Controversy About Actual Existence: Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka’s Contribution to the Study of Roman Ingarden’s Philosophy

  • Krystyna Górniak-Kocikowska
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 27)


Recalling the opinion expressed by Alfred North Whitehead in “Process and Reality” that each philosophical school needs two philosophers without whom it could not exist, namely its founder and the one who, by bringing the school’s doctrine to perfect unity, achieves reductio ad absurdum, Tymieniecka states: “In a very real sense Roman Ingarden may be said to have fulfilled with respect to Husserl a significant part of this task of clarification which Whitehead calls for. For Ingarden’s philosophical enterprise is at the same time a continuation of the line of thought inaugurated by Husserl and a revolution in the very principles of that philosophy.” (Tymieniecka, 1959, p. 1) Hence Tymieniecka’s claim that in order to have a complete picture of Husserl’s phenomenology we have to consider both of these thinkers. Although the major part of her original philosophy unfolded in the American philosophical climate, Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka’s philosophical “source,” the tradition in which her perception of the world was shaped, was European. A closer look at her scholarly output, leads one to observe that works which she devoted to the philosophy of Roman Ingarden are most significant to the USA. Her lecture at the World Congress of Philosophy in Brussels in 1953 entitled “Roman Ingarden, ou une nouvelle position du problème idéalisme-réalisme” (Roman Ingarden, or the New Position of the Idealism-Realism Problem) was the very first time that Ingarden’s thought was directly presented in Western Europe.


Isolate System Actual Existence Real Individual Pure Consciousness Scholarly Output 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. I would like to thank Professor Galen Johnson of the University of Rhode Island, who helped me in collecting the texts by Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka. I thank also Mr. John Thomas of the Adam Mickiewicz University, who corrected my English.Google Scholar
  2. 1.
    That the problem of idealism is extremely fundamental for the interpretation and evaluation of Husserl’s philosophy is evidenced by, for example, the fact that even in the eyes of a Soviet Marxist, A. M. Rutkievitz, the author of “the first work in our literature which contains a critical analysis of existential psychoanalysis” (editor’s comment): “His [i.e., Husserl’s — K. G.] phenomenological method — if its subjective-idealistic interpretation is skipped — is fully acceptable given his description of, say, aesthetic experiences or religious-mythological images.” (Rutkievitz, 1985, footnote p. 34)Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    More precisely, the controversy began with a letter to Husserl written in 1918. (Cf. Analecta Husserliana, Vols. II and IV) In a commentary to this letter written in 1961, Ingarden stated: “The letter shows also how early my reservations vis-à-vis Husserl’s idealism emerged. Beside my remarks on Méditationes Cartesiénnes, published in part in German, it is finally the proof of the fact that I never hid my critical stance towards idealism from Husserl, but I frankly discussed the topic with him.” (Ingarden, 1976, p. 437) In a preface to the first volume of his fundamental work The Controversy About the Existence of the World, Ingarden states: “I have prepared myself for the writing of this book for many years, precisely since the moment in 1918 when I became convinced that I could not agree with Husserl’s idealistic attitude toward the existence of the real world.” (Ingarden, 1947, p. 1)Google Scholar
  4. 3.
    The book includes a third volume, completed in 1954 and only published in 1974 by Max Niemeyer Verlag under the title Über die Kausale Struktur der realen Welt.Google Scholar
  5. 4.
    Tymieniecka is also of the opinion that Husserl — despite his having investigated the ideal world in the first volume of Logical Investigations — did not explain the problem of an idea. The author claims that both the concepts of “idea” and of “being” (eidos) are unclear in Husserl’s work. (Cf. Tymieniecka, 1955, p. 36)Google Scholar
  6. 5.
    Practically, this means that he carried out the work demanded by those philosophers who have sought the first, most essential philosophical questions so that the answers to them could be developed into their own philosophies. (Cf. also Tymieniecka’s remarks on this issue in the Introduction to her book Essence et Existence, 1957, esp. p. 17.)Google Scholar
  7. 6.
    “There is no doubt that what Ingarden has in mind when he puts forward the problem of the controversy over realism-idealism, which is so fundamental for him, is the real existence of the experienced world in its fluent, unique, concrete becoming. However, does it grasp, in its very essence, the transitory reality which in both our experience and in the internal action of nature is an indivisible flow of events?” (Tymieniecka, 1972, p. 202)Google Scholar
  8. 7.
    In the philosophical language of Martin Buber, the problem is presented as follows: “This means that we are at the same time and one with the finiteness of human beings obliged to know man’s participation in Nonfinality, not as two separate features, but as the doubling of processes in which human existence can finally be cognized. Both Finality and Nonfinality influence him; he participates in both Finality and Nonfinality.” (Buber, 1971, p. 14)Google Scholar
  9. 8.
    However, Ingarden excluded the problem of action from the procedure of establishing the aesthetic noema through the work of Art. Hence Tymieniecka’s proposal: “To conclude our criticism of Ingarden with an alternative proposal to his (to understand the work of Art, starting with its structure) the emphasis should fall upon the search for its vision and message, that is, from the state of affairs, we are directed toward the process of their production: creation.” (Tymieniecka, 1976, p. 334)Google Scholar
  10. 9.
    Both: Why is There Something Rather Than Nothing?, 1964; and “Trzy wymiary fenomenologii,” 1972. The first, (German) edition of the third volume of Controversy appeared in 1974.Google Scholar
  11. 10.
    Tymieniecka knew and commented on the third volume of the Controversy, in texts later than those discussed, however. Her attitude towards the content and solutions presented by Ingarden in this volume is marked by a fair amount of criticism about, among other things, Ingarden’s treatment of such principal issues as “the unity of the world,” “dynamism,” etc. (See: Tymieniecka, 1976, esp. p. 371)Google Scholar
  12. 11.
    Tymieniecka refers here to Why is There Something Rather than Nothing, Part II.Google Scholar
  13. 12.
    “Both thinkers seek in vain to rejoin the vital dimensions of experience and nature from which they separated themselves while setting up their respective methodological frameworks. Their probing into those dimensions, even if unsuccessful, never stopped. Neither did they disavow their essential postulates.” (Tymieniecka, 1976, p. 378)Google Scholar
  14. 13.
    However, according to Tymieniecka, Ingarden also made mistakes here: “Approaching at the start only provisionally the controversy within the Cartesian framework in which the real world is opposed to pure consciousness and expecting to transform it from within the concrete research, did he not, in fact, become victim of this framework?... To conclude, it can be said that Ingarden’s failure to reconstruct conclusively the great issue within this framework — having shown its limitations and difficulties rather than having solved it — constitutes his everlasting contribution to the history of philosophy.” (Tymieniecka, 1976, p. 373)Google Scholar
  15. 14.
    One should think, e.g., of Durkheim’s considerations.Google Scholar
  16. 15.
    For more on this problem, see Górniak-Kocikowska, 1986.Google Scholar
  17. 16.
    “The essence of a real being takes part in its evolution; it can, in fact, in the processes which unfold within a being, to a certain degree change in its properties. These changes would be indicated as possible by its very structure. The evolution of the beings of nature — its typology — offers us an example.” (Tymieniecka, 1976, p. 280)Google Scholar
  18. 17.
    This quotation comes from a paper of Ingarden’s, translated into Polish by Adam Węgrzecki, which was published in German in 1970 by Philipp Reclam Jun., Stuttgart, West Germany: “Uber die Verantwortung. Ihre ontischen Fundamente.” In the Polish language version it has been included in Ksiązeczka o człowieku (A Booklet on Man).Google Scholar
  19. 18.
    “It is, so I say, a layer of contact between man’s body and soul.” (Ingarden, 1987, p. 143)Google Scholar
  20. 19.
    I have given more attention to this problem in my paper about Nietzsche’s position vis-à-vis Kant. (See: Górniak, 1983)Google Scholar
  21. 20.
    Tymieniecka did not confine herself to critique alone. She makes her own proposals: “... let us formulate two constructive postulates concerning the role and conception of action: 1. Should action be the factor of the’ specifically human’ aspect of man, it would have to be a type of action that has an appropriate target to ‘transcend’ and yet be capable of bringing together in an articulated, methodologically justifiable philosophical interpretation of facts the complete sequence of things and beings in the specific modalities of their functioning. 2. Should action reveal itself as the factor of freedom it would have then to ‘transcend’ the system of the constitutive ideal — intentional regulations and principles.” (Tymieniecka, 1976, p. 368)Google Scholar
  22. 21.
    We may conclude this discussion of the telos which presides over the enactment of the creative function by stating its crucial role in three major points: (1) It allows the human agent to break with his imposed survival-oriented patterns and advance toward the orchestration of Imaginatio Creatrix. Thus it opens up the exit from the closed horizon of Nature (and of the transcendental circle, for that matter) for specifically human freedom. (2) Leaving behind the preestablished regulative principles of the intentional system (subservient to Nature) the creative telos guides the origin of new forms as fruits of human invention. Thus it leads man from natural determination to creative possibility. (3) Finally, the creative vision offers us the much sought system of reference for thematizing the preintentional dimension of the human functioning as its’ subliminal’ resources: they appear as a specific endowment of the real, human individual basic to his human condition. (Tymieniecka, 1979, p. 17)Google Scholar
  23. 22.
    Analyzing the problem of telos in Husserl’s philosophy, Franco Bosio, an Italian phenomenologist, points out the special (different from that in, for example, historical materialism and Anglo-American pragmatism) kind of connection between theory and praxis we meet in Husserl’s phenomenology (as well as in Heidegger’s, Gadamer’s, and Scheler’s). The character of this connection is based on “teleological movement common to theoresis and praxis.” (Bosio, 1979, p. 90) According to Bosio the creative character of man’s activity results from the fact that for Husserl the life-world is a spirit, and thus: “The world of praxis is therefore spirit in the sense of the supremacy of the being of a person over any other reality, of the homo faber as the subject of the relations of production and exchange.” (Bosio, 1979, p. 89) So, Husserl’s telos is strictly connected with the idealistic character of his philosophy.Google Scholar
  24. 23.
    “This quest after the transempirical destiny carried on by the self and the Other appears indeed as the quest after the final telos of man’s self-explication in existence only when we discover that it proceeds by means of a creative self-interpretation.” (Tymieniecka, 1979, p. 24)Google Scholar
  25. 24.
    “In the great religions, the universe is not the partner of religious communication but at the most a means of communication, the partner being inside or beyond the universe.” (Keller, 1985, p. 121)Google Scholar


  1. Ajdukiewicz, Kazimierz (1983): Zagadnienia i kierunki filozofii. Teoria poznania. Metafizyka, Czytelnik, Warszawa.Google Scholar
  2. Bochenski, I. M. (1961): Foreword, in: Tymieniecka, Anna-Teresa: Phenomenology and Science in Contemporary European Thought, Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, New York, pp. VII–XI.Google Scholar
  3. Bochenski, I. M. (1969): Die zeitgenössischen Denkmethoden, Francke Verlag, Bern und München.Google Scholar
  4. Bosio, Franco (1979): “The Teleology of “Theoresis” and “Praxis” in the Thought of Husserl,” in Analecta Husserliana, Vol. IX, pp. 85–90.Google Scholar
  5. Brzozowski, Stanisław (1936): Kultura i życie, Wydawnictwo Instytutu Literackiego, Warszawa.Google Scholar
  6. Buber, Martin (1971): Das Problem des Menschen, Verlag Lambert Schneider GmbH, Heidelberg.Google Scholar
  7. Edwards, Paul — ed. in chief (1967): The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, The Macmillan Company and The Free Press, New York.Google Scholar
  8. Górniak, Krystyna (1983): “Fryderyka Nietzschego krytyka filozofii Kanta,” in: W kręgu inspiracji Kantowskich, ed. by R. Kozłowski, Pańistwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, Warszawa-Poznań, pp. 151–168.Google Scholar
  9. Górniak-Kocikowska, Krystyna (1986): “Dialogue — A New Utopia?,” in: Occasional Papers on Religion in Eastern Europe, Vol. VI, No. 5, October, Princeton, NJ, pp. 13–30.Google Scholar
  10. Huisman, Denis (1984): Dictionaire des Philosophes, Press Universitaires de France, Paris.Google Scholar
  11. Husserl, Edmund (1962): Die Krisis der europäischen Wissenschaften und die transcendentale Phänomenologie, in: Husserliana, Vol. VI, Den Haag.Google Scholar
  12. Husserl, Edmund (1982): Medytacje Kartezjańskie z dodatkiem uwag krytycznych Romana Ingardena. Transl. by A. Wajs, Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, Warszawa.Google Scholar
  13. Ingarden, Roman (1929): “Bemerkungen zum Problem Idealismus-Realismus,” in: Festschrift, Edmund Husserl zum 70. Geburtstag gewidmet, Jahrbuch für Philosophie und Phänomenologische Forschung, Ergänzungsband, Halle, pp. 159–190.Google Scholar
  14. Ingarden, Roman (1947): Spór o istnienie świata, tom I, Kraków.Google Scholar
  15. Ingarden, Roman (1948): Spór o istnienie świata, tom II, Kraków.Google Scholar
  16. Ingarden, Roman (1970): Studia z estetyki, tom III, Warszawa.Google Scholar
  17. Ingarden, Roman (1971): “Die vier Begriffe der Transzendenz und das Problem des Idealismus bei Husserl,” in Analecta Husserliana, Vol. I, pp. 36–74.Google Scholar
  18. Ingarden, Roman (1974): Wstęp do fenomenologii Husserla. Wykłady wygłoszone na Uniwersytecie w Oslo (15 wrzesień — 17 listopad 1967). Transl. from German by A. Półtawski, Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, Warszawa.Google Scholar
  19. Ingarden, Roman (1976): “The Letter to Husserl About the VI (Logical) Investigation and ‘Idealism’,” in Analecta Husserliana, Vol. IV, pp. 419–438.Google Scholar
  20. Ingarden, Roman (1981): Spór o istnienie świata, torn III: O strukturze przyczynowej realnego świata. Transl. from German by D. Gierulanka, Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, Warszawa.Google Scholar
  21. Ingarden, Roman (1987): Książeczka o człowieku, Wydawnictwo Literackie, Kraków.Google Scholar
  22. Jaspers, Karl (1961): The Question of German Guilt, Transl. from German by E. B. Ashton, New York.Google Scholar
  23. Jaspers, Karl (1971): Einführung in die Philosophie, Piper and Co. Verlag, München.Google Scholar
  24. Kampits, Peter (1981): “Natur als Mitwelt. Anmerkungen zu einer ‘ökologischen Ethik’,” in Ethik. Grundlagen, Probleme und Anwendungen. Akten des 5. Internationalen Wittgenstein Symposiums, Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky, Wien, pp. 328–330.Google Scholar
  25. Keller, Carl-A. (1984): “Religions as System of Communication. A Reappraisal of an Anthropological Approach,” in Current Progress in the Methodology of the Science of Religion, Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, Warszawa, pp. 119–125.Google Scholar
  26. Klawiter, Andrzej (1986): Naturalne i czyste fenomenologie dzieła sztuki. Husserl i Ingarden o budowie obrazu, Manuscript.Google Scholar
  27. Küng, Guido (1979): “Understanding and its Rational Justification,” in Dialectica (Switzerland), 33:1979, pp. 217–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Küng, Guido (1981): “Czy możemy poznawać rzeczy takimi, jakimi sa? (Współczesny antykartezjanizm i jego granice),” in: Zeszyty Naukowe KUL, R. 24, No. 1/93/, pp. 21–37.Google Scholar
  29. Morgan, Peter (1986): “Tymieniecka’s Poetics in the Light of Nineteenth Century British Literary Thought,” in Phenomenological Inquiry, Vol. X, October, pp. 129–137.Google Scholar
  30. Nietzsche, Friedrich (1972): Werke, ed. by Karl Schlechta, Ullstein GmbH, Frankfurt/Main-Berlin-Wien.Google Scholar
  31. Półtawski, Andrzej (1986): “Roman Ingarden — ein Metaphysiker der Freiheit,” in Jagiellonian University Reports on Philosophy No. 10, Polish Scientific Publishers, Warsaw-Cracow, pp. 43–56.Google Scholar
  32. Rutkievitz, A. M. (1985): Ot Frejda k Haideggeru (in Russian), Politizdat, Moskwa.Google Scholar
  33. Tymieniecka, Anna-Teresa (1953): “Roman Ingarden, ou une nouvelle position du problème idéalisme-réalisme,” in Actes du Xlème Congrès International de Philosophie, Bruxelles 20–26 Août, 1952, Vol. XIV, pp. 317–321.Google Scholar
  34. Tymieniecka, Anna-Teresa (1955): “Le dessin de la philosophie de Roman Ingarden,” in Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale, Paris, Janvier-Juin, No. 1-2, pp. 32–57.Google Scholar
  35. Tymieniecka, Anna-Teresa (1957): Essence et Existence. Étude à propos de la philosophie de Roman Ingarden et Nicolai Hartmann, Aubier Éditions Mantaigne, Paris.Google Scholar
  36. Tymieniecka, Anna-Teresa (1959): “The Second Phenomenology,” in For Roman Ingarden. Nine Essays in Phenomenology, Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, pp. 1–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Tymieniecka, Anna-Teresa (1972): “Trzy wymiary fenomenologii — ontologiczny, transcendentalny, kosmiczny — rola Romana Ingardena.” Transl. from English by B. Chwedeńczuk; in Fenomenologia Romana Ingardena. Wydanie specjalne Studiów Filozoficznych, Warszawa, pp. 175–208.Google Scholar
  38. Tymieniecka, Anna-Teresa (1976): “Beyond Ingarden’s Idealism/Realism Controversy with Husserl — The New Contextual Phase of Phenomenology,” in Analecta Husserliana Vol. IV, pp. 241–418.Google Scholar
  39. Tymieniecka, Anna-Teresa (1979): “Man the Creator and his Triple Telos,” in Analecta Husserliana Vol. IX, pp. 3–33.Google Scholar
  40. Tymieniecka, Anna-Teresa (1984): “Introduction,” Analecta Husserliana Vol. XVII, pp. ix–xi.Google Scholar
  41. Tymieniecka, Anna-Teresa (1984): “The Tenets of Roman Ingarden’s Aesthetics in a Philosophical Perspective,” in Analecta Husserliana Vol. XVII, pp. 271–283.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Krystyna Górniak-Kocikowska

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations