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Phenomenology 2010

Volume 1, 2010

Selected Essays from Asia and Pacific

Inagaki Satoshi
Pages 237-262

Der Ursprung des Ich und der Intentionalität
Uber die Entwicklung der passiven Synthesis im Denken Husserls der 30er Jahre

In Husserl’s thoughts of the 1930s, the relation between the transcendental “I” and the passive synthesis of the consciousness comes gradually and explicitly into question. His investigation aims to phenomenologically fix the origin of absolute temporalization, the reflective “I” or the passive intentionality. The temporalization only through the passive intentionality (pre-intentionality / Vor-intentionalitat) appears to exceed the abilities of the “I” substantially and to refuse that involvement as long as it means an absolute passive ground (Urboden) of the “I” itself. However, the phenomenological investigation must not presuppose naively a stream of passive consciousness which escapes from all of the epistemological, reflective knowledge. Therefore, the self-insight of the “I” who performs the phenomenology indeed (phanomenologisierendes Ich) is demanded iteratively. On the one hand, this insight urges Husserl to recognize the apodictic uniqueness (Einzigartigkeit) of the transcendental “I” and then to abandon the explanation of temporalization through the original passive intentionality, for phenomenological reflections toward this stream without the “I” (ichlos) or before the “I” (vor-ichlich) repeatedly lead to problems of infinite regress. On the other hand, it also falls into a similar problem of infinite regress to define or explain the transcendental “I” as an operative, not as an intentional object; because the operative “I” cannot have any ontic status. Since that time, Husserl’s description of the temporalization through the passive intentionality appears again in his manuscripts. What is important in Husserl’s struggle is that he encountered an original factum that the transcendental “I” as a phenomenologist who generates (werdender Phanomenologe) inevitably is interwoven into the stream of consciousness which has a genetic history. The “I” and the stream are not the same thing, but are intimately intertwined. Whereas the “I” will reflect this stream steadily, the stream generates such performances of the “I”. If Husserl had not found this factum, he could have never reached the problem of the birth and death of the transcendental “I”, unlike an empirical one. And this problem gives us even now various possibilities to develop genetic phenomenology in the future. The structure of this paper is as follows: 1) we start our discussion by delineating a sphere, in which the passive syntheses of the consciousness perform, and there are two forms of their functions, and indicate that primary passivity is more important in both, for it is directly connected with the problem of temporalization in Husserl’s thoughts of the 1930s. 2) This section shows in what way and in what motivation Husserl understands passive intentionality which is based on the stream of consciousness itself and differentiate it strictly from normal intentionality which is derived from the performances of the phenomenological “I”. Despite this distinction, Husserl maintains in 1932 that there is only one type of intentionality, namely the active intentionality of the “I”. At the end of this section, we shall clarify why Husserl drew that conclusion at least temporarily. 3) This section reveals the difficulties of explaining the being of the “I” who performs the absolute temporalization. Accordingly, the problem of original passive intentionality appears again in Husserl’s descriptions. 4) In conclusion, we will describe how the problem of the generation of the transcendental “I” developed in connection with the passive intentionality. Our final goal is to indicate possibilities contained in the Husserlian genetic phenomenology in the 1930s.

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