Journal of the History of Philosophy 32 (4):645-659 (1994)

Alfredo Ferrarin
University of Pisa
Husserl on the Ego and its Eidos (Cartesian Meditations, IV) ALFREDO FERRARIN THE THEORY OF the intentionality of consciousness is essential for Husserl's philosophy, and in particular for his mature theory of the ego. But it runs into serious difficulties when it has to account for consciousness's transcendental constitution of its own reflective experience and its relation to immanent time. This intricate knot, the inseparability of time and constitution, is most visibly displayed in Husserl's writings from the 192os up to the notion of the eidos ego in the fourth Cartesian Meditation. In this paper I want to dwell on the most problematic aspects of this theory. After a few preliminary remarks about the intentionality of consciousness (sec- tion 1), I try to place the theory of the substrate of habitualities in the context of Husserl's evolution on the issue of the reflection of the ego on itself (section ~). I briefly follow the threads of Husserl's shifting position from the Logical Investi- gat/ons and Ideas I to Ideas II, the Cartesian Meditations and the Cr/s/s. I indicate Husserl's works are quoted with the following abbreviations: CM = Cartesiani.~he Meditationen, Husserliana Bd. I, hrsg. v. S. Strasser (Den Haag, 195o); Carte- s/an M~, trans. D. Cairns (Dordrecht, 196o ) SW = Husserl, Shorter Works, ed. P. McCormick and F. Elliston (Notre Dame, 198a) IZ = Zur Phttnomenologie des inneren Zeilheun~tseim (z 893-z 917), Husserliana Bd. X, hrsg. v. R. Boehm (Den Haag, 1966 ) Ideen I = ldeen zu einer reinen Ph~nomenologie und ph~nomenologischen Philosophic, Husserliana Bd. III, hrsg. v. W. Biemel (Den Haag, t95o); Ideas I, trans. F. Kersten (The Hague, Boston, Lancaster, s983) ldeen// = ld., Hussefliana Bd. IV, hrsg. v. M. Biemel (Den Haag, 1952); Ideas I1, trans. R. Rojcewicz and A. Schuwer (Dordrecht, Boston, London, x 989) FTL = Forma/e und transzendenta~ Log/k, Husserliana Bd. XVII, hrsg. v. P. Janssen (Den Haag, t974) Kr/sh = Kr/s/s der europ~/schen W/ssen~haften, Husserliana Bd. VI, hrsg. v. W. Biemel (Den Haag, 1954) I wish to express my gratitude to Pierre Kerszberg and Alessandra Fussi for their helpful com- ments on an earlier draft of the paper, and to Graham Harman for checking the final version of my English text. [645] 646 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 32:4 OCTOBER 1994 some historical antecedents, in particular Aristotle, of Husserl's theory of abid- ing properties which, as far as I can see, have not been pointed out before. Husserl's Entwicklungsgeschichte on the topic of the pure ego has already been the object of important scholarly works, of which Kern's 1964 Husserl und Kant seems to me the best example. But what the secondary literature does not do is develop thematically the ambiguities of Husserl's definitions of consciousness and temporality in a unitary and comprehensive way. While I follow the lead of Berger, Broekman, Kern, Marbach,' and others, I find that their work does not sufficiently stress the difficulties at the core ofintentionality and reflective time- consciousness. Therefore, although section 2 is a necessary presupposition for drawing some critical conclusions in the final two sections, it does not exhaust my theme. After clarifying the peculiarity of the notions of essence, intuition, tran- scendental and apriori, as well as their irl:educibility to a Kantian meaning, I turn to the "de facto transcendental ego" resulting from eidetic variation (section 3) in order to introduce an examination of temporality. The difficul- ties in the twofold requirement, namely, that consciousness be the identical subject of its Erlebnisse and be synthetically unified in time, concern the unity, primacy, and mutual relation of time and consciousness in the constitution of our experience. They have been heady pointed out by Ricoeur in his commen- tary on the Cartesian Meditations. But what I want to argue in section 4, going beyond Ricoeur's text, is that the tension between temporally constituted and constitutive consciousness in the ego's reflection on its own retentions and protensions does not simply make the question of time ambiguous, but has crucial and problematic bearings on the very definition of consciousness as intentionality. In this respect...
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DOI 10.1353/hph.1994.0078
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