An Analysis Concerning the Meaning and Role of Reflection in the Triple Phases of Husserl’s Philosophy

Document Type : Scientific-research


Assistant Professor in Philosophy, Shahed University


What we know today as Husserl's phenomenology is the result of his methodic attempt to understand structure of consciousness and the givenness of objects in this structure. One of the most important pillars of this method is what Husserl calls phenomenological reflection and contrasts it with natural or psychological reflection. From Husserl's viewpoint reflection as one of the most fundamental acts of consciousness thematizes and objectifies what has been already given implicitly. Thus, every reflection is a transition from a pre-reflective consciousness to a reflective one. In Husserl's philosophy, there are three kinds of reflection, corresponding to the triple phases of the evolution of his thought: natural reflection, phenomenological reflection and, what we call absolute or incomplete reflection.  Husserl in his works explicitly addresses the first two kinds of reflection but the last one is just understood through the deep contemplation of the third phase of his philosophy. According to Husserl every reflection has two interconnected aspects: the object of reflection and the agent or subject of reflection. In Husserl’s philosophy, corresponding to three meanings of reflection, there are three levels of self-consciousness which eventually lead to the triple conception of self or ego in his philosophy. In the present paper, while explaining the meaning of reflection in the three phases of Husserl’s philosophy, its fundamental role in each of these phases has been examined. Finally, it has been shown how changing the object of reflection in these triple phases, leads to a deeper and more fundamental understanding of the subject.


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