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Gurwitsch, Aaron


GURWITSCH, AARON (1901–1973), U.S. philosopher and psychologist. Born in Vilna, he lectured at the Sorbonne from 1933. In 1940 he went to the U.S., where he taught at Brandeis University, Johns Hopkins University, and the New School for Social Research in New York. Gurwitsch was distinguished for his special philosophical approach to the problems of psychology. He sought to show the mutual relations which exist between the psychological image pattern, conceived in consciousness as an entity, and the conscious content which consciousness aims at when it knows or remembers it as conceived. He distinguished between the pattern and the content at which consciousness is aimed. This latter conception he called, after Husserl, "noema." The unity of the pattern and the noema are for Gurwitsch a "theme" (thema). The conscious horizon which surrounds the theme and which is liable to influence the shaping of its form in consciousness at every moment is called by him "the theoretical field." He tried to find phenomenological interpretations of other psychological theories such as those of W. James, J. Piaget, and Kurt *Goldstein. His writings include: "On the Intentionality of Consciousness," in Philosophical Essays in Memory of E. Husserl (1940), 65–83; Théorie du champ de la conscience (1957; Field of Consciousness, 1964); "Phenomenological and Psychological Approach to Consciousness," in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 15 (1955), 303–19; "Der Begriff des Bewusstseins bei Kant und Husserl," in: Kantstudien, 55 (1964), 410–27.


H. Spiegelberg: The Phenomenological Movement, 2 (1960), 630.

[Aaron Gruenhut]

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