Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Derrida's Interpretation to Husserl's "Origin's of Geometry" Pt.2

The key to Derrida's interpretation (thus far) of Husserl;

I'll quote Derrida with my own analysis inside which I'll signify as "B"

"to distinguish between natural reality and spiritual culture, we must now discriminate, in order to understand pure culture and traditionality in general, between empirical culture and that of truth. In other words, between de facto historical culture (B: factual cultural), on the one hand, in which sense-sedimentation does not exclude the fact that validity (which is rooted in a language,terrain,epoch,and so forth) can become dated, and on the other hand, the culture of truth, whose ideality is absolutely normative (B: omni-temporal, not dated, the fact that there can be truth without it ever being dated; that it's possible in any wholly other being that isn't beleaguered by historicity). No doubt the later would be in fact (B: In being of historicity) impossible without the former. But on the one hand, the culture of truth is the highest and more irreducible possibility of empirical culture; on the other hand, the culture of truth is itself only the possibility of a reduction of empirical culture and is manifested to itself only through such a reduction which has become possible by an irruption of the infinite as a revolution within empirical culture"...The emancipation can be confused with a breaking from history in general. For those who confine themselves to historical factuality, as well as for those who enclose themselves in the ideality of validity, the narration of the truth can only have the historic originality of myth. But in another sense, one that corresponds to Husserl's intention, the tradition of truth is the most profound and purest history...without which there would only be an empirical aggregate of finite and accidental units" -Derrida

End Quote

The realization of the phenomenological reduction which manifests the idea de jure (by law) requires the zone ("the zone" is what I call it; it's synonymous with what Husserl and Derrida call "horizon", which means an opening for a possibility or possibilities) to be able to be reduced in the first place. So it seems that when one is thinking with gestures of prioritization, in other words, origins, one would privilege the un-idealized zone over the fact that there is some ideal validity to it; this validity though Derrida points out about Husserl includes the sense of error, not just a correctness. The historical sedimented fact is first required before a reduction can take place that can try to understand how a fact can have sense in the first place. But as Derrida states, without this "irruption of the infinite as a revolution" there can be no idea of The Idea. It's absolutely irreducible, the most irreducible possibility of the zone; but this irreducibility "can be confused with a breaking from history in general". The reduction can never break with the fact that it came from a history, but history can't help itself from revealing to itself it's own sense. You can't have a history that is without an origin. You can't have a history that isn't always dating itself; which is it's own sense that has become revealed. So while History is first required for anything to happen, the revolution of historicity confuses an empirical grounding for an empiricist to say that "there is first blank empirical data", because this is an idea; and more importantly, this is an idea we realize as an idea; a pseudo blank state. And nothing can be said for something that was never a matter of a saying.
So not only does neither come first (the empirical nor the ideal), but the thinking of what comes first is inappropriate because they both can easily be argued that each come first without either contradicting the other. The sense of history (without us knowing it) happens at the same time of history simply happening. The broaching of history is also the broaching of it's sense which need not be realized until the realization; as Hegel would say 'when the idea realizes itself'; in other words, when history realizes that it is history. History is no longer a blind progression that can go anywhere in some timelessness, but is aware of itself as a progression that is happening in time, in dates, in a progression. History itself doesn't realize it's own dialectic until (for reasons completely unknown) it makes it's self aware to itself AT a certain time, and when it does, history is revealed as what it's always been doing without realizing it; but this was always in the cards, to realize the sense of itself. That is part of the sense of history, to eventually come to a point (this is the question, which point, why, when and where) when something had to be revealed . This is the absolutely crazy part; History without even knowing it already had in store for itself the fact of knowing itself, and this is it's sense; essentially for there to be something that is wholly other, and then out of nowhere to realize that this wholly other was something more than how it operated in a pure blind machine-like way. The transcendental ego is not simply the individual self realizing itself, but the self realizing itself as history realizing itself as history. The transcendental ego is history at one and the same time, a no time and time.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Derrida's interpretation of Husserl's "Origins of Geometry" PT.1

Instead of loading this post with a preface to what it's about, I will defer to Derrida's suggestion that a rigorous reading of any text is one with extracts a certain amount out of a small portion of a text, rather than a reading that knows the whole story (Derrida's criticism of autobiography in general as constituting the essence of any reading). This criticism is reflective of Hegel's preface to his Phenomenology of Spirit where he paradoxically criticizes prefaces in general. You can think of it as a Preface that criticizes itself in wanting to briefly and systematically describe what is ahead. For Hegel, as for Derrida, the text has rhythm and the reader should always be aware of a certain ethic of reading; that being to read the whole text and to enter into the flow of the text, the flow of the author for that matter, even though both Derrida and Hegel would repudiate the possibility of ever "purely" entering into an others context...So much for a preface.

Husserl in his Crises of the European Sciences takes aim at the lack of responsibility in which Science since Newton has taken place. Derrida takes this vision up in his interpretation of his Origins of Geometry which is considered an addendum to the previous text. Into the text then...

"Science's truth "in itself" is not any less truth-of the subjective-relative world, in which it has its bases. No doubt there exists a naively superficial baselessness: that of the rationalists and the traditional scientific investigators who move unconstrained in the atmosphere of the logical and objective apriori and do not relate them to their historical ground in the life-world. They neither worry about their own responsibility nor ask themselves: what am I in the process of doing? Nor:from where does that come? But there is another naivete just as serious but with a more modern style: naivete of profundity or depth and not of superficiality, it consists in re-descending toward the prescientific perception without making problematic the surpassing of the life-world's truth toward the world of truths "in themselves." (Derrida; Edmund Husserl's Origin of Geometry, 1989, Bison Book printing)

Derrida continues explaining Husserl's criticism of science as essentially losing it's philosophical grounding from the likes of Leibniz and and Descartes by referencing Husserl as calling this post industrial science one that is "intellectually hypertrophic".

To start off then with Derrida's interpretation of Husserl's Origin of Geometry, it's good to start off simple; in a place where criticism is evident rather than the internal and posthumous inter-locution between the two that will be written about in a later post.

The obvious question is raised, simply put: Does Science have a responsibility towards Philosophy? And if it has lost that responsibility, if it is in a state of "crisis", how can phenomenology (which for Husserl was always going to take the place of philosophy, not just semantically, but syntactically!) "rescue" science from itself? These are questions which will again be addressed later. For now, the above quote is what imposed as being extracted.

The first part of the quote goes without saying. Husserl according to Derrida thinks that Science should be concerned with the "truth-of-the-subjective" which has always been Husserl's project even as he repudiated pyschologism as the grounds for Truth (Capitol 'T') in his prolegomena to his Logical Investigations. The truth of the subjective then is ironically purely logical; the purely logical subjective. Husserl terms this the "transcendental ego" which is insurmountable for dasein being. Something curious pops up though in Husserl's criticism though. As Husserl criticizes that fact, generally speaking, that scientists don't ask themselves how they are coming to developments, and where the developments are coming from, they essentially take for granted the apriori structure of their method. What's curious about this, is this is exactly what Husserl was trying to prove; that at any point a geometer (for example) can work out a proof without requiring the knowledge of how Euclid's first axioms were found. That 3 sides of a triangle equal 180 degrees doesn't require a geometer to relive the experience or understand how their own mind can come up with such a categorical judgment. Does this not prove the "omni-temporality" of the sciences? Basically, that anyone can think it at anytime.
This curiosity I thought should be noted.

Regardless of the fact of whether Husserl's criticism actually supports the omni-temporality of logic, Husserl still feels an irresponsibility to the scientist who is essentially not a phenemenologist; basically a scientist who investigates how it was first possible to understand a geometrical axiom for example. This is serious for Husserl, but there is something even more serious for Husserl according to Derrida.

This next problem for Husserl is a criticism not of the "naive scientist", but of a "naive scientist-philosopher" who ventures into the groundings of history and the study of primitive cultures; essentially an ethnologist in the vain of Claude Levi-Strauss (for example. Husserl in his usual abstract form never gives names). If one realizes the need for science to rediscover it's foundations, how can it just skip by the fact that there is a sense to it's reduction, to it's "surpassing" from Life-World truths to the "world of truths". Essentially, what is the logic of reduction? Derrida vigorous aims at Levi-Strauss exactly on these grounds in De la grammatologie which has served as a wonderful introduction to Derrida in a small book called "The Scene of Writing". The case of Derrida and Levi-Strauss aside, the logic of reduction is need of being explained (I'm anglo-saxon so I defer a usage of the word "explicated". If someone would like to tell me the difference between the two, I'm open ears).

These two questions will be addressed eventually in Derrida's interpretation of Husserl's Origins of Geometry which will be in future posts. For now though, not only science, but philosophy itself is at stake. Nothing can truly be said with an ever fulfilling accuracy without first telling the whole story of sense so to speak. For anyone who considers themselves a scholar of Derrida, they understand how much of an impulse Derrida obtained from Husserl in the Phenomenological gesture of seemingly never ending questions. Derrida would take this to a social level (something Husserl would rather die than ever do) by exploring the nature of archiving and the reader in general. This would lead to the fact that there is never really "an ending to reading Plato". In a further post, I will go into Derrida's impulse but in different terms. To me, what Derrida gained from Husserl in his sociological explanations of 20th century man was his over-self-satisfaction with himself. Derrida mimicked Husserl's critical gestures towards science and brought it to the level of the everyday reader. No reading was a reading unless it was a textual analysis. If this sounds overly rigorous, I would suggest that the radicalness of the gesture is in order to check an overly self-satisfied readership, not just a readership of books, but a readership in general, of thinking. This will be addressed later on.
For now though, we will continue to explore Derrida's new methodological analysis of Husserl's text, an analysis that would not just be reserved to Husserl but would be used on texts throughout the Western Philosophical Tradition, from Plato to Rousseau, from Hegel to Foucault.

Random "Poetry" Pt.2 (Yes I quote 'Poetry' to lead the reader into having less expectations for the quality of the poetry)

The Past

The Past remembered when all is told
The mouth will open and stand in a pose
Written down and spoken to clear
A way to move forward, A death to fear


House built out of stones and rock
Life kept in walls and locks
What's inside is something to be seen
What's outside is filled with jealousy


In the shadows of the sun,
Landmarks stand in place of one
Reflections to further repeat
Additions to what will always be


The streets are split in two
They belong to me and you
One way goes fast
The other goes last
To wait and see who's handling
Time to order the happening.


By the light of the morning sun,
I recognize what I've become
A figure to fill a space
Nothing to become a face

The Sign

Everything I took, things project by look
A sign can stand and direct,
Space, Movement, and Intellect
When things always need to be seen,
Life wins in it's happening.
A care too much to stress,
The look in the face of death

Random "Poetry" (Yes I quote 'Poetry' to lead the reader into having less expectations for the quality of the poetry)

No Time to Come

A life changes to storms outstretching the sun
A growth gives to love becoming one
What can happen is unforeseen
A pendulum swings only in make-believe

To cry for a new beginning
To last for a whole eternity
The dreams of man will become
A sign of no time to come.


Who can be for this world?
A lover, a cheater, a drama to stir
That which can see in two ways at once
Makes conflict to be the only one.


Families grow in the face of fear
When time stops and nothing appears

Empty Minded

How long can I stay empty minded,
When comfort and bed are always provided?
I fail to seek what's really me
When luxury and nothing stand moderately.