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.

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