transcendental ego

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Noun[edit]

transcendental ego (plural transcendental egos)

  1. (philosophy, phenomenology, Kantianism) The conscious self which is the unifying subject of a person's experiences and which cannot itself be experienced as an object, understood by Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) as knowable only by inference, and understood by Edmund Husserl (1859-1938) as pure consciousness.
    • 1892, David G. Ritchie, "What is Reality?" The Philosophical Review, vol. 1, no. 3, p. 280:
      If, however, the self be taken to mean, not an object existing among other objects, but the subject logically implied in all knowledge, the "Transcendental Ego" which we never can know as an object, and which therefore we never can "get behind," that may be allowed to be the ultimate reality.
    • 1957, Aron Gurwitsch, "The Last Work of Edmund Husserl," Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, vol. 17, no. 3, p. 386:
      On the basis of such a theory, it becomes legitimate to assert that every human being "contains" a transcendental Ego.
    • 2001, Joseph A. Young, "Phenomenology and Textual Power in Richard Wright's 'The Man Who Lived Underground'," MELUS, vol. 26, no. 4, p. 82:
      The absolute goal of all phenomenological inquiry is pure consciousness as it manifests itself in the transcendental ego, the source of all intentional acts.

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