Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Can language carry the burden of Phenomenology?; Ideas I Conclusion

Is this what Phenomenology would "look like" independent of language?

These entire series of posts dealing with Husserl's Ideas I took for granted the use of language in being able to describe an experience that happens before language. I eluded to the fact that this would have to be addressed. It's something I instinctively wanted to stay away from because I wanted to be faithful to the authorship of Husserl here in one of his most elaborate texts pertaining to the work of phenomenology and because the problem of language for phenomenology is so obvious that I just didn't want to go after the obvious. In Ideas I the work of Phenomenology is all encompassing. There's certain things that we were able to say in regards to Phenomenology; for example, the lack of freedom in having harmonious experiences, and the imperfection of being able to see an "object" in its totality and how this imperfection is a satisfied constitution independent of phenomenological explanation. At the end of Ideas I, Husserl goes deeper into the problem of how these problems could look and herein lies the problem of how language can do the work that Phenomenology wants it do (more specifically the work that Husserl wants it to do). The question is in how much language is going to be able to carry the burden of Phenomenology. As we learned from Kant in earlier posts, we are always applying our own concepts to a non-conceptual experience if we are interested in understanding what a non-conceptual experience is, and by this he means we are applying a concept to a prior experience, an ostensible prior experience. Husserl honestly asks these questions himself and he starts to gain a sense of what phenomenology can look like in it's descriptive mode. He doesn't say "sound like" or "read like," but "look like" in order to stay consistent with his theme later developed in Experience and Judgment where language is a "mere mode of sense" in comparison to sense-happening that happens independent of language. We learned about this through Husserl's concept of the noema by trying to think about all the different way sense happens without having to talk about. Thinking about the tree as a tree put us in a place where we were intentional beings without linguistically having to account for this (even though we did in the description "intentional beings"). This post will try to flesh out not only the problem of language as it pertains to Phenomenology, but what Phenomenology could look like with or without language. Lets first though go into Husserl as he tries to understand what a descriptive phenomenology would look like.

Husserl asks "How are we to describe systematically the noeses and noemas belonging to the unity of the intuitively objectivating consciousness of the physical thing"? As beings, we are a consciousness that objectivates into a physical thing. We end up with a material at the end of all phenomenological processes; this is certain for Husserl. How are we to describe the sense process though that was touched upon in the levels of the noemas and it's correlate noeses that were the mental processes without saying they were the mental processes? What would this pure description look like? "How do the multiple posited intuitions, the 'intuitional posita,' look in which an 'actual' physical thing becomes given and, in the manner peculiar to intuition, shows its actuality in originaliter 'experience'",? Lets take a closer look at this statement. First we have the idea of "originality experience," meaning an experience that ostensibly happens "originally." When an experience happens originally, how does it look? We are given an actual physical thing, say for example a tree. When we first glance at the tree, how does this look? How does it look when I look at the tree? At first glance, we look like we are in some higher altitude where we are looking down at ourselves looking at something but this isn't what Husserl is interested in. He's interested in something called "multiple posited intuitions." In other words, he's interested in the way in which consciousness would "look" in its inner-happenings. How can we look inside consciousness to see what is happening? As an open question, if Husserl were still alive would he defer the authority of phenomenology to cognitive science and neurophysiology? To be more direct, would he find a pet scan interesting for phenomenological description? Modern brain-scan technology is able to tell when someone is in an "active" state of mind and when they are feeling or thinking a certain way. Even in biofeedback cognitive behavioral therapy, a patient is connected to electrodes that show a physical relationship between consciousness and it's outer activity in the subject. In biofeedback therapy, a patient is shown their states of mental activity and likewise, their states of non-active mental activity. The purpose many times is to have more control over themselves by recognizing how their body feels relative to a brain pattern action. Is this brain picture what "intuited posita" would look like? If I'm attached to electrodes and I intend a tree in fantasy, a part of a lobe in the brain will "light up." This certainly seems to me what a posited intuition would "look like." Of course I also have the option of simply describing it using language. I can say to myself that I posited this or that physical thing (in the region "physical thing") or I can do it on my own without saying it while being attached to electrodes and see a picture of my brain in which a certain part is lighting up. These are two different "looks" to what an "intentional posita" would look like. One "look" is language, the other is a picture of my brain. Husserl doesn't make himself clear on what he means by "look." He wants to see sense-happening in its independence but as a descriptive science we are always using a metaphor for what would be an "original positing experience." We are using something else to describe something that doesn't need to be described with this something else. Husserl is certainly able to elaborate for example on the noematic levels of consciousness in which a memory takes place. He can let language do the explanation but is this language that is doing the explanation what the phenomena "looks like." If we take "phenomena" in its classically understood concept as letting anything appear then we would need a more strict definition for "appearance." For Husserl, Phenomenology as descriptive science seems to carry this load. As descriptive science, we're certainly describing, meaning using language whether or not Husserl thinks we gain a privileged place in our description when we undergo his Cartesian Epoch where we gain insights for example that skepticism becomes a refuted in the fact that it posits its own position. This attempt for neutral consciousness in phenomenology is still using language though as descriptive science. The language may be more neutral so its still language, and that's fine if that's the way Husserl wants Phenomenology to look which we really never understand from him. Husserl will say "each physical thing-appearance necessarily includes in itself a stratum which we call the physical thing-schema: it is the spatial shape merely filled with 'sensuous' qualities--without any determinateness of 'substantiality' and 'causality.' The physical theme has its own "schema" that is a spatial shape that is filled with sensuous qualities. We note now that he parenthesizes sensuous in order to understand its noematic sense. But "seeing" a pure space with "sensual" qualities is a determination. Is it not? The parenthesized word doesn't do it's job. Certainly, we don't have to linguistically say anything when "seeing" something, but in this seeing, are we not already determining something? Even in neutral-consciousness whereby we have something in us that's not being posited, we don't have the freedom (as was stated in the last post) to not have a harmonious "unconscious" experience. This harmonious "unconscious experience" is already a determination. It's harmony is already on its way to reason. The schema of the spatial shape is already determined. The spatial shape itself is already determined. Husserl quickly gives us a clue to his thinking though that needs to be elaborated on. I think at this point in this Husserlian study, a psychoanalysis of the thinker becomes inevitable. If we are to understand what he means by the look of phenomena we need to understand how he's trying to use certain words. He opens himself up when he states "to 'us humans' a spatial thing always appears in a certain 'orientation,' e.g., oriented in the visual field of sight with respect to above and below, left and right, near and far; that we can see a physical thing only at a certain 'depth,; ;distance;'" The schema here then for Husserl is perceptive. We see things "above and below" for example. But he just spent his whole work eluding to something called the noema in which there were different levels of posita that didn't have a certain outward-appearance look to it. Husserl does make sure to say that this is relative to "us humans," meaning that there is sense independent of "us." For "us humans" we understand things in a sort of phenomenology of perception, but as phenomenologists we are concerned with the noetic/noematic structure of consciousness. This is the difference; essentially that phenomenologists aren't human beings. Regarding the human understanding of phenomena though, the problem comes down to the problem of space. Geometrical space is what constitutes any experience whatever it may be. Space is the region that underlies all regions like "Physical Thing" for example. We see things in space by a certain depth and in certain directions. How are we to describe space purely then? What is the origin of the idea of space? Husserl asks us this but the origin of the idea of space isn't space. It's the possibility of being able to have an idea in the first place. Certainly, the idea of space constitutes our visual perception of what we see in space, but space first needs to be ideal, meaning we imagine things to ourselves in a certain way. This certain way is ideal; a process of getting towards a satisfied "zone." What is the essence of space? Husserl asks us what is the "essence of all noematic and noetic phenomena in which space is intuitively presented and is 'constituted' as the unity of appearances, of descriptive modes of presentations of something spatial.'" How do we gain "space." The simple answer is that we open our eyes. When we open our eyes, we are always intuiting space. We are always feeling around this region of space and gaining more intuitions. We are always seeing a unity of appearances in the region of space. The questions has to be posed on why the idea of space has to be "constituted?" When I open my eyes and unconsciously see something why does whatever happens here have to be constituted in its own schema? Why does space have to have its own life whereby its given its own schema to be understood? Couldn't it just be the case that it's immediately understood as space without constitution? Certainly it's the case that I can show somebody a geometrical proof by way of axioms but this is after the fact that I have intuited space orginaliter. But if the problem of space is the problem of constitution as a "unity of what appears" then I am firstly a determinate being who's putting together a series of appearances, and then afterwords saying that it "happened in space." The problem is when Husserl asks us to "seize upon this theoretically." How can this possibly be understood theoretically? At most I can see a series of appearances as a series of appearances in the most general way possible meaning I don't see anything specific but something called "appearances in general." I can think of a series in the abstract but this thinking doesn't happen originally in experience. The problem with what Husserl wants us to do is in being able to think that theoretical thought can seize upon what he thinks of as an original experience. Theoretical thought will always happen after an original experience, or, original experience never actually "happens" and we simply have theoretical thought. Whatever way an intuition happens to us, we can describe it afterwords theoretically like in the case of understanding consciousness in it's specific noematic component(s). We can show this tree is "actually" being perceived, but this "actuality" is not what would be called "original." By giving us Eidetic truths which do happen to hold a ton of weight (which we went into in the past posts) , this doesn't mean we can elaborate on an original experience as if this experience happened by way of "rigorous descriptive science." At most, what we can say is that Husserl and language (Husserl's language) provides us with a way in which we can understand consciousness theoretically and we can ever gain a ton of insights into how consciousness happens, but in the end, every description is theoretical. This takes nothing away from the discipline but does limit it to the theoretical-determinate consciousness and seeing consciousness any other way is impossible. Husserl will even state this himself. "Law-conforming production of perfect correlation between what determinately appears as unity and the determinately infinite multiplicities of appearances can become fully seen intellectually and thus all enigmas can be removed." We see what Husserl wants us to see intellectually (theoretically) and Husserl admits this to us but are enigmas really removed? In understanding conscious experience "intellectually," is the enigma of what really happens originally in experience removed? Things still happen a priori and I can describe them "intellectually." But what is a priori experience "in itself" independent of my intellectual understanding of it? As a thinking being, no matter how much I operate independent of myself, I'm still the thinking being who's determining an a priori experience after the fact of the experience happening. No description, no matter how rigorous, can take away from the enigma of what we would call "original experience." We can say (as thinking beings/intellectually) that we do the things we do. For example, "One can effect such syntheses 'actually,' 'properly,; i.e., in synthetical orignarity; then, in accord with its synthetical form, the synthesized objectivity has the characteristic of being originarily given." The example Husserl gives when speaking of effective syntheses is collection, subsumption, and relation. We can "collect" and if I was given the command to "collect" something, I would be in some process of doing it originally that would be open to metaphor, i.e. would be open to being described independent of the act itself whereby the description could try its best to account for what was actually "happening" in the experience (in this case the experience of "collecting something"). The parentheses signify (as stated in a post before) the fact that "collecting something" as said linguistically is not "actually" happening in the experience and by that fact tries to show the sense of the statement by negating its signification that we nonetheless need to give a theoretical account of an original experience. And herein lies the real enigma, that as phenomenologists, we have a desire to describe experience knowing we are using a metaphor that serves its own purpose; to describe experience. How satisfied are we as phenomenologists knowing that we rely upon a metaphor to understand an absolute presence? Husserl tries to find our way out of metaphor by saying that at anytime we can effect the syntheses of collecting for example by actually collecting something and in this collecting of something there is a certain characteristic to it, a certain sense to it. We can eternally always collect and relate things. This last statement is not meant to be an eidetic truth even though it is one for Phenomenology. It's meant to show that at any time I can "effect" synthetic originality by doing the exact thing that I happen to be talking about. But when I'm doing this, how do I know that this collecting for example has the "characteristic of originality?" If I said to myself before hand that I want to collect something in order to show myself the original experience of collecting, is this really the characteristic of a collecting experience? There would be a difference between collecting without telling myself before hand that I want to show myself what collecting "looks like" and "actually" collecting without recognizing that this is what I'm doing, and without this recognition I don't know what I'm doing. After the fact I can place an ontological description upon the experience and say that I'm doing something and can even give an analytical account of this ontology of doing something, but of course this ontological account already presupposes a being, hence making the analysis not phenomenological. I can't go into the temporal and spatial phenomenological explanation during something I don't recognize because I'm not acting "intellectually." Phenomenology is an intellectual pursuit that is trying to give a description of how the mind works. It already answers its own question by asking about a working mind. Phenomenology, without knowing it, is always asking something. It always happens after the fact of what it wants to "know about", even knowing fully well that we know it "intellectually." In this sense there is no enigma when we delimit ourselves to understanding experience as an intellectual/theoretical pursuit. We can even be fulfilled knowing that experience has never been described this rigorously in the metaphor, in the symbolic realm.

To sum up, can we ask what consciousness "looks like" independent of its index at the "physical thing" object region, the symbolic region? As we learned before, we use "physical thing" as a region not to understand the object in an already constituted region, but to try to understand the "what it's like" of consciousness. This is phenomenological description; to ask what it's like to be itself. I can say "I see it." then I can say "I see dog." The object-sense gets substituted (metaphorized) by a more precise object sense, the direct object of "dog." The "as" in the proposition supplements the ambiguity with a constitution; a structure towards a further defined category or class. "Constitution" implies "getting-somewhere." What's it like to get somewhere? We can give a temporal analysis of this process and Husserl will do this in his internal-time-consciousness work. He will elaborate on the possibilities (including non-possibilities) of time in a subject. He will do this in the name of phenomenology as a descriptive science. We will be shown eidetic truths about experience. We will be shown things that we think have to be the case regardless of whether we existed or not. We will be shown these things by the only way we can be shown things by way of descriptive science, by an act of the intellect. Will we ever be able to say that these things "happened" independent of our intellectual analysis? Does a primal pure experience happen as a linguistic description? I think I can say this is absurd. Phenomenology falters in its very essence; in making experience into a descriptive science. In thinking that a "description" is what happens in experience, it eludes its own sense, if there can even be called a "sense" to experience. Phenomenology provides us with an abundance of fruitful intellectual discoveries on space and time in relation to the subjective mind, and these are intellectual pursuits. If we as phenomenologists are satisfied in giving rigorous intellectual descriptions of experience then we will be phenomenologists. If we find though that description is at the service to a differentiation of "presence" into a metaphor (any metaphor for that matter; pictorial or linguistic) then we may not be satisfied as phenomenologists anymore. We may see the limits of phenomenology in a metaphoronic operation. We may enjoy the insights intellectually given to us by phenomenology. We may enjoy seeing how limited we are by what our intellect shows us about something called "experience." We may even get to know the limits of what the "intellect" can do in regards to its temporal structure for example. But we won't know how or why we had a desire in the first place to make an issue out of experience by way of "rigorous descriptive science." This initial impulse, this desire, is a place that classical phenomenology in the Husserlian sense can't reach because it's not necessarily an "intellectual pursuit" understood in the classical sense of what an "intellectual pursuit" is. We may ask at the end of Ideas I; Why do we desire to know about experience? What do we mean when we say we want to know about experience? Why do we want to know about anything in general? For better or worse, phenomenology is surrounded by an impulse to "be in the know," and the desire to "be in the know" is a desire. If Phenomenology wants to understand what it thinks it knows it's talking about in addressing "experience," it needs to be more open than its deferral to what's is classically called "science," into observing the non-systematic "happening" of an impulse, or desire. Afterall, desire grounds Husserl's work, a desire to "be in the know." A desire for knowledge about the self. Why does a self want to come to know itself? How does it come to know itself? These are speculative questions that Husserl would criticize as not pertaining to rigorous science. We can say that Husserl explores the limits of knowledge. The limits of the self however are not in Husserl's domain because they're speculative and not the work of the rigorous scientist. Husserl believes in science as the foundation for how anything can be known and from it we will gain immense insights, just not all the insights one can possibly have. We are always at a distance from the ultimate insight being a grasp of every insight that could ever possibly be grasped. Husserl knows this and so defers to science as the best possible method for insight into us. He calls his explorations and insight into us, Phenomenology.

I think I've just surrendered to the teleological presupposition of desire.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Our Lack of Freedom in Being determinate beings; Ideas I Part 9

I always know what this thing is in front of me. Fuck it, no I don't. Damn, I already said I did. It was always and already a shitty songwriter.

In Ideas I we see that we are dealing with absolute truths (eidetic truths). In the last post we saw how an object could forever be determined. The eternal determination was due to eternal possibility of anything being seen from an infinite amount of places. No matter how much we are fulfilled in the idea, there will forever be a phenomenological lack in the perspectives that had given us ideal clarity on that object. To be more precise, there will always be a lack of phenomenological description. We made the distinction between the idea as fulfillment and phenomenological description as a descriptive science whereby description never ended because the seeing always being inadequate. This theme of inadequacy finds a different sense in the idea of always being determinate beings. While it's an eidetic truth that we can never "fully know" an object, we can just as much say that it's an eidetic truth that we are always determining this never-fully-realizable object. The imperfection of the object understood and determination of this object understood are always the case regardless of whether we want it to be or not, meaning it's beyond our volition for us to not be determinate beings, and to always be in a place where we are inadequately seeing things. Of course, this "problem" is solved when the idea is understood as the fulfillment of a temporal process happening in space, or the self recognizing itself (Hegelian verbiage), but as was stated before, we are operating as phenomenologists meaning we are operating independent of Being fullfilled beings. We are "owed" this much by our Cartesian meditations and phenomenological epoches whereby we are no longer subjects in the work, "but transcendental egos" (pure observations of phenomena). In the rigor of our work and the understanding of what happens to us regardless of our mere modes of intentionality, we are owed the place where we don't exist as subjects in the work. What then is the other sense-side of imperfection in perennial determination? In this post we will see through Husserl that in Being determinate beings, we precisely lack what is classically called "freedom" in the most understood sense. We will see another sense of the way in which we occur regardless of the fact that we want to occur like this or not.

Husserl introduces us to "regional ontologies" whereby "an object determined by the regional genus has, as object, in so far as it is actual, its a priori predesignated modes of being perceivable, somehow objectvatable clearly or obscurely, conceivable, demonstrable." A regional ontology is this "always and already" (Derridean verbiage) of consciousness whereby thing always happen to it regardless of anything possible getting in the way of it. We are given over to predesignated modes of making things into objects. We are in a region. We are being in a region. Husserl takes the "Material Thing" as his example of a region. The region of being determines something called "Material Thing." The "Material Thing" is our regional example that consciousness grasps. What is involved in the constitution of this region of the "Material Thing?" "What is involved is the following: the idea of the physical thing, to remain with this region, if we speak of it now, is represented in the manner peculiar to consciousness by the conceptual thought, 'physical thing,' with a certain noematic composition. To every noema there essentially corresponds an ideally closed group of possible noemata which have their unity by being capable of a synthetical unification by coincidence." The physical thing has a certain noematic composition, meaning there's a way in which the physical thing makes sense to us. As we saw in a prior post, the noema was the sense of the object independent of the object understood as the index for our attempts at understanding the sense-happening that happens when we conceive an object. What is the composition of us making sense into an object? Whatever this is (which is a further task of Phenomenology beyond the initial description given by Husserl pertaining to "levels of the noema") is what's called the "noematic composition." Working with the levels that Husserl addressed before, he states that the physical thing has certain different senses that eventually make up (synthesis) the noema of the object. The one sense of the object (the harmonious sense Husserl calls it) is enveloped by noemata which synthesize into it's one mode of sense. These noemata are ideally closed meaning they are off-limits to us in being able to change them into anyway which we want. They combine by coincidence whereby we have no choice in this synthesis of coincidence. This may seem complicated but upon closer inspection is very simple. The parts they combine to make up the whole of the sense happening happen by coincidence. We can't make a coincidence happen. We can't make a coincidence of consciousness happen or not happen. We are always making a synthesis out of sense-parts into one noema that represents the harmonious sense of everything that happened before it. Even in this harmonious noema though we don't have freedom to effect this harmony into something other that what it is. The noemata happen by coincidence so this is by far at a distance from our practicing egos of volition. The noema itself happens in it's harmony at a distance too from our practicing egos of volition. We are already in the process of making sense of something without us being aware of it. I see somebody or something and am already ahead of myself in understanding what it is even without calling it by a name. Husserl elaborates on this idea further when he states "If the noema, as here, is a harmonious one, then intuitive and especially originarily presentive noemata are found in the group--noemata in which all other sorts of noemata of the group are fulfilled in the identifying coincidence, drawing from them the confirmation, the fullness of the power of reason in the case of positionality." The noema is the harmony of the sense-making that has a group of noemata that leads up to its fulfillment. The noemata are fulfilled in the noema. The workings of sense-happenings is fulfilled in sense-happening itself. A work becomes fulfilled. Noemata find their way into coincidentally identifying. They move onto confirmation of an object. They move onto a fulfilling intuition. Noemata have a teleological character in getting to a position-place where something is confirmed. It's easy to understand the sheer amount of levels one can conceive in this specific phenomenological project. These occurrences happen independent of us though. The fullness in which reason understands itself is something that we never chose for but was always going to happen. Husserl explains the harmonious noema and the group noemata more clearly when he states "We can make the noema or the physical thing-sense adequately give to us; but the multiple physical thing-senses, even taking in their fullness, do not contain the regional essence, 'physical thing,' as an originarily-intuitive composition immanent in them." We can think of the object as the object and when we do this we have something called the noema of the object. In this sense we are giving ourselves the thing-sense "adequately." The things (noemata) that make up the sense though don't contain something called the "physical thing." They are on their way towards something they "know nothing about." The regional essence called the "physical thing" happens at the level of noema, i.e, where the noemata coincidentally form a noema. What is original and intuitive to us is the idea of us being in an absolute present mode of sense-being-made. The regional essence happens by accident of noemata, not because of them. The individual essence of a physical thing is something that happens by accident of a process that we can never really know about. When we are making sense though, we can understand this as the noema of whatever is the object of our senses desires. On the a priori level that Husserl allows himself to speak of (and we as phenomenologists accept) we have no freedom in the operation of noemata, nor do we have freedom in the sense-happening in real time understood as the noema concept. This lack of freedom is taken even a step further when Husserl states "what remains undetermined and open in the first place can be made determinate and intuitive in free fantasy. In the continuation of this always more perfect intuitional, more precisely determining process of fantasy, we are in a wide measure free; indeed, at random we can intuitionally ascribe to the fantasied centaur more precisely determining properties and changes in properties; but we are not completely free provided we ought to progress in the sense of a harmonious course of intuition in which the subject to be determined is identically the same and can always remain harmoniously determinable." Husserl eludes to the free-fantasied centaur again as an example of something we can completely change at will allowing us the freedom of morphology, but because we have this freedom doesn't mean we are free in the freedom of morphology. In the process of morphing anything we want in our imaginations into a difference from it's original we are on a course that we aren't aware of that is happening harmoniously. Every time I morph the centaur into what I want, say a centaur with wings that's flying with a hard-cover book on its head, this process of morphology is predetermined by the sense and eidetic truth of determination and development. The centaur as original idea to me is being further determined in my ostensible "freedom." Certainly I seem free to ascribe any determinations I want to it, but why am I determining it in any other way at all? Even in fantasy, I am not free because I am a determining being even in free floating consciousness. I'm adding, subtracting (positing/negating) at will. All these modes of morphology are predefined by the situation of determining anything whatsoever any way I please. Freedom's lack of freedom lies precisely in the fact of Being a determinate being. Freedom is limited to determination. In all freedom of morphology, the "X" stays the same. The centaur is always the centaur no matter what I do to it in my imagination. This centaur always remains the same as the original object of my morphological desire. Whatever I add or subtract to it is a difference from the original, but the index of my free-fantasy always stays the same. This is always the case and whatever I change it to is always by way of determination and not something else that is other than determination. Even in the imagination, being is being, as Being-determinate. Husserl gives space the privileged place of this region of the physical thing. "We are, e.g., bound by a law-conforming space as a frame prescribed for us by the idea of any possible physical thing whatever. How arbitrarily we may deform what is fantasied, spatial forms are always again converted into spatial forms." Space forms the irreducibility of determinate experience. No matter what we do to the object in our mind, in ours and Husserl's example, the centaur, it will always turn into something else that's spatial. The ontological region of the "physical thing" is condemned to space. What would be a free-fantasy and determination of a physical thing if there was no space? Even if I demolish the idea of the centaur completely from my mind, what's left is space, maybe a background for instance, and if I take away the background, I have black. I have a background with no foreground thus making the background the foreground. I have something determined at all times. This is an eidetic truth of consciousness. Any perception can be endlessly amplified without losing the notion of the original "X." In all cases to this last sentence I am determining. In the amplification, I am determining, in having an original notion that would be made for my morphology, I am determining. Determination is the eidetic truth of consciousness, that can just as easily be called "intentionality," but each have their different sense.

In this post we found three different ways in which we are not free as conscious beings. 1. The noemata which make up the noema of experience happen to us independent of volition. 2. The noema happens to us independent of volition. 3. Even when I put myself into making a free-fantasy out of an "X," I am always first determining the "X as "X" (the noematic sense), and afterwords changing the "X" into a difference that goes along a harmonious process of morphing. My active changing is something that happens without myself being aware of the process in "the middle of" doing the changing. In this formal sense, I have "freedom" only by way of deciding to change something that's already been given to me. I can place a book on the centaurs head. That's my freedom in absolute free fantasy. I choose another predefined characteristic to an originally predefined idea to show my freedom. Everything that happens independent of this choice will always and already be the case. Am I even free in my free-fantasizing characterizations? In this post I "found it necessary" to describe (by way of Husserl) how determinate the Being of being is (Being= a presence that can't be described but nonetheless we try to understand, i.e., the a priori / being= Heidegger's concept of dasein that is characterized as being-there). How much volition was there in "finding it necessary." At this point though we are way beyond where we should lie as phenomenologists. The concept of "freedom" has been addressed too aggressively as an existential theme rather than a phenomenological residue of phenomena. If this should stand as an example of how easy phenomenology can inappropriately enter into existential themes, then so be it. I take responsibility for these human all to human instincts, but nonetheless keep the aggressive existentiality in the post to serve as a sign for what phenomenology doesn't do; make a theme out of loaded concepts. The focus of this post was to show three different ways in which being is always a determinate being. At the very least it showed how Husserl saw the operation of free-fantasy as always a harmonious one that we don't ever recognize in the process. As a final aggrandized statement to this post, we saw how coincidence (by way of the noemata) acted harmoniously in the noema. We saw that coincidence's correlate for consciousness was in harmony in the declaration and affirmation of a state of affairs. Both of these aspects of consciousness (coincidence and harmony) are not available to ego-volition. Volition happens after the fact of an operation.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Absolute Being of Inadequate Seeing; Ideas I Part 8

If Phenomenology produced one thing, it was the Magic Eye images. Clearly, Mr.Pitt wasn't a phenomenologist.

Back at this seemingly infinite text which deals with infinite concepts that can't possibly be explain in one text which Husserl admits, as he tells us and himself that we are always beginners of Phenomenology. In Ideas I Husserl's attempt has been to "merely" lay out the ground work for what Phenomenology could "look like", meaning how a priori experience could be explained while neutralizing the subject self in the process, but still using words in a descriptive science of all phenomena. Yes, the critique of the availability of language is obvious but we are going to try to follow through with Husserl in understanding language as a mere mode of sense relative to what Phenomenology can do. We will take his neutrality modification and inverted commas (quotations) at Husserl's values (Question: What is the "value" of the inverted comma independent of a method of neutrality?) without asking about the problem of language which has its obvious references in the later 20th century. For now though, lets turn to the final part of Ideas I which is "Part 4-Reason and Actuality." Here, Husserl further develops what establishes the noematic sense of an act by way of distinguishing a "core" sense from its ever changing "characteristics" developing this theme further into occurrences of multiplicity that nonetheless have an ideal unity "standing over against it". These themes won't be covered in this post. Instead, I think the important part of this chapter lies in his description of what adequate and inadequate seeing are. What Husserl has in mind though is much more complex than our immediate intuition of what an adequate seeing is compared to an inadequate seeing. We can simply use our example of the mannequin where we found Husserl disparaged about finding a mannequin instead of an attractive woman. This is a simple understand of an adequate seeing from an inadequate seeing. There is a much more complex understanding of this even though that involves everything that goes without saying which belongs to the sphere of Husserliana (things that go without saying). Lets move on then to this more complex understanding of adequate seeing (or evidence) and inadequate seeing.

"The positing of the physical thing on the ground of the appearance "itself in person" is, to be sure, a rational positing, but the appearance is always only a one-sided, 'imperfect' appearance; intended to as 'itself in person,' what 'properly' appears is not only there, but simply this physical thing itself, the whole in conformity with the total sense, though only one-sidedly intuited and, moreover, multifariously indeterminate". Extraction time. We posit a "physical thing". This "physical thing" can be anything. Lets use an apple for our example. It has to be grounded in subjectivity meaning it appears to us in person ("itself in person"). We have an apple that doesn't just sit there as an "apple" but is precisely in apple in so far as it can appear to me. This appearance of the apple that we have in front of us though is only one-sided. What does this mean? It means that there are other sides to the apple that we don't see. It's a 3 dimensional object in which we perceive only one side of it. Husserl calls this appearance "imperfect," but to his credit of being consistent, he makes sure to put the word imperfect in quotes to signify that what's really going on in a perception-act is not something called imperfect in a present-real-time, a presence. It's intended to in the presence or what Husserl calls "itself in person." With that being said, we are given one side of the apple and not any others when perceiving the apple. Now, something properly appears. Again, Husserl will use quotes for proper in order to signify what were talking about with what's called imperfect. What does he mean when he uses the word "proper," that he nonetheless wants us to recognize doesn't "actually" happen in experience? What we see "proper" is the object itself independent of the fact that we only see one side of it. It's "simply the physical thing itself." In our case, it's the apple which is what we "properly" see independent of the fact that we only see one side of it thereby making it an "imperfect" seeing. We have the "whole" of the object and understand it in perfect sense. We see the apple and we understand it as the apple. We have its total sense as an apple even though we are currently only seeing one side of it, even though what we see is actually an imperfect vision of it. The vision of this apple can include an infinite amount of ways it can be seen. When we inspect the apple upon "intellectual seeing", what we see is something that is inadequately given and "multifariously indeterminate." There are an infinite amount of ways in which this apple that we know and we can call (posit) as the idea of apple can be seen. We cover one of these ways within an infinite when gaining the total sense of the idea. For now, what does this mean? It means that ideas don't require a phenomenology to become ideas. It means I can have a concept of something and essentially know something without really knowing anything about it. If there are an infinite amount of ways in which this apple can be seen, and I only see it one way for me to speak out and say "Apple"!, then the degree to which I "know" this thing (Apple) is infinitesimal. But let us understand that I used the word know in quotations to signify
that the way we are using the concept "to know" is not direct. Lets be more direct. When I say "to know" I mean knowledge, meaning being limited to the idea. As we saw in this explanation the idea is not in need of its descriptive phenomenology for it to be used. Its use value and its phenomenological value are two different things. Lets move on further with this "imperfect" physical thing that we see that nonetheless gives us a total sense as idea. "What 'properly' appears cannot be separated from the physical thing as, let us say, a physical thing for itself; in the full sense of the physical thing, the sense-correlate of what 'properly' appears fashions a non-selfsufficient part which can only have unity and selfsufficiency of sense in a whole which necessarily includes in itself empty components and indeterminate components." The first clause of this statement is somewhat strange. We have defined "properly" as being able to see something as an idea, in our example, an apple. So what properly appears to us as an apple can't be separated from what ever this actual thing is that is really not called an apple until we call it an apple. Husserl gives credence to a pure abstraction called "physical thing." How come he doesn't quote physical thing (open question)? But he says a physical thing can separate itself from apperance (maybe even "itself") unlike us who have perceptive appearance which can't be separate from the physical thing? Whatever the "physical thing" is can't speak for itself until it's spoken of. What does Husserl mean when he says a physical thing does not need to be separated from anything? A simple answer to this is that he privileges whatever a "physical thing" is over our perception of it by giving it a characteristic of non-dependency which is what we will go into next, but Husserl is acting outside of the limits of phenomenology (not even necessarily what's classically been understood as "knowledge") by being able to say this for what he calls a "physical object." Regardless, he moves on to clarify the thought he's conveying by noting that the correlate of what appears is a physical object to us. At this point I think it's a good idea to separate "physical object" from "idea", and call the "idea" what's the correlate of an appearance, and a physical object something that's in the space of raw hyletic data which we addressed in the noetic-noematic division. This idea is non-selfsufficient precisely because "what appears can't be separated from the physical thing." We let the "physical thing" speak for itself" by giving it an a priori place in an abstract temporality. We give it an originality. We give it presence. Our idea though of the apple is non-selfsufficient because of it's dependency on 1. correlation action and 2. what Husserl privileges as the "physical thing." The non-selfsufficient sense (part) though has its unity and a selfsufficient sense within the whole of the phenomena of the "apple appearing to us." There is a whole sense to the idea of an apple which includes the fact of it being non-selfsufficient. What does this mean? We see an apple but only see it one-sidedly. Part of being able to see the apple at all though includes the fact that we can never see its infinity. Empty components and indeterminate components envelop our seeing of the apple. We can't determine on the spot what the other side of an apple may look like before we are always and already seeing something called (by idea) an apple (Those Magic Eye pictures that Mr. Pitt in Seinfeld could never visually see is anoter good example of the other appearance beyond the one always and already given by default) . In this sense, we have no choice of already recognizing things in a phenomenologically inadequate way. There are components to the apple which are empty. They mean nothing to us, but the apple still means something to us as the idea of an apple, as an apple (the noematic sense). This inadequacy forms our ideas and signs. The sense of what appears to us has to not be complete for it to make sense to us. We can't have "total knowledge" of an object for it to make sense to us or we wouldn't know it. Logically speaking, this means that knowledge needs to never be fullfilled for us to something. To take it a step further, the more we understand the complexity of an appearance, the more we put whatever the object was in quotations to signify it's sense independent of its concept (its idea), the more we lose the idea of what it was in the first place. The more sides we see of the apple and the deeper we look into it, the less we know it as "apple," and instead see it generically as this-one-side-of-something-now, an eidetic truth, and here we can firmly distinguish between the truth in an idea and an eidetic truth as an absolute necessity for any experience. The apple may not be an apple. It can signify something else to someone else in a different culture for example (the apple as metaphor in the Adam and Eve parable for example) but it's not the case for subjective experience that something else is happening other than seeing this-one-side-of-something-now for example. "Of essential necessity something physically real, a being with that sense, appears only 'inadequately' in a closed appearance." The key here is "closed appearance". The appearance is closed in inadequacy, meaning we have an idea of something that is phenomenologically inadequate. We don't see the phenomena of what happened to us in being able to gain the idea of the apple nor do we see the "whole" physical object in its infinity. This wouldn't be an appearance. This would be a scientific investigation where we see every possible side to something called a "physical object." "Essentially tied up with this is the fact that no rational positing which rest upon that sort of inadequately presentive appearance can be 'ultimately valid.'" Validity then for Husserl is strictly phenomenological validity which is ultimately impossible by idea and knowledge because as was stated above, ideas and knowledge precisely need phenomenological inadequacy to be ideas. The single idea is "the imperfectly fulfilled perceptual sense." Here we need to distinguish between phenomenological validity and fulfillment. The idea (in our example of an apple), is fulfilled. We know it, we say it. We say it to others and somehow they have an idea of what we are saying. They understand what we are saying. There's this sort of transcendental understanding whereby we have signs and words that clearly don't convey the phenomenological entirety of what that "physical object" for example would encompass. I use the word "transcendental" here to signify everyone's ability to talk about things they really don't understand. That phenomenology should take place within the history of philosophy, within the history of the world, is at the expense of being as idea, as a reaction to the fulfillment of the idea. Phenomenological validity would never get to the idea except by putting the idea in quotations (or brackets) in order to signify that we are using a term that we really can't use if we are to be faithful to phenomenological description which is infinite (The quotations serve as showing the sense of what we want to mean that's independent of the fact that we think know this thing in quotations). If we aren't faithful, we are fulfilled. If we aren't phenomenologists, we are using ideas without the need for tracing their development not only from the past but the infinite ways in which it can be seen now, and possibly after. We are assured that this "physical thing" is "actual" at the expense of science as infinite descriptive science, as phenomenology. For Phenomenology though, Ideas would serve as an index to phenomenology whereby we are given the absolute ground of reason's "doings" of making things into generalities (ideas). From there as phenomenologists, we automatically ask how the idea became itself in the first place, not just the idea of the apple in our example, but any idea in general; the idea in general. That Hegel elaborated on this in his Phänomenologie des Geistes is obvious. But his elaboration is of course different from anything that Husserl was interested in. Husserl wasn't dealing with the ontological problem of being and forming a flux from pure sense-perception to the idea in general. Husserl's task as a phenomenologist isn't teleological but endlessly descriptive. If Husserl saw that Hegel eventually saw the idea as being dissipated into a nothingness (that was nonetheless complex) , this wouldn't stop the project of phenomenology. That the task of phenomenology could be seen in this Hegelian fashion, essentially as "enlightened" complex nothingness is an ontological description (or simply an assetorical statement). Fundamental and faithful phenomenology would continue onwards regardless of whatever it was that others called a process of transcendence. I think this distinction is important.