The Primal I and the Anonymous Origins of Time in Husserl’s Genetic Phenomenology


Husserl's analysis of reflection leads to the discovery of the anonymous character of functioning subjectivity, which is further developed through an examination of the living-present (Lebendige Gegenwart) in the context of his genetic account of time-constitution. Given phenomenology's reliance on first-personal access and evidence, the anonymity of the flow brings about certain questions regarding how to account for it and if it is indeed a part of my experience. In this paper, I reflect on the problem of accessing and accounting for the primal I in phenomenological reflection. Taking from Ronald Bruzina and László Tengelyi's readings, I claim that genetic analyses lead to an absolute Faktum in which the existence of Ego and World coincide. This brings me to consider whether the primacy of the primal-I (Ur-Ich) as the ultimate source of temporalization that is often displayed in Husserl's work can be considered a necessary result of the analysis of temporality or rather a theoretical gesture or choice in favor of maintaining the strong first-personal character of phenomenological inquiry. Against this view, a French-inspired interpretation that focuses on the equi-primordiality of primal-I and primal-Hyle can be seen as a rival reading that opens up a new path in the tradition.

Keywords: primal-I, primal-Hyle, living-present, temporalization, equi-primordiality

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