24 Jun 2009

Constancy of Changes, Husserl, para 284, Supplementary B1 to: On the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time

[Quotations tabbed.]

Constancy of Changes

Edmund Husserl

On the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time

B: Supplementary Texts


Seefelder Manuscripts on Individuation

No. 35

The Unity of the Thing in Time as Something Identical in Change or Constancy

Change and Alteration.

(Sudden Transition)

Paragraph 284

Constancy of Phenomena.

When a phenomenon is constant, we may divide it up into whatever sized temporal sections we want, and still we find the same phenomenal content in each part. There is perfect likeness throughout.

Constancy. In constancy’s case, no matter how many “divisions” of the duration are undertaken, these contents are perfectly alike again and again, without differences other than those of temporal position (order) and temporal “size.” In the continuity of time-consciousness, we constantly find self-sameness, which is determined as being without differentiations, determined in perfect likeness – pure likeness with respect to the “quality” (of the total being that fills time.) (255a)

When something changes, we find that certain divisions of the temporal extent will yield dissimilar contents. Setting sun: as it nears the horizon, the sky changes from blue to red, gradually and continuously. If we look at any point along the way, we will have a slightly different hue, with certain broad extents clearly being blue, while another broad extent is clearly red. There is a diversity of color through the temporal extension. However, so long as there is a change (of this sort), then there is a “What” that changes. In this case, the color changed, [or the sky changed. If fire burns wood away, then matter changed.] The “What” is always of a higher genus. It is sort of like a substrate. No matter how small we divide the extent of time, within each moment of the phenomenon we will find a color, whether one or another. However, we can divide so much that we approach an ideal limit [as with differential calculus]. We will not find a variety of subspecies at such a limit.

Change. In the case of change, on the other hand, we find (when the color changes) diversity in that which fills time – irrespective of the degree of temporal extension and the temporal order. But we also find identity as the self-sameness of what “changes.” This What remains within the higher genus “color,” which establishes something in common that is determined in different ways. No matter how many divisions occur, each part, considered by itself, has its unity; and all of these unities (substrates) are of the same genus color, as is the total substrate grounded in them, while, on the other hand, the infirma species of the partial unities are different. If we go to the limit, we have punctual divisions and punctual differences that no longer permit division within themselves and no longer permit the distinguishing of different species in the various parts. (255b.c)

Husserl, Edmund. On the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time (1893-1917). Vol 4 of Edmund Husserl: Collected Works. Ed. Rudolf Bernet. Trans. John Barnett Brough. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1991.

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