Transcendental intersubjectivity and normality
constitution by mortals
For Husserl, the sense of the world is an intersubjective accomplishment. The individual ego does not establish this sense by itself but constitutes it in community and communication with other egos. However, in his manuscripts, Husserl argues that the community that gives the world its full sense only includes normal subjects. This paper clarifies the role of normal subjects in world-constitution. I start by identifying the criteria that Husserl uses in delineating the community of constitutors. This allows us to study the different types of anomalous subjects that are excluded from this community. I focus my discourse on two special cases of anomality: the infant and the animal. I argue that mortality, generativity, and the practice of writing have a crucial role in Husserl's exclusion of infants and animals from the constitutive activity that gives the world its full sense. Both infants and animals lack the sense of themselves as members of a generation and as members of an open series of generations. This deprivation hinders them from taking part in the activity that provides the world with the sense of a temporally continuous infinity. Thus, Husserl's arguments about infants and animals differ in an interesting way from the traditional Cartesian arguments still dominate contemporary philosophy of mind and language: infants and animals are not anomalous to us because they would lack thinking, cogito, or self-awareness, but because their understanding of themselves as communal beings is severely limited.
Full citation [Harvard style]:
Heinämaa, S. (2013)., Transcendental intersubjectivity and normality: constitution by mortals, in D. Moran (ed.), The phenomenology of embodied subjectivity, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 83-103.
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