Volume 36, 2019
Senses of Self: Approaches to Pre-Reflective Consciousness
James G. Hart
From Metafact to Metaphysics in “the Heidelberg School”
The works of Dieter Henrich and Manfred Frank argue that consciousness is fundamentally a self-awareness antecedent to reflection. This essay picks up the suggestion that consciousness itself is a field or medium of manifestation. As such it is a “metafact,” the anonymity of which transcendental philosophy seeks to overcome. This is required because the “facts” of the light of the mind and the intelligibility of what the mind discloses elude philosophical investigation as long as the anonymity reigns. Clarifying self-consciousness illuminates what essentially must elude normal categorial and predicative investigation which presuppose the light of the mind and intelligibility. The seemingly esoteric issue of the discovery of the primacy of the pre- or non-reflective self-presence at the foundation of first-person reference may be said to found metaphysics in so far as this requires evidence for the inseparability of being from manifestation.