The Intentionality of Transcendentally Pure Consciousness

  • Burt C. Hopkins
Part of the Contributions to Phenomenology book series (CTPH, volume 11)


Chapter Four of my study of Husserl’s phenomenological account of intentionality will be concerned with his exhibition of the transcendental manifestation of this phenomenon. It appears to me that Husserl finds the motivation for the transcendental turn in the “paradoxical ambiguity” which phenomenology’s methodological reflections encounter, when they attempt to exhibit the subjective origin of the Sinn manifested by the world-horizon. Specifically, so long as the subjectivity of this origin is understood to belong to the non-actional intentionality of the worldly “I,” a psychologism results. Hence, in this final discussion of Part One, I will endeavor to clarify Husserl’s transcendental resolution of this psychologistic paradox, by bringing into relief his temporal analyses of the “subject pole” of intentionality. In particular, I will try to show the following: (1) That and how these analyses lead Husserl to eidetically differentiate actional and nonactional intentionalities, at both the phenomenologically psychological and transcendental level of pure subjectivity and (2); that such differentiations do not involve a multiplicity of pure egos and their non-actional horizonal consciousnesses, but rather, these differentiations involve evidentially different manifestations of the “same” phenomenon as it appears, respectively, within the mundane and transcendental attitudes.


Methodical Reflection Phenomenal Status Pure Consciousness Phenomenological Account Time Consciousness 
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  1. 1.
    Husserl’s terminological distinction between “temporality” (Zeitlichkeit) and the “consciousness of time” (Zeitbewußtsein),and the phenomenal basis upon which he makes this distinction, is crucial for the understanding of his phenomenological account of the essence of time. Indeed, it is fundamental in its own right, with respect to gaining philosophical access to the multidimensionality of the phenomenon of time, which his analyses claim to uncover with respect to the correlation (and nonequivalence) between the Sinn of time and the consciousness of this Sinn. But it is also of decisive importance with respect to Heidegger’s phenomenological critique of the ontological deficiency of Husserl’s analyses of time, and the issue of the adequacy of this critique. See especially §§ 81–82, §§ 100–101 below.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    What is at issue in Husserl’s description here of the regard of the pure ego that belongs to an endless stream of lived-experiences which cannot begin and end, is emphatically not any kind of metaphysical postulate or argument. Which is to say, that the issue for Husserl does not involve the substantiality of the ego and its resultant immortality. Rather, requisite for philosophical access to what is at stake here, is attending to the methodological context of the phenomenological reduction and the project of accounting for the essence of lived-experiences within the rubric of the ‘principle of principles’. Therefore this claim of Husserl’s is eminently experiential. As such, the issue is one of whether it is possible to experience consciousness of the cessation of time. It is Husserl’s claim that any such experiential candidate purporting to manifest such an experience, would yield, in accord with the essence of experience,a temporal horizon as the phenomenal condition of the possibility for such an experience. The relation of this account of the experiential Sinn of time, and the ontological problematic of the finitude of time that emerges in Heidegger's phenomenological account of time, will be addressed in § 101 below.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Husserl’s distinction between the succession and simultaneity of the essence of time, will figure prominently in the consideration of Heidegger’s discussion of the lack of ontological radicality of Husserl’s phenomenology of time. See § 101 below.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    See note 6, Chapter Two above.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    The intentional parallelism, between the psychologically pure ego and the transcendental ego, is not phenomenally inconsistent with the claim that the transcendental for Husserl is not the analogue of the psychological (see § 28 above). This is the case, because what is at issue in this parallelism, is not any kind of “proportionality” or similarity between the intentionality of the psychological ego and the transcendental ego. Rather, the issue is one of the non-relational constitution of the Sinn ‘psychological ego’ in the evidence uncovered qua transcendental ego. This is to say, that the ‘psychologically pure ego’ refers to the ‘transcendental ego’ as the source of its mundane Sinn. Hence, what is at issue is most emphatically not the relation between two distinct entities.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Burt C. Hopkins
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophySeattle UniversityUSA

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