Time and consciousness in the bernau manuscripts

Husserl Studies 20 (2):99-118 (2004)
Even a cursory glance in Die Bernauer Manuskripte über das Zeitbewusstsein makes it evident that one of Husserl’s major concerns in his 1917-18 reflections on time-consciousness was how to account for the constitution of time without giving rise to an infinite regress. Not only does Husserl constantly refer to this problem in Husserliana XXXIII – as he characteristically writes at one point “Überall drohen, scheint es, unendliche Regresse”(Hua 33/81) but he also takes care to distinguish between several different regresses (cf. Hua 33/271). One of the more troubling ones is the one that might be called the regress of foundation. It concerns the problem of how to avoid always having to presuppose yet another underlying constituting consciousness. As we will soon see, the attempt to avoid this specific regress is closely linked to the problem of how to come up with a satisfactory account of self-awareness. That Husserl himself was well aware of this link can be inferred from some of his reflections in the beginning of Husserliana XXXIII. As he writes at one point, consciousness exists, it exists as a stream, and it appears to itself as a stream. But how the stream of consciousness is capable of being conscious of itself, how it is possible and comprehensible that the very being of the stream is a form of self-consciousness, is the enduring problem of the entire treatise (Hua 33/44, 46). In this article, I wish to take a closer look at some of Husserl’s attempts in the Bernau Manuscripts to account for time-consciousness without giving rise to an infinite regress.
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