Monday, December 18, 2006

The Demon Ego

Henry says that the immanent body and the transcendent body both have the quality of being mine (Philosophy and Phenomenology of the Body, p. 115). He's obviously overlooking the possibility of being inhabited by a demon ego. When I reflect upon myself, how do I know that the mine that reflects and the mine that is reflected upon are in fact the same mine? If they are mine in different ways, which feels at least plausible, then I wonder about the possibility of at least one instance of mine not being properly and truly mine. Could my transcendent being belong to someone else? Or what if its my immanent being that really isn't mine? How horrible.

I'm joking of course, but there is a serious issue here. Henry says, "Because our objective body is only a representation of our original body, the problems which the duality of these two bodies poses and the unity of meaning which unites them are altogether analogous to the problems which stem from the relationships between the transcendent ego and the absolute ego" (p. 133). Pace Henry, and without the benefit of having read his Essence of Manifestation, this unity can be doubted, by the same stroke that separates the transcendent from the absolute egos, which, although essential to phenomenology, seems to have created a problem that wasn't there to begin with in the phenomenon of the ego. Or was it? Who exactly is the ego that can reflect upon himself?

Update. In a footnote to his Conclusion Herny says, "the objective transcendent body which we continually designate as 'ours', can obviously be that of another ego, which is what takes place in normal erotic life" (p. 216). Hmm.

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posted by Fido the Yak at 4:37 PM.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Mario Crocco's 'Palindrome' (I think the web version may not have these comments:

"A cogito, a doubting action resisting itself, is the intuition of the extramental objectivity of certain proprium, unarguably provided by its very disbelieving self-agency. As such, it is one of the main evidential tools both in the ontology of the existential condition, and in the ontology of the minds’ severalization into ever-personal knowledges.

"One cannot get rid of one’s existence in order to adequately disbelieve in one’s reality. Just as one’s extramental reality cannot be disposed of so as to run at thirty miles per hour with one’s own forces, one’s mental reality cannot be disposed of and so definitively base one’s disbelief in one’s reality. In both cases, our semovience is frustrated by our ontic condition, which thereby becomes ontologically characterized. Similar to how one categorizes other extramentalities through the allowances and frustrations that they impose on our semovience, the extramentality belonging to our mind frustrates our esemplastic semovient action in the attempt to doubt oneself and, so, simply evinces another extramentality – that of our mind.

"The role of empathy:
Yet, what is easier than imaginarily taking the place of someone else? Than “putting” myself in another’s place? Than reading a novel? Growing up as an ape, parrot or donkey, or even as a doll, does not seem unthinkable. Movies rely on it. This projective empathy, or Einfühlung wielded even by Husserl (to keep intersubjectivity monadological and yet “transcend” the ego by the alter ego, like Descartes “transcended” the cogito by God: cf. Husserl 1931, 1973), was evolutionarily refined as required to adaptively elaborate interindividual transactions in mind-controlled animals.

Husserl, Edmund (1973, orig. 1931), Cartesianische Meditationen und Pariser Vorträge, Husserliana vol. I, second reprint (S. Strasser, R. Boehm, eds.), Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague.

Just reading around.

December 18, 2006 9:54 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

Mario has a lot on the ball. I still haven't read Maine de Biran, but I'll make a note do that, along with trying to use "esemplastic" in a sentence--thought I'm not sure that Mario doesn't have a specialized neurological sense of the word in mind. Anyway, it kind of makes sense to me.

December 19, 2006 11:58 AM  

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