Continental Philosophy > Phenomenology > Edmund Husserl > Husserl: Philosophy of Mind > Husserl: Intersubjectivity
Edited by Kristjan Laasik (Shandong University)
|Summary||The topic of intersubjectivity, or other-awareness, is interesting in several respects: we want to know what it takes to experience the other as the other, and how the experience of the other may be needed for the development of self-awareness and to experience the objective world. For Husserl, a kind of proto-alterity is arguably there even at the level of pre-egological flow of time-consciousness, before I and the other have emerged as individual persons, accounting for the possibility of such higher forms of intersubjective experience. My experience of the other as a subject, rather than a mere object, is based on the empathy that I feel for the other, as part of experiencing of the other in terms of his/her embodiment. The experience of the other is, in turn, instrumental in shaping aspects of my self-awareness, as I begin to experience myself as an other for an other. This account of my experience of another person, is also applicable to “encounters” between different cultures, and to intercultural understanding. The constitution of material things also involves intersubjectivity: the thing that I see is necessarily experienced as being such that it would look a certain way to other perceivers.|
|Key works||Contrary to the traditional reading of Husserl’s Fifth Cartesian Meditation, Carr 1973 argues that Husserl addresses the problem of how, not whether, the Other exists for the subject. Rather than positing the alter ego “outside” one’s experience, Husserl brings the alter ego into the sphere of one’s necessarily intersubjective experience of objects in the world. Gurwitsch 1979 argues that, pace Husserl, the Other does not need to be accessed by analogical reasoning based on bodily presence, but can be experienced as part of a shared meaningful context. Hutcheson 1979 reasons that the Husserlian project does not allow for a distinction between a solipsistic and an intersubjective phenomenology. The idea of an “other transcendental rational subject” is always presupposed, and there cannot be a solipsistic level or stage. Hutcheson 1982 asks, “Is Husserl’s fifth meditation an acceptable prelude to his analysis of phenomenology itself?” and answers this question in the negative, criticizing Husserl’s arguments. According to Mensch 1988, Husserl is able to make sense of the independent existence of one’s fellow subjects, viz., by appealing to a “primal subjectivity”, conceived as pre-individual ground, “neither one nor many”, of the relations between the individual and other subjects. Römpp 1991 offers detailed discussions of Husserl’s views of intersubjectivity, and develops a conception of transcendental idealist philosophy, on the basis of the Husserlian conception of intersubjectivity. Thompson 2001 accepts key aspects of Husserl’s account of intersubjectivity, while arguing that empathy is in various respects an important topic for an interdisciplinary study of consciousness. Responding to a “linguistic-pragmatic critique”, according to which Husserl’s phenomenology is unacceptably solipsistic, Zahavi 2001 defends the idea of a phenomenology of intersubjectivity. Abiding by the methodological constraints of Husserlian phenomenology, Chelstrom 2012 contends that there is reason to accept the ideas of collective intentionality and the plural subject.|
|Introductions||Mensch 1988, Ch. 1, Moran 2005, Ch. 7, Smith 2006, Ch. 5, or Zahavi 2003, Ch. 3|
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