PHIL 3920: Phenomenology


Note well: the dates for readings might change as we move along. Attendance in the course will ensure that you know when assignments are due. Texts not available in the bookstore will be supplied by links on the course web site. Also, students are expected to review all resources posted for the different thinkers. The books below also are available for your mobile devices such as a Kindle or Ipad and can be rented from for those on tight budgets.

Books ordered and available at the campus bookstore (feel free to get from secondary sources)

Husserl, Ideas, 0415519039 (Routledge)

Heidegger, Being and Time, 0061575593 (Harper Collins)

Moran, Introduction to Phenomenology, 0415183731 (Routledge)

Thursday, September 4

Introduction to Phenomenology

Dermot Moran, Introduction to Phenomenology, 1-22

Tuesday, September 9

Edmund Husserl, “Philosophy as Rigorous Science

Thursday, September 12

Husserl, Ideas,§ 1-8

Dermot Moran, Introduction to Phenomenology, ch. 2

Tuesday, September 16

Husserl, Ideas§ 18-26; 27-32. (Daniel)

Thursday, September 18

Husserl, Ideas,§ 43-55

Recommended: Dagfinn Føllesdal, “Husserl’s Reductions and the Role They Play in His Phenomenology” 

Tuesday, September 23

Husserl, Ideas,§56-62, 63-67 (Patrick)

Dermot Moran, Introduction to Phenomenology, ch. 4

Thursday, September 25

Husserl, Ideas,§76-96 (Erin)

*Mon 29 Sept 7-8:30 pm: Jeff Malpas*

“Poetry, Language, Place,” Henrietta Harvey Distinguished Public Lecture in room A-1046, with reception to follow.

Tuesday, September 30

Husserl, Cartesian Meditations, § 1-4 (Connor)

Introduction; Dermot Moran, Introduction to Phenomenology, 164-178

Thursday, October 2

Husserl, Cartesian Meditations, § 7-9,§20-22, §30-34 (Kyle)

Thurs 2 October 4-5:30 pm: Jeff Malpas, “The Place of Thinking,” in room A-1046, a colloquium to members of the department, retirees, grad students, and so on.

Tuesday, October 7

Husserl, Cartesian Meditations, § 42-§53 (Michael K.)

Thursday, October 9

Husserl, Cartesian Meditations, Fifth Meditation (§54-§64) (Ethan)

Tuesday, October 14

Thursday, October 16

Alia Al-Saji, “Bodies and sensings: On the uses of Husserlian phenomenology for feminist theory” (Erin)

Dermot Moran, Introduction to Phenomenology, ch. 7

Tuesday, October 21

Heidegger, Being and Time, Introduction, Part I, (Daniel)

Recommended: Françoise Dastur, Heidegger and the Question of Time, pp. 1-16; 53-70 (Michael)

Thursday, October 23

Heidegger, Being and Time, Introduction, Part II (Ethan)

Tuesday, October 28

Heidegger, Being and Time, Part I, Division I, Chapter I, § 9- §11 (Michael)

Thursday, October 30

Heidegger, Being and Time, Part I, Division I, Chapter III, § 14-16, 18-19 (Kyle)

Tuesday, November 4

Heidegger, Being and Time, Part I, Division I, Chapter III, § 22-24 (Doroteja)

Thursday, November 6

Heidegger, Being and Time, Part I, Division I, Chapter IV (Ethan and Kyle)

Tuesday, November 11

Remembrance Day

Thursday, November 13 

Heidegger, Being and Time, Part I, Division I, Chapter V, § 28-29, 35, 38 (Erin and Ben)

Heidegger, Being and Time, Part I, Division I, Chapter VI, § 39-41, 43, 45 (Daniel and Ben)

Key Terms Defined (PDFs):

Anxiety or Dread (Angst) Authenticity Befindlichkeit_Situatedness Being-towards-Death Being Care (Sorge) Cirumspection (Umsicht) das Man (The Everyone) Dasein Equipment (Zeug) Facticity Falling Forgetting Greek Sense of Wonder Handiness vs Heidegger’s Fundamental Ontology Idle Talk Jemeinigkeit (“In Each Case Mine”) Moods Ontological vs Questions Repetition and Retrieval Resoluteness Solicitude The Public Truth as Disclosure Uncanniness Understanding Vorlaufen (Anticipation or Running Ahead) World “World”_ Critique of Cartesian Space

Tuesday, November 18

Heidegger, Being and Time, Part I, Division II, § 45-53 (Patrick and Connor)

Recommended: Piotr Hoffman, “Death, Time, History: Division II of Being and Time (from the Cambridge Companion to Heidegger)

Thursday, November 20

Simone de Beauvoir, selections from The Second Sex, Introduction and Part I, Chapter I (Doroteja)

Tuesday, November 25

Simone de Beauvoir, selections from The Second Sex, selections and conclusion (Connor)

Thursday, November 27

Fanon, selections from Black Skin/White Masks, introduction and chapter 5 (Doroteja)

Tuesday, December 2

Fanon, selections from Black Skin/White Masks, Chapters 7 and 8 (Patrick); Alia Al-Saji, “Too Late: Racialized Time and the Closure of the Past”

Final Paper: T/B/A

17 thoughts on “PHIL 3920: Phenomenology

    1. November 18, 2014 Heidegger Summary- Patrick Jeffrey

      Heidegger, Being and Time, Pt 1, Div. 2, 45-48.
      (Text is the State University of New York 2010 translation.)
      The Result of the Preparatory Fundamental Analysis of Dasein and the Task of a Primordial, Existential Interpretation of this Being.

      We have previously characterized Dasein ontologically as “care”, but does this qualify as a primordial or nonprimordial description?

      Key Terms
      ontological inquiry- “The working out and appropriation of an understanding”.
      hermeneutical situation- The combined total of all “presuppositions” we impart into our interpretation, including “fore-having, foresight, and fore-conception”.

      “fore-having”- “concretely giving base experience”; the world into which we are thrown .
      “fore-sight”- “a guiding claim”; our implicit understanding of Being.
      “fore-conception” (fore-grasp)- the current historical ontological intelligence.

      233: Heidegger claims that in order have a primordial ontological interpretation, we must understand all of the factors of the hermeneutical situation. Heidegger asks whether the existential evaluation of Dasein previously carried out adheres to this hermeneutical situation, and thus if it can truly be understood to be primordial. To continue this analysis he focuses on the fore-having of the hermeneutical situation.
      Care has been established to be the totality of Dasein’s structure. The essence of “existence” is potentiality-of-being, and so the essence of Dasein is that it “must always… not yet be something”. In short, “a being whose essence is made up of existence essentially opposes itself to the possibility of being comprehended as a whole being.”

      234: So our interpretation of Dasein was incomplete, and thus non-primordial. To change this we must being Dasein’s being to light in full, fully authentic and wholly., in other words, its “authentic potentiality-for-being-whole of Dasein”.
      This must take many aspects of Dasein into account, including Death and temporality.

      Ch. 1, the Possible Being-a-Whole of Dasein and Being-Toward-Death.

      The Seeming Impossibility of Ontologically Grasping and Determining Dasein as a Whole.
      236: Care, a fundamental aspect of Dasein’s structure, applies equally to Dasein’s care-for-itself. This does not mean to say that Dasein is vain (although many are) . Dasein is fundamentally a Being ahead-of-itself ,and therefore a being which exists for-the-sake-of itself. This means that it is entrenched within its (future) possibilities, and nothing can remove it from its possibilities, and can only change its mode of being-toward-them. A “constant unfinished quality” is always present in Dasein, due to its focus on its possibilities. If we eliminate this outstanding quality of Dasein, we destroy its being entirely. Any experience that wishes to claim that it grasps Dasein disqualifies itself from being an experiential possibility.
      237: It would appear here that Dasein cannot be ontologically whole, but Heidegger includes a paragraph of possible ways he might have messed up his analysis.

      The Possibility of Experiencing the Death of Others and the Possibility of Grasping Dasein as a Whole.

      When Dasein reaches death, it achieves a “wholeness-of-Being. This is a paradox, however, as when it dies it loses its “being-there”. Becoming “no-longer-Dasein” may complete it, but it also renders Dasein unable to experience itself. The death of other Daseins, therefore, traumatizes us as it gives an objective accessibility to Death, even if we do not experience it for ourselves.

      238 The end of a Dasein is the end of its being-in-the-world, but it is also the beginning of its being of something “merely present”. But a corpse can be more than just a lifeless object. It can be used as a medical cadaver and thus be treated as something now-unliving which has lost its life. Also, the deceased is now an entity which has been torn from the living, and who is taken care of by them in the form of funereal rights, and “the cult of graves” (a great heavy metal band name). Thus, in congregating to pay tribute to the deceased, the living are with them.

      239-41: Death is experienced by others and thus cannot be the subject of an ontic/ontological inquiry. We presuppose that we can substitute the experience of one Dasein for another in Death. We can represent one Dasein with another, but only in terms of being-in-the-world as “well polished modes of publicly being together”, and in limited social situations. Death is not one of these modes, and Heidegger says very succinctly, “no one can take the other’s dying away from him”. We can sacrifice ourselves for others, but this simply postpones their deaths. Every Dasein must die. There are no exceptions. (If this is the first time you have been made aware of this, I am so, so sorry. Do you want to go for a coffee after class and get your mind off of it?). Heidegger has now clarified that Death is an existential phenomenon, but even this is problematic because coming-to-an-end and going-out-of-the-world can take many forms. Heidegger points out that medical death differs from physiological and biological death. Thus we must define some terms.

      What Is Outstanding, End, and Wholeness

      How “ontologically inappropriate” to Dasein are “end” and “wholeness”? If it turns out that they are useless, we must reassign them to apply to something.
      Outstanding: Applies to that which “belongs” to a being, but is not yet available. It means there is a separation of a sum things which should be together.
      Wholeness: When a sum of things which should be together is complete.

      243-4: Dasein’s fundamental mode of being is outstanding, as was previously established. As Heidegger says, “its not-yet belongs to it”. This is different for Dasein than other objects we perceive as always being outstanding, such as the moon approaching fullness and ripening fruit. It is our perceptual understanding of the moon that gives it the quality of “not-yet” [being full, being new, ets.]. Dasein, by contrast, has to “become what it is not yet” in an ontological sense. In this way, Dasein is more like ripening fruit than like the moon (as preposterous as that may sound). “Ripening is the specific being of the fruit”. But ripeness is not the same as death,. An apple is a being-towards-ripeness, whereas Dasein is a Being-towards-death. Fruit, therefore, fulfills itself at its ripening, but Dasein simply ends. There may be no fulfillment of all its possibilities at death.

      End: “to change into the absence of objective presence or, however, to be objectively present only when the end comes.” Can also mean “No longer available as something at hand.”

      — —

      49: How the Existential Analysis of Death Differs from Other Possible Interpretations of this Phenomenon

      Life: A kind of being to which belongs a being-in-the-world. “Perishing” is its end.

      The essence of death is defined in terms of the essence of life. Doctors and psychologists discuss the lives of the people they study, and not their deaths. Life becomes the context for the death. but “the existential interpretation of death is prior to any biology and ontology of life”.

      It cannot be discussed through a metaphysical lens as this would entail questions about the meaning and ways of death. The analysis occurs prior to ontological and scientific studies of death, because Dasein is not an objectively present thing. It clearly can
      t be discussed according to arbitrary parameters either.

      Dasein can end without dying. Dying is really just Dasein’s way of being-toward-death, so how do we develop an ontological structure of the being-toward-the-end of Dasein?

    2. Patrick Jeffrey
      Nov. 25.
      Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex pp589-595, 673-687.

      Situation and Character, Pt. II

      589-90: The use of religion as an “instrument of constraint [and] deception”. “the fear of God… will repress any impulse towards revolt in the downtrodden female. God is just as accessible to her as a government official, or any other member of the patriarchy. She is deceived into believing that God accepts her and calls her man’s equal. Man is challenged by God, woman is uplifted by him. “It cancels the advantage of the penis”. This is evident in many female saints , who do not recognize the authority of man and act vaguely manlike.

      590. Woman is propped up and supported by God, and anyone doubting her work. doubts God’s will. She is “justified by the presence of God’s grace within her”. Historically the church has been a major opponent to feminist emancipation because “there must be religion for women, and there must be women, true women, to perpetuate religion.”

      592. Beauvoir likens woman’s plight to that of middle class working males, who “implant themselves in that sphere deliberately”. Office workers chained to desks are no better off than the women they leave at home. Paradoxically, men of the middle class, working in offices, work in abstractions such as economy. Women look after the household and watch their babies grow, and thus do “not fall into these traps”. She has a “limited but concrete experience”, whereas her husband deals in generalities and formulas.

      592. Essentially, woman has a “feminine sensitivity” which allows her to be flighty and fancy while man is boring and stuffy. In this, the female is more in tune with the earth and her own life. She recognizes in her isolation that her “heart”, “flesh”, and “mind” are all she has. She is more sympathetic. As she grows old she begins to question the ways of the world and grows cynical and and ironic, while still remaining faithful and providing for the people she loves.

      593. Many upper-class women “parrot” their husbands and are the most adamant for the current social norms. “They repress all thought, all critical judgement, all spontaneous impulses…” Clearly it is very difficult to talk of the regular woman, as there are many different types of women as we have seen. We can say that on average, any man’s situation is the better one, and that “masculine accomplishment is far superior” simply because women are not permitted to accomplish as much.

      594. She ends the chapter with some words of encouragement: “there is no other way out for woman than to work for her liberation”. She urges collectivity and says that individually attempting to gloss over the problems in society only results in the same social conventions, with no real change being enacted.

      673. “No physiological destiny imposes an eternal hostility upon male and female as such.” She talks about humanity as “something more than a mere species: it is a historical development” to be defined by how it deals with its “natural, fixed characteristics”. In other words, human can meld its facticity more than any other species. She comes very close to illustrating thesex/gender disparity by saying “sexuality has never seemed to us to define a destiny… but to express the totality of a situation that it only helps to define”.

      674. When woman is imprisoned in society by being deemed to be inferior, she must defend herself, so this results in an overall hostile environment because “all oppression creates a state of war”. A battle of the sexes ensues as both sexes attempt to dominate each other.

      675. Woman sees herself as “self and other” at the same time. Man wants identity and dominance at the same time.

      676-7. “The husband wants to find himself in his wife… but he himself is the slave of his double”. To be a master, one needs a slave. This creates a relationship of contingency between the two. “what time and strength he squanders in liquidating, sublimating, transferring, complexes, in talking about women, in seducing them, in fearing them!” To free woman, therefore, would be to free man. But as of now, we do not realize this so man and woman are acting in bad faith just by maintaining the system. OFten to make ourselves better we hoodwink ourselves into thinking of the virtues and positives of sublimation and poverty in the lower classes, just by saying that without responsibilities they are free! this is certainly not helped by the fact that, due to the complicity men see in women, they assume that this means women enjoy their treatment.

      678. A “give and take” relationship has not been agreed upon by the two sexes. the exchange is never of equal value, as the man assures the woman she is priceless, yet buys her with the promises of a household, a family, and provisions. The woman complains of this giving, and the man complains of the taking.

      679. “He has a bad conscience” when he doesn’t give her enough, so he does so and “he prides himself on his compassion” while “she feels she is behaving like a beggar when she is convinced of the high value of her gifts, and that humiliates her”.

      680. There is no satisfactory solution under these unsatisfactory conditions, apart from dismantling that system of bad faith. A man who no longer loves a woman feels bad for leading her on, but he feels equally wrong for leaving her out in the cold.
      An equal world was promised by the Soviet revolution. Beauvoir describes this at length, with a situation of equal pay, equal-opportunities, “erotic liberty”, women being obliged to find jobs just like men, marriage based on a “free agreement” breakable at any time by both parties, paid pregnancy leaves, and free childcare.
      681. “In society nothing is natural”, so saying women being treated equally is unnatural does not make any sense whatsoever. society creates the woman and spreads men and women apart.

      682. If men and women were raised equally the child’s admiration of either parent would lead them to take on the desirable qualities of that parent, and not feel a sense of willful subjugation under them. Girls would not fear being called a boy and vice versa.

      683. Men and women feel they must uphold certain sexual behaviours because they have been brought up to believe this to be true. Men feel they need to exhibit “virile aggressiveness” and women feel they need to act “profoundly passive” in bed.

      684. Beauvoir acknowledges that she will be called an Idealist for talking about the freedom of the sexes, but this is not just a “utopian fantasy”. If the oppressed revolt, the powerful will concede, give them rights, and by that action the oppressed will be deemed worthy of those rights. Another detraction she expects to hear is that if men and women are given equality, and women become the same as men, life will lose a certain “salt and spice” that makes it exciting. She deals with this easily. Those who cling to the past have always done so, and will always continue to do so. Boo hoo.

      685. When women show themselves as witty, brave, strong individuals it becomes far more appealing and human than the idyllic women of myth and ancient legend. Men may not want to give up this image they have of women, but if the image is untrue it is held wrongly.

      686-7. Just like the present, the future will be its own entity, with its own conventions and norms. The past and the future are always different, to deny it is to be an idiot. When we emancipate the female, the sexes will continue to exist for each other and they will mutually recognize each other as a subject and an other. “To gain the supreme victory, it is necessary… that men and women unequivocally affirm their brotherhood.”

  1. Husserl’s Cartesian Mediations: §7-9, §30-34

    Husserl’s discussion in §7 is initiated with a question of evidence, particularly the existence of the world presenting itself as evidence “first in itself”. By evidences that are first in themselves, Husserl refers to forms of evidences that “precede all other imaginable evidences and…can be seen to be themselves apodictic” (16). To refer to the existence of the world as such as first in itself evidence, or even “obvious,” would be in Husserl’s view a common-sense based or even naive perspective on the world’s existence. For us the world appears to exist without question, but Husserl is suspect of the question of its apodicticity on two points:
    A) the stable existence of a world is presupposed in and thereby supports all evidences in world sciences, and thus its apodicticity can be doubted
    our evidence of the world is not absolutely primary, that is to say, it is not foundational

    Concerning these issues, Husserl argues that the existence of the world cannot be considered apodictic, as this would absolutely reject the possibility of its non-being and actuality. All objects of experience, or the “whole unitarily surveyable nexus,” for Husserl, has the possibility of proving to be an elaborate illusion. Husserl’s point is not to ultimately argue for a proof of the possibility of the world’s non-being, rather, he is saying that evidence of world-experience cannot be taken to be immediately apodictic. Thus, the universal basis of positive sciences, that is, the world as it is experienced, must be “deprived of its naive acceptance” and instead considered as an “acceptance phenomenon,” a casualty of the Cartesian overthrow. Husserl concludes this section by wondering whether or not the world is the absolute first basis for judgment, and that the presupposed basis for the world’s existence might instead be a being intrinsically prior to the world.

    §8 opens with Husserl praising Descartes’ “great reversal”: the turn away from the external world and inwards towards the ego cogito. For Husserl, this ego cogito is the ultimate and apodictically certain basis for judgment, and thus the ultimate basis for radical philosophy. At this point in the discussion, Husserl has rejected positive sciences and no longer possesses a world that exists for him — it merely claims being. I cannot even speak of other Egos because I have only sensuous experience of their extended being, and since even this is being called into question I cannot speak of other beings with any validity. The whole life-world for me now is, as Husserl says, “only a phenomenon of being, instead of something that is” (19).

    Husserl argues however that this “phenomenon of being” is not nothing, but as mine, it is “precisely what makes such critical decisions at all possible and accordingly makes possible whatever has for me sense and validity as ‘true’ being — definitively decided or definitively decidable being” (19). This world is continually there for me and it is given to consciousness perceptually as it itself. Reflecting back to past memories, they are re-represented to consciousness and I can understand the past as past. Likewise, I can reflect on present living and notice particularities in what is present. All that has been changed (at this stage) is my naive acceptance of the existence involved in experiencing the external world.
    Husserl goes on to discuss “position-takings,” that is to say, processes of meaning that belong to one’s lifestream. Such “position-takings” include judgings, valuings, decidings, and the setting of ends and means. These are all contained within the naive acceptance of the existence of the world — the natural attitude — because they all presuppose the existence of the world as their stable foundation. These position-takings are not to be totally rejected from the field of experience, but deprived of their accepted status and labelled as “mere phenomena”.

    All that Husserl has done so far is a universal deprivation of acceptance, thereby “putting out of play” all presuppositions that are held towards the external experiencing world. He styles this rejection of all presuppositions as the “phenomenological epoché,” a parenthesizing (or, bracketing) of the Objective world. Through such bracketing is acquired “my pure living, with all the pure subjective processes making this up, and everything meant in them, purely as meant in them: the universe of phenomena in the (particular and also the wider) phenomenological sense” (20-21). Through this bracketing,
    I apprehend myself purely: as Ego, and with my own pure conscious life, in which the entire Objective world exists for me and is precisely as it is for me. Anything belonging to the world, any spatiotemporal being, exists for me — that is to say, is accepted by me — in that I experience it, perceive it, remember it, think of it somehow, judge about it, value it, desire it, or the like. (21)
    Thus, through the phenomenological epoché (or bracketing), we encounter the pure Ego, that is, Descartes’ cogito. My own existence as a conscious being is thereby indubitable, but only for myself. At this point I cannot doubt my own existence, nor can I doubt that I have a conscious stream of thoughts. As long as I refrain from holding the naive conviction concerning the existence of the external world, and thereby direct my conceptual gaze exclusively towards life itself as “consciousness of ‘the’ world,” I then encounter my pure Ego, with my pure stream of cogitationes (thoughts, including perceptual experiences and everything in relation to being attentive towards objects or acts). The external world of experience is thereby subsequent to the being of the pure ego and his or her cogitationes and thereby, in Husserl’s words: “Natural being is a realm whose existential status is secondary; it continually presupposes the realm of transcendental being” (21).

    Husserl in his fourth meditation focusses principally on the transcendental ego, particularly upon the way in which it is constituted. Husserl speaks of the Ego here in its active and affectedness as a subject of consciousness, paying attention to the notion of habitualities. The Ego is a substrate of habitualities, and such habitualities constitute the properties of the Ego. Husserl frames these habitualities in terms of convictions and opinions. When one makes a decision, he or she is then of such-and-such a conviction, and such a decision is then habitually his or her own opinion, until he or she decides to reject it. When I make a decision, and more importantly, when I maintain it, I am changed in a certain way. Such decisions become a property of me, and I possess them at every moment of consciousness, even when my attention is directed elsewhere. Husserl says in §32 that the Ego shows “an abiding style with a unity of identity throughout all [alterations]: a ‘personal character’ (67). Thus my sense of self is inextricable to a unity of perceptions, conscious processes, and judgments.

  2. Husserl, Ideas,§76-78


    §76 The Theme of the Following Studies

    • Husserl is attempting to further explain where we are left standing after the phenomenological reduction

    • §76, pp. 142, second paragraph “Whatever is transcendental […] is an object of phenomenological study not only on the side of the consciousness of it […] but also […] as the given and that which is experienced in it.”
     In other words, we can study what is given, what we are conscious of in that givenness, and how we experience that consciousness of givenness. How is all of it related in a phenomenological sense?

    • pp. 148, second paragraph: What are the main themes of phenomenology? How can we possibly categorize experiences once we reduce them to their purest form?
     He brings us back to the structure of consciousness; we will have to rely on structural descriptions in order to categorize experiences

    §77 Studies of Reflexion

    • The aim is to dispose of sceptical doubt in a radical way; he reiterates what we have established in terms of the structure of consciousness (Ego – noema – noesis – protention/retention etc.)

    • pp. 149, bottom of the page: He points out that, based on this structure we have established, we can reflect on experiences, and then reflect on those reflections of experience, and so on, ad infinitum

    • BUT… in the act of reflecting, we encounter a new experience: the experience of reflexion

    • pp. 150: What about anticipation?
     Anticipation is the counterpart of recall
     The intuitively expected (anticipated) has the meaning of what will be perceived, just as the recalled (reflected upon) has the meaning of what has been perceived.
     So here is a type of reflection which is not reflection upon things which have been experience, but on things which might be. But it is still a form of reflection, because we are still perceiving.
    – We are aiming out “reflecting glance” at the coming perceptual experience

    • Now Husserl moves on to a brief reduction of reflection in order to explain why categorization of experiences (specifically, reflection) is necessary
     He uses the example of us imagining ourselves in some act which brings us joy… pp. 151, second paragraph

    a) We turn our reflective glance on the joy itself
    b) The joy, when reflected upon, becomes immanently perceived and then objectified
    c) In studying the joy, the actual feeling of joy sinks away

    a) In turning to the joy, the original sense of joy actually disappeared
    b) We have therefore ascertained that there is a difference between what is experienced but not noticed and that which is experienced and noticed
    c) We need to be able to explain why these are different

    • This process is what Husserl calls modification. So… What happens after the “mode of unreflecting consciousness”? And what is the essence of “intentional experience”?
     “Intentional experiences” being those such as reflection and anticipation and fancy

    • He thinks we can study these things scientifically and phenomenologically.

    §78 Phenomenological Study of Reflexions upon Experience

    • pp. 152: Husserl re-establishes that there are different meanings of reflection:
    An expression for acts in which the stream of experience can be grasped and analyzed in the light of its own evidence
     The name we give to consciousness’ own method for the knowledge of consciousness – it becomes the object of study
     The title for types of experience which belong together; the theme of a chapter of phenomenology aimed at distinguishing between different reflections and analyzing them in systematic order

    • pp. 152-153: he reiterates that we can reflect upon experience, reflect upon anticipation, and then reflect on those reflections

    • BUT when we reflect we necessarily create a new, modified experience

    • AND experiences have a common form (the ego, noema etc triangle)
     Every experience of reflection, or reflection on reflection, ad infinitum, has the same structure of any original experience. Transformations of experience which result from reflection are exactly corresponding but modified counterparts to recollection, anticipation, fancy (imaginings), and ‘reflections on reflections’

    • We end up with the conclusion that we are always in the NOW. We are stuck forever having an original experience, even within reflection.

  3. Conor Arsenault
    Dr. Peter Gratton
    Philosophy 3920
    30 September 2014

    A Brief Overview of Sections One to Four of Husserl’s Cartesian Meditations

    Section One: Descartes’ Meditations as the prototype of philosophical reflection.

    – Husserl says that Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy had a significant impact on his phenomenology (which he now calls transcendental phenomenology).
    – He explains that “one might almost call transcendental phenomenology a neo-Cartesianism.”
    – Many problems in transcendental phenomenology originate from the Meditations.
    – Regardless of this, Husserl plans on bracketing Descartes.
    – Praises Descartes for his attempt to reform philosophy “into a science grounded on an absolute foundation;” including a reformation of all the sciences.
    – Philosophy as the all-inclusive unity of the sciences.
    – “With Descartes this demand gives rise to a philosophy turned towards the subject himself.” To withdraw into oneself.
    – The real philosopher is to “begin in absolute poverty, with an absolute lack of knowledge.”
    – Philosophy as a personal affair; what a person knows must arise through their own wisdom.
    – Method of doubt: only accept what is indubitably true. Bracket one’s natural attitude.
    – Only oneself (qua pure ego of ones cogitationes) as having indubitable existence – “would exist even though this world were non-existent.”
    – Want to seek “apodictically certain ways by which, within his own pure inwardness, an objective outwardness can be deduced;” from principles that are innate in the pure ego.

    Section Two: The necessity of a radically new beginning of philosophy.

    – Positive sciences, after so much development, are finding problems in their foundations.
    – The Meditations were “epoch-making” because of their going back to the pure ego cogito.
    – Radical turn: naïve objectivism to transcendental subjectivism, which “seems to be striving toward some necessary final form.”
    – Comparative unity has been lost – with modernity came a belief in autonomous philosophy and science. No collaboration anymore; many different answers. Remember Husserl’s phenomenology is a universalism; he wants objective/universal truth.
    – This is the problem with contemporary philosophy; he says we must renew the radicalness of Descartes in this “unhappy present.”
    – “We now intend to walk together… as radically beginning philosophers, to carry out meditations with the utmost critical precaution.”

    Section Three: The Cartesian overthrow and the guiding final idea of an absolute grounding of science.

    – The idea itself of the indubitability of a science that can be grounded absolutely; one must not presuppose this either.
    – Even logic must not be presupposed.
    – Descartes presupposed mathematics as his ideal of science, due to its innateness and deductive truth.
    – Husserl states that the axiomatic foundation of the ego “lies even deeper than that of geometry;” it grounds even geometrical knowledge.
    – Only producing one ourselves can we have a normative ideal of science.
    – Husserl explains that just as we have the idea of philosophy, we have the idea of science. One must take the general idea of science as a presumption so one has some sort of guide.
    – He says that “how can they be avoided, if our radicalness is not to remain an empty gesture but is to become an actual deed?”

    Section Four: Uncovering the final sense of science by becoming immersed in science qua noematic phenomenon.

    – Science should not be looked at by comparison of the de facto sciences; theories, propositions, etc., but just the general concept of science.
    – “If we immerse ourselves progressively in the characteristic intention of scientific endeavor, the constituent parts of the final idea, genuine science, become explicated for us.”
    – Husserl says “judicative doing” and the “judgment itself” must be clarified; also “immediate” and “mediate” judgments.
    – It seems that he does not clarify them very well, if even at all.
    – It seems that an immediate judgment would be one that is done with mere intuition and no reasoning, whereas a mediate judgment is one that is formed through reason.
    – “Mediate judgments have such a sense-relatedness to other judgments that judicatively believing them presupposes believing these others.”
    – Wants grounded judgments – where truth of judgment can be shown.
    – Once judgments are grounded one can return to them at will.
    – The grounding of judgments is “an agreement of the judgment with the judged state of affairs.”
    – Evidence – a state of affairs which correspond exactly to a judgement.
    – Husserl states that evidence is “a pre-eminent judicative meaning, a judicative having of such and such itself.”
    – Evidence is “present as the affair itself… the judger accordingly possesses it itself”
    – In the last paragraph of section four he speaks of differentiating “judgement in the broadest sense” and “evidence in the broadest sense.”

  4. This reading sets out as a purpose to clearly show the difference between Husserl’s thoughts and the changes between his Logische Untersuchungen and Ideen I. Firstly, the author sets out by examining the principles of the epoché and the transcendental reduction, in quite a straightforward and concise manner, helping to cement the meanings of each before advancing into deeper processes. The purposes of the two, and their relationship, is also explained in a rather clear way; as well, two methods of arriving at the transcendental reduction, named the Cartesian and Ontological ways, respectively. These are both well explained, and the issue of misunderstanding the purpose of phenomenology though the Cartesian way is addressed. While it is easy to think from the Cartesian way that phenomenology is focused on a worldless subject, the Ontological way from his later Krisis is more clear that this is not the case. The point is in no way to remove the world from the investigations of phenomenology, as is seen in the Cartesian meditations, but rather to remove the naïve acceptance and focus on the interaction between the consciousness and the world rather than simply accepting it’s givenness. Moving on from this, “Some Misunderstandings” are covered, which are helpful given the sometimes unclear nature of Husserl’s writing and his terminology. Firstly, there is the confusion between phenomenological reflection and psychological introspection; the chief difference being that psychological introspection is privately formed and entirely contextual, an exploration of my experience, whereas phenomenological reflection is in search of a general and all together non-contextual understanding of the nature of experience in itself. Herein it is also explained that Husserl’s phenomenology would refute the so- called two-worlds theory, which supposes a world transcendent beyond our practical sense or knowledge. Phenomenology would not be concerned with any such world, and no evidence can be found for it using phenomenological methods. While it is not denied that an object may have a nature which is not given immediately to us, this nature is not hidden in another realm but, rather, it is unnoticed for lack of proper phenomenological exploration. It is here reexamined that some understand, in contrast to the author, that Husserlian phenomenology is in fact only a form of intentionalism or introspection, and that he utilizes the bracketing of the natural standpoint to break any tie to the world to allow for nothing outside of mental impressions of things without a world to be in. It is here reiterated that the transcendental reduction is precisely meant to prevent any empirical consideration and instead focus on the nature of consciousness in a manner transcendent to any empirical specifics which would bring phenomenology into the sphere of psychology. Moving on from the idea that phenomenology is a quasi-substrate of psychology, the idea of the noema, or the object as-it-is-intended. The problem here arises as to whether the object as-it-is-intended is related to the object-that-is-intended, and how this relationship is structured. Two interpretations of this arise; the West Coast interpretation and the East Coast interpretation. The West Coast interpretation holds that the noema of any object is an instrumental intermediate that directs an act to an object, and is in and of itself an entity in the interaction. The East Coast interpretation is that the noema is the object of intuiting, but only when examined from the phenomenological standpoint: it is a normal object considered in a particular, non- normal way. The author sides with the East Coast interpretation in the notion that the
    noema is not an ontologically separate entity but an entity within the object which is only seen when taken in the phenomenological reduction. After a short passage on the relationship of phenomenology to metaphysics, which strikes me to be not entirely clear and without a direct conclusion, the idea of Husserlian phenomenology as a type of epistemological foundationalism is briefly considered. It is in short order shown that phenomenology is not a foundationalist philosophy, at least in the most traditional sense, due it it’s descriptive rather than deductive nature, and the consistent possibility of deeper and more revealing reflection rather than an immutable result from a “finished” analysis. Following this, the ethical dimension to Husserl’s writing is touched on; self responsible philosophers, compared to Socratics, are mean to be ethical from their deeps self reflection and desire for knowledge and reason. It is important that it is ethical to pursue the absolute truth, but it is not a necessity to arrive at it to live an ethical life. There is a short passage which announces the necessity of community to the idea of self-responsibility, cited to an unpublished manuscript of Husserl’s. Husserl’s transcendental idealism is then explained, and at the output is described as radically different to any traditionalist idealism. Instead, his idealism is explained as an attempt to redeem the natural realism, hopefully providing us with reliable phenomenological evidence to arrive back to the natural standpoint through it. However, the author comes to the announcement that the ideas behind idealism and naturalism are quite nearly useless, due to the breadth of their potential meanings and the elasticity of their limits. Husserl, as his philosophy is understood, was neither a subjective idealist nor a metaphysical realist, but rather something in the middle. Finally, the idea of Husserlian constitution is taken up. It is generally understood in one of two ways, and was never definitively chosen by Husserl which is his meaning: is constitution a matter of creative process, or is it a restoration of the reality of objects? Heidegger is here referenced as having his understanding in the second manner, that the “constituting” is the way in which an entity is allowed to be seen objectively. Here there is a discussion of Husserl’s transcendental ego and transcendental non-ego, and how it is that the constituting is allowed to take place. It is not, I take it, sufficient that only subjectivity is utilized to reach constituting, but also an intersubjectivity as well. Now the author explains that, although subjectivity is not taken as its own, as a solitary being without a world, but the world must be taken with it as well. He introduces the Husserlian terminology lifeworld and life of world-consciousness. As for constituting, it is explained that their is a connection between the subject constituting experience, while at the same time a constituting of its own being in the world is taking place. Now the final position of Husserl, from his later writing, is explained. It is that intersubjectivity is a necessary condition for the constituting, and in fact it encompasses subjectivity, intersubjectivity, and a world constitution. The author admits, as I would imagine everybody must, that Husserlian terminology is not exactly clear. However, as for constituting, Husserl himself is said to come to the final conclusion that it is the above three constituting acts intertwined, and it is not possible to constitute one without being drawn into the constituting of the others. In closing, the author compares the later Husserlian position on the relationship between subject, intersubjectivity and the world to subsequent philosophers like Heidegger, Sartre and Merleau-Ponty. He says that the similarities of late Husserl to these later phenomenologists are not only present but striking, a clear evolution of ideas.

  5. Ethan Lewis
    Dr. Peter Gratton
    Phenomenology 3920
    October 9th, 2014

    § 54:

    • Husserl begins by stating that one’s perceived self-image is not necessarily how one actually is, but is rather how one would perceive one’s self should one be another person present within the same room.
    • However, the way one is (in actuality) and the way one perceives one’s self are analogous. They are analogous in the sense that they are naturally related:
    – Since the perception of one’s self is based on reality (i.e. how one views one’s self is based on how one views certain aspects of themselves, be they physical or temperamental), though not entirely accurate, it is perceived as both “animate” (for it is your body), yet also “other-worldly”, for it is not an exact representation of the actual self.

    • From this, then, it is obvious one cannot intend one’s actual body — one’s self-image is incomplete.

    • From this, too, we can draw the general nature of apperception (i.e. our understanding through newly observed qualities related to past experience):
    – With the overlap of data caused by said apperception, there is “an association at a higher level”: if one datum (i.e. ‘perceived fact’) is a particular “mode of appearance” (think: different sides of a cup), then the other datum, through apperception, is “supplemented” to become the appearance of something which is an analogous object. In other words, various different datum are analogous in the sense that, while they are different, they refer to the same object; they are naturally related.

    • Husserl then goes on to state that, while I am here somatically (i.e. ‘bodily’), but our perceptions of the self are naturally associated to the self, it is easily seen that these perceptions can now be viewed to coexist with the self.

    • However, while we may not be able to perceive ourselves in our full givenness, we view others in their total givenness — in their actuality.
    – From this idea, then, we can empathize with others (note: not empathize in the common sense), as we understand there to be a certain degree of sameness required to have intersubjectivity.
    – What (I believe) is meant by this, is that we understand each alter-ego (or, simply, each other ‘I’) to comprise some form of ‘I’. By this, then, we are able to (in a sense) understand the alter-ego’s motives and other affections.
    – This is to say, in the example of anger given by Husserl, that one does not anger himself with inanimate objects: one angers himself with another ego for he/she realizes that the actions of any ego are similar to the actions of my ego — all actions are seen to be intentional, as are mine, and thus all actions can be held responsible for bringing about a certain result. It is because of this, then, that we can justifiably be angry with someone, for we know that their actions, similar to ours, were carried out through conscious means.

    § 55:

    • This is a very important section.

    • This section begins by Husserl’s questioning as to how ‘community’ can be established, since the Other’s ego is a mystery to us, as we cannot experience it.

    • Husserl remarks that this mystery is created by “the abyss I cannot actually across”, since, to me, any other body is presented to me as having the mode There, while, to him/her, their body is constantly of the mode Here. This is to say that we only perceive one’s physical body — “we find that actually the sensuously seen body is experienced forthwith as the body of someone else, and not as merely an indication of something else”. This is stated by Husserl to be an enigma in need of being debunked.

    • From here Husserl questions how one can identify one’s corporeal being with one’s ego, as they are viewed to be from separate spheres. However, this distinction already presupposes that one has already experienced the Other: “appresentations […] presuppose a core of presentation”. To debunk the aforementioned enigma, then, one must precisely explain the intentionality actually observable in our experience of someone else.

    • It is immediately noted (I believe) that one’s ego and one’s corporeal or sensual beings are “so fused that they stand within the functional community of one perception, which simultaneously presents and appresents” (i.e. is made perceivable and perceives) “and yet furnishes for the total object a consciousness of its being there”.
    – What is meant here is that while one does indeed possess a somatic and mental presence, their unity is “so fused” that they can only be perceived within said fusion or unity; they cannot be perceived as separate.

    • This unity of perception is then stated to be common with all external perceptions. Even with the perception of a house, for example, as Husserl states, although one can only perceive one side at a given time, in its unity exists an imperceptible totality: it still possesses simultaneously various perceivable sides, even if/though one cannot perceive all sides at once.

    • It is here where the idea of ‘community’ is seen to be explained. There is a sense of community within an object, for it “can only appresent because it presents”; it can only perceive because, in its simultaneous nature, it can be perceived.
    – While this is rather vague, I believe Husserl is simply linking an idea of necessity: one must exist as something to be perceived in order to perceive, or appresent. Without the former there is no medium through which the latter can endure.

    • Through this idea, then, it is remarked that any ego could not perceive the Other Ego unless his/her body acquired the sense of ‘a body belonging to the other Ego’, since, by our previous rationale, “what this experience presents must belong to the unity of the very object appresented”.
    – “Therefore it is not as though the body over there, in my primordial sphere, remained separate from the animate bodily organism of the other ego […] On the contrary, this natural body belonging to my sphere appresents the other ego, by virtue of the pairing association with my bodily organism, within my primordially constituted nature”.
    – What (I believe) Husserl means by this, is that by virtue of the unity of one’s actuality, one’s perception of one facet of something’s being necessarily incorporates its entirety of being.
    – This simply reiterates the analogous nature of perceptions.

    • There is, however, an important distinction to be made:
    – While one’s perception may be analogous to the intended object’s entirety, they are not the same. “Rather, the objects perceived are precisely those perceivable from there, and as they are perceivable from there”.

    • Even concerning objects that don’t necessarily possess the quality of perception (or, if you will, of consciousness) the same prior argument is said to be true. “I do not have an appresented second original sphere with a second ‘nature’ and, in this nature, a second animate bodily organism”, for there is only this one world, and to suggest that the Other Ego (not necessarily one possessing perceptive qualities, however) dwells within a second sphere with a second nature suggests that there exist multiple worlds in which said Other Ego exists.

    • Husserl then states that “we speak of perceiving someone else and then of perceiving the objective world, perceiving that the other ego and I are looking at the same world, and so forth — though this perceiving goes on exclusively within the sphere of my ownness”.

    • “What I see is not a mere analogue [… what I see is] someone else”.
    Note: While, here, it is easy to confuse the term ‘analogue’ used in this sense with the previous use of ‘analogous’ when describing perceived characteristics, one must distinguish between the analogous nature of perceived qualities and the actuality of a perceived thing, itself.
    – That is to say that while the differences in our perception of any intended object’s qualities are analogous to one another, what we view is not “a sign and its mere analogue”, what we view is the object in its givenness.

    • However, Husserl then goes to explain that while we view the same objective world, we cannot view how one experiences this same world, and due to this we ascribe to their perception an “appresentational stratum”: “a stratum united in an identifying synthesis with the stratum given to me in the mode of primordial originality”.
    – I believe what Husserl is saying here is that, while we observe the same world, we cannot experience (or, subsequently, know of) how the Other views the world. Therefore, while by now we can posit with relative certainty that we are indeed experiencing the same world, we realize that there are different extents to which one can view the world, and it is in this realization that we ascribe “appresentational stratum” — ways in which the perception of our world is possible.

    • Husserl notes, too, that the existence of abnormalities does not change this fact, for in order to be able to distinguish them as ‘abnormal’ in the first place, they must necessarily lack a certain quality we deem to be normal before we can make such a distinction.

    1. Preliminary Considerations of Method: Key Points
      Patrick Jeffrey

      This work was written in a period of Husserl’s academic writing characterized by its intense reductionism and descriptive phenomenology. Throughout Ideas I Husserl is adamant that in order to study a “pure consciousness” (meaning its most essential structure), we must bracket the world experienced in its entirety to focus solely on the consciousness and not its focus.
      Husserl posits that even if we bracket the entire world, there must still be a subject and a consciousness doing the bracketing, and that this is therefore outside of it. However, he does not consider this a problem. His reasoning is this: If we apply the phenomenological reduction equally to ourselves we will not warp or distort the value of the analysis, just as a geometer is able to reference herself in her works without having an influence on the eidetic content of the mathematical principles she studies.
      Any proper description of phenomenology must have a set of concrete, unambiguous terms which are intuitively given.
      The method of clarification of these terms:
      • We look at the way experiences are given to us, not necessarily their content.
      • We must realize that objects of the recollection are imperfect as they are warped by time and the process of recall.
      • So we must bring experiences into complete clearness AS they are given to us. Objective elements come to us in their purest forms.
      • A scale of Grades of Clarity:
      Total Obscurity______________________________________Full Clarity

      The essence of Normal Clarification
      • If a phase already intuited (like a tone or colour) can be said to be perfect, it means we have apprehended it as what it is in its purest form, and we can say we know it in itself.
      • The process of clarification renders intuitable and enhances the clarity of the already intuitable.

      The best way to apprehend essences with perfect clearness:
      • As all eidetic sciences, phenomenology generally requires a system of going forward step-by-step.
      • We can always bring data closer to us, to make them more intuitable.
      • Given data have an indeterminate margin and unfold before us.
      • We do not need to understand each individual component of the of the essence to understand it holistically.

      Outer vs. Inner perceptions
      The outer perceptions give perfect clearness to objective phases. They do not dissipate when reflected upon and their components and correlates are generally understandable. The inner perceptions (anger, fear, etc.) dissipate with time when reflected upon.
      Husserl then asks if it is right to establish that the aim of Phenomenology as a pure description of experiences. He claims that mathematics, due to its a priori knowledge base, is the only true science, as it captures the concrete, eidetic truth of its subject. A geometer need not see any empirical evidence of her shapes in order to know that they are perfectly formed. Husserl admires mathematics in this regard and sees consciousness as an ideal, absolute entity not contingent in any way on any physical nature external to it. He wishes to build up Phenomenology as a “geometry of experiences”, one that applies a finite number of axioms which govern all possible configurations of consciousness, (what he calls a “mathematically exhaustibly definable” system of “definite manifold”).
      Despite his admiration of mathematics, Husserl is adamant that transcendental thought cannot involve any processes other than the immediate intuition, as doing so would involve presupposition and reliance on previous scientific theories. Before Husserl, as Dermot Moran says, “phenomenological description of phenomena was hindered by the inherent human tendency to interpret, to apply our everyday preconceptions and practical interests, to the pure experience.”
      As Phenomenology is an experiential system of a concrete nature, Husserl believes that it could plausibly be worthy of scientific study, and he maintains that the “conceptual construction” of Phenomenological axioms would have to be observed for its exactitude, which Husserl reminds us is not yet possible at this stage in the process.

      Husserl acknowledges two distinct forms of science:
      • Descriptive: Which study physical objects in nature and assign them intuitive, yet inexact and unmathematical adjectives (ie: “umbelliform”, “indented”, “lens-shaped”, etc.)
      • Exact: Which ascribes precise formulas and axioms and describes the ideals.

      Husserl wishes to establish Phenomenology as a “descriptive theory of the essence of pure consciousness”. This means we must examine the “generic essence of perception”, or of subjective physical understanding, animal natures, and of the elements of memory, will, and other processes of the mind. In more general terms, we must examine experience and the cogitatio. The problem here, as Husserl reminds us again, is that deductive theorizing and intuitive descriptions are incompatible with Phenomenology. They are misleading presuppositions and can easily warp our retentions and distort our concepts of essential relations. This means that there must be found some way to adopt ideal procedures alongside description without falling victim to deduction and theory. By the end of the chapter, this is an unsolved, and pressing, problem.

  6. Michael Kealy
    Dr. Peter Gratton
    Philosophy 3920: Phenomenology
    October 7th, 2014

    Husserl: Cartesian Meditations §42-§53


    • Husserl beings the fifth meditation by addressing the problem of transcendental phenomenology being mistaken solely for a form of solipsism. He does this by eluding to the fact that even within his personal experiences, he still experiences “others”

    “I experience the world (including others) –and, according to its experiential sense, not as (so to speak) my private synthetic formation but as other than mine alone [mir fremde] as an intersubjective world, actually there for everyone, accessible in respect of its Objects to everyone. (Pg. 91)


    • With the introduction to the experiencing of “others”, Husserl must define what transforms an “other” into a subject. He does this by, 1) outlining how one is constituted as a subject themselves through the distinction between the terms mine and alien, and 2) how one experiences belonging to a shared world that provides one with a “stratum of the phenomenon world”

    1) “As Ego in the transcendental attitude I attempt first of all to delimit, within my horizon of transcendental experience, what is peculiarly my own. First I say that is non-alien. I begin by freeing that horizon abstractively from everything that is at all alien. A property of the transcendental phenomenon “world” is that of being given in harmonious straightforward experience; accordingly it is necessary to survey this world and pay attention to how something alien makes its appearance as jointly determining in the sense of the world, and so far as it does so, to exclude it abstractively. Thus we abstract first of all from what gives men and brutes their specific sense, as so to speak, Ego-like living beings and/ consequently from all determinations of the phenomenal world that refer by their sense to “others” as Ego subjects and, accordingly, presuppose these.” (Pg. 95)

    2) “When we thus abstract, we retain a unitarily coherent stratum of the phenomenon world, a stratum that is the correlate of continuously harmonious, continuing world experience.” (Pg.96)


    • After defining what indeed constitutes the “other”, Husserl than points out the difficulties in discovering the “otherness” of human beings. This is not simply done by bracketing out the natural attitude or through reflection. If this was the case then it could be stated that this “otherness” belonged to the meditator/transcendental ego all along. Husserl rejects the notion that this discovery can be done through appresentation; rather it is closer to being discovered through a special analogy, which Husserl eludes too.

    “An appresentation occurs even in external experience, since the strictly seen front of a physical thing always and necessarily appresents a rear aspect and prescribes for it a more or less determinate content. On the other hand, experiencing someone else cannot be a matter of just this kind of appresentation, which already plays a role in the constitution of primordial nature: Appresentation of this sort involves the possibility of verification by a corresponding fulfilling presentation (the back becomes the front); whereas, in the case of that appresentation which would lead over into the other original sphere, such verification must be excluded a priori.” (Pg. 109)

    § 51-53:

    • Husserl states that in order to get closer to discovering the “otherness” of human beings, one should consider the issue of “pairing”. “Pairing” is the relationship which transfers sense (i.e. meaning)

    “First of all, let us elucidate the essential nature of any “pairing” (or any forming of a plurality). Pairing is a primal form of that passive synthesis which we designate as “association”, in contrast to passive synthesis of “identification”. In a pairing association the characteristic feature is that, in the most primitive case, two data are given intuitonally, and with prominence, in the unity of a consciousness and that, on this basis- essentially, already in pure passivity (regardless therefore of whether they are noticed of unnoticed)-, as data appearing with mutual distinctness, they found phenomenologically a unity of similarity and thus are constituted precisely as a pair. (Pg. 112)

  7. The abstract (obviously) explains the aim of Al Saji’s essay – to determine what Husserlian phenomenology has to offer feminist theory
    – Specifically, she wishes to rethink “embodiment beyond the dichotomies not only of mind/body but of subject/object and activity/passivity” and she wants to know if there are resources within Husserl’s phenomenology (his account of the Leib) to help with this task

    The essay will be structured as follows:
    1. Reasons for hesitation among feminists to use Husserl’s phenomenology for feminist purposes
    2. Ways in which Husserl’s phenomenology of touch and sense relate to feminist theory .
    a. She will explore other philosophers as well (Merleau-Ponty and Irigaray) and their ideas regarding touch
    b. She will address limitations in Husserl’s phenomenology regarding his approach to the body
    c. By the end of the essay she aims to have opened up Husserl’s account of touch and used it to reveal a new way of thinking about embodiment.

    1. Feminist doubts
    – Husserl, when he does the transcendental reduction, does not mention gender explicitly; rather he talks of a universalized consciousness which he implicitly assumes to be masculine – which therefore implies the exclusion of the feminine
    – this can be described as a sort of forgetfulness regarding class, gender, race etc. and the forgetfulness can be interpreted as a slip back into the “natural attitude” that Husserl sought to bracket
    – This could be the end of the reduction, or the start of an expanding of the endeavour
    – She points out that in in Husserl’s “Universal Teleology” he tries to understand sexuality as an “intersubjective drive”, which is advantageous when using his phenomenology for feminism because it aims to understand sexuality as a “social bond… within the context of human community” (16)
    – BUT he still uses assumptions based on the patriarchal and masculinist ‘natural’ attitude of sex, which is a concern for Al Saji, because in her opinion it reduces the essential sociality of sex to a mere desire for procreation, a “hunger to be fulfilled” (16). She finds Husserl’s ‘heterosexist’ definition to be exclusionary of other forms of sexuality
    – He uses the mother-child allusion  he reduces motherhood or caregiving to biological reproduction
    – Al Saji points out that viewing sexuality transcendentally, as Husserl does, means that sexuality is understood by him to be an “intentional form of consciousness” (17)

    2. Re-visiting touch in Husserl’s theory of embodiment
    – She points out that Husserl’s writing evokes a self-questioning tone rather than simply describing a well worked-out system
    -Husserl often revises his position in his writing
    -He considers alternatives
    -It is in this STYLE of thinking/writing that Al Saji thinks she can find a resource for feminist theory

    – She reiterates that she aims to use Husserl’s writing not merely as a toolbox for feminism, but as a way to phenomenologically rethink bodies WITHOUT the dichotomies of:
    … Therefore “opening new avenues for understanding the complex interplay of social positionality and felt embodiment” (18)

    2.1 Husserlian sensings
    – She briefly describes Husserl’s attempt in Ideas II to rethink sensation as “multifaceted and dynamic” (rather than hyletic (???) no sufficient definitions online)
    -This rethinking leads him to the new term sensings
    – Sensings allow us to be self-aware of ourselves as lived bodies (lived body = Leib) without objectifying ourselves
    – the incorporation of kinaesthesis (self-awareness of our own movement) gives sensings a sort of flow or continuity
    – sensings are internally differentiated (ex: touch and movement are different) but linked and dynamically continuous – held together by motivation and an “if-then” structure
    – means that bodily movement might be spontaneous, but is always governed by context
    -Emphasis on touch is an emphasis on affectivity – “the touching body also feels itself being touched by the world” (19)
    – this means that while a body is touched by the world it undergoes that experience in terms of sensings
    – She thinks the concept of sensings can be used for feminism to undermine the dichotomies of embodiment

    2.2 Subject and object
    – She moves on to compare Husserl’s account of ‘sensings’ to Merleau-Ponty’s account of ‘double sensation
    – This section was a bit confusing and muddled for me… there’s something about sensation doubling up when a lived body is touched that I don’t really understand
    – Then she comes back to the idea that lived bodies are never absolutely objects or subjects does being touched really render one a mere object? Hardly, and Husserl doesn’t think so either
    -Al Saji thinks the schema of subject/object is an inappropriate way of understanding touch and sensings – the lived body is both sensed and sensing, both subject and object, not ever merely one side of a dichotomy
    – “Objecthood does not exclude subjectivity for Husserl” (24)

    2.3 Affectivity, passivity, activity
    -Al Saji compares Husserl to Irigaray (handy-dandy Wikipedia tells me Irigaray is a philosopher and feminist as well as a sociologist) in this section and addresses the theory of touch
    – She comes to the ultimate conclusion that touch is “more receptive than exploratory”, which means there is a possibility that one can be touched without being made an object- not pure activity nor pure passivity (the touching of the two hands)

    3. Husserlian feminism in question: The sociality of touch
    -Al Saji reiterates that she wants to push Husserlian phenomenology in a direction that will make it useful to feminism
    – apparently Husserl’s solipsistic starting point for understanding the lived body in terms of touch is “in tension with a feminist… recognition of the role of intercorporeal and loving touch in the constitution of subjectivity” (30)
    -Problems in Husserl that Al Saji lists here:
    1. “Positing initial bodily formation as self-constitution” overlooks childhood experience as well as the role of the primary caregiver in development
    -she says that within the solipsistic frame, the touch of the ‘maternal body’ and its importance becomes ‘a methodological blindspot’ in Husserl (31)… in other words, he addresses worldly touch (like a hand to a table) as being potentially meaningful and affectionate but does not distinguish between the touch of a table and the touch of, say, a primary caregiver
    2. “The affect [sic] of being-touched, produced through my body’s own movement, seems different in important ways from feeling oneself being-touched by another” (31).
    – intentionally being touched by touching a table does not have the same effect as being touched by another person due to his or her intentionality
    – This opens an “unpredictable and unwilled dimension”… we do not become objects, but we experience passivity when the touch is not by our own motivation
    3. “It is unclear what effect solipsistic abstraction has on the theory of the lived body thus conceived” (31).
    – Can Husserl’s ‘prioritization of self-touch over other-touch, and of touch over vision and hearing’ be maintained outside of the abstraction?
    – What is the role of context? – historicity, sociality, and culture must play a role in understanding touch
    – MY body is situated in this world
    – My body responds to being-touched in ways which are configured by my body’s context… Configured by context are also my body’s way of touching and what it feels as being open to its touch
    – Others perceive my body and its touchability in ways which are configured by their bodily context
     Women’s bodies are perceived due to contextual configuration to be more touchable than other. In response to this touch (configured by their context) women’s bodies assume a defensive stance of self-containment
    …That is to say: feminine embodiment risks unwanted touch, not of its own motivation, on a regular basis and therefore becomes defensive and not desirous to touch other bodies
     Even though being-touched does not necessarily constitute a loss of subjectivity, according to Husserlian phenomenology, feminine embodiment in this social context gives the touched feminine body the feeling of being intruded upon and therefore restricted from being active; regularly touched as the object, so restricted from being understood as subject
     BUT the very feeling of being-touched (however unwanted or intrusive) necessarily implies subjectivity and activity. Protective gestures as a result of social objectification are not simply passive responses to an oppressive context, they are ways of living and they can provide motivation for feminism and activism. Sociality and historicity do not ‘fracture’ touch, they ‘structure it from within’. There is a relation between touching and touched, and that relation is dependent upon social context, and it can be revolutionized. But that relation is not arrived at by abstraction from sensings. Destabilization of dichotomies can be achieved by gestures which seek touch ‘against the grain of dominant and objectifying norms’. Seek relations which do not buy-in to the dichotomies and the dichotomies will be subverted.

  8. Heidegger’s Being and Time: §14-16

    The third chapter of Being and Time takes as its focus the notion of ‘Being-in-the-world’, but before Heidegger can properly explain what he signifies by Being-in-the-world, he must first explain ‘world’. Heidegger distinguishes four distinct senses in which the term ‘world’ can be used:
    1: World as an ontical concept that signifies the totality of entities that can be present-at-hand in the world.
    2: World as an ontological term that signifies the Being of the entities that are present-at-hand in the world.
    3: World, yet again as an ontical concept, wherein a Dasein can be said to “live” or exist.
    4: World as signifying the ontologico-existential concept of worldhood, “the a priori character of worldhood in general” (65).

    Heidegger claims that he will use ‘world’ strictly in the third sense, but he also makes use of the term ‘worldly’ which “applies terminologically to a kind of Being that belongs to Dasein” (65) and never to present-at-hand entities. Thus, ‘worldly’ can only refer to the human kind of Being, and the terms ‘belonging to the world’ and ‘within-the world’ refer to entities present-at-hand ‘in’ the world. Heidegger’s use of ‘environment’ also possesses a unique character, as he uses environment to signify the world of everyday Dasein.

    Our Being-in-the-world consists of our dealings in the world and with entities within-the-world, and the closest kind of dealing to us is “that kind of concern which manipulates things and puts them to use” (67). Heidegger’s focal point here is the universal human engagement with “equipment,” or simply just stuff for practical use. Heidegger defines equipment as “entities which we encounter in concern,” or, more instructively, “something in-order-to,” characterized by its serviceability, conduciveness, usability, and manipulability (68). They are used for a purpose (Heidegger uses the word “assignment”) and thereby cannot be thought of as merely Things. In our practical dealings with equipment, in our manipulations of it, the readiness-to-hand [Zuhandenheit] manifests itself. Using the example of a hammer to explicate readiness-to-hand, Heidegger writes,
    hammering does not simply have knowledge about…the hammer’s character as equipment, but it has appropriated this equipment in a way which could not possibly be more suitable…the less we stare at the hammer-Thing, and the more we seize hold of it and use it, the more primordial does our relation to it become, and the more unveiledly is it encountered as that which it is—as equipment. The hammering itself uncovers the specific ‘manipulability’ [‘Handlichkeit’] of the hammer. The kind of Being which equipment possesses—in which it manifests itself in its own right—we call ‘readiness-to-hand’ [Zuhandenheit]. (69)

    Readiness-to-hand cannot be discovered through a theoretical engagement with an object. That is, the utility of a hammer cannot be gleaned from simply looking at it and thinking about it hard enough. Rather, one must use and manipulate the hammer to understand it as equipment. The readiness-to-hand of a rock, for example, would not be manifested in merely seeing one on the ground, it would exhibit only presence-at-hand, but if the papers upon one’s desk were blown around by a gust of wind or a nail needed to be hammered in the absence of a hammer, the rock could be utilized as a paper-weight or a make-shift hammer, and thus the rock’s readiness-to-hand becomes manifest.

    Heidegger goes on to say that the “work to be produced, as the ‘towards-which’ of such things as the hammer, the plane, and the needle, likewise has the kind of Being that belongs to equipment” (70). That is to say, the utility of equipment presupposes something for which it can be used; Scissors are a means of cutting things, cups serve as receptacles for liquid. There is “a usability which belongs to it essentially” (70). Further, such usability is dependent upon, and indeed presupposes, the presence and availability of materials. Scissors can only cut paper if there is paper to be cut, and scissors themselves can only be made provided that there is metal. Also, the work produced will encounter “entities for which, in their concern, the product becomes ready-to-hand” (71). That is to say, objects characterized by readiness-to-hand will have people who receive and use them, and thus the world in which wearers and users of products live is the world in which we reside, the public world.

    “To the everydayness of Being-in-the-world there belong certain modes of concern. These permit the entities with which we concern ourselves to be encountered in such a way that the worldly character of what is within-the-world comes to the fore” (73). When equipment becomes damaged and unusable, it becomes “conspicuous,” and thereby ready-to-hand equipment possesses a certain un-readiness-to-hand. “But this implies that what cannot be used just lies there; it shows itself as an experimental Thing which looks so and so, and which, in its readiness-to-hand as looking that way, has constantly been present-at-hand too” (73). Pure presence-at-hand reveals itself in such damaged equipment, but this presence-at-hand gives way once the equipment has been repaired. Moreover, even in its state of disrepair, broken equipment is not completely devoid of its readiness-to-hand, it is not simply an extant thing that is destitute of all practical use. Rather, in its conspicuousness is revealed both its presence-to-hand and its readiness-to-hand.

    Heidegger writes that the “helpless way in which we stand before [the broken equipment] is a deficient mode of concern, and as such it uncovers the Being-just-present-at-hand-and-no-more of something ready-to-hand” (73). When we notice that something is unready-to-hand, that a equipment is broken, it then enters a mode of obtrusiveness, a mode whose level is determined by the urgency of our need of its readiness-to-hand. “The more urgently…we need what is missing, and the more authentically it is encountered in its un-readiness-to-hand, all the more obtrusive…does that which is ready-to-hand become” (73). Thus, if some equipment is urgently required for me to complete an assignment and I find that it is un-ready-to-hand and unusable, then this damaged equipment becomes the most important thing in the world for me.

  9. Being and Time, Intro. pt 2

    Section 5: The Ontological Analytic of Dasein as Laying Bare the Horizon for an Interpretation of the Meaning of Being in General

    – begins by questioning how we are to “set our sights” on Dasein as something accessible to us and as something to be understood and properly interpreted

    – states that while Dasein is ontically closest to us — for we are it — it is ontologically that which is furthest from us, for Dasein understands itself in terms of the entity which it relates to, and this is constant. Therefore, the way in which Dasein is interpreted relates to the way in which the entity views the world — it is ontologically reflected.

    – in light of this, it is obvious that the nature of Dasein is concealed from it. But pre-ontologically it is no stranger to us, for, as stated in Part 1, we have an inherent (though vague) understanding of what is meant by the term ‘being’.

    – since Dasein is related to the entity which it “may possess it at the time”(p.37). Therefore, it is subject to change or various interpretations; “this understanding develops or decays […and…] there are many ways in which it has been interpreted”(p.37.)

    – Points to the discrepancies, then, of Dasein’s existentiality (actual existence) to its “existentiell primordiality” (the way in which it is perceived to exist; it’s ontic understanding).

    – states we must find Dasein not by assigning dogmatic interpretations of what we perceive to be the obvious choice of Being’s definition, but by finding Dasein “in its average everydayness”(p.38) i.e. we must find the essence of Dasein

    – while we can let our interpretations guide us, we must not take them as the foundation of being.

    – however, while analyzing the everydayness of Dasein will give us information with regards to its entity, it is only provisional, for it does not inform us of its meaning.

    – states that we will define temporality as the meaning of being, and we will do so by interpreting structures of Dasein as “modes of temporality”(p.38)

    – “time needs to be explicated primordially as the horizon for the understanding of being, and in terms of temporality as the Being of Dasein, which understands being.” (p.39)

    – we now need to explain what we mean of time.

    – states that time, similar to Being, is inherently understood while still lacking proper definition.

    – “… our treatment of the question of the meaning of Being must enable us to show that the central problematic of all ontology is rooted in the phenomenon of time, if rightly seen and rightly explained, and we must show how this is the case”(p.40)

    – by attempting to understand Being in terms of time, “Being itself […] is thus made visible in its ‘temporal’ character”(p.40). However, now we cannot define ‘temporally’ as ‘being in time’ (as that would be rather cyclical).
    – this points us to our next direction: we must work out the Temporality of Being

    Section 6: The Task of Destroying the History of Ontology
    – explains that the history of Dasein is not something which is simply understood after it has passed, but it is something that is before it, for any history is simply something as it were.

    – “whatever the way of being it may have at the time, and thus with whatever understanding of being it may possess, Dasein has grown up both i n t o and i n a traditional way of interpreting itself: in terms of this it understands itself proximally and, within a certain range, constantly. By this understanding, the possibilities of its being are disclosed and regulated. Its own past–and this always means the past of its ‘generation’–is not something which follows along after Dasein, but something which already goes ahead of it.” (p.41)

    – since Dasein interprets itself by means of time, it is obvious that Dasein understands itself historiologically. Therefore, we must question the history of inquiries pertaining to Dasein.

    – states that Dasein is susceptible to being deluded by the tradition in which we understand Dasein. This then conceals the fundamentals of Dasein, itself, and creates the illusion that reevaluating Dasein is a non-problem.

    – “Dasein has had its historicality so thoroughly uprooted by tradition that it confines its interest to the multifority of the possible types, directions, and standpoints of philosophical activity in the most exotic and alien of cultures; and by this very interest it seeks to veil the fact that it has no ground of its own to stand on.” (p.43)

    – reiterates the misunderstanding of Dasein through tradition, and states that “when Dasein understands either itself or Being in general, it does so in terms of the ‘world’, and [the] ontology which has thus arisen has deteriorated to a tradition in which it gets reduced to something self-evident — merely material for reworking”(p.43).

    – now Heidegger aims to retraces the origins of Dasein, bracketing all misinterpreted pseudo-understandings of Dasein, such that we are able to distinguish the nature of Being.

    – to do this, we must examine previous understanding of being, understand the questions posed that would enable such an understanding, and understand why such an understanding would be deemed appropriate within its context. We must then pose whether or not each understanding has been viewed in times of temporality. It is stated that Kant is the sole philosopher to ever have done this

    – sets to examine Kant’s doctrine of time, and says that we are to show why Kant “could never achieve an insight into the problematic of Temporality”(p.45) :

    – “he neglected the problem of Being”
    – “he failed to provide an ontology with Dasein as its theme or (to put this in Kantian language) to give a preliminary ontological analytic of the subjectivity of the subject.”

    – Also, in addition to this, Heidegger criticizes Kant for “[taking] over Descartes’ position quite dogmatically”(p.45), and using time in the traditional sense, and not in the sense that Heidegger believes it is to be defined by should it function adequately in our pursuit.

    – Heidegger then criticizes Descartes’ for omitting the definition of “the sum”. Then states that we will begin by examining where, essentially, Descartes went wrong.

    – states that Descartes was “‘dependent’ upon medieval scholasticism and employed its terminology”. Therefore, we must, too, understand the meaning and the limitations of this ontology. “In other words, in our process of destruction we find ourselves faced with the task of Interpreting the basis of the ancient ontology in the light of the problematic of Temporality.”(p.47)

    – after doing this, then, Heidegger believes “it will be manifest that the ancient way of interpreting the Being of entities ir oriented towards the ‘world’ or ‘Nature’ […] and that it is indeed in terms of ‘time’ that its understanding of Being is obtained.”(p.49)

    – then states that ancient ontology usually infers that Being is “essentially determined by the potentiality for discourse”(p.49). i.e., in our discussion pertaining to various things, we overlook the nature of the things’ states of being. That is why, he continues, Plato’s ontology turns into ‘dialectic’.

    – states then that something’s presence at hand, in its being present at hand, is misinterpreted for its being; “Those entities which show themselves i n this and f o r it, and which are understood as entities in the most authentic sense, thus get interpreted with regard to the Present; that is, they are conceived as presence”(p.48)

    – states that the Greeks try to understand time as separate from Being, in that they try to understand the being o f time, and base this understanding off of their naive understanding of being (which was expressed to be inherent and naive in part 1).

    – views Aristotle’s essay on time to be the first essay truly addressing the phenomenon of time, and has shaped the way in which many after him (including Kant) view it, and thus it is crucial to analyze Aristotelian concepts of time.

    Section 7: The Phenomenological Method of Investigation
    – defines the expression ‘phenomenology’ as “a methodological conception”(p.50).

    – after detailing the origins of phenomenology, Heidegger differentiates between the way in which something is perceived (i.e. the way it seems) and the way in which it is (i.e., its Being).

    – “If we are to have any further understanding of the concept of phenomenon, everything depends on our seeing how what is designated in the first signification of ______ (‘phenomenon’ as that which shows itself) and what is designated in the second (‘phenomenon’ as semblance) are structurally interconnected.” (p.51)

  10. Heidegger’s Being and Time: Division I Chapter IV

    The primary concern of chapter IV of Being and Time is that of the “who” of Dasein. Heidegger provides a brief reminder from §9 regarding the “mineness” of Dasein, “Dasein is an entity which is in each case I myself; its Being is in each case mine” (114) and this is its constitution. In asking after the “who” of Dasein ontically, the answer is given in terms of the “I”, the subject, and the Self. This is what “maintains itself as something identical throughout changes in its Experiences and ways of behavior, and which relates itself to this changing multiplicity in so doing” (114). For Heidegger, characterizing the “who” of Dasein in terms of the I is “ontically obvious,” (115) but interpreting it ontologically is problematic, because it can never be done in isolation. Heidegger’s task is then to offer an ontologically appropriate examination of Dasein-with in its everydayness, and the species to which it belongs.

    To answer the “who” of everyday Dasein, we need to analyze the kind of existence at which Dasein is itself proximally and for the most part. Heidegger will use a similar “orientation” as he did in chapter III’s discussion of Being-in-the-world—”that basic state of Dasein by which every mode of its Being gets co-determined” (117). In chapter III, Heidegger argues that in the environment that is closest to us, we encounter equipment that is ready-to-hand. What is new in chapter IV is the reference to Others that is inherent in the work that is accomplished by such equipment. That is to say, we encounter the others for whom the work is intended. Heidegger here provides an instructive example:
    When, for example, we walk along the edge of a field but ‘outside it’, the field shows itself as belonging to such-and-such a person, and decently kept up by him; the book we have used was bought at So-and-so’s shop and given by such-and-such a person, and so forth. The boat anchored at the shore is assigned in its Being-in-itself to an acquaintance who undertakes voyages with it; but even if it is a ‘boat which is strange to us’, it is still indicative of Others. (118, italics mine)
    Thus, an essential feature of equipment in the world is that it fosters myriad references to other people. Further, Heidegger is suggesting something about the identity of Others. “When material is put to use,” says Heidegger, “we encounter its producer or ‘supplier’ as one who ‘serves’ well or badly” (117). The field is tended by a farmer, ‘So-and-so’ is characterized by his ownership of a bookstore, and the boat undertakes voyages that are captained by an Other. Thus the farmer, bookstore owner, and the captain are judged in terms of the role that they fulfill in society, and in terms of how well or poorly they perform such roles. Heidegger will say a little later that “Others are encountered as what they are; they are what they do” (126). For Heidegger, then, identity is decided by function. Moreover, the way in which we encounter Others is not the same way that we encounter equipment ready-to-hand or Things that are merely present-to-hand. The Being of Others is the kind of Being as Dasein itself, and thereby Others are ‘in’ the world by Being-in-the-world.

    Heidegger wants to be specific about what he means by Others in order to escape misunderstanding. By ‘Others’ “we do not mean everyone else but me — those over and against whom the ‘I’ stands out. They are rather those from whom, for the most part, one does not distinguish oneself — those among whom one is too” (118). Heidegger here is proposing an understanding of Others such that there is no precise dissimilarity between oneself and Others. By understanding Others in this existential way, the world is always the one that I share with Others; “The world of Dasein is a with-world. Being-in is Being-with Others. Their Being-in-themselves within-the-world is Dasein-with” (118). In this way, since the farmer is a farmer by virtue of his farming, in like fashion I appear to Others by virtue of my function, the role that I fulfill in society, and how well or badly I perform it.

    We do not encounter others merely as person-Things that are present-at-hand, rather, we meet them “‘at work’, that is, primarily in their Being-in-the-world” (120). Others are encountered environmentally, and “Dasein finds ‘itself’ proximally in what it does, uses, expects, avoids — in those things environmentally ready-to-hand with which it is proximally concerned” (119). Understanding environment as a “contextual involvement” that signifies the everyday world of Dasein, it is in this everyday world that we encounter Others ‘at work’, fulfilling their societal roles. Even if an Other is simply “just standing around,” he is not to be understood as some present-to-hand Thing, but “his ‘standing around’ is an existential mode of Being” (120).

    Even when a human being is alone in isolation from Others, he or she is still inextricably tied to the Being-with. “Being-with is an existential characteristic of Dasein even when factically no Other is present-at-hand or perceived. Even Dasein’s Being-alone is Being-with in the world” (120). For Heidegger, then, one cannot remove him or herself from the fundamental shared character of the world.

    Heidegger’s understanding of Others as “those among whom one is too” (118) gains greater consequence in his discussion of the “they”. Heidegger says of this “real dictatorship of the ‘they’” that:
    We take pleasure and enjoy ourselves as they [man] take pleasure; we read, see, and judge about literature and art as they see and judge; likewise we shrink back from the
    great mass’ as they shrink back; we find ‘shocking’ what they find shocking. The ‘they’, which is nothing definite, and which we all are, though not as the sum, prescribes the kind of Being of everydayness. (126-7)
    Since “every Other is like the next” (126) and we are to consider ourselves as Others in the eyes of Others, this “they” functions as a kind of structural ordering of everyday life in that it prescribes the Being of everydayness. Heidegger indicates the averageness that is a fundamental existential characteristic of the “they”, in which this “they” consists of an averageness that regards things as valid and invalid. The “they” then is a prescription of societal norms and behaviors that one participates in as Other. In the Being of everydayness we are necessarily in a shared world with a common awareness and understanding of what can and cannot be done, “what can and may be ventured,” (127) and thereby our interactions with Others in the world are, in some sense, determined. In instances of “exceptional” or perhaps deviant behavior, averageness “thrusts itself to the fore,” (127) and we are reminded of this averageness of behavior that we conform to.

  11. Ethan Lewis
    Dr. Peter Gratton
    Phenomenology 3920
    November 6th, 2014

    Chapter IV

    – Begins by asking “who it is that Dasein is in its everydayness” (p.114). This is the question this section aims to answer.
    – To do this, this chapter will be divided into three sections:
    1. An approach to the existential question of the “who” of Dasein
    2. The Dasein-with of Others, and everyday Being-with
    3. Everyday Being-one’s-Self and the “they”

    Section 25: An Approach to the Existential Question of the “Who” of Dasein
    – Heidegger begins this section by restating the idea that “Dasein is an entity which is in each case I myself; its Being is in each case mine”(p.114).

    – he then posits the idea of psychological continuum: “The ‘who’ is what maintains itself as something identical throughout changes in its Experiences and ways of behavior, and which relates itself to this changing multiplicity in so doing” (p.114).

    – he follows this by stating that even if one denies one’s “soul substance” or the Thinghood of consciousness, ontologically one cannot deny that one must still be in order to reject these ideas
    => Descartes

    – Heidegger then warns us not to let ourselves be deluded by the apparent obviousness of what we previously asserted: “It could be that the ‘who’ of Dasein just is not the ‘I myself'”(p.115).

    – after commenting further on this apparent obviousness (subtly critiquing Husserl while doing so), Heidegger then questions whether or not this ‘giving-itself’ of Dasein will lead us astray in our aim.

    – in a fashion opposite to Descartes, however, Heidegger then poses whether or not Dasein’s constitution (the fact that it is in each case ‘mine’) is the very reason why, “proximally and for the most part, Dasein is not itself”(p.116).

    – he then states that although it is always ontically correct to say that ‘I’ am Dasein, perhaps ontologically we must make reservations about our usage of such terms in general, as to not confuse separate matters.
    – Heidegger provides a great example of the possible confusions regarding this when he suggest the situation where someone has ‘lost themselves’. Although one, upon reflection, may look back at certain instances and question who it was that did the things that they did, regardless of how such a question is answered, the entity who committed whatever act is in question certainly did not lack any ‘I-hood’ at the time, and therefore ‘I’, in this case, is not an exact representation of the self.
    – “the ‘not-I’ is by no means tantamount to an entity which essentially lacks ‘I-hood'” (p.116)

    – he then reiterates the necessity of further investigation of supposedly ‘obvious’ principals, and states (in agreement with Husserl) that, likewise to “a bare subject without a world” never being proximally, an ‘I’ without Others “is just as far from being proximally given”(p.116). He then states that we must, similar to the initial question of Being, first construct the appropriate question “existentially and ontologically”, and concludes the section by stating that “man’s substance is not spirit as a synthesis of soul and body; it is rather existence”(p.117).

    Section 26: The Dasein-with of Others and Everyday Being-with
    – begins by answering the question left previously unanswered in section 25;
    ” The answer to the question of the ‘who’ of everyday Dasein is to be obtained by analysing that kind of Being in which Dasein maintains itself proximally and for the most part.”

    – since “our investigation takes its orientation from Being-in-the-world,” which was stated to be the basic state of Being that will explicate all its modes of Being, in a way this state has, too, prepared us to tackle the “who” of Being, as it is also a mode of Being.

    – Heidegger then refers back to his idea of equipment, stating that by encountering various equipment (or tools), we encounter He who aims to use said tools, as well.

    – he makes the distinction, however, that in our encountering of these tools, the idea of he who aims to use them is not merely “added onto” them. Rather, we encounter these tools as ready-to-hand for an Other, except in our encountering of them, they are outside of the Other’s readiness-at-hand.

    – explicitly states, however, that our encountering of the Being that belongs to the Dasein of an Other is not the same as our encountering of an object’s readiness-at-hand or presence-at-hand.

    – thus, in this distinction, Dasein is said to “free” entities from the world, as it is shown that other Beings in the world are in the world by way of their “Being-in-the-world” — that is to say, that in the same fashion that we perceive Others as distinct from objects ready or present-at-hand, we, in a sense, elevate said Others above such things, as within their Being exists the same capacity to make the distinctions we ourselves make. “They are like the very Dasein that frees them, in that they are there too, and there with it.”

    – this weaves in the idea of one’s ownness to the encountering of an Other

    – he then makes clear what is meant by ‘Others’; Others are not everyone else but me, but rather, an Other is he who I, myself, cannot distinguish as myself, yet is still an ‘I’ to them.

    – Heidegger then states that our Being-with-others is not simply Being present-at-hand-along-with-others, but rather “this ‘too’ means a sameness of Being as circumspectively concernful Being-in-the-world”(p.118). This then supports Heidegger’s idea that, in accordance with Husserl, our Being-in-the-world is always a Being-with-others.

    – this Being-with-others, then, is Dasein-with

    – furthermore, when an Other is encountered, they are not distinguished as that which is not proximally present-at-hand then discriminated, and they are not distinguished solely as “the opposite pole of a distinction [that] first gets ascertained”(p.119). Rather, “they are encountered from out of the world, in which concernfully circumspective Dasein essentially dwells”(p.119).

    “Others are encountered environmentally. This elemental worldly kind of encountering, which belongs to Dasein and is closest to it, goes so far that even one’s own Dasein becomes something that it can itself proximally ‘come across’ only when it looks away from ‘Experiences’ and the ‘centre of its actions’, or does not as yet ‘see’ them at all. Dasein finds ‘itself’ proximally in what it does, uses, expects, avoids — in those things environmentally ready-to-hand with which it is proximally concerned”(p.119).

    – Heidegger then relates this idea back to his notion of spatiality.
    – “when Dasein explicitly addresses itself as ‘I here’, this locative personal designation must be understood in terms of Dasein’s existential spatiality”(p.119). That is to say, that when Dasein addresses itself as “I here”, it is not to be understood in terms of Cartesian coordinates or Newtonian space, but rather is meant to be understood “in terms of the ‘yonder'” of Dasein’s world; it is to be understood with relevance to its circumspective concern.

    – notes that when Dasein refers to itself as here, it designates itself as being proximal to whatever holds its concern. This, Heidegger states, is further validation for his notion of spatiality.

    – reiterates the idea that we do not encounter the Other as a Person-thing present-at-hand, but rather as they are in their Being, which is an existential mode of their Being. We encounter them as “an unconcerned uncircumspective tarrying alongside everything and nothing. The Other is encountered in his Dasein-with in the world”(p.120).

  12. Heidegger, Being and Time, Part I, Division I, Chapter V, §35, §38

    §35. Idle Talk
     Heidegger makes it clear that he is not going to use ‘idle talk’ in any kind of disparaging manner
    ~ Rather, ‘idle talk’ is representative of ‘the kind of Being of everyday Dasein’s understanding and interpreting’ (167). In other words, idle talk is how Dasein exists is in the world in an ordinary sense
     He says that ‘in language, as a way things have been expressed or spoken out,’ there is a hidden way in which the ‘understanding of Dasein has been interpreted’ (167)
    ~ No more present-at-hand than language, but is actually just itself the ‘character of Dasein’
    ~ Dasein is, without sounding dramatic, at the mercy of its interpretedness
    – Interpretedness “controls and distributes the possibilities of average understanding and the state-of-mind belonging to it” (167-168)
     Language (despite how varying it can be, despite a multitude of ways of articulating the same thing) ‘preserves an understanding of the disclosed world’ and within that, an understanding (‘equiprimordially’) of the Dasein which is with Others and one’s own Being-in the world (168)
     This understanding is deposited (word choice implies placement which is purposeful but
    not necessarily voluntary or noticed) in the way things are expressed
     Now Heidegger wants to move on, ‘beyond a bare allusion’ in order to ‘inquire about the existential kind of Being of that discourse which is expressed and expresses itself”
    ~ If this discourse is not conceived as something present-at-hand, then what is its Being? ~ What does this reveal about Dasein’s everyday kind of Being?  COMMUNICATION – discourse which expresses itself
    ~ aimed at bringing those who hear it to take part in disclosed Being towards whatever topic is under discussion
    – Average intelligibility; the discourse is well understood even when the hearer is not fully participating;
    – We do not really understand the entities which are being talked about
    – We are listening only to what is ‘said-in-the-talk’ as such
     We understand THE TALK, but we understand WHAT THE TALK IS ABOUT only superficially and approximately (168)
    ~ Hearing and understanding have ‘attached themselves beforehand’ to what is said-in- the-talk as such
    – Relationship-of-Being toward the entity under discussion is not imparted by communication, but communication, and concern for what is said-in-the-talk is where Being-with-one-another takes place.
    – The actual talking is a matter of consequence
    ~ Since the Relationship-of-Being to the entity under discussion is not primordially understood, the discussion takes place in the form of gossip or of passing the word along
    – Takes on an authoritative character: ‘things are so because one says so’ (168)  Initial lack of grounds transitions to complete groundslessness
    – can also be in the form of writing, not just vocal
     All leads to difficulty for the ‘average understanding’ in discerning between that which is primordial understanding and that which is the result of idle talk taking on an authoritative nature (169)
    ~ and the average understanding does not want or need to discern between the two because ‘of course, it understands everything’ (169).
     ‘Discourse, which belongs to the essential state of Dasein’s being’ and is a part of Dasein’s disclosedness, easily becomes idle talk
    ~ Idle talk does not open the world for us in an articulated understanding, but closes it and covers-up the entities within the world
     “Yet the obviousness and self-assurance of the average ways in which things have been interpreted, are such that while the particular Dasein drifts along towards an ever- increasing groundlessness as it floats, the uncanniness of this floating remains hidden from it under their protecting shelter” (170).

    §38. Falling and Thrownness
     Recaps that idle talk, curiosity and ambiguity (§35-37) characterize the everyday manner in which Dasein is its ‘there’ – disclosedness of Being-in-the-world.
    ~ As ‘definite existential characteristics’ these make up Dasein’s Being, but are not present-at-hand in Dasein (175)
     In these characteristics, there is revealed an everyday kind of Being which is called the “falling” of Dasein
    ~ Again, Heidegger clarifies he doesn’t mean the word in a disparaging manner, but says it means that Dasein is alongside the ‘world’ of its concern
    – lost in the ‘publicness’ of ‘they’ (bottom of 175)
    – fallen out of an authentic potentiality and into the ‘world’
     An absorption in Being-with-one-another, guided by idle talk, curiosity, ambiguity – inauthenticity of Dasein
    – But not inauthentic like ‘Being-not-in-the-world’, merely absorbed in a ‘world’ of inauthenticity
    – Groundsless floating
     He moves through a process of distinguishing between authentic and inauthentic existence and comes to the conclusion that “authentic existence is not something which floats above falling everydayness; existentially, it is only a modified way in which everydayness is seized upon” (179)
     Falling “constitutes all Dasein’s days in their everydayness” not some nocturnal view of Dasein
    ~ Wants to avoid Interpretation which makes ontical assertions about the ‘corruption of human Nature’, not because there isn’t evidence, but because the problems of this Interpretation are prior to any assertions about corruption or incorruption
    ~ Falling doesn’t assume a motion from incorrupt to corrupt, merely a motion between world views and Dasein’s Being-in-the-world

  13. Conor Arsenault
    Dr. Peter Gratton
    Philosophy 3920
    25 November 2014
    Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex – “Woman’s Situation and Character” (p. 567 – 588)
    In this section of The Second Sex, de Beauvoir begins by explaining that woman’s condition has remained the same for thousands of years. This condition, which determines woman’s character, is “not dictated to woman by her hormones nor predetermined in the structure of the female brain;” it is dictated by her situation, that is, the situatedness of woman (567). In this section, then, de Beauvoir makes a thorough (and repetitive) description of woman’s situation. In doing so, she lists numerous aspects of it, most times bringing them back to her argument that society has always been patriarchal and that women have always been and are still treated as subordinate to men.
    – De Beauvoir says that woman can “settle down nowhere in peace;” though she may be in her feminine world, this world is always within the masculine universe (567).
    – Woman is inferior to man, and dependent on man. Much of her life consists of waiting, as she is so dependent on man.
    – Further, de Beauvoir says that woman is passive :“Shut up in her flesh, her home, she sees herself as passive before these gods with human faces who set goals and establish values,” that is, men (568).
    – De Beauvoir calls woman the “eternal child;” she also attributes this to workers, black slaves, and colonial natives, often having no choice but to respect the laws that are laid down for them (568).
    – Woman has “no grasp on the reality around her,” de Beauvoir explains (568). Heidegger said that the world is “an assemblage of implements,” that is, the world is full of things to be used, but de Beauvoir says that this does not apply for woman; for woman, the world is unconquerable and mysterious (568).
    – Having to do kitchen and household activities, and similar monotonous work, continues to teach woman patience and passivity. De Beauvoir goes on to say that time is not a novelty for woman, as she is so used to routine; woman is “doomed to repetition” (569).
    – Woman cannot understand masculine logic, and regardless if woman could understand it, “a syllogism is of no help in making a successful mayonnaise…” (569).
    – Woman does ‘nothing’; she daydreams, she is happy being content. “Her head is filled with a strange jumble;” she would rather accept something she does not understand than try to understand it herself (569). Further, de Beauvoir explains that woman judging for herself is of no use as she has been taught to accept masculine authority. She quite simply leaves it to men to figure things out.
    – In speaking of French Generals that were popular with women, de Beauvoir said that women accepted them “not through sound judgment but by an act of faith – and faith gets its fanatical power from the fact that it is not knowledge: it is blind, impassioned, obstinate, stupid; what it declares, it declares unconditionally, against reason, against history, against all denial” (570). Despite the attack on faith here, it is concluded, then, that when woman accepts things she does so by faith and not by reason.
    – De Beauvoir states that “woman takes no part in history;” as should seem obvious by now, she believes that this is a man’s world (570).
    – De Beauvoir says that woman does not like change; women were the most passionate of all the southerners in upholding slavery, for example. She argues that women carry strong opinions and vocalize them due to their inactivity, that is, so they can at least somehow be involved.
    – De Beauvoir makes a reference to the Principle of Might – women accepting that ‘might makes right,’ that is, the most powerful are those who should rule, thus accepting their subordination to men.
    – Woman, due to her situation, is “born to suffer,” and “nothing can be done about it” (571).
    – Although de Beauvoir says this, she states that “when women are called upon for concrete action, when they recognize their interest in the designated goals, they are as bold and courageous as men” (572). Women are just as able to do things that men do, they are often just not given the chance to or they simply do not bother to.
    – De Beauvoir says that women are reproached for servility, frivolity (lack of seriousness), laziness, and mediocrity.
    – De Beauvoir argues that woman’s “situation leads her to attach extreme importance to her animal nature,” or lower nature, especially in regards to man using woman as an object, specifically a sexual object (573).
    – There is a slavery parallel to be recognized; woman is treated as man’s slave.
    – Further, de Beauvoir states that “man is at once the sole means and the sole reason for living” for woman, whereas woman is just one part of man’s life (573).
    – Next, de Beauvoir says that woman is “occupied without her ever doing anything, and thus she identifies herself with what she has,” that is, material goods she owns (574).
    – It is argued that woman cannot even feel security in her home, as it is still governed by the male; woman is dominated at all times.
    – Woman, knowing she cannot revolt against man, continues to live in her situation although she is unhappy in it. De Beauvoir says that woman is so used to her situation that she would rather nothing in her situation change.
    – Woman is thrown in the world and into her situation; woman has no choice in the matter.
    – De Beauvoir argues that “woman wants to have the man she hates close at hand so she can make him pay,” as he is a man and represents the masculine universe (577). Life and men have conquered woman, and thus she gets revenge any way she can, such as deliberately showing up late to a pre-set bedroom engagement.
    – De Beauvoir talks about crying, saying women are educated to believe that they are allowed to let themselves cry when they need to, unlike men. Woman cries, de Beauvoir says, because she is treated with injustice, and “the fact that her sobs infuriate the male is another reason for sobbing” (577).
    – De Beauvoir once again says that woman is like an eternal child, as woman acts like a child with her outbursts. She seems to attribute women’s tantrums to the fact that they know they are insubordinate and powerless.
    – Woman constantly protests about her injustices, de Beauvoir says. She notes, though, that woman can commit suicide or start anew, but they more often than not stay with the man who is the source of their injustice.
    – Woman think there is no fixed truth; masculine morality is a “vast hoax,” as man states his code of virtue but does not even follow it (581). Man’s relation with woman, de Beauvoir says, lies outside the moral realm; man can do whatever he wants with woman.
    – This, of course, is hypocritical. Further, de Beauvoir argues, men want their wives to be faithful, but they ask other women to commit adultery with them. Men also say abortion is criminal but make woman they impregnate get them. Lastly, men say women who prostitute themselves are wrong but men who use them are not.
    – Woman is the Other; woman is an object, and man likes it this way.
    – De Beauvoir argues that woman needs man to have dignity. Women must have sex with their husbands, but de Beauvoir states that this exploits women, as in many cases the woman must do what will pleasure the man without her pleasure being fulfilled, due to her situation: “None of woman’s traits manifest an originally perverted essence or will: they reflect a situation” (584).
    – De Beauvoir argues that building up a counter-universe, where woman can challenge man, does not work, as woman, although how much man bothers her, still respects man. Further, one of the most crucial aspects of woman’s situation is her dependency on man.
    – De Beauvoir compares woman’s situation to the beliefs of the Stoics, enduring the subordination of them to man.
    – Woman “craves a good that is a living Harmony in the midst of which she is placed simply by virtue of being alive,” this “concept of harmony is one of the keys to the feminine universe” (588).
    – The world is not harmonious, though, and woman’s situation is insufficient for woman to be a happy and self-mastering human being.
    – “The Good cannot be considered something that is: the world is not harmony, and no individual has an essential place in it” (588).

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