19 Jun 2009

Wholes that Flow, Husserl, para 12, Supplementary B1 to: On the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time

by Corry Shores
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Wholes that Flow

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. 1 "How Does the Unity of a Process of Change that Continues for an Extended Period of Time Come to Be Represented?
Intuition and Re-presentation"

Paragraph 12

Up to now, we have been discussing the way we intuit objects. If we cannot intuit a thing’s parts, then we cannot intuit the whole thing.

Husserl addresses the psychologist's perspective on this matter. They would distinguish real from supposed intuitions. Consider the route taking us from Berlin to Rome. While traveling it, we did not observe every detail. We can only intuit short parts of it. It is this way for all objects in space. We can never see every part all at once. We cannot view both the front and the back, the surface and the insides, all from every angle, all in one same intuition.

The representation – for the most part unclear – that we have when we consider the figure from some one viewpoint is not what we intend by the “intuition of the figure.” (146-147)

None of the partial intuitions are intuitions of the whole object. They only provide the constituents for the whole object’s constitution.

Strictly speaking, it serves us only as a basis for the creation of the objective unity in which ideally all parts and moments, such as we acquire them with the most favorable choice of viewpoint, which changes for each moment, are contained. The alleged momentary intuition of the object as it really is, is therefore reduced to a flow of intuition in which we assure ourselves of the different sides, parts, and relations in their most complete phases of variation, i.e., those most satisfying to our predominant interests. (147a, 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.

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