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Morris states, Whereas for Sartre, the distinction between positional and nonpositional consciousness is the difference in degrees of focus and clarity, the distinction between prereflective and reflective consciousness is the type of positional object toward which each is directed. . 26 For him, then, reflection means self-reflection. Accordingly, the transition from the non-reflective to the reflective amounts to a transition from the nonpositional to the positional self-consciousness. Lest this analysis by Sartre sound overly intellectualistic, let us heed a remark he inserts in Being and Nothingness: “Not all consciousness is 14 Mystical Consciousness knowledge (there are states of affective consciousness, for example)” (liv).

First, nonpositional consciousness, which does not posit itself as its own object. It stands in contrast to the awareness of objects, which does posit those objects. Nonetheless, such consciousness is necessarily twined to the awareness of some object: “consciousness is purely and simply consciousness of being consciousness of that object” (40). Nonpositional consciousness is “consciousness in the first degree, or unreflected (irréfléchie) consciousness” (41). ” Nonpositional consciousness is now reflected thanks to “reflecting (réfléchissante) consciousness” (44).

Husserl applies his phenomenological method, with its transcendental and eidetic reduction, to how intentionality as a whole is constituted. But since we are pursuing an account not so much of intentionality as of consciousness, we shall not enter into the details of Husserl’s intricate phenomenology, especially in its effort at providing a rigorous and secure foundation to all sciences. Let us simply focus on his procedure insofar as it touches upon consciousness. In contrast to a descriptive psychology, Husserl proposes a transcendental phenomenology characterized by reflection.

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