22 Jun 2009

Composite Compositions, para 48, Supplementary B1 to: On the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time

by Corry Shores
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Composite Compositions

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. 5

Enduring Perception as Simple Act

Paragraph 48

We have been examining simple perceptions. For example, we perceive something over a duration of time. Either 1) we perceive the same thing as being qualitatively the same every moment, or 2) we perceive something that changes the same way every moment, like an evenly fading-out tone. They are simple, because when we put aside temporal distinctions, our perception’s content remains the same throughout the experience of it. So in other words, we can divide one long act of simple perception into smaller ones, no matter their size, and in each case we will be perceiving the same phenomenon, even if that phenomenon is a uniform change.

Composite perceptions, however, may be divided into distinguishable constituent acts. [So imagine we hear a melody. At one part, the musician plays three notes in rapid succession.

a, b, d.

All three notes give us one tonal impression. But if we examine that impression more closely, we notice that there were smaller transitions or fluctuations within it. What we heard at the beginning of the trill was different from what we heard at the end. So this is a composite act. But composite acts need not be completely disuniform. If we heard

a, b, a

in rapid succession, then what we hear at the end appeared already at the beginning. Despite the internal similarity, it is a composite perception.]

A composite act is articulated into acts. A certain diversity, which is more than that of the divisions of a duration, belongs to the concept of articulation. (One might be tempted to say that ... in a composite act a plurality of qualitatively different act-characters is combined into a unity; or, in the case of act-characters that are completely alike qualitatively, the plurality is combined into a unity only when the act-characters that are alike are separated by those that are different.) (161d)

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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