Suffering and Ipseity in Michel Henry: The Problem of the Ego’s Transcendental Identity

Jean-François Lavigne

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The double expansion that Husserl’s phenomenology imposed on subjective
experience posed, among other difficulties, a new and particularly difficult
problem for Husserl; that of the trans-temporal identity of the transcendental
subject, the “ego.” This problem involves also, and still more fundamentally, the
question of the ontological status of the ego. Beginning with his descriptivepsychological
understanding of consciousness and its intentional acts in the 1901
Logical Investigations, Husserl had first identified the subjective ego with the
empirical person, and considered it sufficient to determine the flow of acts
experienced by consciousness as a “bundle” (ein Bündel) of subjective phenomena
devoid of altogether devoid of any internal principle of unity, except a mere formal
synthesis.


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