We will eventually come up against something that cannot be varied without destroying that object as an instance of its kind. The implicit claim here is that if it is inconceivable that an object of kind K might lack feature F, then F is a part of the essence of K.


It seems that I cannot vary existence out of the transcendental ego. However hard I try to erase every part from it, the transcendental ego includes at least one percept; it exists. That suggests its essence is existence, which Aquinas uses to describe God or the first cause.

I think I can do so with other things. Maybe the skin of this apple is an illusion, the red apple is in fact green, so the apple is not essentially red and its redness does not essentially exist.

Reality can be compared to the wood. Imagination is like the perception of the elephant. Duality can be seen as the elephant.


If it necessarily exists and we cannot imagine it is a hallucination, is the transcendental ego the dependent reality that we should realise appears as, but is not, a hallucination (the piece of wood we mistake as an elephant)?

I'm really confused by this.

It may help to know what Husserl thought existence to the transcendental ego meant.

  • See Husserl and the Transcendental Ego: "He claims that, “I exist for myself and am constantly given to myself, by experiential evidence, as ‘I myself.’ This is true of the transcendental ego and, correspondingly, of the psychologically pure ego; it is true, moreover, with respect to any sense of the word ego.”" So yes, we cannot have the I without existence (this is exactly the gist of Descartes' cogito (be aware that Husserl writed Cartesian Meditations (1929)). Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 11:01
  • 2
    Thus, maybe we can agree that "existence" is the "essence" of the I according to Husserl; but to conclude that the I is God is,IMO, not an Husserlian conclusion. Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 11:02
  • A good comparison of Descartes and Husserl is Thomas Attig, HUSSERL AND DESCARTES ON THE FOUNDATIONS of Philosophy (1980): "The cogito should not be presupposed as being an attribute which requires the support of a substantial ego for its existence. Rather, it should be understood as essentially constitutive in character in the sense of its being a process within which knowledge originates." Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 15:17
  • I have read a bit by and on Husserl @MauroALLEGRANZA and I believe Fink claimed that Husserl thought the TE was eternal. but most people have called Fink confused about it. by which I mean: there may be enough reason to work out ourselves whether when "I exist for myself" essentially that means I always exist
    – user57343
    Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 22:08
  • sorry if I'm goofing the place up but @MauroALLEGRANZA I reckon it all comes down to the present already being the past. is that what Aquinas says, means or should say?
    – user57343
    Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 22:33


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