Perception and Passivity. Can the Passive Pregiveness Be Phenomenalized?

  • Pedro Manuel dos Santos Alves University of Lisbon


In what follows, I intend to address an issue which is at the boundaries of the phenomenological method of reflective explication, ant that, in this sense, points to some limitations of the phenomenolog­ical approach to consciousness and mind. I am referring to an aporetic situation that is at the heart of the phenomenological analysis of passivity. On the one hand, phenomenology shows, at least indirectly, a passive life that is beyond the first steps of the ac­tivity of the ego in the receptive, affective life. This is something that is beyond the rising of an ego, and from which a phenomenology of the ego-form of sub­jective life could be addressed. On the other end, the analytic and conceptual tools of the phenomeno­logical method have no grips on this basic realm of subjective life. As a result, Husserl’s analysis of passivity starts with the evidence of a pre-affective, pre-egoic realm, from which a phenomenology of the ego could be developed. However, Husserl’s analyses end up with the denegation of this dimension, as if it was invisible for the phenomenological method. As a consequence, the starting point of the analysis is not passivity proper, but rather the primitive forms of receptivity, which is already a first layer of the activity of the ego. Instead of an analysis of the ego-polarization (the “birth” of the ego), the egoic layer of con­scious life is simply presupposed. A phenomenology of the ego-form is, thus, at the same time promised and denied. This aporetic situation is visible in the alteration of the concept of a passive pregiveness in Husserl’s Analysis Concerning Passive Synthesis.


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How to Cite
ALVES, Pedro Manuel dos Santos. Perception and Passivity. Can the Passive Pregiveness Be Phenomenalized?. Phainomenon, [S.l.], n. 26, p. 13-35, oct. 2017. ISSN 2183-0142. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 21 feb. 2018.