Husserl and the phenomenology of temporality
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Each moment of my experience seems to be present for only a moment, and then to slip away into the past, even if the object that I am conscious of remains present and unchanging. Consciousness seems to involve a successive flow, and the often-used metaphor of a stream of consciousness seems appropriate. Things become more complex if the object of which I am conscious is itself a temporal object, something that undergoes constant and obvious change, such as a melody. In that case we have two successions to explain – the successive flow of consciousness and the succession of the temporal object. In some way the flowing retreat of consciousness is able to maintain an orderly sense of the melody as it expires in time. According to Husserl (1966), the consciousness of such temporal objects is integrally related to the temporal structure of consciousness itself. In this chapter I summarize Husserl’s phenomenology of time consciousness and situate it in the larger context of late nineteenthand early twentieth-century considerations about the psychology of temporal experience. Then, in an attempt to place it in a more contemporary context I will suggest an enactive interpretation of this phenomenology, first by extending Husserl’s analysis of consciousness to bodily action, and, second, by considering the rethinking of the notion of primal impression suggested by Husserl himself.
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