The aporia of affection in Husserl's analyses concerning passive and active synthesis

Abstract

FEEL FREE TO CITE - IGNORE IN-PDF REQUEST Husserl defines affection in the Analyses1 as "the allure given to consciousness, the particular pull that an object given to consciousness exercises on the ego."2 That something becomes prominent for the ego implies that the object exerts a kind of 'pull' upon the ego, a demanding of egoic attention. This affective pull is relative in force, such that the same object can be experienced in varying modes of prominence and affective relief depending upon bodily comportment, egoic attentiveness, etc. The phenomenon of affection allows Husserl to describe the genesis of association in terms of the lawful, regular exertions of affection upon the ego, prompting (for example) the reproduction of remembered pasts in retention on a purely passive level. Affection thus provides Husserl a non-Humean mechanism for the lawful phenomenon of association. In this light, we can see that affection plays a crucial role in the passive phenomenon of association and thereby in the constitution of sense. The precise role played by affection, however, remains quite problematic in the Analyses. Husserl is rather unclear on this point, and two of the leading commentators on the Analyses, Anthony Steinbock and Bruce B├ęgout, offer opposing viewpoints. Is affection the precondition for the constitution of any sense unity, as Steinbock suggests, or is it the..

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