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date: 24 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Whether consciousness involves an ego is a thorny and complicated question in phenomenology. This chapter defines pure phenomenology and the peculiar way in which the problem of the ego is framed in this approach, then discusses three different approaches to the issue. First, Husserl’s egological account of consciousness is sketched in connection with his analysis of attention. Second, Sartre’s non-egological arguments are examined in detail. There is reason to ask whether his critique successfully applies to the Husserlian conception. Third, Gurwitsch’s non-egological view is considered. It is not clear that Gurwitsch’s non-egological theory of attention can account for the distinction between activity and passivity in consciousness. The chapter then shifts to contemporary debates about the self. The notion of the minimal embodied prereflective self is presented and opposed to alternative views. The chapter highlights several rich and complex questions concerning the ego and the self raised in the phenomenological literature.

Keywords: consciousness, phenomenology, ego, egological, attention, reflection, minimal self, Edmund Husserl, Jean-Paul Sartre, Aron Gurwitsch

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