"But phenomenology is also a victory over brute fact by the method of imaginative variation. It is a victory in the direction of the eidos accomplished in such a way that the fact is no longer anything but an example of a pure possibility. Hence, phenomenology will be the theory of the possible ego, of the eidos ego, secured by the example of my transcendental ego on the empirisch-faktisch level. Thus, even the ego must be 'imagined' in order to separate it from brute fact. This backing away from my own contingency is essential to the birth of the ego meditans, just as much as the suspension of belief in the world is. The ego meditans is born from a double reduction: the transcendental reduction of the being of the world and the eidetic reduction of the factual ego. This movement of thought does not proceed without difficulty. The remarkable and strange thing is that this passage to the eidos ego brings into play only variations of my own ego (Selbstvariation meiner Ego) and has no reference to the Other in the second person. Thus, I imagine myself as other without imagining an Other. This is quite necessary, since before constituting the Other, my ego is the only ego.
What, however, is this eidos ego which is not a generalization from me and from the Other and which bridges over the disparity between the positing of myself and the positing of the Other within a subjectivity in general? In short, what is the eidos ego, if it is not my fellow man?… However extraordinary it may be, Husserl is obliged to assume an eidos of the sole and unique ego, an essence which is illustrated only in the variations of my own existence and in the style of 'if I were another…' The essence is the sense 'myself' which resists the circumstantial variations of my factual existence. It requires no reference to a couple or to a community. In this way the eidetic ego definitely has no reference to the similarity between the first and second person and works its variations on the solipsistic plane. Thinking this matter through to its end is not easy; yet the course of Husserlian reflection requires it" (Ricoeur 1999:108).
1999 Husserl: An Analysis of His Phenomenology. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.
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