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  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: January 2010

7 - The life of consciousness


An authentic analysis of consciousness is, so to speak, a hermeneutics of the life of consciousness.

— Husserl

Time and genesis

The transcendental constitution of the Other, as discussed in chapter 6, allows us to motivate the question of how to negotiate the relationship between the primordial transcendence of the Other and the primordial transcendence of original time-consciousness, on the basis of which transcendence as such – the transcendence of the world, including the lives of Others, and my own self-transcendence – is grounded. In both instances, time-consciousness is opened in a radical form of transcendence – the original transcendence within immanence within the retentional and protentional dimensions of my self-temporalization and the transcendence within the immanence of the Other, which, as suggested earlier, finds a promising phenomenological comparison with the intersection of far retention and far protention, bereft, however, of a living present. The Other's proper name, or, in other words, her sphere of ownmost, forever remains on the tip of my tongue, beyond the arc of my living present, as given in an empty consciousness of far retention predicated on the impossibility of fulfillment in an equally distant far protention. As we further explored in chapter 6, the phenomenological argument of transcendental idealism, cast in the form of a refutation of transcendental solipsism, critically depends on Husserl's analysis of time-consciousness and the constitution of the Other as an alter-ego.