy (1917) originally comprised a hermeneutic analysis (now lost) of various occurrences of the theme in authors influencing the early stirrings of phenomenology such as Theodor Lipps, Max Scheler and Wilhelm Dilthey. This led up to an eidetic analysis of the essence of empathy (which is now the first chapter) and two constitutional analyses pertaining to what empathy contributes to the constitution of: the psycho-physical individual (Chapter Three) and the person (Chapter Four). In these analyses Stein follows what she understands to...
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