Towards a Responsive Subject: Husserl on Affection
Edmund Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology is often characterized as “egological”. It posits a pure ego that autonomously constitutes the world through its intentional acts. Focusing on the theme of affection in Husserl, this paper will try to correct this standard interpretation of his phenomenology. It addresses concepts like “affectional pull” [Zug] and “stimulus” [Reiz], that both point towards something that exceeds the powers of the ego, embedding its spontaneity in something pre-given. This paper aims to contextualize transcendental subjectivity, shielding it from critiques describing it as a violent, anthropo-centric concept, that would be symptomatic for Western, egocentric philosophy and culture. It will show a vulnerable subject, standing out in the storm of affections. A being-affected-by something precedes every act of consciousness, embedding egoic activity in a gift, to which this activity is the grateful reply.