26 Nov 2008

Husserl Ideas §51 "The Signification of the Transcendental Preliminary Considerations"

Reflection on one's consciousness is not necessarily a phenomenological reflection, which is more radical; for it opens the field of pure consciousness. Such a consciousness is not a component part of Nature, which is "possible only as an intentional unity motivated in transcendentally pure consciousness by immanental connections" (115a). The intentional unity of Nature is made available to us only through an attitude that is different than the one that constitutes this unity. Thus a transcendental investigation of consciousness does not investigate Nature, for in fact Nature is not presupposed but is rather parenthesized in the transcendental attitude. Our disregarding the world in the phenomenological reduction is entirely unlike abstracting basic components from it. In order to conceive of consciousness as an "absolutely peculiar region" of investigation, we must regard it as being uninvolved in Nature. If we merely abstract consciousness from Nature, we still obtain something natural. Most sciences focus on a particular province of actuality at the exclusion of the others, and yet still they presume to examine something that is a part of Nature. However, the domain "made up of mental processes as absolute essentialities" is a "strictly self-contained domain, yet without any boundaries separating it from other regions" (116ab). For, were something to limit the domain of pure consciousness, it would also need to "share a community of essence" with it (116b). Pure consciousness is the "All of absolute being in the definite sense" that in its essence is "independent of all worldly, all natural being," on which it does not depend for its existence.

The existence of a Nature cannot be the condition for the existence of consciousness, since Nature itself turns out to be a correlate of consciousness: Nature is only as being constituted in regular concatenations of consciousness.


The ordering principle for the absolute must be found in the absolute itself, so in other words, the ordering principle of pure consciousness must be found within consciousness. Thus we cannot seek a transcendent theological principle as grounds for the organization of the course of consciousness (116d). So because there can be neither a worldly God nor one immanent to absolute consciousness, there must be "within the absolute stream of consciousness and its infinities, modes in which transcendencies are made known other than the constituting of physical realities as unities of harmonious appearances" (117a).

Husserl, Edmund. Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and to a Phenomenological Philosophy, First Book. General Introduction to a Pure Phenomenology. Transl. Fred Kersten. The Hague: Nijhoff, 1982.

No comments:

Post a Comment