Takuya Nakamura / Primal-Ego and Pre-Ego. Identity and Difference

11-10-2016The phenomenological tradition treats ego as an extremely complex notion, which is related to temporal dimension, passivity, first-person perspective, and so on. I shall explore these rich insights of the phenomenological tradition (mainly Husserl) on the ego. Undoubtedly, one of the most important contributions of Husserl’s phenomenology is the thorough analysis of the ego. Since Ideas I, where the pure ego is introduced in phenomenology, Husserl continuously develops and deepens his analysis of ego. Then, in Ideas II, he introduces the personal ego and relates it with the pure ego. Finally, he differentiates the ego into two egos, namely primal-ego (Ur-ich) and pre-ego (Vor-ich) in his later period.

My main concern about these two different egos is in the relationship of them, namely their identity and difference. In my opinion, these two ego are two different ways of appearing of one and the same phenomenon, the ego which Husserl eventually encounters in his last phase of his phenomenological analysis. Although there is some tension between these two egos, for example the primal-ego basically belongs to the framework of the static phenomenology, while the pre-ego emerges from the genetic phenomenological point of view, there is continuity as the ego. My aim is to elucidate how to explain these two ego as a concrete unity.

In addition, I shall explore the social dimension of the ego as a concrete unity of the primal-ego and the pre-ego. According to Husserl, pre-ego is a preceding form of the person or personal ego. Because this person ego has a social dimension and engages intersubjectively in social relations, the ego as concrete unity of primal ego and pre-ego also has a social dimension. And it is the result of Husserl’s phenomenological analysis of the ego. I will extend the research on the ego to its social dimension, in consideration of the phenomenological analysis of life-world. In this analysis of the social dimension, particular attention will be given to the problem of intersubjectivity, especially related to the life-world shared with others.

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