Man should not let death attain the dominion of his thoughts: An Essay on Subjectivity, Self-Preservation and Immortality


Mortality seems to have no place in the theories on subjectivity in Kant and Husserl. It is suggested that this entente cordiale is an expression of the shared principle at the heart of their philosophy, i.e. the principle of self-preservation. Self-preservation is a principle that in a certain sense excludes mortality. It is argued that the primary sense of this exclusion is not theoretical but practical. Kant and Husserl are both endorsing the imperative that man should not let death attain the dominion of his thoughts (cf. Mann 1976, 600). The positive correlate to this is to be found in the demand that man should think of himself as if he was immortal. With special regard to Husserl the predicament that accompanies his relentless attempt to fulfill this demand is described as a sluice through which anthropology threatens to flow into the phenomenological enterprise.

Keywords: subjectivity, self-preservation, immortality, Husserl, Kant

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