Centrum för kognitiv semiotik (CCS)

Humanistiska och teologiska fakulteterna | Lunds universitet

The objectification of space

Space is as fundamental experientially as it is polysemous and complex conceptually. It is fundamental in that all concrete experience seems to involve a spatial dimension. At the same time, spatial schemata and differentiations are intrinsic to the construction of a vast plethora of conceptual frameworks through which human subjects make sense of the world in a more general and abstract manner (Woelert 2011).

This double aspect is reflected in phenomenological treatment of spatial phenomena. On the one hand, space can be approached as a lived space, where the constitution of space is analyzed as a perceptual phenomenon given through and mediated by the configuration and capacities of the (lived) body (Husserl 1989, 1997). In this sense, space is anchored in the body as an “organ of perception”. Second, space can be seen as a historical and generative phenomenon, with particular emphasis on the constitution of the sort of idealized space that can be found in, for instance, geometry and mathematics (see Husserl 1970).

In this talk, I explore the relation between embodied and idealized forms of space, including some of their constitutive links and possible generative stages in-between them.


Husserl, E. (1970). Origin of Geometry. (Trans. D. Carr). In The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental phenomenology. An Introduction to Phenomenological Philosophy. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.

Husserl, E. (1989). Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and to a Phenomenological Philosophy - Second Book: Studies in the Phenomenology of Constitution. (Trans. R. Rojcewicz & A. Schuwer). Dordrecht: Kluwer.

Husserl, E. (1997). Thing and Space: Lectures of 1907. (Trans. R. Rojcewicz.). Dordrecht: Kluwer.

Woelert, P. (2011). Human cognition, space, and the sedimentation of meaning. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 10 (1): 113-137.