What Does Husserl mean by individualized consciousness?


Debate has been going on for a long time to establish whether phenomenology (individualised consciousness) is a method or a philosophy. As a result, we have two schools of thought one believing that individualised consciousness is a philosophy, and the other believing that it is a method.

Nevertheless, the idea of individualised consciousness being a philosophy appears weightier than when classified as a method. Different definitions by different philosophers have given individualised consciousness different meanings. The paper examines the meaning of individualised consciousness as proposed by Husserl Edmund.

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Husserl and individualised consciousness

According to Husserl Edmund, individualised consciousness is the scientific study of fundamental compositions of pure consciousness, a discipline of essential being. Thus, from this definition, Husserl assures that if we can identify those compositions, then we are sure of assurance-something that philosophy has constantly hunted.

In essence, Husserl wants us to understand that the sphere of pure consciousness is by far distinctive from that of real experience. This means that individualised consciousness is a theory that deals with pure experiences and not necessarily facts. Consequently, according to Husserl, there is a great dissimilarity between essential being and actual existence (Woodruff 1).

There is also a concept of phenomenological reduction, which according to Husserl is a method of delineating the fundamental quintessence of a psychological phenomenon. Thus, an individual exercising his pure consciousness must dangle empirical subjectivity in order to describe its indispensability and unreservedness.

Under phenomenological reduction, an individual ought to exhibit empirical intuitions based on personal ability and not philosophical inquest. An individual should also refrain from making judgements on empirical intuitions. Husserl also asserts that by suspending inquest (bracketed judgement) an individual will be in a position to place facts in their rightful place, that is, under essential being.

According to Husserl, it is important to note that realities or facts form the basis of empirical intuition. On the other hand, Husserl asserts that essences act as the basics of essential intuition. The two types of intuitions, that is, empirical intuition and essential intuition, are vital in explaining the meaning of individualised consciousness.

However, according to Husserl, empirical intuition can sometimes initiate essential intuition but there is a limit for such a case. If such a case occurs, then the resultant essential intuition is either insufficient or sufficient of lucidity and clarity. Husserl goes further to explain that individual consciousness is premeditated since it involves a reference towards an entity.

However, it is also important to note that consciousness involves and occurs in two phases, intentional and accidental. Nonetheless, the concept of intentionality is the one responsible for individual consciousness together with its intent significance (Woodruff 1).

Husserl does not leave it here either. He goes ahead to explain that the phrase “I think” exhibits the attitude of pure ego. Pure ego is a significant thing in explaining the meaning of individualised consciousness.

At least, according to Husserl, pure ego carries out the proceedings of consciousness. Husserl further explains that pure ego projects towards a certain destination transcendentally or immanently. Under immanently fixed proceeds of consciousness, the individual’s ego revolves around the objects that are within the precincts of the matching ego.

On the other hand, transcendentally fixed proceeds of consciousness appear opposite of immanently fixed consciousness. As for the transcendentally acts, an individuals’ consciousness revolves around object of consciousness completely falling outside the ego.

Explicitly, the two differences also give “being” two different meanings, first, as an experience, and secondly, as a thing. In general, immanent objects show logicality, while transcendent objects lack of logicality (Husserl 132-133).


In conclusion, according to Husserl, individual consciousness is the descriptive analysis of a person as conscious being able to exercise empirical intuitions based on personal ability and not philosophical inquest.

Works Cited

Husserl, Edmund. Ideas: General Introduction to Pure Phenomenology. Translated by W. R. Boyce Gibson. London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd. 1931. Print.

Woodruff, David. Phenomenology. 2008. Web. 15 Feb. 2011.


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