The Interactive Now: A Second-Person Approach to Time-Consciousness

in Journal of Phenomenological Psychology
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Husserl offers insight into the constituting of the self-aware ego through time-consciousness. Yet his account does not satisfactorily explain how this ego can experience itself as presently acting. Furthermore, although he acknowledges that the Now is not a knife-edge present, he does not show what determines its duration. These shortfalls and others are overcome through a change of starting point. Citing empirical evidence, I take it as a basic given that when a caregiver frontally engages an infant of two months or so, the infant is aware of a person attending. The attending, I propose, is experienced by the infant as having an implicit target, a focal center. In the infant’s awareness, the carer’s focal center is the self. When a You is perceived as attending, a self is apperceived. I argue that such dependence on a You’s attending continues lifelong in derivative forms. I explore the idea that original time is a partial oscillation of awareness between the perceived You and the apperceived self. I then show how, from this oscillation, the ordinary experience of time is derived.

The Interactive Now: A Second-Person Approach to Time-Consciousness

in Journal of Phenomenological Psychology



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As late as the 1930sHusserl did not change his view on this point (Husserl 2006 pp. 93 99). See also Mensch (2010a pp. 183–84; 2010b pp. 156 159 161).


Jonsson et al. (2001) date the first affect attunement to two–three months; they find that by six months it occurs more often than imitation.


On presence in absence see Sartre (1966 pp. 42 449). Below we shall discuss it further. On the negative focal center see Langfur (2014 p. 267).

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