Husserl’s Lengthening Shadow: A Historical Introduction

  • David Carr
Part of the Phaenomenologica book series (PHAE, volume 106)


In the 1950’s Maurice Merleau-Ponty wrote an essay called ‘Le philosophe et son ombre’.1 It was devoted to Husserl, and the title was well chosen for paying homage to a philosopher who so often spoke of the Abschattungen (shadings, profiles) through which perceived things present themselves to us. Shadows, of course, have a long and noble metaphorical history in philosophy; one might be put in mind of Plato’s shadows which, unreal though they are, resemble and can lead us to the real entities which cast them. Merleau-Ponty had something else in mind, however: he linked the shadows cast by objects to the spaces between objects, and both in turn to what Heidegger called das Ungedachte in a thinker’s work. Shadows, spaces, reflections, like the silences and pauses in and around segments of discourse, are not themselves objects or sentences. But they are openings and occasions for perceptions and thoughts which would not have been possible without them.


Objective World Frankfurt School Ordinary Experience European Philosophy Mere Appearance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 2.
    Edmund Husserl, Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and to a Phenomenological Philosophy. First Book. Trans. F. Kersten. (The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1983 ) p. 6.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Edmund Husserl, Cartesian Meditations, trans. Dorian Garnis (The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1960 ) p. 61.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    J.P. Sartre, Being and Nothingness, trans. H. Barnes ( New York: Philosophical Library, 1956 ) p. 31.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    John R. Searle, Intentionality ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983 ) pp. 142–44.Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The Phenomenology of Perception, trans. Colin smith (New York: Humanities Press, 1962), p. xix.Google Scholar
  6. 9.
    Jürgen Habermas, The Theory of Communicative Action, trans. T. McCarthy ( Boston: Beacon Press, 1984 ).Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    Edmund Husserl, The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology, trans. D. Carr ( Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1970 ) pp. 125–6.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Dordrecht 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Carr
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of OttawaCanada

Personalised recommendations