(God) (Husserl)


The first time I realized that God was going to appear in Husserl’s Ideas was reading Edith Wyschogrod in Crossover Queries, where she mentions that passage in which Husserl remarks upon the impossibility of a “world-God,” one who appears or is given to consciousness in the mode of actuality.

(God) shows up on p.142 as a note, in which Husserl explains that “there must be in the absolute stream of consciousness  and its infinities other ways of manifesting the transcendent than the constituting of thing-like realities as unities of appearance that agree together” (142-3).

And then Husserl adds, “[T]here must be intuitive manifestioans to which theorizing thought can adjust itself, and by following the indication of which in a reasonable spirit we might come to understand the single rule of the assumed theological principle,” even if we can’t understand this principle in terms of natural causality, which only makes sense of “things” at a lower constitutional “pitch.” Husserl drops it at that. A phenomenologist, not a theologian, he has only seen fit to note the potential bearing of the work of the one for the work of the latter (ibid.).

I forget if Edith noted this other passage, also from Ideas, where Husserl speculates how “[c]ertainly an incorporeal, and, paradoxical as it may sound, even an inanimate and non-personal consciousness is conceivable, i.e., a stream of experience in which the intentional empirical unities, body, soul, empirical ego-subject do not take shape, in which all empirical concepts, and therefore  also that of experience in the psychological sense (as experience of a person, an animal ego) have nothing to support them, and at any rate no validity (p.152).

While (God) goes unnamed in this alluring little passage, I wonder what other name to give this kind of incorporeal, even inanimate and non-personal form of consciousness or streaming experience. It looks like the view of shapeless divinity through the prism of pure phenomenology.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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5 Responses to (God) (Husserl)

  1. Jeffrey Bernstein says:

    Is that final passage the one to which Derrida refers in “The Ends of Man” when he speaks about Husserl’s thought allowing for consciousness without a subject? I’ve always been fascinated by that possibility in Husserl as well.

  2. Cass Fisher says:

    Just stumbled across S.H. Bergman’s essay “Metaphysical Implications of Husserl’s Phenomenology,” _Scripta Hierosolymitana_ v.3, 1955. I suspect you will find it interesting.

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