Striving toward selfhood: Husserl's egology as a theory of transcendental responsibility

Marratto, Scott L.
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University of Guelph

This thesis is an investigation of Husserl's theory of the pure ego. Husserl famously claimed that consciousness is always intentional, always transcending itself. However, he sometimes leaves his readers with the impression that the pure ego is a wordless, self-present, pole of subjectivity. Turning to Husserl's investigations of time-consciousness, embodiment, and passivity, I argue that the pure ego is not an entity but a function of consciousness' implicit reflexivity. Intentionality is two-fold: self-transcendence is always accompanied by self-affection. Consciousness tacitly refers to its own history, acquired abilities, and habits, as a nexus of possibilities for meeting its future, for continuing its syntheses. Through this process, the subject becomes, for itself, the identical "I" that is capable of responding to what affects it. Hence, I argue that pure egology is a theory of subjectivity as transcendental responsibility.

Husserl, Theory of the pure ego, Selfhood, Transcendental responsibility, Consciousness