Tuesday, June 29, 2010

1-Dimensional; Ideas 1 Part 3

"If I only could see the back of this chair, I wouldn't be thinking about not seeing the back of this chair"

Slowly and meticulously, Husserl gets to the ideas of phenomenology. This is in distinction from him spending 100 pages criticizing every method before him that tries to establish an a priori science either pyschologistically or metaphysically. So this post will deal neither with the crossing out of one's existence when doing phenomenology, nor the criticism of empiricism and idealism explored in the last post. Instead, this post will go into insights into phenomenology. Still these insights into phenomenology aren't phenomenology itself, as a pure descriptive process of what happens in phenomena. In a certain sense, these are still precautions and an elaborations of the method of phenomenological research. Insights though go beyond criticisms of method, and it's here that we will first start to understand Husserl's method of understanding the experience of consciousness. We will see how articulate he is in his analysis of consciousness that places firmly in distinction to the "phenomenology" of Heidegger for example. This isn't to criticize Heidegger and all that extra-important insights he brought into 20th century philosophy. I think if anything, it's to distinguish phenomenology from ontology. This has always been an instinct that I have when reflecting on Book 1 of Being and Time in regards to Husserl's practice. It truly is the case that Being and Time operates as an existential analytic. It categorizes beings in the most general way (E.G. "Looking around for something to do") which of course changes the way anyone looks at philosophy. But this project is different from Husserl's project. The existential is parenthesized out of the development. This will be elaborated on in this post. Hopefully by the end of it, a distinction will be made between the thought of Husserl and Heidegger and how it's simply justifiable to see Heidegger as an ontologist (concerned with the beingness of Dasein) and Husserl as a phenomenologist (concerned with the possibilities required for there to be such thing as a Dasein). What is about to be explored is not explored by Heidegger, and what Heidegger explores in what Husserl terms as a "sociology" (somewhat pejoratively) is not explored by Husserl. So lets make this distinction, with the motivation of of distinguishing two modes of thought, rather than having them under the general rubric of what the Northwestern University Press would like to have them.

"The perception of a physical thing involves a certain inadequacy. Of necessity a physical thing can be given only "one-sidedly"; and that signifies, not just incompletely or imperfectly in some sense or other, but precisely what presentation by adumbration's prescribes". Husserl here delimits our immediate perception to the idea that you only see 1 side of something when you're gazing over it. I'm not able to see the object in it's entirety. I would be secondary, and probably even more eyes to see every single part of an object that would all have to be appropriated in consciousness as the entire object. But this is not how consciousness works for Husserl. What one-sidedness signifies, is an imperfectability. I can see one side of an object, but I can't see a whole object, therefore making the object imperfectly seen. Of course if we were to analyze this further independent from the thought of Husserl, we can say that his conception of perfectibility is an ideal, an idea that he's imposing to consciousness that consciousness can't fulfill. But Husserl addresses this by saying that it's not within consciousnesses jurisdiction to give perfected appearances of an object. He adds at the end of the quote that imperfectability signifies "what presentation by adumbration prescribes". As a warning, if you don't know what "adumbration" means in the most basic sense, and then eventually in the Husserlian sense, that one can get lost easily in the labyrinth of Husserl. An adumbration is a sketch, a rough outline of something. What then is Husserl saying in this statement? He's saying that seeing an object imperfectly is because consciousness prescribes an adumbration of the presentation. In other words, consciousness first gives a sketchy, rough outline of what it perceives. Consciousness is a process of adumbration. It gives things in a sketchy manner which don't ("at first") encapsulate the entirety of the object, and for Husserl, when an object is not it's totality (an impossibility), it's imperfect, which is precisely the mode of consciousness; to give imprecise "visions" of an object by way of adumbration's (sketches that serve to give you some idea of the object. Not the entire idea). So what do we get from this? Operating consciousness gives an imperfect idea of an object outside of itself, an object which it constitutes for itself imperfectly. However, consciousness has time (Internal Time Consciousness), so while for one time, consciousness only sees one side of an object, this won't be the case the more times consciousness is able to see an object, and here is where time because an essential structure to consciousness. "The indeterminateness necessarily signifies a determinableness which has a rigorously prescribed style. It points ahead to possible perceptual multiplicities which, merging continuously into one another, join together to make up the unity of one perception in which the continuously enduring physical thing is always showing some new "sides" in a new series of adumbration's). While the object can be seen in some ostensible entirety at first, time will allow consciousness to expatiate on the object it's focused on. While consciousness at one time had an object with a load of indeterminate qualities that it wasn't grasping, it will eventually (temporality) become more determined over time. While at one time I can only see one side of the chair, at another time I can see another side of the chair, at more times I can see other "perceptual multiplicities" which merge into one another as an idea as the object. The object becomes more idealized the more points of view are being seen in it; the more consciousness has these data of sensation (Husserl's verbiage). The physical thing is always showing new sides besides the 1-dimensional side it showed at first. These new sides though are adumbration's themselves, which means sketchy outlines themselves. So we have a lot of sketchy outlines of an object that "join together" to make something that is more ideal. You can see the motivation of Husserl to see an object never becoming fulfilled by his use of the word "adumbration". He want's to make sure that whatever is visible, is only visible as a sketchy outline. Inferred in this concept is that it's not perfect. From my reading of Husserl, I can't claim that this was ever Husserl's goal; to come up with a theory that would be able to realize what a perfectly ideal object is. Instead I think it was more of his goal to see that an object goes through a process of objectivation where adumbrated sedimentation's are slowly building on previous perceptions to create something more than what was originally perceived as 1-sided. Husserl establishes his goal independent from my statement that he's seeking a "clear" object when he states "To be in infinitum imperfect in this manner is part of the unanullable essence of the correlation between 'physical thing' and perception of physical thing". It's an essence. It's independent of "reality" or a "fact". What the "Physical Thing" is I can never know of independent of my consciousness of that correlative experience of something called a "thing". In this sense, I can never have a "pure" in-itself experience of the object because everything perception belongs to consciousness which is a process of 1-sided adumbration's that concatenate with other eventual perceptions, that never get the whole of the "physical thing", if we are certain that consciousness is an adumbrative process, meaning that it only gives an outline to what's outside of itself and is not what an object would be "all to itself". In this formal sense, there is no such thing as the in-itself. Kant would conjecture that the in-itself is unknowable, but inferred in this statement is that is existed and that we as subjective consciousnesses could not grasp what this ever was. Husserl though explains the fact that consciousness is what comes up with the idea of a physical thing, and comes up with the idea of this physical thing having an ostensible perfect understanding to itself, as if the chair were able to think for itself on what it exactly is. All these mental processes are just that, mental processes; predication by the ego in order to grasp an "essence" of something outside of itself. This is an eidetic truth. But an inference is not needed into what the in-itself of the object holding some "purity" to it independent of consciousness would be. (Heidegger would try to subtly criticize Western Metaphysics by saying that all objects are there for us, "ready-to-hand", meaning they are there for us to use independent of the existence of themselves, and so gives credence to the idea of an in-itself that Man has just not been able to grasp or touch. Heidegger would then turn in his later philosophy to the poetical form and "careful use of language" to be able to see the "essence" of an object independent of the subjectivity placed upon it by subjects. In this sense, to say that Heidegger had a nostalgia to some primitive mind is an understatement. In a sense it wouldn't be inappropriate to call him a naive idealist). The in-itself is simply a correlation of an ego that receives mental processes that concatenate experience. And when this joining-together by concatenation happens, the ego will go on it's way towards thinking about something called the "in-itself", the perfectibility it want's to posit. But this perfectibility is dependent on consciousness coming up with the idea itself. If anything is perfect, it's not an object that is able to be the semblance of "all-sides", it's consciousness that is able to posit all these impossible possibilities in the first place. "Necessarily there always remains horizon of determinable indeterminateness, no matter how far we go in our experience, no matter how extensive the continua of actual perception of the same thing may be through which we have passed". Lets flesh out this idea of "determinable indeterminateness". It's determinable, it's certain that there are things that we just can't know. This is a horizon of experience; We have things that we can't know, yet by a 1-sided perception of an object, we have some sort of grasp of something outside of consciousness. And by other adumbrative grasps of this thing outside of ourselves, we are shown new sides. What was once indeterminate because of a 1-sidedness, becomes more determined. They become more clearly given, but never so much as to take away consciousness's process from giving adumbrations of what's outside of itself, to essentially never give to itself some sort of "perfect clarity", but will build on ("Sedimentation" is the choice word used in Experience and Judgment) the original 1-sidedness with new forms of adumbration's pertaining to the "object" that's outside of consciousness. Let us note that this is in regards to the perception and reflection of a physical object. Later on, Husserl will go into the presentation of a mental process, or how it's never presented, but only "seen" in reflection. Mental processes don't get adumbrated. They don't have sides. They aren't spatial. There's intensities but there is not thing as a "perfected outside object" in a mental processes precisely because a mental process is immanent, meaning in consciousness. Of course, we can fantasize of the "flying centaur" (one of Husserl's peculiar examples of what one daydreams about), but when "objectifying" the mental process it's absolute as an act (E.G. reflection). So this post was limited to consciousness's 1-sided perception of something outside of itself (in classical terms, an object) which would then point ahead to other multiplicities that make up this outside in a more clarity, albeit, a never perfect clarity, which is not the task of Phenomenology, because of understanding it's counterscensical nature based on the fact that consciousness first conceives that possibility of perfection, and so, the idea of perfection, can either be seen as a motivation of a later ego that want's to posit things in an exactitude for it's own purposes, or a fantasy within consciousness that will always want more to the point of something called perfection (these two possibilities are somewhat similar. The former is a psychoanalytical description of the ego in general, and the later is a psychoanalytical description of a "surplus operation". In this sense, the motivation of the ego, is one of surplus). At the very least a distinction is made between Husserl and Heidegger. Husserl operates in a very immanent sense of the world, while Heidegger operates in an existential analytic of being (a theoretical description of what being does in the most general sense possible). Husserl doesn't get to the existential being, and will criticize this as ever being a science in his Crises, while Heidegger will find the primary grounding of the world precisely not in the immediate logico-phenomenological perception that Husserl hypothetically (metaphorically) writes on. The "ecstatic" experience first grounds being, not the fact that being (before recognizing themselves as being) is only seeing 1 side of an object. A further elaboration of this distinction will be made in a later post, with a tendentious regard for how being first happens. Of course, it must be remembered from the lessons of Derrida and Mearleau-Ponty's The Visible and The Invisible, that all these terms (consciousness, perception, being, ect.) are being used with a knowing being already "at-hand". In this sense, this author will be taking the luxury of hypothetical existence for grounding being, knowing fully well it's dependency on language, which will have to be explained along with the hypothetical existence. Still, we will see, that language can find a way of tricking itself into showing the subject that something happened to the subject independent of the direct meaning of the language being read. This is where Phenomenology will become most insightful.

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