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Wednesday, December 19, 2012


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Thanks for the response. There is a lot in the above and, due to other commitments (i.e. thesis work), I am only able to touch on a few points at this time. I will note that I was particularly interested in discussing the relation between truth and coherent experiences (which arose in your post), especially in connection between two sense of truth, found both in Heidegger and Husserl: truth as correspondence and truth as ‘uncovering’. However, I could not get my thoughts together on these matters so as to make a succinct post.

I hope the following stimulates some thought.

I do not think that I simply assumed that ‘veridical experience’ is just coherent experience. Rather, my view is that the meaning of the term ‘veridical experience’ finds its ‘fulfillment’ in the experience of coherent experiences. You define ‘veridical experience’ as an experience that is about or of an object that exists whether or not the experience exists. From this definition, you claim, it follows that the existence of the object cannot be explain by it manner of appearing. We may not disagree on this point, and perhaps I will agree that phenomenology is incapable of analyzing all aspects of existence, but I maintain that it can tell us a lot. It is important to highlight the distinction between actual appearances and possible appearances. Not all actual objects are objects of actual appearances but surely all actual object are objects of possible appearances, and possible coherent appearances (I am leaving aside the ‘problem’ with scientific posits such as electrons). That actual objects can become objects of coherent experiences, I take it, is a necessary condition of all objects that can be known about. This is because all cases of knowing include such coherent experiences as necessary components. Since phenomenology, as conceived by Husserl, is an eidetic science, and thereby is the study of possibilia, then certain necessary properties of actual objects, i.e. that they can be experienced, is well within the domain of phenomenology. Nevertheless this is not all there is to actual object and to existence.

The possibility that phenomenology is limited as a study of existence arises when we consider that there is nothing within the essence of an experience that demand that it be harmonious. In other words, the actual harmony of the world is a contingent, a remarkable, fact. Can phenomenology say anything about this facticity? If we follow Husserl, and descend from the noesis-noema correlation towards more fundamental structures, we reach the ‘world’ of the hyle. The question becomes: why do these sets of hyle motivate these interpretive forms so as to lead to the constitution of a coherent world? Even here, however, all that is phenomenologically possible is more descriptions of *how* this occurs. Perhaps this is the place where philosophy break off and religion takes over? That is what I tend to think. I am especially doubtful that logical analysis can shed light on these levels, primarily because I take logical analysis to be concerned with constituted objects and to be incapable of describing these foundational levels (if you accept that there are such). The risk is that such an analysis turn the pre-objective into the objective; the constituting world into the constituted world. Michel Henry, Husserl and Merleau-Ponty, for me, are the philosophers that have tried to wrestle with these levels prior to the constituted objects. I am not saying that this constitution is occurring from the side of the subject; precisely not because the subject is itself something constituted in relation to the object.

It is this surplus, this contingency, that leads me to think that phenomenology does not lead to idealism. After all, subjectivity is not sufficient to constitute the world, and this implies that there must be more to it than that.

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