Husserl on the relation of self to other in the community

Goodwin, Donald Fraser (1978) Husserl on the relation of self to other in the community. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

The problem of intersubjectivity was one of Husserl’s preeminent interests. This essay attempts to discern the guiding themes and something of the final import of his account of the issue. The guiding themes are that, although one an experience the same things as does another, one cannot have his experiences themselves; and notwithstanding this limitation, one relates to the real other himself, not to some indication of him which one is free to interpret-the other person himself determines how he is to be interpreted. -- Chapter I attempts to provide the groundwork for an analysis. According to Husserl, consciousness has two important descriptive characteristics: it is intentional, that is, it does not simply have contents, but is related to an object not identical with its contents; and it is temporal, or in ceaseless flux. Further the structure of consciousness itself determines what sense an object shall have for it. -- But one object stands out among others as having a special status: the other person. He is free to determine his own meaning and unity: how can he be an intended object without losing his freedom? And supposing this is to be solved: the other person experiences the same world and oneself: how can this be part of the world’s objective sense? -- Chapter II interprets Husserl’s analysis of the foundations of the consciousness of the other. The focus is the world’s objective sense, experienceable by all. Logically, he cannot presuppose this, and therefore tries to delineate a part of the world and a kind of experience lacking this sense: respectively, one’s body, of which one has sensory and motor control; and the sensibly experienced or “natural” world. -- The other person’s body appears as a natural body. Husserl says it is seen to be animate because of a similarity to one’s own body. It is argued that this cannot work, and that the two bodies must actually come into contact, and prove that they are alive. -- Chapter III examines how the other person can be known. Husserl offers a doctrine of induction such that certain regular ways of behaving reveal a “personal style”. But this is not completely satisfactory, because it does not show how the person’s intent can be known: his intent is not to behave regularly. -- This must be supplemented, therefore, by Husserl’s doctrine of expression. As here interpreted, the other person addresses himself to oneself, and, insofar as he is understood, to something one already knows. The object of the address is thus constituted as shared, but as owned by neither. -- The final point is the notion of a shared world. In communication, each shares and is the source of the meaning of the expression. But no one is the full source of its meaning, thus no one fully understands or owns it: it is shared.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7649
Item ID: 7649
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 112-114.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Philosophy
Date: 1978
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Husserl, Edmund, 1859-1938; Phenomenology

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