Me, myself and I: Sartre and Husserl on elusiveness of the self

Research paper by Pierre-Jean Renaudie

Indexed on: 09 Mar '13Published on: 09 Mar '13Published in: Continental Philosophy Review


In his early essay on transcendence of the ego, Sartre attempted to follow Husserl’s Logical Investigations and to draw the consequences of his phenomenological criticism of subjectivity. Both authors have emphasized the elusiveness of the self as a result of intentionality of consciousness. However, Sartre’s analysis of ego led him quite far from Husserl’s philosophical project, insofar as it was somehow already raising the question about the moral nature of the self, and was thus establishing the basis of the conception of moral consciousness that has been displayed later in Being and Nothingness. This article stresses the importance of such a turn in Sartre’s philosophy, which reorients him from a strict description of consciousness toward a moral assessment of the structure of the self.