Marie-Eve MORIN



The importance of genesis …

genesis in the sense of “over time” not of “the place where things began”

genetic phenomenology takes temporality or temporal constitution into account.


in the context of the development of structuralism

debate on genesis and structure, synchrony and diachrony



1953  Derrida’s Master Thesis. Published in French in 1990; published in English under the title The Problem of Genesis in Husserl's Philosophy, trans. by Marian Hobson (University of Chicago Press, 2003).

1946  Hyppolite’s Genesis and Structure in Hegel’s Phenomenology

1955 Piaget and the Genetic Epistemology (developmental theory of knowledge)

      Structuralism, Que sais-je? series (transformation from one structural formation to the next)

1966  Foucault’s Order of Things (episteme = synchronic understanding of history)



Complement to last week


  ideal forms always exist, they are independent of meaning giving act, but all meaning is given in meaning giving act

  the meaning given (a²+b²=c²) in the meaning-giving act is independent of the existence of any right triangle (because of the transcendental reduction) but is only possible after the beginning of the science of geometry



Text Box: meaning-giving actText Box: beginning



















indécidable (adjective)



                             indecidable                                                                undecidable

                              indecision                                               it is decided that it can’t be decided

                  it hasn’t been decided yet                                          no point in trying to decide

    verge between decision and indecisison                                     no problem, no wavering


Indecidability (l’indécidable) is independent of the psychological state of indecision and of the respective decisions that can be made.  It is the hinge between indecision and decision. The indecidable is an indecidable, it performs indecidability by wavering between indecidable and undecidable.



(A or B or I or …)





indecision (or better undecision) as inability to decide

being wishy-washy

being tied

decision:                       A                                     I                                     B







The decision does not overcome indecidability (though it does overcome the first type of indecision.  For example, every act of reading or interpretation is a decision that cut through the text. But this act does not resolve the dissemination or indecidability of meaning (it does not make the text univocal) because the text indefinitely regenerate “its own tissue behind the cutting trace, the decision, of each reading” (Dissemination, 69).




La Différance


Différance is the nominal form of the present participle (the ing-form) of the verb différer.  Différer means both to differ (the differentiate, to juxtapose and show differences) and to defer (to postpone).  The first meaning is spatial and synchronic; the second one is temporal and diachronic.  The next question if: Which of the two has primacy?  The temporal (growth, live, development, nomad, etc.).





Voice and Phenomena


First Epigraph: The question of the referent

What does “I” indicate or refer to? What does it express? What does it have to do with any of us?

It its normal meaning the “I” is both indicative and expressive.

The “I” of the Cartesian tradition.  (Descartes, Husserl, Merleau-Ponty use it: “I am sitting by the fire, I am sitting at my desk, I see a book, etc.)

Using the “I” to talk about subjectivity in general. It is not really about Descartes or Husserl, etc.  How does one differentiate between the philosophical “I” and the personal “I”?


Second Epigraph: Mise en abîme (to place in an abyss)  Infinite Loop

Grund = ground, reason, justification, basis

Abgrund = abyss, openness without ground, bottomless pit


Third Epigraph: Middle Voice

“I am dead” is an impossible sentence.  I killed X (active); I was killed by X (passive); I am dead (middle).

What happens to the “I” saying “I am dead! Now, I am dead!”?  What is the meaning of this sentence?



Problem of the Sign

Zeichen (sign) has a double meaning:

(1)  Ausdruck (expression, to print out or press out);

(2)  Anzeichen (indication, to indicate or refer to something).


Husserl on degenerated metaphysics

Metaphysics is blind to the authentic mode of ideality.  It doesn’t see ideality.  The ideal as self-identical, self-present is not worldly; it is not reell (which does not mean that it is not real).  Phenomenology has access to ideality as noema, as the meaning given in intentional acts.


Derrida on Husserl and metaphysics

Husserl still relies on the presence of the living present.  What unifies all repetitions (actual and possible) into an ideal object is the “I” of the living present.

“I” in the transcendental mode is present to itself, it is pure self-presence or self-consciousness.

In what sense can we speak of a life at the transcendental level?

There is the formal idea of “I” and of “life” and the lived or experiential “I”.

Presence is the form (noesis, expression, actuality) of all meaning (noema, matter, content, potentiality).


Concept of life is an enigma

There has to be a gap so that there can be “life”.

Temporality and Otherness as non-presence inscribed in the heart of self-presence

Self-presence is nice because it is apodictic (absolute certainty is nice when you want to ground a science).  The gap which opens the possibility of life also opens the possibility to lie (apodicticity is gone).