Central and East European
Society for Phenomenology

Conference | Paper

Schwingung at the Heart of Phenomenon. Anonymity, Pre-personality, and Intersubjectivity

Filip Borek

Thursday 2 December 2021

09:00 - 09:40

Zoom 1-1

Relying on the requirement of radicalized transcendental phenomenology, namely to think phenomenon as “nothing-but-phenomenon” (Richir), the presented paper argues against three different ways of understanding intersubjectivity, providing at the same time a positive contribution to the phenomenological problem of the alter ego. Firstly, it criticizes an attempt to reduce the alter ego to a mere Spiegelung of my own ego, pointing out that it ultimately deprives the Other of its transcendence. Secondly, it shows, on the other hand, that ascribing to the alter ego the character of “absolute transcendence” must necessarily make any intersubjective relation impossible. Thirdly, it argues against Fink’s—and also partially Scheler’s—proposal of solving the problem of intersubjectivity (which he ascribes to late Husserl) by postulating the absolute anonymous Urleben, in which there is no prior difference between ego and alter ego. In comparison with the mentioned attempts, the presented paper argues that (1) the phenomenon-as-nothing-but-phenomenon implies the irreducible “original plurality,” (2) which is not yet a plurality of determined subjects (insofar as the transcendental phenomenological field remains “impersonal”; Sartre). To think the essence of intersubjectivity properly, one must adhere to two conditions: preserving the transcendence of the alter ego, as well as ascribing to it a form of presence for ego, without which no form of intersubjective relation would ultimately be impossible. I argue that the “deduction” of intersubjectivity from phenomenon-as-nothing-but-phenomenon follows these requirements.

The starting point of my elucidations is Husserl’s thesis, according to which the transcendent object as an identical pole must necessarily be fixed as a correlate of intersubjective experience. Only through the intersubjective communication the objectivity can be established and retained in its stability. If a phenomenon can lift itself up to the level of objectivity as harmoniously given center of regards, then the possibility of such a “centralization” (which has both discursive and prediscursive sense) requires the counterpoint in the shape of “decentralization” or ekstasis of phenomenon, which is nothing but this decentralization. I characterize the double movement of centralization and decentralization with a German word Schwingung, “oscilation” or “vibration.” The presented paper argues that this “vibration” has “anonymous” or “pre-personal” (Merleau Ponty) character. It designates not the sphere devoid of any difference between ego and alter ego, but rather a dynamic aspect of subjectivity that, on one hand, emerges through limitation and differentiation, and yet, on the other hand, preserves in itself that what is limited. I argue that the pre-personality in question is a trace (in the Derridean sense) of the primordial indeterminacy of phenomenon at the level of intentional experience, being nothing but the divergence or écart of phenomenon itself. It will be shown that phenomenon—as long as it decentralizes “itself” into manifold of perspectives—is that what constitutes the unbreakable asymmetry between perspectives, and—as long as it “concentrates” the multitude of perspectives—enables at the same time relationality between subjects.