Auto-referentiality and Auto-affectivity as Competing Patterns of Reading of Descartes’s Cogito Conception: Transcendental-phenomenological Context
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auto-referentiality, auto-affectivity, Cogito, phenomenology, otherness

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Ilyina, A. (2020). Auto-referentiality and Auto-affectivity as Competing Patterns of Reading of Descartes’s Cogito Conception: Transcendental-phenomenological Context. Multiversum. Philosophical Almanac, 1(2), 69-96.


The paper examines two alternative possibilities to interpret Cartesian Cogito conception: as auto-referential structure and as auto-affectivity. A context of analysis is transcendental-phenomenological view on Cartesian philosophy as on the origin of transcendental motive. A role of auto-referentiality principle in transcendental thinking is determined. In terms of transcendental discursive field the principles of auto- referentiality and auto-affectivity are compared. By investigation of perspectives offered by Henry and Marion on interpretation strategies as regards Cartesian approach, some moments of irrelevance of auto-affectional attitude to transcendental thinking criteria are brought to light. By contrast, an adequacy of auto-referential model to the transcendental framework is justified. The author concludes that in spite of seeming priority in the realm of transcendental discourse of auto-affection, stemming from peculiar to its essence radicalization of functional aspect of consciousness and elimination of risk of Cogito’s substantivation, implied for its part in the structure of auto-referentiality, the last is more suitable for the claims of transcendental thinking because of retaining of «relation-difference» principle, constitutive for transcendental thought – which in a context of auto-affection turns out to be taken down. In sum, albeit the fact that both the treatment of ego cogito as immanent subjectivity and absolutization of consciousness’ act importance (peculiar to conception of cogito as auto-affection) seem to be the moments of hyperbolization of Husserl’s critical interpretation of Descartes by Henry and Marion, nevertheless reduction of intentionality and of any objectness whatever, following from this aspects of auto-affectivity, threatens with loss of concern to other, which underlies transcendental-phenomenological thinking. Instead, some quasi-objectivity inherent to auto-reference (“objectivity als ob”) allows save such significant to transcendental discourse predicates as heterogeneity, exteriority, distinctiveness etc.
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