Bergson's and Sartre's account of the self in relation to the transcendental ego

International Journal of Philosophical Studies 9 (2):177 – 198 (2001)
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In The Transcendence of the Ego Sartre deals with the idea of the self and of its relation to what he calls 'pure consciousness'. Pure consciousness is an impersonal transcendental field, in which the self is produced in such a way that consciousness thereby disguises its 'monstrous spontaneity'. I want to explore to what extent the ego is to be understood as a result of absolute consciousness. I also claim that the idea of the self Sartre has in mind is Bergson's 'moi profond'. Since this 'deeper self' has to be understood as a result of an impersonal transcendental field, it loses its central position in consciousness. Sartre claims that the ego is not transcendental, as Husserl had claimed, but transcendent to consciousness. But can the role of Husserl's transcendental ego be reduced to that transcendent Bergsonian 'deeper self'? Isn't there something irreducible in Husserl's transcendental ego?



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