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Certainty and Reflection

Re-evaluating the “Cartesian Strand” in Husserl’s Early Conception of Consciousness
  • Sonja Rinofner-Kreidl
Chapter
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 48)

Abstract

A good deal of the endeavour towards acquiring one’s own philosophical standpoint lies in rethinking what has been thought in the history of mankind. Making not only scattered thoughts one’s own but a certain way of thinking one should be out for, as Kant once forcibly told us, a “Nachfolge”, and not a mere “Nachahmung”. Certainly, there are different modes of turning away from someone’s ideas as well as different modes of turning towards them. During the last decades there came about a widespread agreement that phenomenology has to be cured of its ego-logical bias. This may go together with a firm refusal of Husserl’s idea of a phenomenological philosophy. But in the light of a “Nachfolge” it may as well be advanced as a modified defence of this idea bringing out what one considers to be its clarified and tenable substance. The point at issue is the introduction of a pure ego in Ideas I and the preceding so-called “transcendental turn” which, as we are told, ends up in solipsism by virtue of its Cartesian starting point.

Keywords

Logical Investigation Intentional Object Intentional Content Infinite Regress Intentional Experience 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    A short version of this paper was presented at the congress “Ideals of/for Humankind” in Graz (August 22–26, 1994). I would like to thank the Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (Vienna) for supporting the “Sonder forschungsbereich Moderne” at Karl-Franzens-University Graz in course of which this article was revised.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Introduction to the second volume of LU: p. 19.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    For lack of a more suitable term “(intentionales) Erlebnis (Akt)” will be translated by “experience (act)” although this does not seem to be without ambiguities. The same holds good for the second important term we will have to deal with — “inneres Gewahren” — which I decided to translate by “inner awareness”.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    As to the difference between genetic-psychological and logical “origin” cf. Introduction to the second volume, especially pp. 3–9; p. 18; p. 21; LU I: pp. 70–72; VI: pp. 473–475. Husserl claims to refer exclusively to the latter, thereby stressing the special status of descriptive psychology as distinguished from any natural psychology. This is in fact a crucial point particularly in respect to the so-called “psychologism-dispute” forcibly heated up by the publication of the Logical Investigations.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Husserl uses “reell” instead of “real” in order to express that he is not dealing with the individualized contents of a person’s consciousness but with pure descriptive contents whose belonging to someone’s consciousness is left out of account so far as the phenomenological analysis is concerned (cf. LU V: p. 375). In the following I shall mark this intention by writing “real*” when referring to “reell”.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Since I am merely occupied with outlining the background of our problem here, I cannot give way to a more accurate account of how being-an-object is conceived in phenomenology. (The same applies to the scheme of apprehension and representational content (LU) — or “hyle-morphé-scheme” (ID/I) — I shall touch when speaking about the character of real* contents in the following.) Of course there are important differences concerning the “givenness” of real and ideal objects. The most essential one is that ideal objects (meanings and essences) can be grasped solely in a reflective attitude turning towards a “Bedeutungsanalyse”.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Cf. LU II; p. 144f; V: §7.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Cf. “Es ist selbstverständlich, daß das Ich nichts Eigenartiges ist, das über den mannigfachen Erlebnissen schwebte, sondern daß es einfach mit ihrer eigenen Verknüpfungseinheit identisch ist.” (LU V: p. 331)Google Scholar
  9. 9a.
    Cf. Barry Smith (ed.), Parts and Moments. Studies in Logic and Formal Ontology (Munich Vienna: Philosophia Verlag, 1982). (The first essay — “Pieces of a Theory” (B. Smith/K. Mulligan) — provides an instructive survey of the development and influence of part-whole-theory in the late 19th and early 20th century.)Google Scholar
  10. 9b.
    Robert Sokolowski was amongst the first to lay stress upon the import the third investigation gains in regard to the whole project of the second volume of the Logical Investigations (cf. R. Sokolowski, “The Logic of Parts and Wholes in Husserl’s Investigations”, in Readings on Edmund Husserl’s Logical Investigations, ed. J. N. Mohanty (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1977): pp. 94–111. I hold this to be a very fruitful view although what I am up to in this paper is to bring out another trait in the Logical Investigations which I consider to take more effect than Sokolowski is ready to grant when declaring himself unrestrictedly for the predominance and thorough application of eidetic formal-ontological laws in the Logical Investigations: “The validity of such evidence is important in Husserl’s philosophy because he claims that his own analyses of subjectivity result in a apriori, self-evident statements. His assertion of the quality-material structure of acts, for example, his distinction between meaning and object meant, his statement of the dependence of categorial objects upon simple objects — all these phenomenological assertions are supposed to be a priori and self-evident in the way ‘every sound has a certain intensity’ is. (…) Thus on the basis of part-whole logic Husserl can claim apodicticity for his phenomenological language even apart from the ‘Cartesian’ theme of the transcendental reduction which is only implicitly present in the Investigations.” (Ibid.: p. 109) In opposition to this I want to show that 1. the “Cartesian theme” does in fact carry more weight in the Fifth and Sixth Investigation than is conceded here. This is due to the import of the purely descriptive content as to its intimate connection with the first and second concept of consciousness; 2. It is not the Cartesian theme of the transcendental reduction which is implicitly at work in these parts but another modification of Cartesianism.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 9c.
    It is precisely the deficiency of this Cartesianism the introduction of the phenomenological ego is burdened with. It is well known that Husserl tends to reinterpret his earlier works according to his later convictions and thereby blurs the differences. This applies to the “Cartesian theme of the transcendental reduction”, too, which he later on “discovers” in the Logical Investigations (e.g. Hua VI: p. 237), now and then explicitly re-interpreting his “old” idea of a presuppositionless investigation (e.g. Edmund Husserl, Briefwechsel, Band III: Die Göttinger Schule, in Verbindung mit E. Schuhmann hrsg. v. K. Schuhmann (Dordrecht/Boston/London: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1994), pp. 528–532. In any case, it is advisable to be cautious with such subsequent self-readings. Instead of this one should go back to that what really is part of the work in question although not an “independent piece”. I do not maintain that the Cartesian bias would be the methodical core of the Logical Investigations as a whole. Neither do I believe that it is a necessary ingredient to any phenomenology. But, however, I can not agree that the §7 of the introduction to the second volume (“Das Princip der Voraussetzungslosigkeit erkenntnistheoretischer Untersuchungen”) would be of entirely secondary importance as to the following investigations. There is a claim in that which clearly comes to the fore in the Fifth and Sixth Investigations.Google Scholar
  12. 10.
    LU V: p. 331f; p. 343.Google Scholar
  13. 11.
    LU III: p. 224; p. 269.Google Scholar
  14. 12.
    Cf. LU V: §§30–33; §§41–43.Google Scholar
  15. 13.
    Cf. LU V: §7; VI: p. 513.Google Scholar
  16. 14.
    Cf. W. James, Psychologie, Übers, v. E. Dürr (Leipzig: Verlag Quelle & Meyer, 1909), p. 205.Google Scholar
  17. 15.
    Cf. LU II: p. 248f; pp. 282–285.Google Scholar
  18. 16.
    This is in accordance with Husserl’s theorem 5: “Ein relativ unselbständiger Gegenstand ist auch absolut unselbständig, dagegen kann ein relativ selbständiger Gegenstand in absolutem Sinne unselbständig sein.” (LU II: 257)Google Scholar
  19. 17.
    “Für die phänomenologische Betrachtung ist die Gegenständlichkeit selbst nichts; sie ist ja, allgemein zu reden, dem Acte transscendent. Gleichgiltig in welchem Sinn und mit welchem Rechte von ihrem ‘Sein’ die Rede ist, gleichgiltig, ob sie real oder ideal, ob sie wahrhaftig, möglich oder unmöglich ist, der Act ist ‘auf sie gerichtet’. (…) Das sich auf den Gegenstand Beziehen ist eine erlebbare Eigenthümlichkeit (…). Alle Unterschiede in der Weise der gegenständlichen Beziehung sind descriptive Unterschiede der bezüglichen intentionalen Erlebnisse” (LU V: p. 388, emphasis S.R.)Google Scholar
  20. 18.
    Cf. Introduction to the second volume of LU: p. 19.Google Scholar
  21. 19.
    “Unter dem reellen oder phänomenologischen Inhalt eines Actes verstehen wir den Gesammtinbegriff seiner, gleichgiltig ob concreten oder abstracten Theile, mit anderen Worten, den Gesammtinbegriff der ihn reell constituirenden Theilerlebnisse. Solche Theile aufzuzeigen und zu beschreiben, ist die Aufgabe der rein descriptiven psychologischen Analyse. Diese geht ja auch sonst und überhaupt darauf aus, die innerlich wahrgenommenen Erlebnisse an und für sich, sowie sie in der Wahrnehmung reell gegeben sind, zu zergliedern, und zwar ohne Rücksicht auf genetische Zusammenhänge, aber auch ohne Rücksicht auf das, was sie außer sich selbst bedeuten, und wofür sie gelten mögen.” (LU V: p. 374f)Google Scholar
  22. 20.
    Cf. LU VI: pp. 495–498; pp. 504–508.Google Scholar
  23. 21.
    Of course, this is not the classic thesis of adaequatio rei et intellectus but an essentially modified one. The relation of adaequatio is not said to hold between an act of thinking resp. the objective thought content and an object “outside of consciousness”. Instead of this it holds between two differently characterized instances of intentional relatedness to the object (“Gegenbenheitsweise”) — a symbolic one and an intuitive one — to the effect that these two acts correspond as to their intentional essence.Google Scholar
  24. 22.
    The arguments Husserl advances to prove this in regard to Brentano’s distinction between physical and psychical phenomena are largely predetermined by opposed starting-points as to terminology and the results of description. Above all, Husserl’s “refutation” is valid only on condition that we accept his hyle-morphé-scheme. This becomes plainly clear when we realize that his critique is mainly based on the discovering of equivocations being hidden in Brentano’s terms “physical” and “psychical phenomena”.Google Scholar
  25. 23.
    We have to keep in mind that in the Logical Investigations Husserl is not yet concerned with the “double nature” of the own body and the phenomenon of “double sensations” Merleau-Ponty later on could lay so much stress upon (having recourse to Ideas II). In the Logical Investigations the own body simply is an object of outer perception. This indicates that Husserl’s obligation to Descartes, strongly stimulated by his former teacher Brentano, is in fact a more thorough-going one in this time than he himself would have liked to admit. In this respect one may say that it is not until after (at least) 1909 that Husserl recognized his Cartesian heritage in its full range and weight.Google Scholar
  26. 24.
    Actually this problem is not dealt with in the Logical Investigations. It is brought to detailed analysis in the lectures on time-consciousness from 1905 (and later on in the analysis of passive synthesis from 1918 onward). There Husserl, moreover, comes to a revision of the doctrine of adequate inner perception. The identification of inner awareness and “original time-consciousness” results in a more decided refutation of its alleged intentional character (in the sense of “intentionality” from 1901). (There is a “foreshadowing” of the following description in the explanation of “Erleben in dem innerlichen Sinne” in §3 of LU V.) “Jeder Akt ist Bewußtsein von etwas, aber jeder Akt ist auch bewußt. Jedes Erlebnis ist ‘empfunden’, ist immanent ‘wahrgenommen’ (inneres Bewußtsein), wenn auch natürlich nicht gesetzt, gemeint (wahrnehmen heißt hier nicht meinend-zugewendet-sein und erfassen). Jeder Akt kann reproduziert werden, zu jedem ‘inneren’ Bewußtsein vom Akt als einem Wahrnehmen gehört ein mögliches reproduktives Bewußtsein, eine möglich Wiedererinnerung z.B. Freilich scheint das auf einen unendlichen Regreß zurückzuführen. (…) Dagegen ist zu sagen: Jedes ‘Erlebnis’ im prägnanten Sinn ist innerlich wahrgenommen. Aber das innere Wahrnehmen ist nicht im selben Sinne ein ‘Erlebnis’. Es ist nicht selbst wieder innerlich wahrgenommen”. (Hua X: p. 126f) Thus we have to distinguish: “das präphänomenale Sein der Erlebnisse, ihr Sein vor der reflektiven Zuwendung auf sie, und ihr Sein als Phänomen.” (Ibid.: p. 129) In the time-lectures the infinite regress of consciousness is cut off by reference to an instantaneous self-appearance of the “absolute time-constituting consciousness” which “engenders” any (temporally constituted) act and which, on its part, cannot be explained any further. From this Husserl draws two conclusions: 1. It is impossible to achieve adequate givenness in inner awareness since this would require denying the protentional and retentional “horizon” of time-consciousness: there is no “pure presence” to be found in the “depth structure” of consciousness. 2. It is impossible to uphold the sensation-apprehension-structure at the level of inner time-consciousness since this would be tantamount to admitting an infinite regress of intentional experience. It is by explicitly disregarding this sphere that Husserl is allowed to adhere to this scheme later on, e.g. in Ideas I. I left out of consideration this whole matter of time-consciousness although it marks an important step between the Logical Investigations and the introduction of the epoché, and it prepares for the later notion of operative intentionality (“fungierende Intentionalität”).Google Scholar
  27. 25.
    Cf. LU VI: p. 694; p. 704.Google Scholar
  28. 26.
    Cf. LU V: p. 353; p. 376; VI: p. 715. Setting forth this essential difference between the unity of real* contents and the intentional relation to an object is the cardinal point of the whole project of an epistemological clarification of pure logic. Husserl lays much emphasis on this when outlining his ideas in a letter to Anton Marty from July 7, 1901: “… die Beziehung der Auffassung zum Aufgefaßten (repräsentierenden Inhalt) ist eine von Grund aus wesentlich verschiedene von der intentionalen Beziehung als Beziehung der ganzen Auffassung (des sinnbelebten Zeichens, des von der Auffassung beseelten Inhalts) zum repräsentierten oder intendierten Gegenstand. Die erstere Beziehung ist eine reale, die letztere die ideale oder logische. Die Auffassung stellt den aufzufassenden Inhalt nicht vor, sondern indem sie ihn auffaßt, stellt sie einen (allgemein zu reden) von ihm verschiedenen Inhalt vor.” Edmund Husserl, Briefwechsel, Band I: Die Brentanoschule. In Verbindung mit E. Schuhmann hrsg. v. K. Schuhmann (Dordrecht/Boston/London: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1994), p. 82.Google Scholar
  29. 27.
    Cf. “Die Rede von der Erkenntnis bezieht sich auf ein Verhältnis zwischen Denkact und erfüllender Anschauung. Denkacte kommen aber in Aussagen und Aussagetheilen, z.B. in Namen, nicht dadurch zum Ausdruck, daß sie wiederum gedacht und erkannt würden. Sonst wären diese neuen Denkacte die Bedeutungsträger, zunächst wären sie ausgedrückt, bedürften also wieder neuer Denkacte und so in infinitum.” (LU VI: p. 676f)Google Scholar
  30. 28.
    As to the different meanings of “expressed acts” cf. LU VI: pp. 482–486.Google Scholar
  31. 29.
    Cf. LU I.: p. 29; p. 79. In the Fifth Investigation this distinction is brought to bear by contrasting the object intended pure and simple and the object as it is intended (cf. LUV: §17).Google Scholar
  32. 30.
    Cf. LU V: p. 34If; VI: p. 707.Google Scholar
  33. 31.
    Cf. LU V: p. 453; Hua IX, §3.Google Scholar
  34. 32.
    Cf. “Die Erscheinungen (d.i. die Erlebnisse, in denen Gegenstände vorgestellt werden, S.R.) selbst erscheinen nicht, sie werden erlebt” (LU V: p. 328). “Sind die sogenannten immanenten Inhalte vielmehr bloß intentionale (intendine), so sind andererseits die wahrhaft immanenten Inhalte, die zum reellen Bestände der intentionalen Erlebnisse gehörigen, nicht intentional, sie bauen den Act auf, ermöglichen als die nothwendigen Anhaltspunkte die Intention, aber sie sind nicht selbst intendirt, sie sind nicht die Gegenstände, die im Act vorgestellt werden. Ich sehe nicht Farbenempfindungen sondern gefärbte Dinge, ich höre nicht Tonempfindungen sondern das Lied der Sängerin u.s.w.” (LU V: p. 353). As to “Zumutesein” one finds an interesting remark in a letter from Husserl to Johannes Daubert from May, 1904. There he explicitly asserts that the infinite regress may only be tied up by acknowledging this unreflected and non-intentional awareness. However, the ambiguity of Husserl’s conception of inner awareness is still retained in 1904. This is obvious when he, on the one hand, defends the “Zumutesein” and, on the other hand, holds it possible that one may gain “adäquate Erinnerung” of it in reflection. (Cf. Edmund Husserl, Briefwechsel, Band II: Die Münchener Phänomenologen. In Verbindung mit E. Schuhmann hrsg. v. K. Schuhmann. (Dordrecht/Boston/London: Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994), p. 37.)Google Scholar
  35. 33.
    Cf. LU II: p. 197; V: p. 333; p. 363.Google Scholar
  36. 34.
    Cf. “Gegenstand zu sein, ist kein positives Merkmal, keine positive Art eines Inhalts, es bezeichnet den Inhalt nur als intentionales Correlat einer Vorstellung.” (LU VI: p. 557)Google Scholar
  37. 35.
    Cf. “‘erlebt’ ist nicht ohne weiteres bewußt im Sinne irgendeines Gewußtseins.” (Hua XVI: p. 48)Google Scholar
  38. 36.
    Cf. LU VI: pp. 495–510.Google Scholar
  39. 37.
    One has to be aware of the double meaning of “present” (and the analogous double meaning of “intuition” and “givenness”) in the context of either inadequate (outer or inner) perception or adequate (inner) perception. The change of meaning takes place when the normal knowledge situation is left in favour of the “borderline case” of adequate inner perception. “Aber das Präsentiren macht im Allgemeinen nicht ein wahrhaftes Gegenwärtigsein, sondern nur ein als gegenwärtig Erscheinen, in welchem die gegenständliche Gegenwart und mit ihr die Vollkommenheit der Wahr-nehmung Abstufungen zeigt.” (LU VI: p. 588f; cf. LU V: p. 337)Google Scholar
  40. 38.
    As to Husserl’s misconception of reflection cf. Manfred Sommer, Husserl und der frühe Positivismus (Frankfurt a.M.: Vittorio Klostermann, 1985), p. 202f and passim.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 39.
    Cf. LU V: p. 358; VI: p. 511.Google Scholar
  42. 40.
    Although I do not intend to delve into the problem how Descartes himself wants us to understand his ego cogito, ergo sum (resp. sum res cogitans resp. ego sum, ego existo) it has to be pointed out that there are interpretations arriving at the conclusion that the “Cartesian certainty” cannot be considered a sort of knowledge, e.g. the very careful and instructive comment of Wolfgang Rod, “Zum Problem des premier principe in Descartes Metaphysik”, in Kant-Studien 51 (1959/60): 176–195. Rod finally proposes to distinguish between the first and direct (“sich selbst tragende”) certainty which is not a knowledge, and may not serve as “premier principe”, and its logical explication (“cogito, ergo sum”). Amongst phenomenologists I find my own view in regard to the evidence of inner awareness widely in accordance with Mohanty’s explanations of the concept of evidence, cf. Jitendra Nath Mohanty, The Possibility of Transcendental Philosophy (Dordrecht/Boston/Lancaster: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1985), pp. 83–100.Google Scholar
  43. 41.
    On that score Husserl clearly runs the risk of falling behind Brentano’s extensive occupation with the method of descriptive psychology (cf. Introduction to the second volume of LU: 11). In his later years Brentano especially paid much attention to the relation between inner perception in the narrow sense and inner perception in the wider sense which marks a pivotal point in his conception of descriptive psychology. Husserl’s objections to the doctrine of the en parergo-consciousness in the Logical Investigations sometimes give the impression that he accused Brentano of having neglected this methodical concern (cf. LU V: p. 334) although this is, as I tried to make clear above, a sore point in Husserl’s own investigations. Notwithstanding a certain wavering and unclearness in this point there can be found right characterizations of reflection in the Logical Investigations. They characteristically crop up in the context of “Aufmerksamkeit” where this problem is situated in Brentano’s works as well: “Die Möglichkeit einer Aufmerksamkeit auf erlebte Inhalte bestreiten wir natürlich nicht, aber wo wir auf erlebte Inhalte aufmerksam sind, da sind sie eben Gegenstände einer (sc. inneren) Wahrnehmung, und Wahrnehmung ist hiebei nicht das bloße Dasein des Inhalts im Bewußtsein, sondern vielmehr ein Act, in dem uns der Inhalt gegenständlich wird. Und so sind es denn überhaupt intentionale Gegenstände irgendwelcher Acte, und nur intentionale Gegenstände, worauf wir jeweils aufmerksam sind und aufmerksam sein können.” (LU V: p. 385; cf. Ibid.: p. 326; p. 356; p. 426f) If Husserl would have consequently adhered to that he could not have maintained that phenomenological analysis might actually reach back to adequate inner perception. The latter is not a “Bemerken” or “Aufmerken” whereas the third concept of consciousness (“intentional experience”) is essentially connected with the concept of attention (cf. LU II: pp. 163–165).Google Scholar
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    Introduction to the second volume of LU: p. 11f. At any rate Husserl admits that the phenomenological analysis has to be attentive to the objects of experiences, at least to a certain degree. This is, in fact, undeniable if only for that reason that any result of the investigation must be reproducible and identifiable, and thus objectively expressed in terms inevitably referring to the objects of experience.Google Scholar
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    Introduction to the second volume of LU: p. 21.Google Scholar
  46. 44.
    Cf. LU I: §26. The result of this short remark fits into the general doctrine of occasional expressions in the Logical Investigations. Occasional expressions have a double meaning function: first, there is a general meaning-function whose knowledge is sufficient to identify the word in question as a meaningful expression (as against a mere lining up of noises). In the case of the personal pronoun “I” this announcing meaning (“anzeigende Bedeutung”) is “the person presently speaking designates himself”. Unlike his listeners the person uttering the sentence in question (e.g. “I am amused”) has available the announced meaning (“angezeigte Bedeutung”) which is the particular meaning the occasional expression obtains in this present instance of application. The announced meaning is an immediate presentation of one’s own. Thus, understanding the meaning of “I” in communication means that whenever one hears someone saying “I” one supposes (on behalf of one’s being acquainted with the announcing meaning) the person in question to be directly aware of the announced meaning. According to this view the latter may not be substituted by an objective (“definite”) description of the person uttering “I” because this person does not refer to itself by means of any description whatsoever.Google Scholar
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    E.g. Id/I: p. 110.Google Scholar
  48. 46.
    “Scheiden wir den Ichleib vom empirischen Ich ab, und beschränken wir dann das rein psychische Ich auf seinen phänomenologischen Gehalt, so reducirt es sich auf die Bewußtseinseinheit, also auf die reale Erlebniscomplexion, die wir (d.h. jeder für sein Ich) zu einem Theile mit Evidenz als in uns vorhanden finden und zum ergänzenden Theile mit guten Gründen annehmen.” (LU V: p. 331)Google Scholar
  49. 47.
    Cf. “Irgendetwas gegenständlich, es zum Subjecte von Prädikationen oder Attributionen zu machen, ist aber nur ein anderer Ausdruck für Vorstellen, und zwar von Vorstellen in dem Sinne, der in aller Logik maßgeblich ist.” (LU II: p. 139f)Google Scholar
  50. 48.
    Tugendhat, for instance, calls Husserl’s fixation to the “absoluten Präsenzcharakter” of real* contents in the Logical Investigations with reference to the theory of evidence and truth a “prejudice of grave consequence”, cf. Ernst Tugendhat, Der Wahrheitsbegriff bei Husserl und Heidegger (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter & Co, 1967), pp. 69–76; pp. 85–87; pp. 201–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 49.
    In the second edition of the Logical Investigations (1913: Prolegomena and LU I-V) Husserl actually adds a footnote to the §6 of the Fifth Investigation to the effect that he was wrong in this point in 1901.Google Scholar
  52. 50.
    Of course, the whole problem I am trying to bring forth must remain in obscurity if one starts with a careless rendering of the first concept of consciousness taking it to refer plainly to the empirical ego. e.g. cf. Quentin Smith, “On Husserl’s Theory of Consciousness in the Fifth Logical Investigation”, in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 37 (1976/77): 482. It is true that Husserl considers the mental ego (“geistiges Ich”) to be empirically bound up to a physical thing. But the three concepts of consciousness introduced in the Fifth Investigation are thought to be relevant for a phenomenological analysis. Accordingly, the very definition of “phenomenological ego” aims at separating the descriptive content from any empirical apprehension. I agree with the author that there are unsolved problems regarding the second concept of consciousness although one certainly has to refer to the appendix of the Sixth Investigation in order to achieve some clarification. It does not suffice to restrain oneself to Husserl’s “brief and ambiguous” (Ibid.: p. 484) explanations in the Fifth Investigation. And what is more, one has to go into the relations between the three concepts of consciousness instead of exclusively giving prominence to the third one.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 51.
    “So ist jede Wahrnehmung des Ich, oder jede auf das Ich bezogene Wahrnehmung eines psychischen Zustandes gewiß nicht evident, wenn unter Ich verstanden ist, was Jedermann in der Ich Wahrnehmung wahrzunehmen glaubt, nämlich die eigene empirische Persönlichkeit.” (LU VI: p. 704)Google Scholar
  54. 52.
    Cf. LU V: p. 342. This is the reason why I hold it to be wrong to maintain that “though the technical terms are still absent, there is in the Logical Investigations an epoche and a disconnection of the existence of the extramental object”. (Theodorius de Boer, “The Meaning of Husserl’s Idealism in the Light of His Development”, in Analecta Husserliana II (1972): p. 325.)Google Scholar
  55. 53.
    E.g. Hua I: p. 59f; p. 74f; p. 177. Considering the history of the concept transcendental philosophy one may doubt if Husserl should use it for his pure phenomenology. In any case be repeatedly emphasized its peculiar sense within phenomenology. Cf. Id/I: p. 60; Hua VII: p. 189; p. 197; pp. 230ff; pp. 249–257; pp. 381–395; Hua I: §41.Google Scholar
  56. 54.
    Here “premise” designates any unjustified presupposition of the investigation. Of course, one has to hold off the idea as if judgments about “immanence” would serve as premises in the technical sense forming the starting-point of deductive operations (cf. e.g. Hua XXIV; pp. 183–189; Hua VI: p. 193).Google Scholar
  57. 55.
    Eidetic reduction and phenomenological reduction have to be clearly separated from each other. The former requires to be directed to essences instead of being directed to individual objects (or events). This may take place within the natural attitude, too. Reversely, pure phenomenology in the sense of “transcendental phenomenology” must be established as an eidetic discipline because otherwise it would be restricted to mere “this”-occurrences within pure consciousness. In this case Husserl could not pretend to set up an apriori science providing apodictically valid judgments. I consider this to be a serious weakness of phenomenology on behalf of the circularity of the method of eidetic variation.Google Scholar
  58. 56.
    Cf. Hua XIII: pp. 1–5; pp. 17–20; pp. 111–113; pp. 184–187.Google Scholar
  59. 57.
    Cf. Hua XIII: pp. 24–27; p. 92; pp. 425–435.Google Scholar
  60. 58.
    Cf. e.g. LU V: p. 337; pp. 396–399.Google Scholar
  61. 59.
    This Cartesian bias of early phenomenology is finally cut down by means of a new access to a “Bewußtseinslehre” in the late Twentieth. In his Formal and Transcendental Logic (§107) Husserl comes to admit that whenever one emphasizes the credit of the adequate inner consciousness one has already implicitly presupposed the achievements of objective identification (in space and time). Thus the evidence of adequate inner consciousness has to be considered as situated within a system of different functions of evidence. It is not an outstanding and independently valid evidence. Within the framework of genetic phenomenology this late theory of evidence gives a more subtle explanation of the thesis laid down in the appendix to the Sixth Logical Investigation: Inner and outer perception are epistemically on equal standards. Moreover, it explicitly brings to light what above has been called the “counter-motive” to the Cartesian predominance of adequate inner perception in the Logical Investigations: Adequate evidence of present experiences is dependent upon a recognition of the object intended, and therefore is dependent upon the identification of the object in question.Google Scholar
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    Cf. “Auch die psychischen Erlebnisse und die Ich dokumentieren sich nach ihrem Sein und ihren gesetzlichen Zusammenhängen nur in der Wissenschaft als einem System objektiv gültiger Vorstellungen und Urteile, und gegeben sind sie nur als Zielpunkte intentionaler Erlebnisse im Ich. Aber sie sind in einer gewissen engeren Sphäre wahrhaft als das, was sie sind, gegeben, während dies für die physischen Dinge überhaupt nie statthat.” (LU V: p. 337)Google Scholar
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    Cf. “Solange descriptive Psychologie im echten Sinn Psychologie ist, steht sie, wie eng wir sie auch begrenzen, der genetisch-kausalen Psychologie völlig gleich. Wie diese darfauch sie nicht in Anspruch genommen werden, da sie Transzendenzen impliziert. Und sie impliziert wirklich Transzendenzen, solange sie irgendwie noch Psychologie ist.” (Hua XXIV: p. 209)Google Scholar
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    It was the later Husserl who extensively dealt with the problem of transcendental psychologism which is the problem of a correct interpretation of the epoché (cf. Hua XVII: §§93 and 99; Hua VI: §§53, 57 and 72). This is the answer to the sharp criticism raised against Ideas I where Husserl simply seems to have placed too much confidence in his “introduction” to pure phenomenology.Google Scholar
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    That Husserl nevertheless keeps using the term “perception” synonymously with “reflection” is, in my view, not a mere convention of speech. It rather points to the fact that he continues to struggle with a definite and clear account of the character of phenomenological reflection although he does not further on intend to tie it to adequate inner perception in the sense of 1901. I am not sure if Husserl ever really did solve this problem in a satisfying manner.Google Scholar
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    “So trägt also sowohl äußere wie innere Wahrnehmung ihre Korrelation mit sich, die äußere trägt eine apperceptive Beziehung auf Ichkörper und sonstige ‘äußere Natur’. In beiden Fällen bewegen wir uns in der Sphäre der Natürlichkeit und objektiv in der Sphäre der Natur. Alles erscheint da eingeordnet in einen Zusammenhang, der partiell ein räumlicher, überall und immer ein zeitlicher und in der einen Zeitlichkeit ein sachlicher Zusammenhang ist.” (Hua XXIV, Appendix A/XI: p. 371 f)Google Scholar
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    From the above it is clear that the meaning of the term “pure” has thoroughly changed in the years after the Logical Investigations. In 1907 the purity of the phenomenological investigation is to be established by means of the epoché. Formerly, in 1900/01, descriptive psychology was considered “pure” because of its being restricted to the descriptive content of phenomena leaving aside any metaphysical and psychological interpretation, the latter being understood in the normal sense of a causally explaining psychology. Especially in the Fifth and Sixth Investigations descriptive psychology is introduced as a phenomenology of experiences (“Aktphänomenologie”). There are, of course, the Investigations III and IV being occupied with formal ontology, hardly ever making reference to the “subjective” aspect of experience. But this does not alter the fact that so far as descriptive psychology in its nature is concerned we are urged to turn towards the experiences.Google Scholar
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    Although this equation is still widespread in phenomenological literature there are also attempts to relativize or overcome it. E.g. Harrison Hall, “Intersubjective Phenomenology and Husserl’s Cartesianism”, in Man and World 12 (1979): 13–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sonja Rinofner-Kreidl
    • 1
  1. 1.Karl-Franzens-University GrazAustria

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