The Husserlian theory of intersubjectivity as alterology. Emergent theories and wisdom traditions in the light of genetic phenomenology

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Abstract:

In this paper, I have a twofold aim: First I wish to show to what extent the Husserlian Theory of Intersubjectivity can be relevant for contemporary empirical research and for ancestral wisdom traditions, both in their experiences and in their conceptual tools; and secondly I intend to rely on some empirical results and experiential mystical/practical reports in order to bring about some more refined phenomenological descriptions first provided by Husserl. The first aim will be the main concern here, while the second will only be broached by way of initial steps towards further development.

I will proceed in two stages: in the first place I will give some evidence for Husserl's relevance by giving an account of his original conceptions of (a) egoic subjectivity, (b) genetic phenomenology, and (c) lived empathy. In the second place, my purpose is to indicate how much Husserl's view on infants/children, animals/ beasts, mad people/the insane and aliens/foreigners/strangers may be of some interest for scientific empirical conceptions and for practical paths of spiritual self-development. In so doing, I hope to be able (1) to confirm the accuracy of Husserl's own intuitions and analysis, and (2) to suggest some refinements in the way Husserl described such experiences.

Throughout this paper I will focus on two main Husserlian discoveries: (1) subjectivity is from the very start intersubjectivity; (2) infants, animals, the insane and aliens are subjects in a full sense, precisely because they are from the very beginning always already intersubjective subjects; besides, they are limit-subjectivities, who compel me in a kind of feedback to enlarge and to deepen my own subjectivity.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: College International de Philosophie, University of Sorbonne, Paris, France.

Publication date: January 1, 2001

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