, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 1-12

Revisiting the Zahavi–Brough/Sokolowski Debate

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Abstract

In 1999, Dan Zahavi’s Self Awareness and Alterity: A Phenomenological Investigation initiated a critique of the standard interpretation of the distinction between the second and third levels of Husserl’s analysis of time-constituting consciousness. At stake was the possibility of a coherent account of self-awareness (Zahavi’s concern), but also the possibility of prereflectively distinguishing the acts of consciousness (Brough and Sokolowski’s rebuttal of Zahavi’s critique). Using insights gained from Husserl’s Analyses Concerning Passive Synthesis rather than the work on time-consciousness, this paper provides a new, more precise vocabulary in which to carry on the debate, in the hopes of bringing it to a mutually satisfactory resolution. After briefly laying out the terms of the Zahavi–Brough/Sokolowski debate (Sect. 2), I then elaborate a three-fold distinction in consciousness from the Analyses (Sect. 3) and relate that back to the issue of objectivity in the debate (Sect. 4). I end by suggesting how this three-fold model from the Analyses helps us preserve the essentially tripartite structure (as Brough and Sokolowski insist we do) while not making one of these levels the object of another (in keeping with Zahavi’s critique) (Sect. 5).