The paradox and limits of Michel Henry's concept of transcendence

Henry?s concept of transcendence is highly paradoxical. Most often it seems as though he had simply borrowed Husserl?s classical description of intentionality, as the act of aiming?at?something as an independent object, at something given or posited by consciousness outside itself, in the status of a worldly outwardness. This determination of transcendence belongs to Henry?s usual critique of what he calls the ?ontological monism? of classical metaphysics and ?historical phenomenology?. Nevertheless, when Henry endeavours to define the ontological difference between life itself and the living incarnate ego within the sphere of radically subjective immanence, particularly in his last works on truth and on Christianity, he cannot but refer to another concept of transcendence, the theological and metaphysical one. This is a transcendence which claims absolute ontological exteriority, as the being?in?itself of the ?substance?, altogether free of any intentional dependence on the transcendental activity of consciousness. And he uses this last concept to assert, of course, that divine transcendence, as true to the Absolute, is none other than the most radical and deep immanence: the immanence of life itself
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DOI 10.1080/09672550902948985
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