Intending Transcendence

Edith Wyschogrod

in Crossover Queries

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print June 2006 | ISBN: 9780823226061
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235148 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

Intending Transcendence

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Edmund Husserl maintains that the “rich use of fancy” in art and poetry can contribute significantly to phenomenological philosophy conceived as a rigorous science. For Husserlian transcendental phenomenology, exteriority, or being that is “outside”, is always (and already) being for an “inside”. This chapter argues that Husserl attempts to perform the high-wire act of finding a place for transcendence while upholding the primacy of a consciousness that subordinates objects to itself. Thus, phenomenology can be said both to succumb to and to elude a conception of being beyond the being of consciousness. The chapter maintains that, in his questioning of the primacy of the transcendental subject and in his description of the desire for God, Jacques Derrida's account of naming and negative theology is essentially transgressive, an erotics of transcendence. When the sheer contingency of fact leads to an alterity that is beyond consciousness, the way is open for a Levinasian ethics of transcendence.

Keywords: Edmund Husserl; transcendence; phenomenology; God; Jacques Derrida; negative theology; ethics; alterity; consciousness

Chapter.  6388 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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