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The Constitution of the Alter Ego in Husserl's Transcendental Phenomenology

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This paper explores Husserl's phenomenological description of the constitution of the alter ego within the sphere of transcendental subjectivity. It is important at the start to point out that the Other plays a crucial role in securing the intersubjective nature of the experienced world. Although Husserl goes on in the "Fifth Cartesian Meditation" to consider the constitution of an objective world common to all subjects and the establishment of a community of monads, my primary focus in this paper will be the examination of the initial steps whereby the sense, "other ego," is constituted by the transcendental ego. My main task, then, will be to examine the reduction to the sphere of ownness, the appresentative transfer of sense from ego to alter ego, and the criterion of harmonious behavior. My primary criticisms will center around certain difficulties inherent in the attempt to uncover a primordial sphere of ownness and problems that arise from a shift in concern from the life-world (everyday) attitude to the attitude following the performance of the epoché. Part I of the paper will consist of a general discussion of Husserl's phenomenological project, Part II will be a detailed study of the alter ego, and Part III a general statement of problems and objections.

Affiliations: 1: Mercer University in Atlanta


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