The question of the transcendental ego
Sartre's critique of Husserl
What is most distinctive, one might say new, in Sartre's view of man is his conception of a consciousness that is not me, that is transphenomenal, pre-personal, pre-reflexive, his own conception of transcendental consciousness. This is the non-substantial absolute. It is "mine" but it does not contain a "me." It is absolute because it is its own foundation, its own justification; it does not come from something else; it comes from itself and exists for itself because consciousness can only come from consciousness. It is a primitive given, not a being except in the sense of "the being of nothingness," the source of "nihilating" acts which discover the "negativities" of denial, negation, absence, otherness, abstraction, determination, the possible, the potential, the subjunctive, the "not" in being. Consciousness is not a "mode of being" and can never be reduced to being; nor can being ever be reduced to consciousness. It is necessarily non-substantial; its only content comes from its objects; its only unity comes from its objects; it is a pure intentionality, a directedness towards a world of being which it is not.
Edie, J.M. (1994)., The question of the transcendental ego: Sartre's critique of Husserl, in T. J. Stapleton (ed.), The question of hermeneutics, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 127-151.
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