Hyper-transcendentalism and Intentionality: On the Specificity of the 'Transcendental' in Material Phenomenology

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    This article seeks to grasp the meaning of Michel Henry's use of the term transcendental to understand its specific nature as pure experience that owes nothing to the constituted or the a posteriori. It then considers the methodological consequences and difficulties resulting from such a conception of the transcendental. According to our hypothesis, in order to maintain the 'major division' between the empirical and the transcendental, material phenomenology is caught in a form of double bind. One cannot say much about the transcendental without risking contamination from the empirical. As far as the constituted is concerned, it is certainly possible to refer to it, but actually there is nothing to say. This paper tests this interpretative hypothesis against a specific example; namely, the phenomenological description of feeling offered by Henry. The analysis concludes considering whether material phenomenology does not lapse into what Rudolf Bernet calls a form of 'hyper-transcendentalism' in the sense that the totality of empirical reality ends up being 'transcendentalized'. No basis can be provided for intentionality, as Henry sometimes claims: It becomes a superfluous concept.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)389-400
    Number of pages12
    JournalInternational Journal of Philosophical Studies
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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