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Reading Notes

PHIL 458

Table of contents
  1. Cartesian Meditations, Husserl
    1. Introduction
    2. First Meditation: The Way to the Transcendental Ego
    3. Second Meditation: The Field of Transcendental Experience Laid Open in Respect of its Universal Structures
    4. Third Meditation: Constitutional Problems. Truth and actuality
    5. Fourth Meditation: Development of the Constitutional Problems Pertaining to the Transcendental Ego himself
    6. Fifth Meditation: Uncovering the Sphere of Transcendental Being as Monadological Intersubjectivity
  2. Max Scheler: A Concise Introduction, Manfred Frings
    1. Chapter 3: Emotional Spheres
    2. Chapter 6: Nonformal Ethics of Values
  3. Being and Nothingness, Jean-Paul Sartre
    1. Introduction
    2. Part One: The Problem of Nothingness
  4. The Dialectical Conception of Nothingness
  5. “Cognitional Structure”, Bernard Lonergan
  6. “Phenomenology: Nature, Significance, Limitations”, Lonergan
  7. Phenomenology: The Basics, Zahavi
    1. Introduction
    2. Chapter 1: The Phenomenon
    3. Chapter 2: Intentionality
    4. Chapter 3: Methodological Considerations
  8. Office Hours Questions

Cartesian Meditations, Husserl

Translated by Dorion Cairns


Decartes’ Meditations as the prototype of philosophical reflection

  • Decartes as France’s greatest thinker
  • Transcendental phenomenology as a neo-Cartesianism, even though it thoroughly rids itself of the doctrines of Cartesian philosophy
  • Meditationes de prima philosophia – a grounding of philosophy into a science, the need to bind philosophy to axioms
  • Philosophy is a personal affair – self acquired knowledge which “tends” towards the universal, to reason through knowledge.
  • One of the first things one should reflect on when building a first philosophy is epistemology
  • Decartes employs a regress to the ego as a subject of pure cogitationes (thinking process) through the method of doubt. Nothing is accepted as existent unless it cannot become doubtful.
    • Decartes doubts sensuous experience and the natural world
    • Only the cogitationes has undoubtable existence; it cannot be doubtable
    • Decartes therefore is kind of solipsistic
    • How can we deduce an objective outwards? God, then Objective Nature.

The necessity of a radical new beginning of philosophy

  • The positive sciences have paid very little attention to the meditations even though they find their grounding in it.
  • The Meditations were epoch-making because it turned (back) to the pure ego cogito: from naive Objectivism to transcendental subjectivism
  • The striving of transcendental subjectivism towards a ‘necessary final form’
    • the fuck is “radical transmutation”?
  • The decline of Western philosophy as a unitary science in the mid 1800s – faith in ‘autonomous philosophy’ grew. But now it is falling too
  • The semblance of pihlosophizing seriously – pseudo-everything. The striving to produce objective results. But the philosophies do not share the same conceptual space
  • Time to renew the radicality of the Carteisan overthrow
  • Interesting that Husserl takes a historical approach here
  • The radicality of philosophical self-responsibility: to be self-contained and true, to not fetishize itself, to be authentic and genuine.

First Meditation: The Way to the Transcendental Ego

The Cartesian overthrow and the guiding final idea of an absolute grounding of science

  • The making of a new beginning: so we cannot start from existing sciences, we need a radically genuine science.
  • Why this very idea that scince should be grounded absolutely? We cannot presuppose this
  • Decartes presupposed the structure of science in his overthrow of science: we shall not so quickly accept the normative ideal of science
  • We cannot even presuppose the possibility of an absolute grounding of science – here Husserl is very cautious
  • We will temporarily assume the general idea of science

Uncovering the final sense of science by becoming immersed in science qua noematic phenomenon

  • The concept of science is not abstraction from the ‘de facto sciences’: the sciences involve a claim which is already satisfied. (What???)
  • What is ‘genuine science’?
  • Judicative doing vs judgement
  • Mediate judgements: believing presupposes beliving others
  • Grounded judgements: showing the correctness or truth of the judgement
  • The showing of the truth of the grounded judgement is itself mediate
  • Cognition is the reactualizing and awareness of the truth in grounded judgeents
  • Evidence: judgmeents show themselves to be correct; i.e. in agreement with the judged state of affairs.
    • Judging is meaning
    • When one has evidence, it is not merely believed, but apprehended or experienced. We have the state of affairs itself, not necessarily a representation. This gives evidence its pre-eminent judicative meaning.
  • The scientist does not merely intend to judge, but to ground judgements: there must be a ‘freely actualizable return to his repeatable act of grounding’– this is what is meant by being apprehended, at hand
  • Pre-predicative: prior to expression in language
  • Judgement and evidence as being meant or viewed is different from a ‘presymbolic’ ‘pre-predicative’ state; being viewed means being given an expression in a language via prediction (something as a property of a subject). Evidence of the expression is an important part of scientific truth. (‘second order’, ‘meta-‘)

Evidence and the idea of genuine science

  • Evidence is a very broad sense – experiencing of something which is (‘mental seeing’).
  • Conflict with evidence is negative evidence as the form of a judgement (“positive evidence of the affair’s non-being”)
  • Perfect evidence, pure & genuine truth: strivings of knowledge; science looks towards universal truths, which requires different verifications ‘carried through to the end’
  • Science does not actualize absolute truths (even though it acts like it does), but rather modifies its “truths”, tends towards improved approximations
    • Science believes it can transcend itself
    • The idea of science requires beginning with a concept of the noumenal
  • Everything which makes a philosophical beginning, we must acquire ‘ourselves’
    • How to make something out of nothign?
  • First methodological principle: I cannot accpet any judgement as scientific which I have not derived from evidence (experiences) which make themselves apparent to me as themselves.
    • “It is plain that…” – appeal to what, intuition?
  • The sciences aim to symbolize what is held presymbolically (pre-predicatively)
  • Now, a normative principle of evidence emerges and will be used henceforth
  • A systematic order of cognitions.

Differentiations of evidence. The philosophical demand for an evidence that is apodictic and first in itself.

  • Absolute certainty / absolute indubitability
  • The perfection of evidence becomes differentiated
  • Perfection of prescientific experience/evidence, imperfection of incomplete experience (expectant meaning): perfecting is the filling of attendant meanings with actual experience.
  • An apodicity as perfection – even if evidence is inadequate
  • What is apodicity? Evidence is a grasping of the ‘it itself’ (noumena?) “with full certainty of its being”. With regular evidence, we may still become doubtful. Apodictic evidence, however, does let us do so: it discloses itself as being also the inconceivability of its nonbeing. i.e. necessary.
  • If we have acquired this Cartesian principle of absolute indubitability, then we can build a science, an actual beginning. Well, can we bring out evidence which is apodictic, ‘firstly in themselves’?

The evidence for the factual existence of the world is not apodietic; its inclusion in the Cartesian overthrow

  • Does the existence of the world constitute apodictic evidence? Indeed, all sciences rely upon this.
  • It seems so obvious that we don’t need to assert it. However, our experiential evidence of the world also lacks apodicticity. The experienced thing may be an illusion of the senses; it could be a dream. Non-being is conceivable.
  • We must criticize being in the world very much before using it as the basis for science.
  • We cannot naively accept the sciences.
  • But what can we do now, now that the world is no longer the basis for judgement?

The ego cogito as transcendental subjectivity

  • Following Decartes, here is the reversal: the turn to the ego cogito as the ultimate apodictictally certain basis for judgement
  • The world is something which claims being
  • We should no longer speak in the plural: other men are the data of experience for me: I cannot use it. I lose formations of sociality and culture.
  • My life is continually there for me: I can never doubt my own non-being, even if I choose to abstain from sensuou experiencing.
  • I no longer naturally believe in the world
  • But wait… even in the Ego’s abstention from taking positions, they still appear in his field of experience. I have to presuppose the world to believe in my experience.
  • We deprive the universe of acceptance: “putting out of play” of positions towards the Objective world – the phenomenological epoche, pathenthesizing – is not nihilistic or solipsistic, but rather what we get is my pure living and subjectivity, and the universe of phenomena
  • I apprehend myself purely via epoche as ego: the Objective world exists for me as it is for me (i.e. accepted by me – you perceive it experience it, judge it, remebmer it, etc.)
    • This is the Cartesian cogito
    • The world is the conscious cogito which comes from the cogitationes.
  • Natural being is secondary and presupposes the transcendental being.
  • The method of the transcendental epoche is transcendental-phenomenological reduction: it leads us back to transcendental being, to the pure ego and its cogitationes – being that is prior in itself to all natural being in the world.

The range covered by apodictic evidence of the “I am”

  • Does the reduction allow for apodictic evidence of the being of transcendental subjectivity?
  • “I doubt” presupposes “I am”
  • Doubt of the apodicity of the transcendental ego: what range does apodictic evidence cover?
  • Adequacy and apodicity of evidence do not need to be equivalent.
  • What is the apodicity of memory?
  • External perception is an experiencing of something itself. The physical thing has for the experiencer indefinitely generated horizon, which can be opened up by possible experiences.
  • Similarly, the transcendental experience of the transcendental I-am has an indeterminate generality which can be opened up.
  • How much can the transcendental ego deceive itself?

Digression: Decartes’failure to make the transcendental turn

  • Decartes makes it easy to get hold of the pure ego and its cogitationes
  • Much scholasticism lies in Decartes’Meditations
  • We must stear clear of the “admiration” of natural science
  • Decartes misses the point with transcendental realism by departing from the principle of evidence and accepting things which are not in the field of the ego cogito.

11 - The psychological and transcendental Ego. The transcendency of the World.

  • If I keep only what comes to view for me via my epoche, I exist
  • I do not find myself as a man in natural self experience: I am not Objective or positive or a psyche. Phenomenological epoche does not allow us to so quickly accept the Objective world
  • By phenomenological epoche, I reduce my objective self to my transcnednetal-phenomenological Ego.
  • This world derives its existential status from me as the existential Ego
  • Transcendence is inherent to anything which is worldly

Second Meditation: The Field of Transcendental Experience Laid Open in Respect of its Universal Structures

12 - The idea of a transcendental grounding of knowledge.

  • What can I do with the transcendental ego?
  • The being of the transcnedental ego is prior to all knowledge of the Objective sense; it is the basis for it
  • A new idea of grounding knowledge – of the transcnednetal ego as a grounding; let us perform the phenomenological epoche to understand transcendental experience
  • What is the a priori science? (Philosophy)
  • It is not just that “I am” is the only indubitable thing, but rather also the ‘particular data’ of self-experience – the experiencable structure of the ego.

13 - Necessity of at first excluding problems relating to the range covered by transcnedental knowledge

  • Criticizing transcendental self-experience
  • Broadening of the Cartesian meditations
  • Transcendental phenomenology, two stages:
    1. Explore the realm accessible to transcendental self-experience. Not yet fully scientific
    2. Criticism of transcendental experience and all transcendental cognition
  • A science in contrast with the ‘objective’ sciences, a science of subjectivity (not objective subjectivity)
  • Science can posit nothing but the ego and what is included in the ego itself
  • Reduction to the transcendental ego seems solipsistic. However it leads towards a phenomenology of transcendental intersubjectivity.
  • Cartesian evidence is barren – the ego can explicate himself ad infinitum by means of transcendental experience
  • We do not have to accept the existence of Objectivity, but we must accept the existence of experience

14 – The stream of cogitationes. Cogito and cogitatum.

  • From the ego cogito to the cogitationes – the flowing of conscious life
  • It is a mistake to take a psychological approach – psychology is not transcendental phenomenology, because it does not necessitate the phenomenological reduction
  • Epoche does not change the fact that that cogitationes ‘bear the worldly’ within themselves. Every conscious process is a consciousness of – regardless of the ‘objectivity’ of the thing it is directed towards
  • Ego cogito ‘means’ something or other, and bears in itself the cogitatum (the ‘object’ of cogitationes)
  • Conscious processes are intentional
  • A cogito always bears the cogitatum

15 – Natural and transcendental reflection

  • Straightforward grasping/perceiving vs reflections
  • We might grasp the house, but not really the grasping in and of itself
  • We already assume the world already exists
  • In the transcendental-phenomenological reflection we doubt this via universal epoche: we look at the transcendentally reduced cogito
  • Natural reflection: makes an object out of what it was previously
  • Proper reflection is to consider what can be found in it
  • What is a new intentional proces?
  • Experiential knowing: Erfahrungswissen
  • Reflecting experiencing is experiencing experiencing; flowing of subjective processes
  • The Ego as a distinterested onlooker
  • The Ego’s interest is to see adn describe what he sees
  • The universality of transcendental experience
  • Noematic – of the object being intended
  • Noetic – of the cogito itself
  • We have not lost the world for phenomenology – we retain it
  • The universe continues to appear unitarily – always a co-awareness of it, a unity of consciousness
  • Whatever exists naturally exists only for me and by me.
  • I have objects as the intentional correlates of modes of consciousness in them.

16 - Digression: Necessary beginning of both transcendental and purely pscyhological reflection within the ego cogito

  • The ego cogito indicates an openly infinite multiplicity of concrete subjective processes
  • The ego is concrete only in a connected intentional life
  • Transcendental-descriptive egology has to begin with the ego cogito
  • Separation between the cogito and the cogitatum qua cogitatum

17 - The two-sidedness of inquiry into consciousness as an investigation of correlatives. Lines of description. Synthesis as the primal form belonging to consciousness

  • Synthesis – I see that ‘this’ die is given continuously such that it appears to be the same thing throughout time.
  • Each appearance is a synthetic unity
  • Each passing cogito intends its cogitatum; the cogito has a ‘structre of multiplicites’
  • Facts of synthetic structure – give noetic-noematic unity to single cogitationes
  • Intentionality is the fundamental characteristic of psychic phenomena, Brentano

18 - Identification as the fundamental form of synthesis. The all-embracing synthesis of transcendental time.

  • Identification – a passively flowing synthesis.
  • Every subjective process has its own temporality
  • Unity of appearances is a unity of synthesis – making one identical die, the connectedness of cogitationes
  • The existence of the die is parenthesized in the epoche, but one identical appearing die is continuiously immanent in my consciousness.
  • The object of consciousness is included in the subjective process; not necessarily some external imposition.
  • We can intend the same die (for consciousness) many different ways.
  • “Every consciousness in which the non-identical is intended unitarily is ultimately a synthesis in this sense”
  • The whole of conscious life is unified synthetically; it is a cogito
  • Fundamental form of universal synthesis is the consciousness of internal time; immanent and infinite time
  • Modes of appearance are also intentive components of conscious life
  • Relation between a viewer and itself.
  • All of conscious life is unified synthetically.
  • ‘infinite regress’

19 – Actuality and potentiality of intentional life

  • The multiplicity of intentionality – we can intend many different dimensions even as we experience them as one thing.
  • Every actuality involves potentialities – possibilities which are part of the subjective process and actualizable by the ego
  • Every subjective process has a horizon
  • Every perception has a reference to the ‘genuine’ object
  • Perception has horizons made of possibilities of perception – what could we have intended if we directed our perception otherwise?
  • This is stored in memroy in modified form
  • Every perception is situated within a horizon of the past – awakenable recollections
  • Possible recollections might be actualized by “my initiative”
  • Freedom is always open to possible interventions
  • Horizons are ‘predelineated potentialities’
  • Cogitatum qua cogitatum is never present to actual consciousness
  • There is a determinate structure to the indeterminacy of the predelineation of horizons: a die is the die in advance even though the particular determination is open – there are multiple different forms an object can take on
  • Leaving open is what makes the horizon
  • Everyc onsciousness has the essential property not only to change into new modes of cnosciousness continuously on the same object (unity of synthesis) but doing so only according to the horizon intentionalities
  • An object is a pole of identity – having yet to be actualized, pointing towards a noetic intentionality

20 – The peculiar nature of intentional analysis

  • The analysis of consciousness must be distinguished from conventional anaysis.
  • Conscious analysis is not just the data of consciousness into elements
  • An uncovering of implicit potentialities in consciousness – an unfolding of what is consciously meant.
  • Intentional analysis
  • Intending beyond itself as implicit in any consciousness – I always mean more than the Same
  • Phenomenologists do not naively devote themselves to understanding the intentioanl object (explicating its parts and properties); by doing so the noetic determinate multiplicities of consciousness remain hidden and unpenetrated
    • It is not just what is intended but also what is not intended but which could be intended
    • Consciousness makes clear an existing and determined object in it, but the phenomenologist includes also what is non-intituitively cointended.
    • The intentional reaches beyond isolated subjective processes which bring themselves to our intention. – actual and potential subjective processes
  • A new approach – we concern ourselves with the subjective oranges.
  • Intentional psychology – Brentano. But failed to recognize the fundamental dimensions of the method
  • There is no necessary determinism or fixedness to objects in consciousness; however, intentional analysis is still important; we can focus on the unity of consciousness in strict concepts

21 – The intentional object as ‘transcendental clue’

  • The universal type – ego, cogito, cogitatum; universal descriptions
  • The particularization of a type
  • The intentional object plays the role of the transcendental clue to the infinite multiplicites of possible cogitationes which, together in their synthesis, bear the intentional object
  • An object given ‘straightforwardly’ – the place of departure
  • Formal universality – any object can be thought of as cogitatum; we find the possible modes of consciousness fall into different types – perception, retention, recollection, expectation, representation by analogy – which apply to any conceivable objects
  • Particularizing the ‘empty universality’ of the intentional obejct
    • Formal-logical/ontological: modes of anything (objct, universal, plurality, predicatively formed, etc.); objectivites which are real vs categorical objectivities
    • Material-ontological: beginning from a real individual which is differentiated into real reasons
  • What is the noetic-noematic structure ofe ach type?
  • The trask of transcendental theory is to articualte the set of structural tasks; belong together in a formally universal theory of any object and the horizon of all possible objects of consciousness
  • Transcendental theories arise from relating to any spatial things ever; from the transcendental epoche.
  • DIstinguishing the particular and the universal
  • The world is a universal problem of egology

22 – The idea of the universal unity comprising all objects, and the task of clarifying it constitutionally

  • Types of objects viewed purelya s cogitata are clues for transcendental investigations
  • Multiplicities of consciousness belong together for essential reasons
  • An ‘Objective’ object has a structure in the transcendental ego governed by a rule
  • The object indicates a universal rule governing possible other consciousnesses as identical, for every imaginable object
  • The all-ness of objects and types of objects are graspable by me as the transcendental ego
  • A universal constitutive synthesis – all syntheses function together in an ordered manner; all actual and possible objectivities are embraced; the trask of transcendental phenomenology is to carry out phenomenological investigations within this unity

Key Points

  • The transcendental ego is prior to so-called Objective knowledge. Moreover, It is not only that “I am” is apodictic, but also the experiencable structure of the ego
  • Psychology is not transcendental phenomenology but parallel to it, because it conceives of consciousness as an object from outside whereas first phenomenology understands the outside is always constructed from inside
  • Conscious processes are always intentional; a cogito always has a cogitatum. There can never be a consciousness in a void which is not directed at intending something.
  • All objects are formed as synthesis (a fundamental movement) and cointended with other intentions; appearances are always compossible; we must in our analysis not only consider what is directly given to us in terms of features and traditional analysis but consider the holistic presence and absence which together form a universal unity of consciousness.


  • Is there an assumption of some concept of free will here which precedes my perception? How does, if at all, an unexplained concept of choice operate here? Does it hinder the efficacy of the argument?
  • Does phenomenological analysis apply to a non-human ego; i.e. an animal which can ostensibly experience but perhaps which cannot articualte that experience?
  • Is apodicticity apodictic; that is, it is self-evident that self-evidence is self-evidently necessary? Is it possible for us to really run away from transcendental constitution? Does Husserl later on make unapodictic conclusions, such as the question of multiplicities and synthesis? What is the ‘reality’ or ‘apodicticity’ of these conclusions?
  • What is the relation between the process of arriving at a statement and its apodicticity? Is the history of an object necessarily inscribed upon the ontological status of that object?

Third Meditation: Constitutional Problems. Truth and actuality

23 – A more pregnant concept of constitution, under the titles ‘reason’ and ‘unreason’.

  • Phenomenological constitution has been the constitutional of whatever intentional object whatever – full, broad, unrestrained, universal within the phenomenological frame.
  • ‘pregnant concepts of constitution’
  • Are the objects in question truly exsitent/possible?
  • Reason and unreason, being and non-being
  • Epoche, we reduce to pure meaning – cogito.
  • Truth
  • Consicousness can be explored as the synthesis of multiplicities
  • Reason – a title for an essentially necessary structural form in all transcendental subjectivity
  • Reason – possibilities of verification (!!!) – making evident, having asevident

24 – Evidence as itself-givenness and the modifications of evidence

  • Evidence – primal phenomenon of intentional life
  • The Ego which signifies not at something but with itself
  • Evidence is experienc ein a maximally broad yet essentially unitary sense
  • Evidence points towards a fundamental trait of intentional life – consciousness is either already evidence or tends towards variants, in “I can”
  • TO what extent does the meant object correspond to consciousness? How odes it look ‘it itself’?
  • Verification can become negative – character of nullity
  • Non-being is a mode of being

25 – Actuality and quasi-actuality

  • Possibility – imaginableness
  • Non-actualities – not belonging to actuality
  • Correlativity, modes of consciousness - divided into positionality and quasi-positionality (as if, fantasizing)
  • Clarification – making clear is a mode of making evident.

26 – Actuality as the correlate of evident verification

  • A universal conformity to laws on structure by conscious life
  • Regularity of truth and actuality
  • Objects exist for me – well, but this only says that objects are accepted by me
  • Something is actual by virtue of a synthesis of evident verification; the truth of objects is obtained only from evidence; it is only by evidence that any sort of actual existing has sense for us.

27 – Habitual and potential evidence as functioning constitutively for the sense ‘existing object’.

  • Ideal immanence – complex of possible syntheses. Every evidence sets up for me a possession – I can return
  • Evidence of immanent data
  • Potentiality and possibility
  • Particular evidence does not give us any abiding being by itself; everything which exists (for me) is in itself (for me); and every truth is likewise a truth (for me) in itself (for me)
  • Repeatability of evidence and experience
  • Potentiality of infinite intendings

28 – Presumptive evidence of world-experience. World as an idea correlative to a perfect experiential evidence

  • Objects are given to us with a necessary one-sidedness
  • Objects in the real Objective world are “external experience” – there is not only a physical but also a philosophical one-sidedness” to external experience: a horizon of unfilled anticipations which refer us to potential evidence
  • Actualizing synthetic transitions from evidence to evidence – it is the synthesis which actualizes the thing, the identified thing
  • Syntheses must always involve expectant and unfulfilled meanings

29 – Material and formal ontological regions as indexes pointing to transcendental systems of evidence

  • Ego’s self-explication: true being indicates a structural differentiation among infinite multiplicities ofa ctual and possible cogitationes
  • Actually existing objects point towards some particularity in this multiplicity, where evidences relating to the object combine to make up total evidence – perfect evidence
  • Problem of transcendental constitution of existing objectivity (‘pregnant constitution’)
  • Beyond formally universal investigations – what is the Objective world? Physical Nature is given to man: naive ontological concepts like real space, real time, real causality, real physicality, etc. We have to uncover the intentionality implicit in this experience itself, of course. But there are very complicated correlations and syntheses. Subjective objects ascend or ‘emerge from’ a ‘lower’ objective basis (the apodictic)

Key Points

  • Evidence is experience in a very broad but fundamentally unitary sense: evidence is what is directly given to us in experience. Consciousness is already itself evidence or tends towards variants of evidence. Consciousness actualizes synthetic transitions from evidence to evidence to constitute continuous identification of an object.
  • The truth of objects is obtained only from evidence, and only by evidence that actual existing can itself have any sense for us. Objects are accepted by me via this synthesis of evident verification.
  • Syntheses always involve expectant and unfulfilled meanings. Along with every actuality is a potentiality which shows what is in excess of the actuality such that the actuality may appear as an object. We continually fulfill these expectant meanings through our protention.


  • In what sense does the concept of the object precede evidence of the object? I can only perceive an evidence of if I have already established the ideal infinite multitude of the Object which remains expectant to possible actualizations. I might just ‘see’ the environment ‘in general’ (although this is itself a good question); but I will never ‘turn the apple in my hand and perceive its various sides’ without first constituting at least some vague concept of the apple.
  • To what extent really is possibility the possiiblity of actualization? Can an object have in itself possibility which has no hope of actualization?
  • Can one actualize things by their own free will, and in that sense how ‘given’ is that thing? If I consciously think of traveling at infinite speed, have I actualized it even though it is “physically impossible”? Is there a difference between thinking about traveling at infinite speed and traveling at 100 km/h, in that both are theoretical intendings, but one is ‘physically impossible’, whatever that means?

Fourth Meditation: Development of the Constitutional Problems Pertaining to the Transcendental Ego himself

30 – The transcendental ego is inseparable from the processes making up his life.

  • Objects exist for me and are for me what they are
  • What makes up concretely the existence of m consciousness?
  • every object the ego means, thinks of, deals with, etc. exists as the correlate of its system; indicates a correlative system
  • The ego

31 – The Ego as identical pole of the subjective processes

  • The ego is existent for himself in continuous evidence – he continuously constitutes himself as existing.
  • We have looked at the flowing cogito
  • What about a second kind of synthesis, which embraces not identical obejcts but a multiplicity of cogitrationes
  • What is the identical Ego whicih lives in all processes of consciousness?

32 – The Ego as substrate of habitualities

  • The Ego is not an ‘empty’ pole of identity
  • Ego as both a subject and an object
  • When I accept my act, I can return to it and find it as mine – ‘act-process vanishes but the decision persists’ – I am so decided, I keep my decision.
  • I am changed if I ‘cancel’ my decisions
  • The Ego becomes the identical substract of Ego-properties – the ego acquires a ‘personal character’

33 – The full concretion of the Ego as monad and the problem of his self-constitution

  • The ego taken in full concreteness: the monad (Leibniz)
  • As an ego, I have a surrouding world – ‘my world’, everything which exists ‘for me’
  • Ego taken in full concreteness
  • That without the ego cannot be concrete
  • The ego has a surrounding world which ‘exists for them’ – objects which I have experienced and which I am going to be aquainted with.
  • I ocnstitute the object in its “explicit sense form” – “something identical having its manifold properties”; the object’s “manifold determinations” are “mine”
  • Objects are anticipated by the formal object-structure
  • I exist for myself, am given for myself, by experiential evidence
  • How do phenomenologically explicate the monadic ego? Phenomenology as a whole coincides with the concept of self-constitution

34 – A fundamental development of phenomenological method. Transcendental analysis as eidetic.

  • Ego as the pole of his acts
  • Genetic phenomenology
  • The methodological insight which pervades all of the phenomenological method.
  • There is a great multiplicity (excessively so) of discoveries – eidetic description helps us understand the fundamental dimension of empirical descriptions
  • Through my meditations, I am able to intentionally uncover the processes constituting my monad.
  • Types of occurrences in the transcendental ego have “empirical” significance (???)
  • Let us vary our perception of the table: without accepting its being. We shift ‘actual perception’ into the ‘world of non-actuality’ (possibility) (why does Husserl think that this is possible?)
  • Perception ‘floats in the air’ – pure eidos perception (doubtful…)
  • To find the essence of free variation – the universal essence
    • Private note – is this not what deep learning models do?
  • Eidos is a pure unconditioned universal, and is prior to all concepts; pure concepts must fit the eidos
    • Again, what??? Asserting a-apodictic priori statements?
  • Each type is elevated into a pure eidetic sphere
  • Freely varying the ego, we become an eidos ego, purely possible ego, pure possibility of my ‘de facto ego’.
  • Eidetic pheonmenology allows us to understand the universal A-priori (the constants of perception?)
  • We have to devleop a purely eidetic phenomenology
  • The science of pure possibilities precedes the science of actualities and makes it possible
  • Eidetic intuition is fundamental among transcendental methods

35 – Excursus into eidetic internal psychology

  • Psychology as a positive science needs first a purely intentional psychology
  • I as a pole of my habitualities
  • Eidetic pure psychology – understanding the eidos psyche

36 – The transcednental ego as the universe of possible forms of subjective process. The compossibility of subjective processes in coexistence or succession as subject to eidetic laws.

  • We confine ourselves to purely eidetic phenomenology
  • Actually trying to deal with the essential dimensions is very difficult
  • My rational activity changes who “I” am – man presents itslef in efficient form from my habitualities
  • I constitute myself for myself

37 – Time as the universal form of all egological genisis

  • All eidetic laws of compossibility are laws of causality
  • ‘Formal regularity pertaining to a universal genesisis
  • Life as a motivated course of constitutive performances which produce the unity of the universal genesis of the ego.
  • A firmly developed habituality acquired by the origin of comformity with eidetic laws
  • There are often problems of the psychological origin of space, time, things, etc. – for phenomenology these are problems of intentionality.
  • How do we get at ultimate genesis?
  • Initially, eidetic observation considers ‘from the ego’: but further one is opened up to a universal eidetic phenomenology – the ego varies so freely that he just ‘has the world’

38 – Active and passive genesis

  • Works of practical reason – active genesis. THe Ego is ‘pooled in a sociality’ and constitute new objects originally as products – predicating, inferring, etc. (p. 89 in the PDF)
  • The ego continually habitually accepts and is given categorical intuition.
  • Irreal objects do not directly belong to the concrete ego an sich, but ‘raw material’ is different – the ‘ready-made object’ is given with the ‘it itself’ (p 90)
  • “Everything known to us points to an original becoming acquainted” – there is a structural form to the “object” form, the “spatial thing” form, etc.

39 – Association as a principle of passive genesis

  • Association is a matter of intentionality under eidetic laws
  • Association is not merely comformity to laws, but a comformity to eidetic laws in the constitution of the pure ego.

40 – Transition to the question of trasncendental idealism

  • Phenomenology as a transcendental theory of knowledge

41 – Genuine phenomenological explication of one’s own ‘ego cogito’ as transcendental idealism

  • Transcendency in every form is an imamennt existential characteristic
  • If transcendental subjectivity is the universe, there is no sensical ‘outside’
  • Even nonsense is always a mode of sense
  • There are egos who, with their constitutive performances, exist for themselves.
  • There is constittued in me the transcendental ego, but not just my ego but also transcendental intersubjectivity (for I am constituted in others too) (p. 96 in PDF)
  • Progression
    1. Self-explication in a pregnant sense, the ego constitutes himself wrt his proper essence
    2. The Ego constitutes in itself something ‘other’ – everything gets constituted as non-Ego
  • ’ The ‘existing’ is a ‘practical idea’

Main points

  • Husserl is trying to explain what allows for the transcendental ego to be constituted. The ego is firstly existent for himself in continuous evidence, in that the ego continuously constitutes themselves as existing through the very evidence of conscious experiencing.
  • There is one form of synthesis which embraces identical objects, but there is another form of synthesis which embraces the multiplicity of cogitationes to form the ego as the substrate of habitualities – rather than an ‘empty form/pole’, the ego emerges as filled by these tendencies and habitualities, performed over time.
  • Genetic phenomenology allows us to understand, through conscious meditation, the processes which constitute the monad of my ego over time. Via the eidetic method, by freely varying my experience of the object, we can grasp the eidos as pure unconditioned universal which precedes all experience.


  • Does Husserl’s understanding of the ego allow computers to theoretically become an ego? Is there something which needs to be ‘natural’ or ‘human’ about the syntheses which become habitualized into the monad of me? Peeking a little into the next meditation, we might ask also – Can I recognize a ‘non-human’ within my community of egos?
  • On what basis does Husserl justify the ability of the eidetic method to reach the eidos of an object? In what sense is the eidos different from the Kantian noumena? How similar is Husserl’s eidos to Plato’s theory of forms?
  • On page 75 (87 in the PDF) Husserl talks about life as a motivated course of constitutive performances which produce the unity of the universal genesis of the ego. How do we know what or how to perform prior to the constitution of the ego?
  • Husserl explicates the genesis of the ego. To this, it must be asked to what extent the concept of the ego precedes the ego.
  • What is the tension articulated by Husserl, to use Hegelian terms, between ego as subject and ego as object?

Fifth Meditation: Uncovering the Sphere of Transcendental Being as Monadological Intersubjectivity

Page 101 in PDF

42 – Exposition of the problem of exepriencing someone else, in rejoinder tot he objection that phenomenology entails solipsism

  • Transcendental solipsism seems to be a grave objection
  • Transcendental reduction restricts me to my pure conscious processes, but what about other egos?
  • Although the sense that solipsism is wrong is not phenomenological grounded, it is “right in the end” – looks for a path from the immanency of the ego tot he transcendency of the Other
  • We mustn’t rush ahead, though: we first need to do a phenomenological explications, and in what sense the “other ego” becomes “fashioned in me”, then becomes existing “in its own manner”

43 – The nomeatic-ontic mode of givenness of the Other, as transcednental clue for the constitutional theory of the experience of someone else

  • My transcendental clue is the experiecned Other
  • I experience others both as world Objects (things in the world) as well as world Subjects (subjects for this world – experiencing it as I do and experiencing me, too)
  • I experience the world not as a private synthetic formation but as an intersubjective world, there for everyone
  • The experienced world exists in itself overall against all experiencing subjects and their world-phenomena
  • Whatever is arises from my intentional life and is clarified through constitutive syntheses via harmonious verification, etc. etc. (all already established previously): let’s explicate what is the intentionality for which others’ beings are made for me
  • What is the thereness of the other ego? A transcendental theory of ‘empathy’ – this leads to the transcendental theory of the Objective world
  • Existence of the world requires a thereness-for-everyone; we always cointend an other when we speak of objective actuality
  • Objects refer us to subjects, particularly cultural objects – within the object is a sense of being-for-everyone

44 – Reduction of transcendental experience to the sphere of ownness

  • In the natural world, I find myself separated; I remain even if I abstract from others (the ego) – aloneness is experiencable by everyone because it is the property of the Ego.
  • There is an essential structure in which the trasncendental ego lives his life: for me as an ego, is my intentionality directed to what is other.
  • There is constituted an ego as a mirror of my own ego which is in excess of my monadic ownness – the ‘alter ego’; the other points to me myself
  • How can my ego constitute something other?
  • As Ego, I first identify what is my own in transcendental experience
  • The characteristic of belonging to the surrounding world is for everyone
  • When we abstract, we retain the eidos of the phenomenon world and continue an experiencing intuition
  • “Nature” becomes included in my ownness
  • I experience all of Nature, including my own animate organism – the process “reflexively relates to itself”
  • By reducing my animate organism to inclusion within my ownness, the ownness-essence emerges
  • I reduce other men to what is included in my ownness – I get bodies included therein; I reduce myself as a man – I get an “animate organism”, a “psyche”, a ‘personal ego”
  • The psychic life of my Ego is unaffected by screening off the other; within my being is the constittuion of the world for me + a differentiation between the constitution of ownness and other
  • The Ego finds himself as a member in the world it constitutes; it distinguishes itself from the ‘external world’

45 – The transcendental ego, and self-apperception as a psycho-physical man reduced to what is included in my ownness.

  • What is the relationship between I as transcendental ego and what is my own in the world-phenomenon
  • Transcendental ego emerges via parenthesizing of the Objective world: it constitutes what is ever Objective for me
  • Mundanizing self-apperception – everything in my ownness enters my psyche
  • Whatever he constitutes as non-other (his own) is a component of his own concrete essence inseparable from his concrete being.
  • The constitution fo the Objective world constitutes the ‘other in the mode’ “alter ego”

46 – Ownness as the sphere of the actualities of potentialities of the stream of subjective processes

  • “My own” – own necessitates another ego.
  • Explication: the object given as self-identical, unfolding of pure explication – concatenation of intuitions and determinations of the object
  • When I reflect upon myself, I am given to myself perceptually (phenomenally?) as the ego. I was “already given”
  • Self-perception – self-explication is always about perceptions – but largely carried out in acts of consciousness which are not perceptions
  • I have no idea what this meditation is

47 — The intentional object also belongs to the full monadic concretion of ownness.

  • What is mine is not only the actualities and potentialities of my stream of subjective processes: it is also the constituted unities (only that which is inseparable from the original constitution)
    • Moreover, my immanent temporalities, my habitualities, etc. become part of the I mysefl as polar Ego, Egopole
  • Transcendent objects (external) – also belong ‘in me’
  • A reduced world
  • Nature constituted as a unity of spatial objects
  • The ego concretely (wtf?) has a universe of what is his own – a transcendent world also exists here

48 – The transcendency of the Objective world as belonging to a level higher than that of primordial transcendency

  • Established: my essence can be contrasted for me with something else, as a thing in the world I constitute
  • Not all of my own modes of consciousness are modes of my consciousness. This is implied.
  • The ego has intentionalities in which he transcends his own being
  • The experience of something which is not I – i.e. an experience of the Objective world – is important as an ownness-reduction
  • The constitution of the alien world is still a determining part of my concrete being
  • How does Objective trancendency come about?
  • Experience which only acquires sense and verification in my essence
  • In what sense does the Objective world as ‘already existing before me’ have any sense?

49 – Predelineation of the course to be followed by intentional explication of experiencing what is other

  • There are many levels to the constitution of the Objective World as the basis of my primordial world
    1. Distinguishing my concrete being (primordial ego) from the other ego/s
    2. Universal superaddition of sense to my primordial world which appears as the Objective world identical for everyone including me
    3. The first non-Ego is the Other Ego and makes possible an Objective Nature to which Other Egos and I belong
  • An Ego-community is constituted, which exists with and for each other.
  • Communalization of constitutive intentionality
  • Transcendental intersubjectivity has an intersubjective sphere of ownness – the transcendental We
  • The Objective world does not transcend the intersubjective sphere
  • The Objective world is an idea which is intersubjectively communalized
  • Constitution of the world harmonizes monads

50 – The mediate intentionality of experiencing someone else, as appresentation (analogical apperception)

  • How tot ake ourselves to the other ego? What does it mean to experience someone else for the first time?
  • Experience is original consciousness – nothing of the other Ego is given to us originally. There is a making co-present (appresentation)
  • Appresentation: the front of a physical thing appresents a rear aspect (co-presents)
  • Experiencing someone is not just object appresentation, but moreover the possibility of verifying a fulfilling presentation (I turn the thing, it really is there)
  • Our initial guidance of the world needs an Other Ego
  • Something enters our perception: a body is presented in immanent transcendency. My organism is the only body that can be constituted originally as an animate organism, but I give an apperceptive transfer from my animate organism: analogizing transfer into new cases

51 – Pairing as an associatively constitutive component of my experience of someone else

  • Analogizing apprehension – a body, like my own body, is apprehended as an aniamte organism
  • What is appresented by virtue can never attain actual presence
  • Ego and alter ego are always given in an original pairing
  • Pairing: a universal phenomenon of the transcendental sphere. Pairing is the primal form of ‘associative’ passive synthesis (vs identification). Two data are given intuitionally and are found to have a structural simialrity, constituted as a pair.
  • No appropriated sense can be actualized originarily in my primordial sphere

52 – Appresentation as a kind of experience with its own style of verification

  • Appreentation which gives us the inaccessible element of the Other combined with his physical presentation gives us a unitary transcending experience
  • Fulfilling of the intention can only continue via new appresentations (HARMONIOUS!
  • Whatever can be presented originally is something I am (it belongs to me); whatever I discover is now part of the other
  • Intentional modification of that Ego of mine – the Other is phenomenologically a modification of myself
  • The other ego as a modification

89 – 116


  • Does Husserl merely argue that we can recognize other egos outside of our ‘concrete ownness’, or further that we need other egos to adopt the natural attitude?
  • How ‘big’ is the ego-community?
  • Virtual machine example

Max Scheler: A Concise Introduction, Manfred Frings

Internet Archive Link

Chapter 3: Emotional Spheres

pg. 49 in book, pg. 48 in Internet Archive book

Feeling and Feeling States

  • Scheler criticizes Kant’s a priori – connection with the formal
  • The whole of spiritual life has pure acts independent of physical existence
  • Ethics must reveal the a priori of spiritual life which is not logical / rational at least in becoming known
  • Logical principles are not emotional acts
  • Kant excluded feelings from ethical investigation
  • Reason vs sensibility – a division which comes from Greek thinking, but Scheler rebels against this
  • Are there at bottom “alogical autonomous acts” of pure intuition
  • A-priori-ty of the emotional
  • What are the spheres of the emotional?
    • English vs German – different complications
    • Feeling – can be a state of feeling (illness, health, weakness) or a feeling of a state of feeling
    • Feeling can be understood, but feeling-states can only be stated
    • There are many individually different feeling-states, which are connected to the ‘lower strata’ (elementary dimensions) of the ego
    • Feelings break out of such elementary dimensions and make for satisfaction when their intentions are fulfilled.
  • Two techniques to understand one’s response to suffering: to feel suffering such that it lessons (exterior fight, typical of western civilization, resitance); vs. suspending suffering with ultimate patience (Eastern and Russian)
    • External heroic vs inner-psychic
    • Different medicinal techniques
    • Feeling a feeling-state is a socially and historically situated action.
    • Feeling-states are
  • Four strata of feeling-states
    • Physical – are local on the body and are never a function or act, fully located in the temporality of the body
    • Body or vital – not so changeable, but still fundamentally organic, all animals have these, deeper than physical feeling-states. This is the level of feeling others, of reproduced feeling
    • Psychic – removed from willful control – direct qualities of the ego, related to objects of the environment; are shareable, not only within the subject itself, can be re-felt and participated in (sympathy)
    • Spiritual – no willful control – directly from a person’s cure (“pangs of conscious”), absolute. Not dependent of willful intentions at all.
  • Inter-emotional experience:
    1. Community of feeling
    2. Fellow-feeling
    3. Psychic contagion
    4. Emotional identification
  • Physical feeling-states reveal themselves as dead states, but virtal feeling-states have an intentional character

Reality and the Types of Inter-Emotional Experience

  • To be a human person implies an essential relation to the other
  • Man is both being-self and being-with: individual and social
  • thou is given prior to the I – no ego without we; experiencing thou is an experience of a reality
  • Four spheres of reality, not reducible to each other:
    1. Sphere of the absolute nad holy, givenness prior to direct immediate reality
    2. Mitwelt, with-world: togetherness with others, thou-I and we-experience; we-experience is prior to the ego who only knows itself within the we. “Thou-ness is the most fundamental existential category.”
    3. Experiencing of external and internal reality; external precedes internal; resistance and suffering of exterior reality
    4. Sphere of external dead bodies
  • Man’s spiritual development reflected: a child’s world is a live object, and dead objects are experienced as alive objects by children
  • Primitive man has an organistic world
  • Aristotelian view of nature precedes a view of nature determined by scientific concepts of theoretical physics
  • thou-I gives rise to sympathy and emotional relations to the other
  • Feeling-in-common vs causally-related-feeling
    • A community of feeling of sorrow cannot be reduced to individual feelings
    • Parents grieving a dead child become a unified subject of sorrow
    • Fellow-feeling: intentional towards the sorry of the parents; not feeling-with, but feeling-feeling; others’ feelings as an object of understanding
  • Psychic contagion – no intentionality towards someone and no active participation in someone else’s feelings. We do not know what we are emotional about – a curious infection takes place which combined into a self-generating psychic atmosphere; dissolved / undistinguished intended object. Mobs of mass-emotion; disappearance of personal responsibility, decrease of intelligence, readiness for submission
  • Emotional identification between one’s ego and another’s ego – the ego dissolves into the other (heteropathic) or takes the other into its own (idiopathic), and no individual consciousness. Or for sex: a connectedness, a stream of instinct
  • Civilized man looses his capacity for identification
  • Some knowledge can only be acquired through emotional identification
  • Modern man has lost the sense of the supernatural and replaced it with faith through emotional identification
  • Advance of intellectual capability implies a decline in emotional power or capacity of identification – civilization is both progress and decay
  • The future for Scheler: increasing integration of rational and emotional spheres
  • Fellow-feeling implies intentional reference to feeling-state and cannot have relation to physical or virtal states but rather spiritual and psychic ones
  • Psychic contagion takes origin already in physical feeling-states
  • Emotional identification takes origin in the vital sphere.
  • Some feeling-states are “dead” in that they cannot be felt in and by someone else
  • Psychic contagion is related to all feeling states and is the strongest inter-human emotional phenomenon
  • pathos – suffering

Main Points

  • Scheler criticizes Kant’s a priori, a formalistic account of spiritual life and feeling; instead, Scheler adopts a nonformal approach, in which the whole of spiritual life is independent of the ‘worldly’ embodiment of man.


  • If to be ‘nonformal’ is to be ‘material’, then in what sense is Scheler really being nonformal?
  • On what basis does Scheler ground his categorizations? How ‘real’ are they?
  • Scheler says that the “thou” or “we” precedes the “I”. Is this in departure from or in agreement with Husserl’s ideas on intersubjectivity?

Chapter 6: Nonformal Ethics of Values

p. 102

The Historical Place of Ethics of Values

  • Scheler is basically not mentioned at all in American ethics, for inexplicable reasons. English translation of Scheler’s ethics is highly overdue.
  • Insufficient stress of language requirements at the universities
  • 1913 – milestone in European contemporary philosophy
  • Phenomenological method applied to values
  • Great respect for Kant but a desire to go beyond Kant
  • Main presuppositions
    1. Reason is of constant organization thruoghout changing history
    2. The a priori does not pertain to experience
    3. The a priori only pertains to the formal
    4. The equilization of the material with the sensible and the a priori with thought of reason
    5. Moral acts of love and hatred lead to deviations into empiricism and the sensible
    6. The a priori rests on a synthetic activity of subjectivistic nature
    7. All non-formal ethics are necessarily ethics of goods and purposes and therefore of a posteriori validity
    8. All non-formal ethics is hedonism
    9. All non-formal ethics is heteronomous; only formal ethics autonomous
    10. Only formal ethics can give the foundation of the dignity of a person
    11. All non-formal ethics must place the foundation of all valuations into the egoism of human nature as a natural drive. Only formal ethics can establish a formal universal moral law independent of man’s being.
  • Kant’s alternative is overcome by a nonformal but absolute ethics of values
  • Moral judgements rely on: moral acts are always in relation to other persons’ interests
  • Different moralities all have an unconditional claim for moral validity, but this is only an expression of the particularity of a moral attitude
  • Ethics: has the task of discovering the a priori insight which universally obliges
  • Moralities are historically situated; there is a higher unity of ethics – not about recommending particular morals but rather to understand universal rules
  • Three questions of ‘straight’ ethics
    • The highest good? It seems like rational deliberation has not gotten us far here.
    • Morally correct acting? There are also differences but the goal of determining the answer is basically the same; reveal intuitive cognition of values; values are immutalbe ideal objects realizable by people. Utilitarianism: men strive towards and by their natural disposition towards ertain tyeps of happiness. etc. etc.
    • Free will?
  • Ethical systems have different points of departure but the ultimate objective of ethics perhaps remains constant
    • A lot of disagreemetn comes fundametnally from a poor distinctionb etween ethics as study of morality and a morality
  • Non-formal ethics deals with ideas across history and their associated phenomena milieu – the whole of man is object, part of a philosophical anthropology
  • Scheler – all questions of philosophy ultimately reduce themselves tot he question of what man is.

Phenomenological Givenness in Intentional Feeling

  • A priori of the emotional – intentional obbjects of feeling, values
  • Values are given to intentional feeling immediately
  • Values can be clear even when the object referred to it by it is obscure
  • Values always antecede – the apriorism if value-feeling is independent of the object-world
  • Value sare not qualities of things – values cannot be reduced to common properties
  • Values always exhibit a specific content; emotive a priori is non-formal (material)
  • Values are indepedent of being, even though being is in a sense prior to values
  • Assault on all ethical relativism which reduces values to historically changing life conditions
  • Values can be either positive or negative
  • Each group must find its own relative system of goods and norms – there is no universal form of ethos

Emotive Axiology: The Graded Realm of Values

  • A priori order among values in non-formal ethics
    1. Sensible values – agreeable to disagreeable, sensible feeling with enjoyment and suffering, pleasure and pain. Agreeable preferred over the disagreeable by their essences. Rejection of an evolutionary theory. Symbolic values
    2. Values of life – virtal values. Noble, vulgar – good, bad. Relating to well being
    3. Spiritual values – vital values ought to be sacrificed for spiritual ones. Love, preferring, hatred.Phenomenologically different from vital functions. Irreducible to biologicality. More: beauty, uglyliness, right, wrong. Truth is not a value.
    4. Holy and unholy – only for objects pertaining to the absolute.
  • Four properties of values
    • A value is enduring when it has an essential ‘ability to exist through time’ – temporal invariability
    • Values are higher the less they are disvisible
      • Value of material goods – half of bread is half the value of a whole one (really?)
      • Value of the beautiful or the holy is not divisible
      • The value of the divine is most immediate
      • Well, what is value really?
    • Values are higher if they are less dependent on other values
      • Value of utility is dependent on the value of the agreeable – useful means a means to achieve the agreeable.
      • Spiritual value sare not relative to life
    • Yields satisfaction or inner fulfillment as in the peaceful possession of a good or value
      • Erfassen (comprehension) of a value yields deeper satisfaction for higher values

Relative, Absolute, and Moral Values. The Ought and the Ideal Models of the Person

  • Ranks of values are determined by their relativity; not given by preference feeling or consideration, but rather in immediate feeling independent from judgement.
  • Relative does not mean subjective
thing-body / korperdingrelativenot subjective
hallucinated feelingrelativesubjective
real feelingnot relativesubjective
  • Values exist as relating to corresponding acts and functions
    • A being without sensible feeling does not have the value of being agreeable
  • Absolute values are values independent of the essence of sensibility and essence of life; i.e. exist only independently
  • Nietzsche, Kant: values are posited by man. Scheler: man is only the ontic bearer of moral values, which reveal their absoluteness phenomenologically via detachment from the feeling of life and sensible states
  • What is the relativity of the experienced?
  • The importance of a value is how not-relative it is wrt absolute value
  • Three orders of relativities
    1. The first comes to be immediatlely felt / known a priori: Values and Values
    2. The second comes to be known through acts of reasoning: Values and Goods (representing themselves in values)
    3. Relationships between goods and things which form (representing themselves in goods)
  • The content of values are the axiological condition for the existence of this second relativity
  • The directionality of ethics: Aristotle’s upwards ethics of purpose, Nietzsche’s downwards ethics, Kant’s non-relational universal obligation by categorical imperative: Scheler has a relational horizontality
  • The height of a value lies in its essence
  • Rules for preference change throughout time
  • Ranks of values are given in concrete ethical experience as immediate intuition (why?)
  • Value relations are autonomous – an objectivistic understanding of values – the emotive a priori of the givenness of values do not follow social-historical factors

“Scheler’s Non-Formal Ethics, then, is an emotive, transcendental objectivism.”

  • Moral values are directed towards non-moral values and manifest through realizing non-moral values
  • A person is a movement of a concrete unity of all possible acts, so they are not a thing – personal moral acts are different from those of ‘objects’
  • Moral oughtness can only be posited after understanding values which need to be realized
  • Two kinds of oughtness
    • Ideal ought to be: possible real being
    • Moral ought-to-do: realizing willing.
  • Moral ought-to-do rests on the ideal ought-to-be – regardless of different formulations, there is universal agreement that the ought is a function of that which ought to be/done.
  • Non-formal ethics denies that moral acts can be based in moral authority – only in personal act.
    • No command or obedience can bring about genuine moral acts
    • The ought must come from the person itself
  • Ideal models of persons are historically forming factors – there is no norm of obligation without someone who posits it
  • Free following, pure example
  • Is there a large variety and mutlitude of models of people
  • Scheler: yes, there are universal types of model/ideal persons, but that the greatness of man is guided by these a priori universal models of person / ideas of values
  • Ideal model persons constitute basic values constant throughout history
  • Five models of person
    • Saint
    • Genius
    • Hero
    • Leading spirit of civilization
    • Master of enjoyment
  • Values of the holy are the highest
    • The highest good msut be personal
    • Love is the purest act of a person
  • God as the person of persons
  • (!!!) Every intellectual comprehension of an object presupposes an emotional experience of value related to the object


  • What is the ontological status of the ‘values’ to which emotions point towards? Are they like the Aristotelian materia prima? Upon what basis do these ‘values’ have any ethical significance?
  • In which ways does Scheler depart from Husserl’s method of analysis? Are Scheler’s arguments apodictic? What role does speculation or arbitrary positing play in Scheler’s arguments? On what basis does Scheler assert, for instance, the four strata of feeling-states, and on what basis can we validate them under the phenomenological frame?
  • How does Scheler make the bridge from the phenomenological to the ethical? Civilization may alienate ourselves from our emotional capacity for identification, but in what sense is this ‘untrue’ or ‘wrong’ if we stick with the phenomenological method?
  • What the fuck does Scheler mean by an emotive transcendental objectivism?

Being and Nothingness, Jean-Paul Sartre


I: …

  • Phenomenology has done away with many dualisms. But it has mapped them to infinite/finite – we can access the transcendental infinite from a finite phenomenological experience / appearance.

II: The Phenomenon of Being and the Being of Phenomenon

  • Appearance – not supported by some other, it has its own being.
  • First being we encounter is the being of appearance
  • Husserl presents the eidetic reduction – we can always surpass concrete pheonmenon towards essence
  • Object to essence: “object-essence”, essence is not inside object, but rather the object’s meaning – the “principle of the series of appearances which disclose it”
  • what is the relation of being to an object?
    • Being is present both in an object’s presence and in its absence.
    • We can only say that the object bes in that it is
    • The existent is phenomenal – being is the condition of an object’s disclosure
  • Can we resolve the being of phenomena into the phenomenon of being?
  • Phenomenon of being requires a transphenomenal foundation
  • The being of phenomenon must escape its pure phenomenality in the phemomenological sense

III: The Prereflective Cogito and the being of the percipere

  • The phenomenon is as it appears. Is the being of an appearance its appearing?
  • An attempt to reduce being to epistemic accessibility must first account for the being of epistemic accessibility.
  • Percipi refers to a being that transcends pheonmenality but maintains transphenomenal being
  • Percipi \(\to\) percipiens
  • Consciousness is the subject’s dimension of transphenomenal being
  • Husserl shows us that consciousness is intentional
    • Consciousness has no content
    • Interesting interpretation of Husserlian intentionality
  • Consciousness must be conscious of itself as being this knowledge to be knowledge of its object
  • Spinoza, idea ideae
  • Reflection – knowledge of consciousness, self-reflexivity – reflective consciousness reflects itslef
    • To count, one must be conscious of counting
    • Circular? Consciousness exists in a circle.
    • Being is fundamental
  • Being of consciousness: consciousness is not possible before beeing, but also consciousness exists through itslef.
  • Conscious is prior to nothingness, and derives from being
  • What is the existence of bquestions
  • Ontological error of Carteisna rationalism: define absolute as existence over essence, so we cannot conceive of it as substance.
    • All this doubting really leads us to the problem of being.
    • Absolute: the subject of concrete experience. It is not relative to experience because it is experience.

The Being of the Percipi

  • Appearances call for another conception of being.
  • The bein gof the percipiens is given to us in consciousness
  • We need a first being to whom all other appearances appear.
  • Not the subject, but rather subjectivity an sich. Escape idealism – we have a being which is fundamental
  • A Husserlian-phenomenological move
  • There is the being of the perceived thing: there is the being of the table – we need to recognize the being of the object even if we try to de-synthesize and phenomenologize it.
  • I still need to exist to be able to support something
  • The creation of an object as created – a sort of Husserlian “egological” genesis.
    • False transcendence
    • The purported independence of the object
  • esse est percipi – requires for consciousness to bestoy transcendent nothingness while preserving the nothingness of its being – and this is absurd (pg. 88 in PDF)
    • We cannot say esse from the object itself
    • esse of the phenomenon cannot be its percipi

We can see the phenomenalists’ mistake: having correctly reduced the object to the series of its combined appearances, they thought they had reduced its being to the succession of its ways of being. (89)

The Ontological Proof

We have not given being its due

  • Transphenomenality of consciousness requires the transphenomenality of phenomenon’s being.
  • All consciousness is intentional
    • This cannot mean that consciousness constitutes the being of object,
    • Subjectivity cannot step outside itself to posit a transcendental object
    • The object distinguishes itself fro consciousness not through presence but rather absence (nothingness).
  • hyle, ahyletic core
  • Object-intentions are entirely empty: aim beyond mere appearance at a higher infinite totality of appearances.
  • Non-being as the foundation of being
  • Each profile already is a transcendent being – a mode of being
  • We will never get objectivity out of the subjective or transcendence out of immanence
  • Subjectivity is consciousness of consciousness - a redoubling
  • The intentionality of consciousness is really to say that it must constiute itself as the “revealed revelation of a being that is not, and which is given as already existing when it is revealed” (92)
  • Arrived at the fullness of being from pure appearance
  • Existence posits essence, for consciousness

Consciousness is a being for whom in its being there is a question of its being, insofar as this being implies a being other than itself.

  • A radical re-understanding of being from a pheonmenological perspective

Being an sich

  • Consciousness is a revealed revelation of existents
  • Being does not disclose itself to the person in consciousness
  • Being is the foundation of existence
  • Consciousness is ontico-ontological in the sense that it transcends the ontic to the ontological
  • Any judgement about being already implies being – a supposedly viscious circle. But in fact the meaning of being is the same for any being, including its own being (resolving the recursive loop)

There is one ontological proof which applies to the whole domain of consciousness

  • Two regions of being
    • Being of the prereflective cogito
    • Being of the phenomenon
  • Creationism: God gave being to the world. But creation ex nihilo cannot explain how being arises, because being remains intersubjective if conceived within a (divine) subjectivity
  • Being-in-itself cannot be explained by creation
  • Being is itself, neither passively not actively – but rather human
  • Being is the “noema within the noesis” – not immanence, but it bes itself, it is in itself.
  • Being-in-itself has no inside opposed to an outside
  • Being is the being of becoming – beyond merely becoming
  • Being is not possible nor necessary nor impossible, but merely is – in its own way. Underivable from anything.
  • Three features – what is different about these?
    • Being is
    • Being is itself
    • Being is what it is

Part One: The Problem of Nothingness

Page 64 in this PDF

The Question

  • The Cartesian question of the soul and the body
  • Laporte and Husserl: abstraction – something whichc annot exist in isolation when thought of as an isolated state
    • Red is an abstraction, b/c color cannot exist without form
    • A spatial-temporal thing is concrete
    • Consciousness is an abstraction which conceals in itself the source for it in itself; the phenomenon is an abstraction which appears to it.
  • Still, we have not really restored the concrete in any sense.
  • The methodology: not limitation to single patterns, but rather to penetrate the true relation of man in the world
    • An objectively considerable question: a human attitude is filled with meaning, what does this attitude reveal? Is there a method by which we can reveal man’s existence in the world?
  • Every question presupposes two beings: a questioner and a questioned
    • A question is an expectation: I expect a reply from the questioned
    • What distinguishes a question from affirmation or negation?
    • Some questions seem like they do not apply to/with negativity – but we can always reply in the negative, Nothing / Nobody / Never
  • We can respond to the previous question: “No, it does not exist”. And so here we are presented with the transdcendent force of non-existence.
  • Does non-being exist objectively?
  • What is the man-world relation?

Is there a mode of behavior that can reveal man’s relation with the world?

  • This question can be considered objectively.
  • If you destroy the reality of the negation, you destroy the reality of the answer. Being discloses its negation to me.
  • Questions posit three non-beings: the non-being of knowledge, the non-being of knowledge in man, the possibility of non-being in transcendent being, and the non-being of limitation.
  • We have found ourselves surrounded by nothingness.

Being is that and, apart from that, nothing.


  • The negation is subjective – a product of the judgement, what the questioner anticipates in an answer.
  • Nothingness establishes a transcendental unity of all negative judgements: X is not…
  • Being in itself has no negation; negative judgements become wholly affirmative
  • Negation is incapable of existing by itself – what is negation’s being?
  • Negation is not merely a quality of judgement, but a prejudicative mode of behavior. I can question something in my attitude towards it.
  • What I expect in an interrogative gesture is a disclosure of being – my question includes a prejudcative understadning of non-being
  • Man is the only being through which destructino can be brought about. After the storm there is no less, but only something else; but it is humans who can live nihilation and nothing.
  • Fragility is the possibility of non-being.
  • Pierre is not at the cafe at 4:00 like we agreed. Pierre’s absence is an intuition of nothing. Nothingness cuts like a void across all of the being of the cafe.
    • Connections to Husserl’s conception of disharmonious experience.
    • Nothingness pervades all of being and becomes the foundation of my judgement
    • Pierre haunts this cafe
    • Purely abstract absences do not have a similar sense of absence and nothingness
  • Negation is a refusal of existence
  • Negation must be an abrupt break in continuity

The Dialectical Conception of Nothingness

page 67 in PDF

“Cognitional Structure”, Bernard Lonergan

1 | Dynamic Structure

  • Whole has parts. And parts are related to other parts and the whole.
  • When one thinks of a whole they might think about some conventional quantity of parts, but also products of nature or arts can also be wholes
  • A whole is a structure
  • The parts of the whole might be dynamic and form a dyanmic structure

2 | Human Knowing as Dynamic Structure

  • No one individual activity of human knowing can be called human knowing – e.g. mere vision without grasping is still mere vision
  • Human knowing is a materially dynamic structure, but also formally dynamic
  • Human knowing puts itself together – self-assembling and self-constituting
  • Knowing in general vs knowing in a strict sense
  • Human knowing is not some unique single operation, but a whole whose parts are cognitional activities
  • Parts of a structure are related to each other by function

3 | Consciousness and Self-knowledge

  • Knowing knowing must be a reduplication of the structure
  • To know knowing, one must
    • experience experience, understanding, and judging
    • understand experience, understanding, and judging
    • judge experience, understanding, and judging
  • All cognitional activities may be conscious, yet none can be known. Different cognitional activities are not equally accessible
  • Insight – one must be in the process of learning or reenact previous processes of learning
  • Human knowing is a structure of different activities
  • The experience of human knowing is qualitatively differentiated because human knowing is a structure of different activities
  • When one is seeing, one is experiencing one’s own sensitivity; when one inquires, one is experiencing one’s own intelligence.
  • Experience is divided into external and internal, but what is the spatiality of external experience? Material presence of a statue; or intentional presence, where knowing is involved.
    • Objects are present by being attended to
    • Subjects are present as subjects by attending
  • The reader cannot simply uncover his own subjectivity, because what one finds is not subject as subject but subject as object.
  • A many-leveled subject – can subjects be empirically, intellectually, rationally, morally conscious? Levels of consciousness
  • One does not introspect but raises the level of one’s activity

4 | Epistemological Theorem

  • Why should knowing result from experiencing, understanding, judging?

Knowledge in the proper sense is knowledge of reality or, more fully, that knowledge is intrinsically objective, that objectivity is the intrinsic relation of knowing to being, and that being and reality are identical.

  • Intentionality is the intrinsic objectivity of human cognitional activity.
  • Human intelligence greets every experience with perplexity, wonder, drive, intentionality.
  • Thought is greeted by all sorts of reflective exigencies; the dynamic structure of human knowing intends being.
  • Being is identical with reality, in that apart from being there is nothing, so apart from reality there is nothing. Being embraces concrete totality of everything, like reality.
  • Human knowing goes beyond; it adds and unites the sensed into an object of thought
  • Answers are to a question; the answer and the question have the same object. Likewise human knowing passes from the subject to the object, in that they share the intention of being
  • Neither knowledge nor ignorance of essence and existence, but an intending of both; they are questions, but raising them setttles what answers must be about, and thus the intended-object-being is set forth.
  • intentio intendens - not knowing but merely intending (objectivity in potency). intentio intenta - not mere intending but in structured activities of knowing (objectivity in act).
  • People have tried to find the ground of objectivity in experience (empiricists), necessity (rationality), coherence (idealists); but the objectivity of human knowing is triple, with both experiential, normative, and absolute
  • The objectivity of human knowing is unrestrcited and unconditioned; the asking of the questions reveals an attention to an intended object.
  • I answer a question of existence only by affirming or denying the real existence; true answers are unconditioned; human knowledge reaches such an unconditioned and transcends itself. Unconditioned as unconditioned cannot be qualified or limited
  • Possibility of human knowing intends the transcendent and self-transcends to reach it.
  • Grasping dynamic structure is essential to grasping the objectivity of our knowing; what is being which is neither affirmation nor idea; we need a structure to place the three different elements of objectivity together

5 | Counterpositions Criticized

  • Alternative to distinguishing: confusion. Lonergan has distinguished human knowing into its different components.
  • Intellectual activity must be like seeing if it is to be objective. Even if introspection deos not discover such a seeing-method, we must have a seeing-like activity, otherwise intellectual activity would be purely immanent
  • Objective knowing is like seeing.
    • We see our knowing.
  • Critical realist: rather than considering the picture world, we can consider the universe of being
    • In a picture world, the original relationship is the look
  • There exists a forgetfullness of being
  • Critical realism: sense does not so quickly no appearances – we need to judge if an object is apparent; sense does not know appearances, because sense does not possess the full objectivity of human knowing (p. 10)
  • Let us first understand the world we are thinking in.
  • Let us change our picture-world

6 | Knowing and Living

  • Forgetfulness of being: subjectivity was once a pejorative term but now comes to represent an enlightenment agianst misconceived objectivity
  • Misconceived, objectivity is transcending. The problem of the bridge from in here to out there
  • Correctly conceived, objectivity is not rejected. The main point is that of human living: one must move beyond empirical, intellectual, rational consciousness to rational self-consciousness. Subjects constitute themselves and make their world. Men are responsible fro the lives they lead and the world that leads them. (11)
  • The collective subject needs communication as its precondition
  • The subject is always making himself what he is
  • We need to distinguish different senses of subjectivity – praise of subjectivity might seem to be a condemnatio nof objectivity
  • Objective knowing is not yet authentic human living, but it is still integral to it.
  • THe usbject communicates not by saying what he knows but by showing what he is
  • Concern for subjectivity promotes a lot of objective knowing
  • We are members of a universal church; we need more objective knowing.


  • Dynamic structure
  • HUman knowing is a dynamic structure
  • Consciousness vs self-knowledge: different levels
  • Objectivity of human knowing is a triad of properties in distinct operations
  • To depart objectivity from picture thinking
  • Relations between dynamic structure of objective knowing and larger dynamic structure of human living.

“Phenomenology: Nature, Significance, Limitations”, Lonergan

1 | The Nature of Phenomenology

  • Phenomenology is an account of data structured by insight.
  • Phenomenology is ‘of’ data, i.e. ‘consciousness of’ – data as what is given and appears, both inner and external
  • Phenomenology does not exclude anything from consideration – not concerned with classifications of data and its quality in various ways, etc.
  • Phenomenology is not merely data but data structured by insight; it is selective in some way; seeks basic universal structures, an eidos , eidetic intuition.
  • We can intuit the essence of a circle: among a mutlipicity of data, we see different causal parts.
  • To identify the structure of data requires scrutiny (effort and time)
  • Phenomenology is not concerned with insight as such, which is very diffifuclt to grasp. Can a phenomenologist grasp insight itself?
  • Phenomenology continually discovers new investigations: it grasps not towards synthesis but towards unification
  • Not focusing on a multiplicity of concepts (really), but rather the singularity of the givenness.
    • Distinction between phenomenology structured by proper insights and phenomenological exposition of data as structured by insight
  • A “terrific emphasis” on the pre-predicative, before the conceptualization
  • Phenomenon and the legein (logos): to read off the phenomena

2 | The Significance of Phenomenology

  • Phenomenology provides a method of exploring many areas which have been neglected previously
  • Psychology’s ‘scientificiism’ favors outer data
  • Phenomenology opens up new ways of seeing the world; phenomenology not only breaks with but also reconciles with the scientific tendency of psychology
  • An attempt to pin down what the ‘somethings’ really actually mean, e.g. William James and the pragmatists
  • Study of emotions – ‘metaphysical psychology’
  • Merleau-Ponty: existentialist movement; high praise from Lonergan. Attacks Sartre’s distinction between the pour-soi and the en-soi; the body is both at the same time
  • Incarnation – not merely observing or idealist subject, but an incarnate subject
  • For Heidegger, man is the source of meaning; Dasein eliminates subject-object oppositions
  • Heidegger’s existentialism is parallel to phenomenological analysis
  • Binswanger’s new interpretation of the dream; not modernist Freudian interpretation, but phenomenologically oriented

3 | The Limitations of Phenomenology

  • Because phenomenology is pre-predicative, it is preconceptual/prerational
  • Phenomenology itself is a challenge to the Scholastics
  • The phenomenologist deludes himself that he can grasp the pre-predicative truly; but the phenomenologist has not really explained rationality itself. It is concerned with the evident… but what is more?
  • For phenomenology, the manifest is the criterion of the true. Negation has its basis in what is not (nothing); and so Sartre insists on nothing.
  • You have to account for the manifestness of nothingness
  • Husserlian epoche: withdraw interest from the real – just attend to the intending subject
  • A radical difference between the spontaneous orientation of the really real and that which is posited absolutely in judgement
  • You cannot turn rationality off when you want – critiqu eof the epoche’s ambiguity
  • There is nor eturn from the epoche: if I suspedn what is real, then what intentional act will return the really real; no amount of meaning gives you back the noumenal
  • Eugen Fink: no possibility of phenomenological treatment of speculative issues. Being is what appears, and nothing else. Phenomenology does not contain within itself the implements to handle speculative questions.
  • Phenomenology is an “inadequate method”
  • The question of truth is at the heart of phenomenology
  • Fundamental limitation of phenomenology: it has no reflective account of judgmeent until it gets it. It is not a basis upon which we cna show the existence of God or do a dogmatic theology – a different plane, different modes of being.

Phenomenology: The Basics, Zahavi


  • Phenomenology – one of the most important traditions in 20th century philosophy
  • Husserl, Heidegger, Srtre, Merleau-Ponty, Levinas.
  • Almost all subsequent German and French philosophy can be interpreted as an extension or reaction to phenomenology.
  • Phenomenology is an important source of criticism

Chapter 1: The Phenomenon

  • Phenomenology: the study of phenomena – but what is phenomenon?
  • “Make philosophy out of cocktail”
  • Everyday experience of simple objects is a point of departure for phenomenologists
  • Reconnect with the richness of everyday life
    • Of course, the question – what is ‘everyday’
  • Phenomenology is more interested in the how than the what of objects – how does it appear (to a subject)?

The Alarm Clock

  • An antique alarm clock in Copenhagen
  • The alarm clock appears differently depending on its illumination.
  • I will never see the entire alarm clock – but it still only appears perspectivally
  • The absent influences our perception: without the constitution of the back, the front we see is longer the front
  • Perceptual experience is a play of presence and absence: we always experience more than what is simply given to us
  • What we see is never in isolation
  • There is no view from nowhere: only an embodied point of view. The perceiver must be located in the same space occupied by the alarm clock.
  • Perceptual exploration
  • Time is important in bodily exploration: the back does not go from mind even if from appearance.
  • The alarm clock’s appearance changes gradually: therefore our stream of consciousness must be temporally and experientially unified

Up to Appearance and Reality

  • Phenomenology tells us about how phenomena apparently are.
  • The phenomenon vs the noumenon
  • To know what the object ‘really is’, the traditional notion is that we must go beyond the merely phenomenal.
  • Heidegger: phenomenology invokes a different understanding of the phenomenon: the phenomenon is that which shows itself.
  • Phenomenology is not a theory about the merely apparent: the phenomenon is something in itself.
  • Two-world doctrine: world as it presents itself, vs. the world as it is in itself
    • Not a metaphysical split but rather, according to the phenomnologists, different modes of manifestation.
  • Transcendentalism is rejected by phenomenologists
    • Abuse of the concept of reality
    • A defense of reality?
    • Objectivity is to be located in the appearing world

Chapter 2: Intentionality

  • What can I think about?
  • Consciousness has a directedness – intentionality
  • Consciousness is self-transcending – it points beyond itself
    • Interesting, because I suppose I would think recursive relations are the real transcending
  • Connection between experiential subjectivity and worldly objects
  • Consciousness is interested with objects and events different from consciousness itself
  • We’re never just conscious of an object in and of itself (simpliciter), but in a particular way
    • The same object can be intended in different ways. (What does this mean philosophically – we are holding the object as first?)

Perception and Pictures

  • We can be conscious of hypothetical objects – we are directed towards the same object or type of object, but it shows itself in different ways.
  • Intentional acts: linguistic (indirect), pictorial (indirect), perceptual (direct)
    • What does this mean? What if I am not referring to a particular object when I make use of indirect intention? What is the object here?
  • Perceptional intentionality is more ‘basic’ than more complex form of intentionality. (This is potentially problematic in its logocentrism.)
  • When I see a painting-portrait, I can observe the image-thing, the image-thing, and the image-subject.
    • One object depicts another object!
    • Perceptory/appearance similarity does not imply otological similarity
    • In order to see what is depicted in a picture, we both have to see and not see what is in front of us
    • Peripheral awareness of the image-thing
    • Question: What is the ontological status of say, figures which I have only seen on television? How real are they if I have never experienced them directly? And why do I have faith that if I see Biden on MSNBC that it is the same Biden that I see on CNN or Fox?

Representation and Causality

  • Intentionality of consicousness is a difficult situation
  • Consciousness is outwards-directed
  • How can the mind direct towards otherness?
  • One idea: experiences are themselves subjective happenings. One needs to introduce an interface between the mind and the world to explain intentionality then. The cake affects my sensory apparatus and causes the mental representation to emerge for me.
  • Rejected! Two criticisms
    • Representational mediation. Courts skepticism: why should awareness of an inner object enable awareness of an external object? We perceive an object first before its representational property.
    • Causal explanation. The physical dimension is not enough: when I look through binoculars, why don’t I perceive the lenses of the binoculars? etc.: causality is too coarse to understand intentionality. It doesn’t give us enough. Moreover, existing spatial objects constitute a small part of what I can be conscious of; what about absent objects, impossible objects, fictive objects?
  • Perceptual experience is not an internal movie screen: perceptual experience gives us the object immediately; we do not need internal representation for experience.
    • Rather than representation, perception is presentation.
  • The mind is not simply an object
  • Clarifying the relation between the mind and the world

Chapter 3: Methodological Considerations

  • What is the phenomenological method?

Epoche and Reduction

  • Certain methodological steps are required for understanding phenomenology
  • We cannot be content with mere words, we must go back to things themselves.
    • Is this turning away from theories and interpretations?
  • Bracketing or suspension (performance as epoche)
  • Two interpretations of the epoche:
    • We have to bracket our existing ways of thinking. Let us turn back towards objects, and let the objects reveal themselves as what they are. (de-fetishize?)
    • We need to resituate ourselves from natural preoccupations with worldl objects. It reveals dimensions of our subjective lives.
  • Both are mistaken: phenomenology is not a turn to the object or a return to the subject, but instead to investigate the interrelaltion between objects and subjects.
  • Another incorrect interpretation of phenomenology: phenomenology is a metaphilosophical or methodological approach rather than a metaphysical doctrine. The purpose is to limit the scope of investigation to experience; other issues are excluded.
  • Heidegger: scientific ontology is nothing but phenomenology
  • epoche is not the exclusion fo reality but a dogmatic attitude about reality which permeates scientific positivism.
    • Philosophy cannot assume natural realism; to prejudice the answer.
  • We must suspend our belief in the mind-independent existence of the world.
  • Epoche – turning-away from natural human interests – exclusion of a naive prejudice on the metaphysical status of the world.
    • Rediscover the relation between the mind and the world
  • Following the epoche is the transcendental reduction: pay attention to what worldly objects are given – we come to understand the relation between object and perceiver. The transcendental reduction is the systematic analysis of the correlation between subjectivity and the world
  • Liberation from naturalistic dogmatism

Transcendental Philosophy

  • Husserl affirms that he belongs to transcendental philosophy: not the disclosing of new factsbut rather in investigating the preconditions for reality. Why is objectivity possible in the first place?
  • We continue to investigate the worldly object, but now not naively. Consciousness is not just object in but subject for the world
  • Epoche / reduction are the preconditions for philosophically investigating reality.
  • Heidegger: everyday existence is characterized by forgetting and objectification of the self
  • Phenomenological analysis gives a certain violence.
  • Tension between Husserlian and post-Husserlian phenomenologists

Up to Transcendental philosophy

Office Hours Questions

  • Have a passing interest in Derrida, Lacan, semiotics/post-structuralism. So I’m especially interested in the role that the sign plays in phenomenology
  • The question of evidence – really clarifying it.
    • Is evidence always ‘evidence of’, just like consciousness is always ‘consciousness of’?
    • If so, then the acceptance of the concept of the object necessarily precedes the evidence of it?
    • Consicousness is always directed – so I can’t just experience the world ‘in its entirety’.
    • Husserl: “Abstaining from acceptance of its being” while doing eidetic variation, where we are shifting our perspective of the table – don’t you already need to have accepted the being of the table, at least for you, in order for you to do eidetic variation to begin with?
  • Reproducing the problem of the bridge just within the phenomenal experiential world. It seems like what Husserl is trying to do is to assert that behind the phenomena of our phenomena (predicative judgements) are the noumena of the phenomena (pre-predicative judgements) which we don’t directly experience but can infer somehow.
    • The sense-form on page 80 in the PDF
    • Is meditating a scam?
  • Linguistic objection to the “I think, therefore I am” – the extent to which concepts are tracked upon and not independent of the language they are articulated in? If I accept the language system given, then yes “I think, therefore I am” – but this then isn’t apodictic because it is contingent, and I can doubt that the conditions for that contingency.
    • The indubidability of “I doubt that I am” implies “I am” – well, why? I can entirely doubt it by not adhering to the symbolic rule that the “I” in “I am” is the “I” in “I doubt”.
    • Being and thinking – attached to the subject. I can change the nature of the subject.
    • To what extent do statements exist independently of their statements?
  • What is the role of freedom and agency in experience? To what extent does the ego create the world that it experiences?
  • What does it even mean to doubt?
  • Questions on intersubjectivity
    • The community of egos still lies housed within my ego, correct? Is Husserl asserting something which goes ‘beyond’ the ego?
    • Virtual machine analogy