Husserl's layered concept of the human person
conscious and unconscious
Husserl's mature phenomenology offers a complex and multi-layered account of the constitution of the human person through a developmental analysis of different stages of constitution, from the constitution and integration of the lived body upward to the full, free, rational functioning of the mature human person. The mature human person is, for Husserl, in the fullest sense, a self-reflective Cartesian cogito, a self-conscious rational agent exercising conscious "position-takings", judgings, desirings, and willings. At the same time, a person is an intersubjective social being, a member of a family, a group, a community, a nation, a participant in empathic interpersonal relations with others in the context of a social world, an environment, and a life-world, what Husserl calls socius. But, for Husserl, the self is also necessarily rooted in nature, and lives through its sensations, drives and tendencies, affections, feelings, emotions and motor capacities and especially through its voluntary movements and decisions (Husserl's "I can"). The ego has moments of wakeful alertness but can also be sunk in sleep or dreaming. It has dispositions, habits, a hexis or habitus, which gives it a network of habitual actions, stances and motivations. Husserl's account is an extraordinarily rich phenomenological account of the person that contains analyses comparable to psychoanalytic explorations of the unconscious, with which Husserl was barely familiar. In this paper I shall chart Husserl's conception of the person and explore some tensions in it especially between its unconscious and conscious dimensions.
Moran, D. (2017)., Husserl's layered concept of the human person: conscious and unconscious, in D. Legrand & D. Trigg (eds.), Unconsciousness between phenomenology and psychoanalysis, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 3-23.
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