Philosophica: International Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 26, Issue 51, April 2018

Filosofia e Interpetação

João Carvalho
Pages 115-126

Husserl and Levinas
From the Experience of Intersubjectivity to the Encounter With the Other

This paper presents two different, although related, approaches to the problem of the experience of the other person: E. Husserl’s phenomenology of intersubjectivity and E. Levinas’ ethics. I begin by (1) addressing the transcendental significance of the experience of intersubjectivity in the broader context of Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology. I then turn to (2) Husserl’s solution to the paradox of constituting the alter ego, identifying and elucidating the key‑concepts of his inquiry. I hold that throughout his analysis there is a dominant underlying meaning in which the alterity of the other person is progressively suppressed and, ultimately, elided. Finally, I discuss (3) the consequences of Husserl’s analysis of the other in light of Levinas’ ethics. I hold that Husserl’s claim that there is a fundamental difference between the experience of myself and my analogical experience of the other is the basis upon which Levinas’ develops a new concept of experience, not as perception but as encounter. Upon close reading, I claim that Levinas’ revision of the topic of alterity is, ultimately, a consequence of Husserl’s transcendental analysis of intersubjectivity.