Husserl, Bakhtin, and the other I. or: Mikhail M. Bakhtin – a Husserlian?

HORIZON. Studies in Phenomenology 5 (2):271-289 (2016)
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Mikhail Bakhtin aimed to invent a phenomenology of the self-experience and of the experience of the other in his early work. In order to realize such a phenomenology he combined different approaches he called idealism and materialism / naturalism. The first one he linked to Edmund Husserl, but did hardly name him directly concerning his phenomenology. Does this intersubjective phenomenology give a hint that Bakhtin used Husserlian ideas more than considered yet? Or did they both invent similar ideas independently from each other? Both thinkers dealt with the issue of intersubjectivity. Husserl judged statements on other psycho-physical realities as metaphysics in the Logical Investigations II, but in his Ideas I he described the others as enhancing one’s experience through their “experiential surpluses”. In the same way Bakhtin described the unique perspective of the other as a mandatory and valuable part of the world of the act in his Philosophy of the Act and his investigations on Author and Hero. In order to understand the influence of Husserl’s phenomenology for Bakhtin’s early philosophy we need to take a look closer at those contentual parallels as well as some paraphrases yet unnoticed. This gives hint for the question if for Bakhtin Husserl was more than just a name dropped. In this article I reconstructed the relations between both thinkers and answered the question if the dating of Bakhtin’s early work until 1928 has to be re-considered.

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