23 Jun 2009

Mathematical Melodies, Husserl, para 79, Supplementary B1 to: On the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time

[The following is summary.]

Mathematical Melodies

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. 12

The Evidence of Time-Consciousness

Paragraph 79

Previously we discussed perceiving a melody. It’s an action that spans continuously through an extent of time. While listening to it, there is a now point. In relation to it are past and future intuitions of the melody.

In this next paragraph, our focus is the now point itself. If we only heard an infinitely small moment of a tone, we would not be perceiving anything at all. And if the now point were to be such a mathematical point, then we would be intuiting nothing in the present. Hence it extends.

the now is as little a fictitious mathematical time-point as the “previous tone,” as the first or second tone before the now or after it. Each now rather has its perceptible extension which is something that can be confirmed. (172c, boldface and underline are mine)

Husserl then discusses the possibility of considering an instant of our perception. Such an inextended instant could not be further divided. [But consider for example instantaneous velocity. Object movements always occur in time. But we can determine the velocity at a certain instant. Of course, you need time for velocity, because velocity is distance divided by time. And if time were zero, then we would be dividing a number by zero, which will not produce an answer. So we might consider instantaneous velocity more as the speed that the object is tending at that mathematically determined time-point. We would use differential calculus, which would consider not precisely that point but its limit. Finding instantaneous velocity is a useful tool in physics, but the velocities they find, as instantaneous, do not really exist in actuality in the same way temporal velocities do. In a sense, they are virtual velocities.] Husserl explains that such an instant of perception could only be obtained by means of mathematical abstractions. It would not be a real part of the phenomenal experience.

(It would be possible, of course, for the extensions of the objects in their temporal locations to appear as nonextended, namely, without sufficient breadth to permit of further division. The indivisible in this instance is an ideal limit, however, just as the indivisible spatial point is.) (172c, emphasis mine)

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment