Sleep and the limits of naturalization. An exercise in Grenzphänomenologie

  • Celeste Vecino Universidad Diego Portales
  • Bernardo Ainbinder University of Wollongong
Keywords: sleep, limit-cases, first-person perspective, transcendental phenomenology, naturalization


In this paper, we examine the metaphilosophical relevance of the phenomenon of sleep, suggesting that it has the potential to not only enrich the analysis of limit cases but also to test some of the ideas concerning the possibility of naturalizing phenomenology and its limits. Insofar as sleeping allows for both a first personal and a third personal description and challenges the usual primacy of the first-person point of view, exploring sleeping under the prism of its import for the phenomenological method allows to illuminate the relationships between a first personal transcendental phenomenology and a third personal naturalized one. We do this by examining Husserl’s treatment of sleep as a limit-case, and the problem of accounting for deep sleep from a first-personal perspective. Drawing from a Heidegger-inspired account of sleep, we argue that sleep demands for a type of approach that can be  fairly described as ontological, and which reveals a new understanding of subjectivity as a dynamic unity of different modes of being. Although this approach challenges a first-personal based approach, it does not, however support the naturalization of phenomenology or undermine the project of a transcendental philosophy of experience.

How to Cite
Vecino, C., & Ainbinder, B. (2023). Sleep and the limits of naturalization. An exercise in Grenzphänomenologie. HUMANA.MENTE Journal of Philosophical Studies, 16(43), 173-191. Retrieved from