In this paper I explore a curious phenomenon discussed in Husserl’s later manuscripts under the name “pre-world.” This notion arises in the context of his ongoing development of a genetic phenomenology, i.e., a phenomenology that is concerned with the dynamics of conscious life, concerning both the generation of new meaning for consciousness and new dimensions of conscious life. The pre-world is one such dimension. I explore it here in two stages. First, I consider the initial unsavoriness of the very idea of a pre-world, whose metaphysical implications are suspect, on the surface. Nevertheless, I show that the pre-world puts the subject in contact with reality in a very special sense that should remedy this worry. Second, I show how the notion of the pre-world re-opens Husserl’s thought of the possible annihilation of the world from Ideasi. In fact, it explains the possibility, by revealing its experiential ground.
See Sebastian LuftPhänomenologie der Phänomenologie: Systematik und Methodologie der Phänomenologie in der Auseinandersetzung zwischen Husserl und Fink (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers2002) 192–93. Husserl makes this clear also in Hua Matviii: 223–24. For bibliographic details for Husserliana (Hua) references see Abbreviations list at end of this essay; Hua citations give volume number followed by first the German and where available after the forward slash the English translation page numbers.
On this notion see HeldLebendige Gegenwart: die Frage nach der Seinsweise des transzendentalen Ich bei Edmund Husserl entwickelt am Leitfaden der Zeitproblematik (Dordrecht: Springer1966) and James Mensch Husserl’s Account of Our Consciousness of Time.
L. RodemeyerIntersubjective Temporality: It’s about Time (Dordrecht: Springer2006) 34 and Tetsuya Sakakibara “Phenomenology in a Different Voice: Husserl and Nishida in the 1930s” in Philosophy Phenomenology Sciences 680–81.
L. Rodemeyer“Developments in the Theory of Time-Consciousness: An Analysis of Protention,” in The New Husserled. D. Welton (Bloomington in: Indiana University Press 2003) 125–55 here 141–43 and Rodemeyer Intersubjective Temporality: It’s about Time 97–98. Sakakibara’s analysis suggests this as well; see Sakakibara “Phenomenology in a Different Voice” 683–84 and “Reflection upon the Living Present and the Primal Consciousness in Husserl’s Phenomenology” in On Time: New Contributions to the Husserlian Phenomenology of Time ed. D. Lohmar and I. Yamaguchi (Dordrecht: Springer2010) 251–71here 260–61 265–66.