The Transcendental and the Mundane Spheres: Are They Really Ontologically Disctinct?

HORIZON. Studies in Phenomenology 12 (2):479-501 (2023)
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As implied by the title this article deals with a key question running through the history of philosophy virtually since antiquity. This is the question of the relationship, on ontological grounds, of the transcendental and the mundane “universes” to the extent that the nature of transcendence, even as detached from the metaphysical sphere and recalibrated in terms of immanence in the broadly conceived subjectivist tradition, it is still a highly controversial issue primarily in continental philosophy. This is especially true in view of the obvious incompatibility, at least in a naive sense, of the transcendental and the mundane contexts for which the philosophical discussion on phenomenological grounds is still open. My own arguments on the issue are mainly based on the Husserlian and Heideggerian narratives and also on E. Fink’s approach to the transcendence versus mundanity ontological problematic. On these prompts I set out to defend the position that there are serious reasons to regard the realm of transcendence as ineluctably constrained by mundanity concerns. More concretely I will try to show that there is no way, at least in the context of the phenomenological discourse, to do away with a kind of mundanity influence even in the most pure transcendental level involving the cornerstone of Husserlian transcendental phenomenology which is the concept of absolute ego. My overall approach, more than an attempt at vindicating Fink’s objections as to the purely transcendental level reached after the radical phenomenological reduction, is a demonstration of the conceptual pitfalls or even circularities involved along the way in trying to establish a sound foundation for a purely transcendental ontological level.



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Stathis Livadas
University of Patras (Alumnus)

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