Published in D. Zahavi (ed.): Self-awareness, temporality and alterity. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, 1998, 21-40.

Dan Zahavi University of Copenhagen THE FRACTURE IN SELF-AWARENESS The detailed investigation of intentionality stands as a major achievement in 20. Century philosophy. This focus upon subjectivity's ability to be directed toward and occupied with objects different from itself, should however not obscure the fact that it has another important, but apparently antithetical feature, namely self-awareness. Obviously I can be aware of blooming trees, rainy mornings or the cries of playing children, but I can also be aware that these are seen, smelt and heard, that different perceptions are taking place, and that I am the one experiencing them, just as I might be aware that I am hungry, tired or happy. It is, however, one thing to realize that self-awareness exists, and something quite different to understand exactly what it is. One traditional suggestion has consisted in pointing to the contrast between intentionality, which is characterized by its difference between the subject and the object of experience, and self-awareness which appears to imply their strict identity. Any convincing theory of self-awareness has to be able to explain this contrast, and the most natural explanation seems to be that self-awareness differs from ordinary intentional awareness, exactly because it is an awareness, which has itself, rather than anything else, as its object. This theory, stating that self-awareness is the result of consciousness directing its 'gaze' at itself, taking itself as its own object, and thus becoming aware of itself, is commonly known as the reflection theory of self-awareness. Although it at first sight seems obvious and unavoidable to say that self-awareness is exactly characterized by the subject having itself, rather than anything else, as its object, this approach ultimately generates so severe difficulties, however, that it must be abandoned. In recent years the most thorough 1 demonstration of this fact can be found in the writings of Manfred Frank. I will not summarize all of his arguments, but let me briefly spell out the most important one: The reflection model of self-awareness operates with a duality of moments. No matter whether it comes about by one act taking another act as its object, or one act taking itself as its object, we are dealing with a kind of self-division, and have to distinguish the reflecting from the reflected. Of course, the aim of reflection is then to overcome or negate this difference and to posit both moments as identical - otherwise we would not have a case of self-awareness. This strategy is however confronted with two fundamental problems. How can an awareness of something different generate self-awareness (or vice versa how can the act of perception become self-aware by being the object of a different act) and how can the identity of 2 the two relata be certified without presupposing that which it is meant to explain: namely self-awareness. The reflection theory claims that self-awareness is the result of a reflection, that is, that an act of perception in order to become self-aware (and not merely remain un- or preconscious), must await its objectivation by a subsequent act of reflection. In order to speak of self-awareness it is however not sufficient that the act in question is reflexively thematized and made into an object. It must be grasped as being identical with the act of reflection. In order to be a case of self-awareness, it is not sufficient that A is conscious of B, A must be conscious of B as being identical with A. In other words: To count as a case of self-awareness the act of perception must be grasped as being identical with the act of reflection (and since a numerical identity is excluded in advance, the identity in question must be that of belonging to the same subject or being part of the same stream of consciousness). This poses a difficulty, however, for how can the act of reflection (which lacks self-awareness) be in a position to realize that it is identical with the act of perception? If it is to encounter something as itself, if it is to recognize or identify something as itself, it needs a prior acquaintance with itself. Self-awareness cannot be the result of the encounter between two unconscious acts. Consequently, the act of reflection must either await a further act of reflection in order to become selfaware, in which case we are confronted with a vicious infinite regress, or it must be admitted that it is itself already in a state of self-awareness prior to reflection, and that would of course involve us in a circular explanation, presupposing that which was meant to be explained, and implicitly rejecting the thesis of the 3 reflection model of self-awareness: That all self-awareness is brought about by reflection. In the light of this criticism it should be obvious that the attempt to conceive of self-awareness primarily through the model of reflection, and consequently to assign it a subject-object structure must be abandoned. More generally, Frank warns against taking original self-awareness as a relation, be it a relation 4 between two acts or a relation between the act and itself. Every relation entails a distinction between two (or more) relata, and according to Frank it would be impossible to account for the immediacy and infallibility

of self-awareness (particularly its so-called immunity to the error of misidentification), if it were in any way a mediated process. Thus, self-awareness cannot be the result of reflection understood as a procedure of introspective self-identification, since every identification implies the possibility of misidentification, and selfawareness is not subject to that error. If I am dizzy, I cannot be mistaken about who the subject of that experience is, and it is nonsensical to ask whether I am sure that I am the one who is dizzy, or to demand a specification of the criteria being used in determining whether or not the felt dizziness is really mine. Against this background Frank concludes that self-awareness cannot come about as the result of a self-identification, a reflection, an inner vision or introspection, nor should it be conceived as a type of intentionality or as a conceptually mediated propositional attitude, all of which entails the distinction between two or more relata. The basic self-awareness of an experience is not mediated by foreign elements such as concepts and classificatory criteria, nor by any internal difference or distance. It is an immediate and direct self-acquaintance which are characterized by being completely and absolutely irrelational (and 5 consequently best described as a purely immanent self-presence). The criticism directed at the reflection theory has generally not been meant to imply that reflective self-awareness and objectifying self-thematisation is impossible, but merely that it always presupposes a prior unthematic and pre-reflective self-awareness as its condition of possibility. Thus, it is necessary to distinguish pre-reflective self-awareness, which is an immediate, implicit and irrelational, non-objectifying, non-conceptual and non-propositional self-acquaintance from reflective self-awareness, which is an explicit, 6 conceptual and objectifying thematisation of consciousness. * Frank's theory of self-awareness can hardly be called phenomenological. On the contrary, he and the other members of the so-called Heidelberg-school of self-awareness, that is Henrich, Cramer and Pothast, are not only markedly critical toward phenomenology, which they ultimately accuse of never having 7 managed to escape the reflection-theoretical paradigme of self-awareness. Their own theory are also distinguished by its formalistic, regressive and negative character. Rather than giving a positive description of the phenomenon of self-awareness, it focuses upon the aporetical consequences of the reflection theory of self-awareness, and provides an instructive and systematic analysis of how not to conceive of selfawareness. Now, the crucial question is of course whether Frank's account is convincing. As I will attempt to show shortly, there is in fact a discrepancy between his characterization of the structure of self-awareness and the one to be found in for instance Husserl, Sartre, Derrida and Merleau-Ponty. But interestingly enough, there is also one phenomenologist who quite on his own has reached some conclusions very similar to Frank's. Let me try to give a brief presentation of Michel Henry's reflections, since they might provide us with further arguments in support of Frank's central thesis: that self-awareness is strictly irrelational. In his books L'essence de la manifestation, Philosophie et phénoménologie du corps and Phénoménologie materielle Michel Henry has developed a theory of self-awareness which to a certain extent represents a surprising turn within phenomenology. Whereas post-husserlian phenomenologists have generally criticized Husserl for having disregarded genuine exteriority, Henry accuses Husserl of never 8 having analyzed the immanence and interiority of subjectivity in a sufficiently radical and pure manner. For Henry the true task of a radical phenomenology is not to describe the phenomena in all their ontic diversity, but to examine their very phenomenality, and its condition of possibility. As he says, the task 9 of phenomenology is to disclose the very essence of manifestation. Given that the appearance of different objects, say penknives and apples, has a condition of possibility, a classical problem, which already Kant was faced with, has been whether this principle of revelation can itself be brought to givenness. Can the condition of possibility for all manifestation manifest itself? Can that which conditions all phenomena 10 become a phenomenon itself? Whereas a traditional reply has been no - if the principle of revelation were to become a phenomenon itself, it would no longer be that which conditions, but something that were itself conditioned - Henry's answer is different. According to Henry, the entire history of Western thought has been dominated by what he calls an ontological monism, that is by the assumption that there is only one type of manifestation. Thus it has been taken for granted, that to be given, to appear, was always to be given as an object. Needless to say, it is exactly this presupposition which has been behind the persisting attempts to interpret self-awareness as a reflection or an introspection, that is to understand self-awareness as the result of an objectifying, intentional activity, and to comprehend it as yet another object11 manifestation.


For Henry, this entire approach is fundamentally mistaken. According to him, there is in fact two absolutely heterogeneous types of phenomenality, the phenomenality of constituted objects, and the phenomenality of self-manifesting subjectivity. And Henry claims, that it is the latter which is the most fundamental type of manifestation. It is self-awareness which is the ultimate principle of revelation, it is self12 awareness which permits, conditions and founds all object-manifestation. Henry's disclosure of this unconditioned self-manifestation is not to be taken as a regressive deduction of a transcendental precondition, but as a description of an actual and incontestable dimension in lived subjectivity. This is clear from what might be Henry's central thesis, namely that the self-manifestation of subjectivity is an immediate, non-objectifying and passive occurrence, and therefore best described as a 13 self-affection. As illustration, Henry calls attention to the way in which we are aware of our feelings. When we are in pain, anxious, embarrassed, stubborn or happy, we do not feel it through the intervention of a sense or an 14 intentional act, but are immediately aware of it. There is no distance or separation between the feeling of 15 pain or happiness and our awareness (of) it, since it is given in and through itself. More generally, Henry conceives of self-affection as a purely interior and self-sufficient occurrence involving no difference, distance or mediation between that which affects and that which is affected. It is an event which is strictly 16 non-horizontal, non-ecstatic and non-temporal. It is immediate, both in the sense that the self-affection takes place without being mediated by the world, but also in the sense that it is neither delayed nor 17 retentionally mediated. As this last remark indicates, Henry has certain reservations against Husserl's position in Vorlesungen zur Phänomenologie des inneren Zeitbewußtseins. Although Husserl in this work also 18 operates with the notion of a pre-reflective, impressional, self-manifestation, Henry accuses him of taking 19 impressionality to be a type of manifestation which is constituted in the temporal flow. That is, instead of taking impressionality as a truly immanent and non-ecstatic self-manifestation, Husserl treats it as a givenness in inner time-consciousness, that is as a givenness which is intrinsically caught up in the ecstaticcentered structure of primal impression-retention-protention. According to Henry, however, this conception is ruinous to a correct understanding of impressionality. It implies that basic self-manifestation is retentionally mediated, and it consequently furnishes impressionality with a rupture and an exteriority which is completely foreign to its nature: Dès ce moment, en effet, la donation extatique de l'impression dans la conscience interne du temps a remplacé son auto-donation dans l'impressionalité et la question de 20 l'impression est perdue de vue. Henry certainly acknowledges that the double intentionality of the retention is an ecstatic happening which belongs to inner time-consciousness, but in contrast to most other phenomenologists he does not take inner time-consciousness to be the original self-manifestation of subjectivity, but understands it as the 21 primary self-objectivation. Thus, Henry can reproach classical phenomenology for having been so preoccupied with the analysis of the self-objectivation of transcendental life, that it completely missed the truly 22 fundamental level of self-manifestation. To complicate matters somewhat, Henry has recently deviated from his firm declaration that the self-manifestation of subjectivity is completely non-temporal. As he admits, the very notion of self-affection is not a static, but a dynamic notion. Self-affection understood as the proces of affecting and being affected 23 is not the rigid self-identity of an object, but a subjective movement, and this movement can best be described as the self-temporalisation of subjectivity. But, as he then adds, we are still dealing with a unique 24 form of temporalisation, which is absolutely immanent, non-ecstatic and non-horizontal. Thus, Henry remains convinced that subjectivity is absolute in the sense of being completely selfsufficient in its radical interiority. It is immanent in the sense that it manifests itself to itself without ever leaving itself, without transcending itself, without producing or presupposing any kind of fracture or alterity. Henry therefore insists that the originary self-manifestation of subjectivity excludes all kinds of fracture, 25 separation, alterity, difference, exteriority, and opposition, and with words reminiscent of the position of the 26 Heidelberg-School, he adds that it cannot in any way be conceived as a kind of relation. The selfgivenness of consciousness does not imply any relation, for relationality has no place in radical immanence. An immanence so saturated with self-manifestation that it excludes the kind of lack which would necessarily 27 accompany any kind of fracture or internal distance. The immediate and non-ecstatic self-manifestation is a unique type of manifestation. But it is a type of manifestation which will remain concealed for a type of thinking which adheres to the principle of ontological monism, and which only conceives of manifestation in terms of horison, transcendence and


ecstasis. As Henry points out, the true essence of manifestation can neither reveal itself in the world, nor be grasped by any category pertaining to the world. Since the essence of manifestation cannot appear in the visibility of exteriority, it is called obscure and invisible, and it is exactly at this point that the radicality of Henry's thought is revealed: According to him, the phenomenality of absolute subjectivity must be 29 characterized as an invisible revelation. Of course, this invisibility should not be interpreted as a mode of non-manifestation. It is invisible, it does not reveal itself in the light of the world, but it is not unconscious, nor 30 the negation of all phenomenality, but on the contrary the most fundamental type of manifestation. Thus, 31 Henry's project can be described as the ambitious attempt to develop a phenomenology of the invisible. * Having now presented some central elements in Frank's and Henry's theories of self-awareness I would like to focus upon one single question: Is it correct to describe original self-awareness as an 32 immediate self-presence, which excludes all types of alterity, difference and fracture? Basically, I wish to argue that a consideration of the intentionality, temporality, intersubjectivity, corporeality and reflexivity of subjectivity is bound to raise difficulties for this view. Let me try briefly to sketch out the line of thought, using arguments to be found in Husserl, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, and Derrida. Let me start with Merleau-Ponty, who has repeatedly insisted - correctly I believe - that selfawareness should not be understood as a preoccupation with self that excludes or impedes the contact with transcendent being. On the contrary, subjectivity is essentially oriented and open towards that which it is not, be it the world or the Other, and it is exactly in this openness that it reveals itself to itself. What is disclosed in the cogito is consequently not an enclosed immanence, a pure interior self-presence, but an openness toward alterity, a movement of perpetual self-transcendence. It is because we are present to the world that 33 we are present to ourselves. It is in our confrontation with that which we are not, that we are self-aware. A similar line of thought can be found in both Husserl and Sartre. Thus, in his reflections concerning the relationship between self-awareness and hyletic affection, Husserl unequivocally states that subjectivity is 34 dependent upon and penetrated by alterity. As it is formulated in the manuscript E III: Innerhalb der Innerlichkeit das erste 'Ichfremde', dem puren Ich vorgegeben, das Ich 35 Affizierende (Reize Ausübende): das Hyletische. In Husserliana 14, he writes, Dann hätten wir zu sagen, das konkrete Ich hat in seinem Leben als Bewusstseinsleben beständig einen Kern von Hyle, von Nicht-Ich, aber wesentlich ichzugehörig. Ohne ein Reich der Vorgegebenheiten, ein Reich konstituierter Einheiten, konstituiert als Nicht-Ich, 36 ist kein Ich möglich. Thus Husserl makes it quite clear that the concrete ego cannot be thought independently of its relation to 37 that which is foreign to it. But of course, this was already spelled out in his theory of intentionality: Das Ich ist nicht denkbar ohne ein Nicht-Ich, auf das es sich intentional bezieht.


What are Husserl's more precise arguments concerning the interdependency between self-awareness and hetero-affection? On the one hand, it is well known that Husserl is quite explicit in stating that inner time39 consciousness taken on its own is a pure, but abstract form. In concreto there can be no primal impression without hyletic data, no inner time-consciousness, no pre-reflective self-awareness, without a 40 temporal content. Thus, time-consciousness never appears in pure form, but always as a pervasive 41 sensibility, as the very sensing of the sensations. As Husserl puts it in Zur Phänomenologie des inneren 42 Zeitbewußtseins: “Das Empfinden sehen wir an als das ursprüngliche Zeitbewußtsein.” Basically, this is the reason why Husserl insists upon the inseparability between Quer- and Längsintentionalität. The two are 43 given conjointly, and can only appear in this interdependent fashion. On the other hand, we find a similar interdependence between self-affection and hetero-affection when we turn to bodily self-awareness. When it comes to the kinæsthetic sensations, which can be interpreted as constituting embodied subjectivity in its most original form, they are only conscious in their correlation to the perceptual (hyletic) sensations (Merkmalsempfindungen or Aspektdaten), and more generally, Husserl would claim that the body cannot appear to itself independently of its relation to that 44 which is foreign to it. The very exploration and constitution of objects implies a simultaneous self-


constitution, since I cannot perceive physical objects without having an accompanying bodily selfawareness, be it thematic or unthematic: The hand cannot touch without being touched and thereby 45 brought to givenness itself, and it is only when the hand is affected in this way that it is given for itself. As 46 Husserl says, the touched and the touching are constituted in the same process. A particular striking manifestation of this interlacing can be found in the so-called double-sensation: When one hand touches the other, the touching hand (the perceiving organ) has a series of sensations which are objectified and interpreted as being properties of the touched hand (the perceived organ). However, the decisive difference between touching one's own body and everything else, be it inanimate objects or the body of Others, is exactly that the relation between the touching and the touched is reversible, since the touching is touched, 47 and the touched is touching. It is the very same (part of the) body which is feeling and which is felt, which 48 is a self and an Other. That the body can only appear to itself when it relates to something else is not to say that original bodily self-awareness should be taken as a kind of object-intentionality, but merely that it is an intentional consciousness which is self-aware. It is when we perceive that we are aware of ourselves, it is when we are affected, that we appear to ourselves. Thus we find the same conclusion as in Husserl's reflections concerning the inseparability of Quer- and Längsintentionalität: Self-awareness presupposes heteroaffection, since the subject only appears to itself across its affections, as an affected, exposed and self49 transgressing subject. The affection reveals both that which affects as well as that which is affected. Insofar as self-awareness and hetero-affection are interdependent (and naturally, it would be erronerous to start ascribing a kind of autonomy or primarity to the hetero-affection) it seems impossible to characterize self-awareness as a pure self-coinciding and self-sufficient irrelationality. If the self-givenness of the touch is inseparable from the manifestation of the touched, and if the self-affection of the lived body is always penetrated by the affection of the world, it seems impossible to protect the autonomy of the selfgivenness against contamination by alterity. The egoic and the non-egoic dimension of experience can be distinguished, but not separated. As the manuscript C 16 has it: Das Ich ist nicht etwas für sich und das Ichfremde ein vom Ich Getrenntes und zwischen beiden ist kein Raum für ein Hinwenden. Sondern untrennbar ist Ich und sein 50 Ichfremdes. If we turn to Sartre, he is known for arguing that consciousness can only be non-positionally aware of itself if it is positionally aware of something; that it is self-aware exactly insofar as it is conscious of a 51 transcendent object. The being of intentional consciousness consists for Sartre in its revelation of and 52 presence to transcendent being. To be conscious is to posit a transcendent object, that is an object, which is different from oneself. It is to be confronted with something which one is not, and it entails an awareness of this difference, i.e. a pre-reflective self-awareness of oneself as not being that which one is conscious 53 of. Thus consciousness is nothing apart from not being the transcendent object which it reveals. And it is precisely in this strong sense that consciousness needs intentionality, needs the confrontation with something different from itself, in order to be self-aware, otherwise it would loose every determination and 54 dissipate as pure nothingness. La négation est donc explicite et constitue le lien d'être entre l'objet perçu et le pour-soi. Le 55 Pour-soi n'est rien de plus que ce Rien translucide qui est négation de la chose perçue. [C]ar la conscience ne peut s'apparaître à soi-même que comme néantisation d'en-soi.

To use a striking formulation by Rosenberg, one might indeed say, that consciousness, according to Sartre, only gives itself to itself through a sort of via negativa. Original self-awareness is a pre-reflective awareness 57 of not being the object, of which it at the same time is intentionally conscious. Sartre insists upon the interdependence between self-awareness and self-transcendence. But he is not merely arguing that pre-reflective self-awareness cannot be understood as self-sufficiency or selfpreoccupation, he also claims that self-awareness is incompatible with strict self-identity, and that the selfawareness and being of subjectivity is dependent upon it being different from itself! Let me attempt to clarify this enigmatic claim, since it ultimately concerns a fundamental issue: The internal differentiation of prereflective self-awareness. 58 Sartre takes the notion of presence to imply duality and therefore at least a virtual separation. This does not only hold true for our knowledge of transcendent objects, however, but, claims Sartre, even for our pre-reflective self-awareness:


[L]a présence à soi suppose qu'une fissure impalpable s'est glissée dans l'être. S'il est présent à soi, c'est qu'il n'est pas tout à fait soi. La présence est une degradation 59 immédiate de la coïncidence, car elle suppose la séparation. Whereas the being of the object is characterized by solidity, positivity, self-sufficiency and -identity a table is purely and simply a table, neither more nor less, it knows no alterity and cannot relate to that 60 which is other -, this is not true for the being of subjectivity. My experience does not merely exist. It exists for-itself, that is self-aware. But to be aware of one's perception, even pre-reflectively, is no longer simply and merely to perceive, but to withdraw, wrench away from or transcend the perception. To be self-aware is to exist at a distance from oneself. Self-awareness and self-identity are incompatible determinations, wherefore Sartre questions the validity of the law of identity when it comes to an understanding of subjectivity, and writes that self-awareness presupposes a tiny fissure, separation or even duality in the 61 being of consciousness. Already on the pre-reflective level we find, what Sartre calls 'a pattern of duality', 'a game of reflections' or 'a dyad', namely the one existing between intentionality and self-awareness. Both moments of consciousness are strictly interdependent, but their functions are not identical and they do not coincide absolutely. Each of the two refers to the other, as that which it is not, but which it depends upon. They co-exist in a troubled unity, as a duality which is a unity, and the life of consciousness takes place in 62 this perpetual cross-reference. When Sartre speaks of a fissure or separation in the being of consciousness, he is obviously not talking about consciousness being separated from itself by some-thing, since the introduction of any substantial opacity would split it in two, replacing its dyadic unity with the duality of two separated objects. No, for Sartre, consciousness is separated from itself by no-thing, that is the separation in question is properly speaking an internal differentiation. But Sartre also claims that the nothing that separates consciousness from itself is at the root of time, and his description of the structure of consciousness gains credibility the moment we turn to temporality. Any convincing theory of self-awareness has to take temporality into consideration. Not only because it has to explain how I can remember a past experience as mine, but also because consciousness is so intrinsically temporal that even a clarification of instantaneous self-awareness must take it into account. It is not only possible to understand the perpetual self-differentiation, -distanciation, and -transcendence of subjectivity in temporal terms, it is necessary, since temporality constitutes the infrastructure of consciousness. It is inherently temporal and it is as temporal that it is pre-reflectively aware of itself. To use Sartre's formulation: Consciousness exists in the diasporatic form of temporality. Spread out in all three temporal dimensions it is always existing at a distance from itself, its self-presence is always permeated by absence, and this unique mode of being cannot be grasped through the category of an 63 irrelational, non-ecstatic self-presence. If we return to Merleau-Ponty, he also argues that pre-reflective self-awareness must be contaminated by alterity. Otherwise intersubjectivity would be impossible. Thus, Merleau-Ponty takes selfcoincidence and the relation with an Other to be mutually incompatible determinations. If subjectivity were in fact characterized by a pure self-presence, if I were given to myself in an absolutely unique way, I would lack the means of ever recognizing the embodied Other as another subjectivity - and moreover lack the ability to recognize myself in the mirror. As he says in Phénoménologie de la perception: Si la seule expérience du sujet est celle que j'obtiens en coïncidant avec lui, si l'esprit par définition se dérobe au 'spectateur étranger' et ne peut être reconnu qu'intérieurement, mon Cogito est par principe unique, il n'est par 'participable' par un autre. Dira-t-on qu'il est 'transférable' aux autres? Mais comment un tel transfert pourrait-il jamais être motivé? Quel spectacle pourra jamais m'induire valablement à poser hors de moi-même ce mode d'existence dont le sens exige qu'il soit intérieurement saisi? Si je n'apprends pas en moimême à reconnaître la jonction du pour soi et de l'en soi, aucune de ces mécaniques que sont les autres corps ne pourra jamais s'animer, si je n'ai pas de dehors les autres n'ont pas de dedans. La pluralité des consciences est impossible si j'ai conscience absolue de 64 moi-même. For Merleau-Ponty subjectivity is essentially incarnated. To exist embodied is, however, neither to exist as pure subject, nor as pure object, but to exist in a way that transcends the opposition between poursoi and en-soi. It does not entail losing self-awareness, on the contrary, self-awareness is intrinsically embodied self-awareness, but it does entail a loss or perhaps rather, as Merleau-Ponty would say, a


release from transparency and purity, thereby permitting intersubjectivity. To quote once more from Phénoménologie de la perception: L'évidence d'autrui est possible parce que je ne suis pas transparent pour moi-même et 65 que ma subjectivité traîne après elle son corps. Since intersubjectivity is in fact possible there must exist a bridge between my self-awareness and my awareness of Others; my experience of my own subjectivity must contain an anticipation of the Other, must 66 contain the seeds of alterity. When I experience myself and when I experience an Other, there is in fact a common denominator. In both cases I am dealing with incarnation, and one of the features of my embodied self-awareness is that it per definition comprises an outside. To touch oneself is a type of self-awareness 67 that can best be described as a bodily reflection. It is a thematic self-awareness mediated by difference and exteriority; the single parts of the body remain separated, and they gain contact through a surface which 68 is exposed to the world. When my left hand touches my right, I am self-aware, but I am self-aware in a manner that anticipates both the way in which an Other would experience me, and the way in which I would experience an Other. The reason why I can experience Others is because I am never so close to myself that the Other is completely and radically foreign and inaccessible. In my bodily self-awareness, I am always 69 already a stranger to myself, and therefore open to Others. Since pre-reflective self-awareness seems to be characterized by an inner fracture, it is no wonder that a number of phenomenologists have chosen to speak of the existence of a pre-temporal distance, absence, or even of a proto-reflection in the core of the pre-reflective self-awareness. Gerd Brand, for 70 instance, describes the perpetual self-affection in pre-reflective self-awareness as a 'Reflexion-im-Ansatz', and Derrida has argued that a subjectivity defined by self-affection, cannot possibly be undifferentiated and self-enclosed, since the very concept of self-affection necessarily entails a minimal self-differentiation and 71 -division. Self-affection does promise absolute undivided self-proximity, but a closer look reveals that it entails a minimal division or fracture in order to function. Self-affection entails a structural difference between the affecting and the affected. As Derrida puts it: This difference or relation to oneself as Other is the angle that enables one to fold oneself upon oneself, but it is also the alterating difference that forever 72 prevents one from fully coinciding with oneself. Thus self-affection breaks the self-enclosed interiority, and constitutes a fractured self. It is not only always accompanied by hetero-affection, it is itself a hetero73 affection. * Let me return to the question I raised earlier: Is it correct to describe original self-awareness as an immediate self-presence, which excludes all types of alterity, difference and fracture? After my discussion of Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, Husserl and Derrida one might assume that this question is purely rhetorical; that the answer is obviously no, but actually I believe that the conclusion is more diffuse. First of all, the claims advanced by the last group of phenomenologists are not as similar as they might appear at first sight, and in fact they seem to diverge at one crucial point, and to argue in support of two different positions, a moderate and a more radical. Either it is claimed that it is in our confrontation with that which we are not, that we are self-aware. Or it is claimed that it is by being confronted with that which we are not, that we gain self-awareness. Needless to say there is a decisive difference between these two claims. In the first weaker case it is claimed that self-awareness and self-affection never occur in isolation from hetero-affection. Self-manifestation is always accompanied by and inseparable from heteromanifestation, it cannot take place on its own. Although this moderate thesis already presents a problem for Frank's and Henry's position, it does not however justify the conclusion that the structure of self-awareness contains a fracture, but only that it is always accompanied by a fracture, namely the fracture between self and other, between immanence and transcendence. At this point however the more radical thesis asserts itself. It might reasonably be asked whether self-awareness can really retain its purity, integrity and autonomy if it never appears on its own. If autoaffection and hetero-affection are inseparable, is this not an indication of the fact that they are intertwined, 74 interdependent, and perhaps ultimately even indistinguishable? Thus it has been claimed that selfawareness is not only accompanied by alterity, but also contaminated by it. And if alterity proves to be a structural presupposition for self-awareness, self-awareness has to some extent to include a mediation, and to contain a fracture in its very core. It might be tempting to opt for this latter radical position, especially if one considers the phenomenon of double-sensation or the temporal structure of consciousness, but one should not overlook the problems it is confronted with. To claim that self-awareness is not a manifestation


sui generis, but the result of a mediation, is basically to face all the problems of the reflection theory once again. To go further and claim that self-affection is always, already a hetero-affection, and that self-awareness is a product of a decentered play of structural differences, is to advocate a position which instead of contributing to a clarification of self-awareness dissolves and eradicates the very phenomenon to be investigated. But although some of the formulations are too excessive - it is not surprising that Derrida has 75 occassionally been accused of interpreting self-affection as a form of object-intentionality - there is still something to be said for the radical thesis, or at least for a certain interpretation of it. After all pre-reflective self-awareness is not only always accompanied by hetero-manifestation, it also has an inner articulation, a differentiated infrastructure. Thus one should not forget the full ecstatic-centered structure of pre-reflective self-awareness: primal impression-retention-protention. In the words of Sokolowski and Brough: The primal impression is an opening towards multiple otherness: it is open to the hyletic affection, it "geht der Zukunft 76 entgegen, mit offenen Armen" , and it is accompanied by a retention, which provides us with a direct and 77 elementary intuition of otherness in its most primitive form. To acknowledge the full impact of this, is not in itself to furnish self-awareness with the kind of fracture that exists in reflective self-awareness, let alone in the so-called external types of reflexivity. Above, I briefly spoke about the difference between pre-reflective and reflective self-awareness. It was pointed out that reflection operates with a duality of moments. It involves a kind of self-fission. Now, even if it has been granted, that reflection cannot be the primary kind of self-awareness, it remains necessary to explain how it can rise out of pre-reflective self-awareness, for as Sartre poignantly reminds us: The problem is not to find examples of the pre-reflective self-awareness, they are everywhere, but to understand how one can pass from this self-awareness which constitutes the being of consciousness, to the 78 reflective knowledge of self, which is founded upon it.


Sartre is by no means trying to deny the difference between a reflective and a pre-reflective selfawareness, but he nevertheless insists that the two modes of self-awareness must share a certain affinity, a certain structural similarity. Otherwise it would be impossible to explain how the pre-reflective cogito could ever give rise to reflection. As Derrida puts it: Sans cette non-identité à soi de la présence dite originaire, comment expliquer que la 79 possibilité de la réflexion et de la re-présentation appartienne à l'essence de tout vécu? Needless to say, a theory of self-awareness which can only account for pre-reflective self-awareness is as deficient as its counterpart, the reflection theory. To phrase it differently, it is no coincidence that we do exactly speak of a pre-reflective self-awareness. The choice of words indicates that there remains a 80 connection. The reason why reflection remains a permanent possibility is exactly that the reflexive 81 scissiparity exists already in nuce in the structure of the pre-reflective cogito. In fact reflection merely articulates the unity of unification and differentiation inherent in the pre-reflective lived presence: Its ecstatic82 centered structure of presencing, retaining, protending. A structure which Husserl himself occasionally 83 calls the inherent reflexivity of consciousness. In dieser Nachträglichkeit (Reflexion als 'Nachgewahren') erweist sich dreierlei als immer schon vorausgesetzt: 1. die Unterschiedenheit des Vollziehers von sich selbst, durch die er sich selbst überhaupt thematisieren - oder wie Husserl sagt: 'ontifizieren' - kann, 2. die Einheit seiner mit sich selbst, durch die er sich bei der Selbstthematisierung mit sich identifizieren kann, und 3. die Bewegtheit der Einheit-mit-sich-selbst im Sich-von-sich84 selbst-Unterscheiden. We consequently end up with the insight that pre-reflective self-awareness must be conceived not as a static self-identity, but as a dynamic self-differentiation. * Let me conclude: When it comes to Frank's and Henry's central thesis, I do believe it is faced with some decisive problems. Although one should not overlook the subtle differences between their theories and I have not really had time to do justice to the richness in Henry's theory -, both operate with the notion of an absolutely self-sufficient, non-ecstatic, irrelational self-givenness, and they never take into sufficient consideration the interdependency existing between self-manifestation and hetero-manifestation. More specifically they never manage to explain how a subject essentially characterized by this type of complete self-presence can simultaneously be in possession of an inner temporal articulation; how it can simultaneously be directed intentionally toward something different from itself; how it can be capable of recognizing other subjects (being acquainted with subjectivity as it is through a completely unique selfpresence); how it can be in possession of a bodily exteriority; and finally how it can give rise to the selfdivision found in reflection. Thus their analyses basically fail because they focus on self-awareness in abstracto, rather than accounting for the self-awareness of the self-transcending temporal, intentional, reflexive, corporeal and intersubjective experiences. Experiences which all contain a dimension of alterity. On the other hand, it must also be concluded however, that although an accentuation of the fracture and alterity in self-awareness might help us understand how subjectivity can be self-transcending, and relate to that which is other, it also threatens to reintroduce a duality in the core of self-awareness that makes it hard to preserve the difference between auto-affection and hetero-affection, between Self and Other. To deny the alterity in the self is to deny the possibility of intersubjectivity. To exaggerate the moment of alterity, and to overlook the difference between intra- and intersubjective alterity, is not only to deny selfawareness, but ultimately intersubjectivity as well, since the difference between self and Other, between the first-person and third-person perspective, would disappear. And a theory of self-awareness that is incapable 85 of preserving this difference has certainly failed as well.

Notes: I thank the director of the Husserl-Archives in Louvain, Belgium, Professor S. IJsseling, for permission to quote from Husserl's unpublished manuscripts.


1. Cf. Frank 1984, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1991a and 1991b. 2. Frank 1984, p.357. 3. Frank 1991b, pp.428, 529. 4. Cf. Henrich 1966, 1970, Cramer 1974, Pothast 1971. 5. Frank 1986, pp.34, 61, 1991a, pp.71, 405, 1991b, p.597. Actually Frank explicitly denies that selfawareness is a 'présence à soi', since he takes this expression to designate a kind of self-presentification which is completely indebted to the reflection model (Frank 1989, p.488, 1991a, p.24). However, it seems difficult to find a more perfect candidate for a pure unmediated self-presence than the completely irrelational self-acquaintance described by Frank, which is so close to itself that every kind of mediation is excluded. 6. Frank 1991a, pp.7, 161, 1991b, p.438. 7. Cf. Henrich 1966, p. 231, 1970, p.261; Frank 1986, pp.44-45, 50, 1991b, pp. 530, 536, 557, 562; Cramer 1974, pp.584, 590, 592. 8. Henry 1989, p.50. 9. Henry 1963, pp. 14, 32, 64, 67, 1966, p.5. 10. Henry 1963, pp.36, 50. 11. Henry 1963, pp. 44, 279, 329, 352, 1966, pp.22-23. 12. Henry 1963, pp. 47, 52. 168-169, 173. 13. Henry 1963, pp.288-292, 301. 14. Henry 1963, pp.578, 580, 590. 15. Henry 1990, p.22. 16. Henry 1963, pp.576, 349, 858. 17. Henry 1990, p.166, 1966, p.33, 1965, p.139. 18. Henry 1990, pp.33-34. Cf. Hua 10/89, 10/110-111, 10/119, 11/337. Page references to the Husserliana edition are given in the following manner: the first number refers to the volume, the second to the page. When referring to Husserl's unpublished manuscripts the last number always refers to the original shorthanded page. 19. Henry 1990, p.32. 20. Henry 1990, pp. 49-50. 21. Henry 1990, p.107. 22. Henry 1990, p.130.


23. Cf. Sebbah 1994, p.252. 24. Henry 1994, pp. 303-304, 310, 1996, pp.201-202. 25. Henry 1990, p.72, 1963, pp.279-280, 351, 352, 377, 419. 26. Henry 1963, pp.58, 396, 1990, p.111. 27. Henry 1990, p.7. 28. Henry 1963, p.477. 29. Henry 1963, pp.53, 480-482, 490, 549, 1990, pp.125, 164. 30. Henry 1963, pp.53, 57, 550, 555. 31. This title evocates Heidegger's remark in Sein und Zeit concerning the necessity of analyzing the phenomena which remain hidden from view, and when he says that it is exactly Being which is the most concealed (1986, p.35). Cf. Marion 1989, pp.90-97. 32. I am not implying that alterity, difference and fracture are all one and the same. But each of these notions constitute problems for Frank's and Henry's theory. 33. Merleau-Ponty 1945, pp.431-432, 485, 487, 492, 1966, pp.164-165. Cf. Sartre 1943, p.212, 1936, pp.23-24. The attempt to counter this thesis with reference to experiences such as nausea, dizziness and anxiety, which are very much self-aware although they lack intentional objects is bound to fail. Not only is it rather doubtful whether it is possible to be dizzy, anxious and nauseous without at the same time perceiving some object. Somebody who were only dizzy, anxious or nauseous, would probably pass out. More importantly however, Sartre would deny that these fundamental types of affectivity were only attendant phenomena, and instead follow Heidegger in his characterization: "Die Stimmung hat je schon das In-derWelt-sein als Ganzes erschlossen und macht ein Sichrichten auf... allererst möglich"(Heidegger 1986, p.137. Cf. Sartre 1943, p.387). 34. Hua 15/375, 13/406, 13/459, 14/51-52, 14/337, 15/128, 4/356, Ms. E III 2 5a, Ms. E III 2 23a. 35. Ms. E III 2 22a. Cf. Ms. C 6 4b. Of course, it remains necessary to distinguish the alterity of the hyletic material from the alterity of the Other, and it is important to counter the suggestion that we are simply dealing with two different types or manifestations of one and the same alterity. But in the present context, this separate problem can be put aside. 36. Hua 14/379. 37. Hua 14/14. Needless to say this should not be interpreted in a realistic vein. That which I am affected by is different from me, but it is not ontologically independent of me. Quite to the contrary: When Husserl says that the hyle as the core of interpretations, sense-formations, feelings and drives is inseparable from the ego, he is also saying that the hyle has no place outside of subjectivity. Nevertheless the hyle remains foreign. It is a domain in me which escapes my control, since it is pre-given without any active participation or contribution by the ego (Hua 13/427, 11/386). Husserl speaks of an interior non-egological dimension, which surrounds and affects the ego (Ms. E III 2 22b). It is an immanent type of alterity which manifests itself directly in subjectivity, which belongs intrinsically to subjectivity, and which subjectivity cannot do without. Both are, as Husserl says, inseparable, both are irreducible structural moments in the process of constitution, in the process of bringing to appearance. - For a more detailed analysis of this aspect of Husserl's philosophy see Zahavi 1997. 38. Hua 14/245. Cf. Hua 13/92, 13/170, 14/51.


39. Hua 1/28, Ms. L I 15 3a, Husserl 1985, p.76. 40. Hua 11/137, Ms. A V 5 7a, Ms. L I 17 9b, Ms. C 3 42a. 41. Lévinas 1949, p.154. 42. Hua 10/107. 43. Hua 10/80, 10/83, 10/117-118. 44. Hua 4/58, 13/386. 45. Hua 4/147. 46. Hua 14/75, 15/297, 15/301. 47. Hua 14/75, Ms. D 12 III 14, 19. 48. Hua 15/300, 14/457, 14/462, 9/197, 13/263. According to Husserl it is this double-appearance of the body, this remarkable interplay between ipseity and alterity characterizing our bodily self-awareness, which enables us to recognize embodied Others as other subjects (Hua 8/62). 49. Benoist 1994, pp. 57, 61, Bernet 1994, p.321, Ricoeur 1990, p.380. 50. Ms. C 16 68a. Cf. Ms. C 10 2b. 51. Sartre 1943, p.212, 1936, pp.23-24. 52. Sartre 1943, p.28. 53. Sartre 1943, p.162. 54. Sartre 1943, pp.27, 214-215. 55. Sartre 1943, p.179. Cf. 1943, pp.213, 258 and 1936, p.28. 56. Sartre 1943, p.178. 57. Rosenberg 1981, p.257. 58. Sartre 1943, p.115. 59. Sartre 1943, pp.115-116. 60. Sartre 1943, p.33. 61. Sartre 1943, pp.115-116. Cf. Merleau-Ponty 1964, p.246. 62. Sartre 1943, pp.114, 117, 1947, p.67. On the pre-reflective level consciousness is characterized by the dyad reflet-reflétant, on the reflective level by the duality réflexif-réfléchif. 63. Sartre 1943, pp.116, 141, 144, 175-177, 182, 197, 245, 1948, p.76. Despite his emphasis on time, and despite taking the dyadic structure of pre-reflective self-awareness to constitute the origin of temporality, Sartre nevertheless conceived of the structure itself as being atemporal.


64. Merleau-Ponty 1945, pp.427-428. 65. Merleau-Ponty 1945, p.405. Cf. p.402. 66. Merleau-Ponty 1945, pp. 400-401, 405, 511. 67. Hua 1/128. 68. Derrida 1967a, p.88, Bernet 1994, p.173. 69. Merleau-Ponty 1945, p. 406, 1960a, pp. 213, 215, 221, 1960b, p.35, 1964, pp.74, 278, 1969, p.186, 188. 70. Brand 1955, p.74. Cf. Seebohm 1962, pp.126-127, Hart 1989, p. 58, Held 1981, p.192. 71. Derrida 1967a, pp. 89, 92. 72. Derrida 1967c, p.235. 73. Derrida 1967a, p.92, 1967c, pp.221, 237. 74. Cf. Barbaras 1991, p.107. 75. Yamagata 1991, p.179. 76. Hua 15/349. 77. Sokolowski 1976, p.699, Brough 1972, p.526. 78. Sartre 1948, p.63. 79. Derrida 1967a, p.76. 80. It is interesting to notice that Henry takes the distinction between the reflective and the pre-reflective cogito to be equivocal, and he himself does not use the term pre-reflective as a designation of the originary self-manifestation (Henry 1965, p.76). Presumably, because the notion betrays a certain affiliation with the paradigme of reflection. To designate self-awareness as pre-reflective indicates that reflective selfawareness is still the yardstick. 81. Sartre 1943, pp. 113, 194. 82. Ms. C 3 69a. 83. Hua 15/543-44. 84. Held 1981, p.192. 85. For a large scale analysis of the structure of pre-reflective self-awareness see my Self-awareness and Alterity (in preparation).


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