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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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Husserl: Other-Awareness
  1. Lilian Alweiss (2010). Against Cartesian Mistrust: Cavell, Husserl and the Other Mind Sceptic. Ratio 23 (3):241-259.
    This paper asks whether we should still be haunted by scepticism about other minds. It draws on the writings of Cavell and Husserl to show that there is some truth in the Cartesian premise that has given rise to scepticism about other minds, namely, that our self-awareness is of a fundamentally different type from our awareness of objects and other subjects. While this leads Cavell to argue that there is a truth to scepticism, it proves the opposite to Husserl, viz. (...)
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  2. Wayne K. Andrew (1982). The Givenness of Self and Others in Husserl's Transcendental Phenomenology. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 13 (1):85-100.
    Husserl's explication of "self" and "others" occurs within his founding science of pure possibilities or "bracketed" consciousness and experience. His analysis of self and others seeks, in part, to demonstrate that "personal" or "self-experience" is not the only possibility of immanent consciousness but that "other persons" are also given as possibilities. The possibility of others, though in a form of givenness different from that of self, provides a basis for inter-subjectivity. Thus, Husserl's phenomenological analysis can, if it does avoid solipsism (...)
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  3. Richard E. Aquila (1998). Sartre's Other and the Field of Consciousness: A 'Husserlian' Reading. European Journal of Philosophy 6 (3):253–276.
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  4. Michael Barber (2010). Somatic Apprehension and Imaginative Abstraction: Cairns's Criticisms of Schutz's Criticisms of Husserl's Fifth Meditation. [REVIEW] Human Studies 33 (1):1-21.
    Dorion Cairns correctly interprets the preconstituted stratum of Edmund Husserl’s Fifth Cartesian Meditation to be the primordial ego and not the social world, as was thought by Alfred Schutz, who considered Husserl to be insufficiently attentive to the social world’s hold upon us. Following Cairns’s interpretation, which involves recovering and reconstructing strata that may never exist independently, one better understands how the transfer of sense animate organism involves automatic association, or somatic apprehension. This sense-transfer extends to any animate organism, not (...)
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  5. Rudolf Bernet (1997). Deux interprétations de la vulnérabilité de la peau (Husserl et Levinas). Revue Philosophique De Louvain 95 (3):437-456.
    La critique levinassienne de l’égoïsme (transcendantal et éthique) engage à comprendre le sujet autrement, c’est-à-dire à partir de l’autre. L’A. examine plus particulièrement comment cette nouvelle conception de la subjectivité affecte notre manière de penser la limite du corps propre d’un sujet (métaphoriquement appelée sa «peau») et la transgression de cette limite dans la rencontre avec l’étranger. Cela amènera l’A. à plusieurs reprises à se servir de Husserl contre Levinas: non pour réaffirmer la souveraineté du sujet égologique autonome, mais pour (...)
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  6. Christian Beyer (2013). Einfühlung und das Verstehen einer Person. In Stefania Centrone (ed.), Versuche über Husserl. Meiner.
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  7. Celia Cabrera (2013). A Priori Intersubjectivity and Empathy. Ideas y Valores 62 (152):71-93.
    RESUMEN Considerando que los estudios sobre la intersubjetividad en Husserl deben ir más allá del camino cartesiano, D. Zahavi propone ir "más allá de la empatía" y profundizar en el concepto husserliano de "constitución". Para demostrar que la dimensión intersubjetiva no depende del encuentro con otro sujeto, sino que pertenece a priori a la subjetividad, este autor esclarece la dependencia de la intencionalidad de horizonte respecto de la intersubjetividad trascendental. Se analiza en qué sentido es posible establecer esta dependencia y (...)
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  8. William Cornwell, Making Sense of the Other: Husserl, Carnap, Heidegger, and Wittgenstein. Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy (Conference Proceedings).
    Phenomenology and logical positivism both subscribed to an empirical-verifiability criterion of mental or linguistic meaning. The acceptance of this criterion confronted them with the same problem: how to understand the Other as a subject with his own experience, if the existence and nature of the Other's experiences cannot be verified. Husserl tackled this problem in the Cartesian Meditations, but he could not reconcile the verifiability criterion with understanding the Other's feelings and sensations. Carnap's solution was to embrace behaviorism and eliminate (...)
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  9. Vincenzo Costa (2008). Die Erfahrung Des Anderen. Phänomenologie, Behaviorismus Und Spiegelneuronen. Husserl Studies 24 (3):231-241.
    The recent discovery of a mirror neuron system sets a challenge for a philosophy of experience such as phenomenology, because in humans and monkeys the mirror system seems to transform seen actions into an inner representation of these actions. This paper tries to outline the guidelines of a transcendental-phenomenological analysis of alterity, different from empirical research. The transcendental research must provide a criterion for interpreting the results of empirical science. On this basis the paper compares the phenomenological analysis of alterity (...)
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  10. Anya Daly (2014). Primary Intersubjectivity: Empathy, Affective Reversibility, 'Self-Affection' and the Primordial 'We'. Topoi 33 (1):227-241.
    The arguments advanced in this paper are the following. Firstly, that just as Trevarthen’s three subjective/intersubjective levels, primary, secondary, and tertiary, mapped out different modes of access, so too response is similarly structured, from direct primordial responsiveness, to that informed by shared pragmatic concerns and narrative contexts, to that which demands the distantiation afforded by representation. Secondly, I propose that empathy is an essential mode of intentionality, integral to the primary level of subjectivity/intersubjectivity, which is crucial to our survival as (...)
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  11. Helena de Preester (2008). From Ego to Alter Ego : Husserl, Merleau-Ponty and a Layered Approach to Intersubjectivity. [REVIEW] Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 7 (1):133-142.
    This article presents two different phenomenological paths leading from ego to alter ego: a Husserlian and a Merleau-Pontian way of thinking. These two phenomenological paths serve to disentangle the conceptual–philosophical underpinning of the mirror neurons system hypothesis, in which both ways of thinking are entwined. A Merleau-Pontian re-reading of the mirror neurons system theory is proposed, in which the characteristics of mirror neurons are effectively used in the explanation of action understanding and imitation. This proposal uncovers the remaining necessary presupposition (...)
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  12. Natalie Depraz (2012). Empathy and Second-Person Methodology. Continental Philosophy Review 45 (3):447-459.
    How the phenomenology of empathy in Husserl and beyond and the second-person approach of cognition are able to mutually enrich and constrain each other? Whereas the intersubjective empathy is limited to face-to-face inter-individual relational experiences or, when socially embedded, results a non-individualized understanding of others in general, the second person approach of cognition opens the way for a plural relational yet individualized understanding of the other. I would like to show in this paper how the integration of both phenomenological and (...)
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  13. Chauncey Downes (1965). Husserl and the Coherence of the Other Minds Problem. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 26 (December):253-259.
  14. Susi Ferrarello (2012). Husserl's Theory of Intersubjectivity. Cultura 9 (2):163-174.
    I am looking at a bird flying above my head and I barely see it; in the meantime I am talking to a friend of mine about my job. All these things: the bird, my friend, my job, even the ground beneath my feet, are outside of me. Yet, while I am living these objects, they are here, in my head. How can one explain this relationship,where something that is completely different from my being becomes a part of me? If (...)
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  15. Stâle R. S. Finke (1993). Husserl y Las Aporías de la Intersubjetividad. Anuario Filosófico 26 (2):327-360.
    This article considers the treatment of intersubjectivity as the core of Husserl's transcendental phenomenology. From this standpoint it identifies the problematic of Husserl's theory of the "experience of the Other", which Husserl exposes in his commentaries on Descartes V Meditation. The paper draws a parallel between Husserl and Kant in order to clarify the Husserlian notions, and finally shows the difficulties of Husserl's approach due to his assumption of the premises of the "Subjektsphilosophie".
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  16. Shaun Gallagher (2005). Phenomenological Contributions to a Theory of Social Cognition. Husserl Studies 21 (2):95-110.
    Hidden away in the remote corners of one of the largest parts of Husserl's Kˆrper, if we can use that word to translate Corpus, there is ein Leib , an animate body of text that reverberates not only with some of Husserl's other little known texts, but also with some of the most recent discoveries in neuroscience. These texts suggest a theory of intersubjectivity, or what psychologists term social cognition. Let me start with a proviso: whether Husserl ever fully settled (...)
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  17. Kathleen Haney (2009). Empathy and Otherness. Journal of Philosophy: A Cross-Disciplinary Inquiry 4 (8):11-19.
    This reflection on the phenomenological analysis of empathy according to Edmund Husserl and Edith Stein suggests a basic structure for getting to know and retain other consciousness within a single unitary sphere of consciousness. Empathy provides the access to an other that does not absorb the other’s stream of consciousness. Rather, empathy is the possibility for the intersubjective intention of a shared world of space and time. Unless the I inculcates other consciousness within itself, the I cannot recognize itself as (...)
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  18. Km Haney (1987). Husserl, Analogy and Other Minds-Response. Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 18 (3):290-292.
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  19. Robert M. Harlan (1984). Must the Other Be Derived From the I? Towards the Reformulation of Husserl's 5th Cartesian Meditation. Husserl Studies 1 (1):79-104.
    With the possible exception of the first volume of the Ideas, no single work published by Husserl has caused as much controversy among philosophers otherwise sympathetic to his philosophical endeavor as the 5th Cartesian Meditation. The controversy centers around the constitutive analysis of the sense "another subject," an analysis the elaborate detail of which seems out of place in the otherwise programmatic Cartesian Meditations. This analysis, which marks the first step in Husserl's account of consciousness of the other as another (...)
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  20. Hans-Ulrich Hoche (1971). Bemerkungen zum Problem der Selbst- und Fremderfahrung bei Husserl und Sartre. Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 25 (2):172 - 186.
    The goal of the paper is to offer a model of self-awareness that fits the testimony of both good and bad responders to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), of which fluoxetine (Prozac; Lilly, Indianapolis, IN) is probably the most well known. After a review of troubling current uncertainties concerning how and for whom SSRIs are therapeutic, it is argued that SSRIs, as a rule, lessen the emotionality of SSRI subjects in favor of an increased cognitive and volitional orientation. Traditional empiricist (...)
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  21. P. Hutcheson (1987). Husserl, Analogy and Other Minds-a Rejoinder to Haney. Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 18 (3):292-292.
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  22. Peter Hutcheson (1987). Husserl, Analogy and Other Minds. Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 18 (3):285-289.
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  23. Peter Hutcheson (1980). Husserl's Problem of Intersubjectivity. Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 11 (2):144-162.
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  24. Albert A. Johnstone (1999). The Relevance of Nonsymbolic Cognition to Husserl's Fifth Meditation. Philosophy Today 43 (supplement):88-98.
  25. Kl E. Kaehler (1995). Die Monade in Husserls Phänomenologie der Intersubjektivität. Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (4):692 - 709.
    Husserl's transcendental phenomenology is not a mere egology, but gets its concrete accomplishment only as a phenomenology of 'transcendental intersubjectivity'. However, the subjective centers of any transcendentality and thus of every constitution — even of intersubjectivity itself — have to be such unities as Leibniz' 'monads', that is, individually concrete subjects producing all their representations of one another completely out of themselves, respectively. Thus the problem arises, how the genuine transcendental status of each monadic subject in all its constitutive achievements (...)
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  26. Jakub Kloc-Konkołowic (2013). Das Ich und der Andere. Intersubjektivität in der Philosophie Johann Gottlieb Fichtes und in der Phänomenologie Edmund Husserls. Fichte-Studien 37:163-174.
  27. Leonard Lawlor (2001). Natalie Deprez: Transcendence Et Incarnation: Le Statut de l'Intersubectivite Comme Alterite a Soi Chez Husserl. [REVIEW] Continental Philosophy Review 34 (1):103-111.
  28. Christian Lotz (2002). Mitmachende Spiegelleiber. Anmerkungen zur Phänomenologie der konkreten Intersubjektivität bei Husserl. Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 56 (1):72 - 95.
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  29. James N. McGuirk (2009). Husserl's Phenomenology: Knowledge, Objectivity and Others. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 17 (2):349 – 355.
  30. W. R. McKenna (2003). The Constitutive Effect of the Other's Awareness of Me. Husserl Studies 19 (3):193-203.
    I will first give a brief summery of Husserl’s project in the “Fifth Meditation” and the steps in his analysis in order to evoke the context of my remarks and to also to begin to communicate my understanding of this work of Husserl’s. Then I will go more closely through the beginning steps in the analysis and develop my own points as I go along.
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  31. James Mensch (2003). Givenness and Alterity. Idealistic Studies 33 (1):1-7.
    If we trace the word phenomenon to its Greek origin, we find it is the participle of the verb, phainesthai, “to show itself.” The phenomenon is that which shows itself; it is the manifest. As Heidegger noted, phenomenology is the study of this showing. It examines how things show themselves to be what they are.1 One of the most difficult problems faced by phenomenology is the mystery of our self-showing. How do we show ourselves to be what we are? How (...)
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  32. James Mensch (1988). Intersubjectivity and Transcendental Idealism. SUNY Press.
    This book offers new answers to this persistent philosophical question by defining the question in specifically Husserlian terms and by means of a careful examination of Husserl’s later texts, including the unpublished Nachlass.
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  33. Dermot Moran (2008). Immanence, Self-Experience, and Transcendence in Edmund Husserl, Edith Stein, and Karl Jaspers. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 82 (2):265-291.
    Phenomenology, understood as a philosophy of immanence, has had an ambiguous, uneasy relationship with transcendence, with the wholly other, with the numinous. If phenomenology restricts its evidence to givenness and to what has phenomenality, what becomes of that which is withheld or cannot in principle come to givenness? In this paper I examine attempts to acknowledge the transcendent in the writings of two phenomenologists, Edmund Husserl and Edith Stein (who attempted to fuse phenomenology with Neo-Thomism), and also consider the influence (...)
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  34. Hisashi Nasu (2005). How is the Other Approached and Conceptualized in Terms of Schutz's Constitutive Phenomenology of the Natural Attitude? Human Studies 28 (4):385 - 396.
    The problem of the other was one of the central problems for the founder of phenomenology, Edmund Husserl. He investigated the other as the alter ego intensively in the Fifth Cartesian Meditation, in which he introduced the conceptions of “analogical apperception'' and “pairing'' as fundamental forms of “passive synthesis.'' Although it is no doubt Husserl who investigated the other most seriously and intensively, there is anaporiain his theory of the other. If the other is an object of ego's intentional consciousness, (...)
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  35. Thomas Nenon (2008). Seebohm, Husserl, and Dilthey. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 16 (5):745 – 753.
  36. Peter Reynaert (2001). Intersubjectivity and Naturalism — Husserl's Fifth Cartesian Meditation Revisited. Husserl Studies 17 (3):207-216.
    As Husserl argues in the fifth Cartesian Meditation, the similarity of my Body (Leib) with the body (Körper) of another person is the founding moment of the experience of the other. This similarity is based on the previous objectivation of my Body. Husserl continuously worried to explicate this similarity-premise and by doing so, it appeared that this objectivation already presupposes intersubjectivity. By running into this problem, the Meditation actually fulfils its program by showing that the other is co-constitutive of the (...)
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  37. Jack Reynolds (2008). Deleuze's Other-Structure: Beyond the Master-Slave Dialectic, But at What Cost? Symposium 12 (1):67-88.
    Deleuze suggests that his work grounds a new conception of the Other–the Other as expression of a possible world, as a structure that precedes any subsequent dialectical mediation, including the master-slave dialectic of social relations. I will argue, however, that the ethico-political injunction that Deleuze derives from his analysis of the 'other-structure' confronts a different problem. It commits Deleuze to either tacitly prescribing a romantic morality of difference that valorizes expressive encounters without 'relations of explication' and any kind of pre-understanding (...)
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  38. Rachel Robinson (2013). Layers in Husserl's Phenomenology. On Meaning and Intersubjectivity. Costello Peter R. University of Toronto Press, 2012; IX + 225 Pp.; $60.00 (Hardback). [REVIEW] Dialogue 52 (2):409-411.
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  39. Richard Rojcewicz (1989). Theunissen, Michael. The Other: Studies in the Social Ontology of Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, and Buber. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1984, 451 Pp. + Xxv, $40.00. [REVIEW] Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 20 (1):89-91.
  40. Georg Römpp (1989). Der Andere AlS Zukunft Und Gegenwart: Zur Interpretation der Erfahrung Fremder Personalität in Temporalen Begriffen Bei Lévinas Und Husserl. [REVIEW] Husserl Studies 6 (2):129-154.
  41. Tetsuya Sakakibara (2008). Struktur Und Genesis der Fremderfahrung Bei Edmund Husserl. Husserl Studies 24 (1):1-14.
    In seiner Fünften Cartesianischen Meditation entwickelt Husserl eine transzendentale Theorie der Fremderfahrung, der sogenannten ,,Einfühlung . Diese Theorie charakterisiert er in dieser Schrift als ,,statische Analyse . Genau besehen werden darin jedoch mehrere genetische Momente der Fremderfahrung in Betracht gezogen. In diesem Aufsatz versucht der Verfasser, zuerst aufgrund einiger nachgelassener Texte Husserls die wesentlichen Charaktere der statischen und der genetischen Methode und auch den Zusammenhang der beiden festzustellen, um dann aus der Analyse der Fünften Meditation die statischen und die genetischen (...)
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  42. Joel Smith (2011). Can Transcendental Intersubjectivity Be Naturalised? Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 10 (1):91-111.
    I discuss Husserl’s account of intersubjectivity in the fifth Cartesian Meditation. I focus on the problem of perceived similarity. I argue that recent work in developmental psychology and neuroscience, concerning intermodal representation and the mirror neuron system, fails to constitute a naturalistic solution to the problem. This can be seen via a comparison between the Husserlian project on the one hand and Molyneux’s Question on the other.
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  43. Joel Smith (2010). Seeing Other People. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (3):731-748.
    I present a perceptual account of other minds that combines a Husserlian insight about perceptual experience with a functionalist account of mental properties.
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  44. Gail Soffer (1998). The Other as Alter Ego: A Genetic Approach. [REVIEW] Husserl Studies 15 (3):151-166.
    It is an ancient view, to be found even in Aristotle’s analysis of friendship, that the other is an alter ego, another myself. More recently, this conception has provoked spirited debate within and without the phenomenological tradition. It can be found in a wide variety of texts, from Husserl’s Cartesian Meditations to Thomas Nagel’s “What is it like to be a bat?” The basic position can be summarized as follows. Intentional experiences are subjective, first-person experiences, not objective, third-person experiences.
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  45. Tanja Staehler (2008). What is the Question to Which Husserl's Fifth Cartesian Meditation is the Answer? Husserl Studies 24 (2):99-117.
    Interpreters generally agree that the Fifth Cartesian Meditation fails to achieve its task, but they do not agree on what that task is. In my essay, I attempt to formulate the question to which the Fifth Cartesian Meditation gives the answer. While it is usually assumed that the text poses a rather ambitious question, I suggest that the text asks, How is the Other given to me on the most basic level? The answer would be that the Other is given (...)
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  46. Toru Tani (2008). The Ego, the Other and the Primal Fact. Continental Philosophy Review 41 (4):385-399.
    Japan has absorbed many western ideas since the late nineteenth century, but Japanese philosophers have often been reluctant to accept the western idea of the “I” in its entirety. The I transgresses to the Other more easily than western philosophies think and imports what belongs to the Other as his own. How is this possible? Husserl attempted to explain the constitution of the Other by the intentionality that goes from the I to the Other, mediated by the body. However, Husserl (...)
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  47. John Tryssesoone (2006). Les chemins de l'intersubjectivité dans la philosophie de Husserl. Bulletin d'Analyse Phénoménologique (5).
    Partant du constat suivant lequel la problématique de l'intersubjectivité, en tant qu'elle intéresse directement la sphère de l'être transcendantal, se rencontre sur le chemin même qui conduit à la phénoménologie, cette étude, qui s'inscrit en continuité avec les travaux d'I. Kern et de N. Depraz, propose de parcourir les différentes voies d'accès à la réduction phénoménologique, en vue de dégager, dans le creux entre la réduction égologique et la réduction intersubjective, une tension entre deux exigences irréductibles (mais peut-être antagonistes) du (...)
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  48. Lorraine Viscardi-Murray (1985). The Constitution of the Alter Ego in Husserl's Transcendental Phenomenology. Research in Phenomenology 15 (1):177-191.
    This paper explores Husserl's phenomenological description of the constitution of the alter ego within the sphere of transcendental subjectivity. It is important at the start to point out that the Other plays a crucial role in securing the intersubjective nature of the experienced world. Although Husserl goes on in the "Fifth Cartesian Meditation" to consider the constitution of an objective world common to all subjects and the establishment of a community of monads, my primary focus in this paper will be (...)
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  49. Hans Georg von Manz (2013). Die praktische Erfahrung des Anderen und die Funktion der Vergemeinschaftung bei Fichte und Husserl. Fichte-Studien 37:175-192.
Husserl: Intersubjectivity, Misc
  1. Ramsey Affifi (forthcoming). Generativity in Biology. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-14.
    The behavior of an organism, according to Merleau-Ponty, lays out a milieu through which significant phenomena of varying degrees of optimality elicit adjustment. This leads to the dialectical co-emergence of milieu and aptitude that is both the product and the condition of life. What is present as a norm soliciting optimization is species-specific, but it also depends on the needs of the organism and its prior experience. Although a rich entry point into biological phenomenology, Merleau-Ponty’s work does not adequately describe (...)
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