Remus Breazu, “The Question of Violence Between the Transcendental and the Empirical Field: The Case of Husserl’s Philosophy”, Human Studies, 2019

In this article, I address the question of violence with respect to the phenomenological difference between the transcendental and the empirical field. In the first part, I phenomenologically address the notion of violence, developing a concept required for an account of the phenomenon of violence. Thus, I correlate it with the notion of vulnerability, arguing that violence cannot be understood irrespective of vulnerability. However, a proper phenomenological account has to indicate the subjective conditions of possibility of a phenomenon as it is given in experience. Therefore, we should ask: what is the status of violence when we are talking about the transcendental field? This question leads to the second part of my article, where I address the notion of violence from the perspective of the difference between the pure and the empirical ego, as it has been traced out by Husserl. If from the point of view of an empirical ego the concept of violence is meaningful, from the point of view of the transcendental ego it seems to be absurd. This is particularly significant, because Husserl is talking about the transcendental ego as being immortal. The pure ego is thus invulnerable and this means that violence—understood from the point of view of both the violating subject and the violated one—is something that cannot be linked to the transcendental field. The question that arises—how is violence possible on the empirical level, since it is impossible on the transcendental level?—is a question to which Husserl cannot respond.