Sunday, February 14, 2010

History as an undefinable implication; Part 5 of Derrida's interpretation of Husserl

Revisiting the problem of History that Husserl addresses in The Crises, we will move away from his specific example of hallucination as a signifier for omni-temporal objectivity. Back to this new version of history that that is one and the same time non-Platonic and not empirically sedimented. As always, the question is, what can be said of this history, this hidden history? What Husserl wants to say is that there is something prior to history and this had to have been the case for history to have started. That being said, this "priorness" before History is a history unto itself that Derrida noted was a "hidden history" for Husserl. Explaining this hidden history though is something absolutely different from explaining traditional history, traditional history being the idea of a building up into things where an origins inevitably becomes forgotten, and never in need of being revisited. This hidden history is not something that can be explained by traditional subjective modes, in other words, without regard to history's temporality, the fact that it has a past, present, and future which guide it's idea. With this a-temporality in mind, we can go into the hidden history that is somehow not flowing or static (static in the sense that it's understood by everyone at all times as moving ahead). This hidden history without time them is explained in other ways, by the way implications.

"Husserl affirms that a sense-production must have first presented itself as evidence in the personal consciousness of the inventor, and when he asks the questions of its subsequent objectification, he elicits a kind of fiction destined to make the characteristics of ideal Objectivity problematic and to show that they are not a matter of course" - Derrida

Husserl then first allows the hidden history of the a priori to be defined by a "sense-production". It "must" have presented itself to someone. Interestingly, Derrida calls it a "kind of fiction" that makes ideal Objectivity a problem. This is the first time in Derrida's interpretation that he slips in the idea of fiction as being characteristic of explaining a priori history, and for good reason. What can't be explained because of being prior to language has to be explained by fiction. But it's not a fiction as if what Husserl was defining by an a priori sense production is "non-real". Rather, it's a fiction in the sense that what's trying to be explained doesn't have the rights to language for being explained, except by rights of the implication, the reference to the fact that something had to happen before, in this case "sense-production". Primitive formations of sense "were before" the project of geometry. It appeared for the first time in the evidence in successful actualization. Primitive formations and sense-production here are analogous.
Derrida affirms the fact that "Husserl did not invent such a possibility; it was simply disclosed as what implicitly has always conditioned the existence of the ideal objects of pure science and thus of a pure tradition, and consequently of a pure historicity, the model of history in general". An apriori and eidetic reading and discourse should be possible. It was never invented by anyone because it's always happening. Again, as was said in the previous post, this is simply in line with Hegel's explanation of History realizing itself (disclosing). This recognition is an implication that there was something happening before the realization of itself, whether this be called language, history, or successful ideal objectivity. But, as we will see in the next post, this recognition is nothing other than language. Before getting into the post of when this hidden history becomes established as a problem of language, it's crucial to read Derrida's interpretation further here.

"'Before' and 'After' must be neutralized in their factuality and used in quotation marks. But can we simply replace them with the timeless 'if' and 'provided that' of the condition of possibility"?

When this hidden history is operating in an a-temporal "zone", the words "before" and "after" can't be used because of this a-temporal history. If we talk about a Before or After in this hidden history, it will be in a way for us to understand, but it's not the case that the way we understand is the way it actually "was". With this in mind, it's important to note how tied man is to thinking historically, as in a mindfulness of historicity. Derrida insightfully brings up the fact that we can continually use "if" and "provided that" to explain a history that is a-temporal and always an implication. This makes sense because an implication is always guided by a "provided that". For example, History is possible 'if' it's 'provided with' X, where X signifies an indefinable proposition. So this hidden a priori history then is explained by undefinable implications. In this sense, it's certainly a fiction, but a fiction that is not "novel" meaning it didn't happen for a first time as if some creator created the novel, but was always happening regardless of any writing or reading. History implies this fiction, but at the same time doesn't allow for it's explanation because of it's in-extractable ties with language. History gives and takes at the same time as an implication.
Derrida though asks a decisive question of this "Historical undefinable implication". He asks "Does this not return us to a classic transcendental regression?And is not the interconnecting of transcendental necessities, even if narrated according to how it develops, at bottom the static, structural, and normative scheme for the condition of a history rather than history itself?"
Even where Husserl gives himself the liberties of explaining an a-temporal history by way of Kantian transcendental implications, does this not act like traditional history where something is being told (narrated) according to a development, meaning a teleology? The hidden history of the a priori then is not able to escape eschatological and teleological suppositions that are implicit in traditional history. Certainly, Husserl wants to find the implicit possibilities that could make anything possible, in this case history, but this wanting to find takes away his rights to the hidden history that wanted to operate under non-teleological and in turn, infinite grounds. Husserl is looking to see what the implications of how history developed and not history itself. Originally Husserl was interested the sense of history which is analogous to "history itself", not it's development, because development implies teleology, and not pure sense that is a-temporal and literally, factually, and metaphorically, going nowhere.
Derrida though in his absolutely precise analysis of Husserl states the fact that this was never Husserl's intention. In one of the most insightful parts of Derrida's interpretation of the Origins, he states, "And the annoyed letdown of those who would expect Husserl to tell them what really happened, to tell them a story, can be sharp and easily imaginable: however, this disappointment is illegitimate. Husserl only wished to decipher in advance the text hidden under every empirical story about which we could be curious".
The crucial point Derrida makes here is that Husserl's a-temporal and implicative history was never a story that was to be told as if something started and ended, in other words a novel, but random "zig-zag" fragments of things that could possibly be the case based on pure intentionality, meaning independent of conscious subjectivity. In this sense, Husserl project is incredibly fictive, albeit one that is a-temporal, which is obviously strange. One suspects that Husserl's project would work incredibly well in the aphoristic style of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, rather than by way of a traditional philosophical text. Reductive implications grounds history, and not a system of development. There is what is always and already there, that was never "developed" as if it could be told as a historical story (The way in which Carl Sagan and Daniel Dennett for example explain how the cosmos and mental phenomena "happened" respectively). Here is where Husserl finds his history, as randomized and undefinable, yet with implied references to an original history...not some originality itself (again, Derrida's concept of the trace becomes enormously helpful here), just to the finite history within the infinite.

These undefinable implications for us will require the supplement of Language; Language that history revealed in order to reveal the idea of the non-historical. In the next post, we will have to always be aware of the fact these implications require language, but yet are "nothing but the possibilities of the appearance of history as such, outside which there is nothing". We will have to give ourselves the liberties and rights of language, before finding history as undefinable implications using this Language.

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