Somatic apprehension and imaginative abstraction: Cairns's criticisms of Schutz's criticisms of Husserl's fifth meditation

Human Studies 33 (1):1-21 (2010)
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 just humans, and draws on extensive unreflected-upon similarities despite the distinctive fact that the other’s body is never given to oneself as is one’s own. Following Cairns’s interpretation, one can also understand the second epoché as an imaginative, reconstructive abstraction rather than as an example of failed ascesis. Consequently, Husserl appears as less intellectualized in his approach to empathy than often thought to be and more confident in the phenomenologist’s capacity to imagine and attend selectively to experience
Keywords Body  Intersubjectivity  Second epoché  Fifth Cartesian Meditation  Imagination  Cairns  Schutz  Husserl
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DOI 10.1007/s10746-010-9135-z
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