22 Jun 2009

Continuous Conversion of Contents, para 56-57, Supplementary B1 to: On the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time

by Corry Shores
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Continuous Conversion of Contents

Edmund Husserl

On the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time

B: Supplementary Texts

I "On the Introduction of the Essential Distinction between 'Fresh' Memory and 'Full' Recollection and about the Change in Content and Differences in Apprehension in the Consciousness of Time"

No. 8

Adequation by Means of Similarity. – Representation of an Object and Representation of the Perception of the Object.

[What is Still Given in Consciousness in “Faded” Fashion (Functioning) by Means of Similarity as Pictorial Representant of What Was Previously Perceived]

Adequation by Means of Similarity

Paragraph 56

We use similarity to depict past phases of something fading-away.

We hear a tone. It appears to us in a certain way. Then it runs-off into the past. We remain aware of it, but not as a present thing. So its appearance changes as it runs off. However, in order for us to take the representation and the actual past experience to be the same thing (to consider them as equal or adequate to each other), there needs to be similarity of some kind.

Paragraph 57

To understand this similarity, Husserl has us suppose that there is a difference between the contents of phantasy (which represent the past intuition) and the contents of sensation (which present the current intuition). As types of things, the contents of phantasies and sensations are entirely different. When the sensation content runs-off, it converts to a phantasied representation of that run-off sensation. The phantasy then will represent a moment that corresponds to an actual moment of sensation. Even though sensations and phantasies are things of completely different types, their corresponding moments will be the same. Hence the transition from sensation to phantasy can be continuous. As sensation disappears, the phantasy for that sensation appears in its place, in an unbroken movement: “Similarity leaves open the possibility of continuous transition.” (165ab)

So one fundamental similarity of phantasy and sensation is that they both correspond to the same temporal moments. Moreover, the features of their contents will resemble each other as well.

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

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