23 Jun 2009

Simultaneous Successions of Melodic Sensations, Husserl, para 80-81, Supplementary B1 to: On the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time

by Corry Shores
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Simultaneous Successions of Melodic Sensations

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

Paragraphs 80-81

Paragraph 80

Husserl previously explained that there cannot really be inextensive instants of perception. The now-point must extend if only by the smallest extensive magnitude.

Now Husserl says some interesting and critically important things. Our perception of the enduring tone is continuous. But within the now are already parts of the past and future, overlapping with it. He calls them “simultaneous” successions. One moment of tone A is still present even while its next moment begins to take its place. This is a ‘rule,’ which I relate to Leibniz law of continuity

If we hear only a single enduring tone, then we hear [it] continuously. As a rule, the tone fluctuates, or “simultaneous” successions bestow divisions on it, such that parts belonging to the now, even if obscurely contrasted and loosely delimited, are distinguished from the just past and from the future, which we expect in advance.

(172d, emphasis mine)

Paragraph 81

Hence, a law of continuity: the now is continuous with the past and future, and thus it extends somewhat in both directions, even if only by a little bit.

So we consider a chain of now points, A, B, and C. Even though their edges overlap, each time-point emerges and fades, and for a moment it is, in a sense, more now than its neighbors.

We therefore find an act of perceiving that is temporally extended, that perceives now A, then B, then C. And this act has perceived first the A in the privileged mode of the now, then the B in this privileged mode, in the course of which A is pushed into the background and assumes the status of what is “just before,” fulfilling an expectation or filling out an altogether indefinite empty intention aimed at the future; then C has the privilege of being now, B the character of being just before [C], and A the character of being “immediately before B,” and so on. (172-173)

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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