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Saturday, March 13, 2021


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Hi Bill,

Thanks for posting this. I'm glad you're enjoying Henry so far!

One brief comment. When Henry talks about objective bodies which appear in the world, I think most of the time he is talking about the worldly object after the phenomenological reduction. Although this is a contentious point, I don't think Henry believes in material bodies in the sense of the materialism that Berkeley was arguing against: mind-independently existent res extensa entirely describable in terms of primary qualities. He would say that all those things presuppose the more basic fact of the appearing of the objective body, so that the phenomenological is the basis of the scientific. Cf. Material Phenomenology, p. 3. I think one of the general points that Henry makes in Incarnation is that the worldly, empirical body makes no sense except if understood as a visible representation of an invisible living self.


Suppose there is transcendental auto-affection in beings like us and that is a condition of the possibility of sensing things like tables. My point is that this can't be the whole story: physical contact between my merely material body and the merely material table is also a condition of possibility. My materiality cannot be pure flesh and the table's materiality pure body with the two separated by an abyss. Furthermore, these seem to be eidetic points that hold whether or not we perform the phen. reduct. In other words, it is arguably of the essence of tactile sensation in the case of me and my table that one of the terms of the relation be sentient but that both be in part non-sentient. My materiality cannot be exhausted by my sentience or by my transcendental flesh.

Wild stuff!

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