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Saturday, July 10, 2021

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>Note first that 'inexistence' does not mean non-existence. This is a very common mistake made by most analytic philosophers, including my worthy sparring partner.

You should retract that. I have exhaustively researched the scholastic roots of Brentano's formulation. It not clear entirely what Brentano means, but probably he means something similar to the Latin "inesse" - literally 'inbeing', but I have found no Latin formulation similar to the German "intentionale Inexistenz".

>Jupiter is the intentional object of my act.

Thank you for confirming that.

To clarify on what needs retracting. Of course 'inexistence' does not mean non-existence, it means something like the Latin 'inesse' or 'inbeing', I am not saying to retract that.

What I mean is that I have never made the common mistake you ascribe to "most analytic philosophers". For obvious reasons I have always known the scholastic roots of Brentano's formulation.

So would be obliged if you delete "including my worthy sparring partner".

You're right. I apologize. I deleted the offending phrase.

Thank you.

Hi Bill,

I have thought about these issues for some time, though without formalizing my thoughts in any specific way.

I am inclined to think that we have to distinguish between “existence” and whatever quality it is that makes a thing accessible to intentional thought. Perhaps we can name this latter quality “givenness.”

I think Jupiter is a given object, which is a presupposition of our being able to think about him and talk about him, but he does exist in actuality. Whether he is a possible or impossible given object is a separate matter of investigation. But he is given, since we can be intentionally related to him by thought.

What do you think about this?

Hi Steven,

The problem is to reconcile the following propositions.

1. Jupiter does not exist extramentally.
2. Jupiter does not exist intramentally.
3. One cannot just think; to think is to think of something: it is to be directed to an object that is distinct from the subject, his acts, and any other immanent contents, e.g. hyletic data.(Exception: reflection.)

I take it you accept all three of these propositions. Perhaps you are saying this: to think of the god Jupiter is to be related to a transcendent non-existent item that is 'there' whether or not anyone thinks of him. If you say this, then you have to abandon the very plausible assumption that a relation obtains only if all its relata exist. You have to agree with R. Grossmann that some genuine dyadic relations are such that the one term (relatum) exists while the other does not.

What you are suggesting is a Meinongian solution to the problem which would be rejected both by Brentano and by Husserl.

But how intelligible is it to say that there are transcendent items that are not nothing but yet do not exist at all? (Distinguishing between exisence and being will not help.)

Chisholm, inspired by the later Brentano, would reject (3) and take an adverbial approach. To think of Jupiter is not to stand in relation to a nonexistent object, but to think jovianly. It is to think in a certain way. If this makes sense, then one has eliminated reference to an intentional object.

This of course has its own problems.

“the very plausible assumption that a relation obtains only if all its relata exist”

It’s not a plausible assumption if we hold that some things do not exist, i.e. if we separate the concept of ‘thing’ from the concept of ‘existing thing’. Suppose that ‘aRb’ is true, and that a exists but b doesn’t. Then a is related to something, namely b. So there are two things, namely a, and the other thing, namely b. It’s just that the other thing, b, is a non-existent thing. So the assumption is not plausible. If ‘aRb’ signifies that something is related to another thing, and that b is something even if b does not exist, then it is false that the relation obtains only if a and b exist. All that is required is that they both be something.

By contrast, if we hold that everything is an existing thing, then the assumption above is plausible. For if nothing is the referent of ‘b’, then if follows that a is related to nothing, i.e. not related to anything. Then we can infer only one thing, a, and ‘aRb’ is false.

I shall touch on this later.

Ost,

You understand the dialectic.

Consider this survey question put to professional philosophers of the last 150 years: "Which is more plausible to you, that no relation obtains unless all of its relata exist, or that intentionality is a genuine relation that in some instances relates an existent to a nonexistent?"

What answer would you expect?

Bill,

3. One cannot just think; to think is to think of something: it is to be directed to an object that is distinct from the subject, his acts, and any other immanent contents, e.g. hyletic data.(Exception: reflection.)

But can't you be directed towards something without it being there (or, for that matter, being at all(? I'm feeling a bit problem-blind.

But how intelligible is it to say that there are transcendent items that are not nothing but yet do not exist at all? (Distinguishing between exisence and being will not help.)

Does Husserl, and in particular Logical Investigations Husserl, ever say this?

>Consider this survey question put to professional philosophers of the last 150 years

Was this an actual or hypothetical survey?


Question: "Which is more plausible to you, that no relation obtains unless all of its relata exist, or that intentionality is a genuine relation that in some instances relates an existent to a nonexistent?"

I would expect that any philosopher who holds that 'something' implies 'something existing' would hold that no relation obtains unless all of its relata exist, and reject the alternative. Other philosophers of a 'Continental' bent might reasonably hold that, since the relation has some relata, albeit non-existing ones, then it is a genuine relation.

OZ,
Hypothetical. What you say it is not wrong but your are missing the point. How would the majority of philosophers answer the question?

Cyrus,

>>But can't you be directed towards something without it being there (or, for that matter, being at all(? I'm feeling a bit problem-blind.<<

Well, a direction can be specified without there being any destination or terminus. Example: a ray in geometry. The ray starts from a point, but then extends infinitely in some direction. But a direction towards something must have a terminus.

I can shoot my gun downrange without aiming at anything. The projectile moves in a direction but not at anything. Thinking is not like that. To think of the golden mountain is not to think of the fountain of youth. Ifyou tell me that the GM has no being at all, then I don't know what that means. How does it differ from nothing at all.

Can there be a pure Sosein, a pure essentia? Must not an essentia have an esse essentiae even if it des not have an esse existentiae?

>>Does Husserl, and in particular Logical Investigations Husserl, ever say this?<< No, but Meinong does, and the passage from LI points in a Meinongian direction.

Bill,

You write: But how intelligible is it to say that there are transcendent items that are not nothing but yet do not exist at all? (Distinguishing between exisence and being will not help.)

I think that you, as a good metaphysician, are taking “exist” to be the most fundamental “quality” (loosely said) of a thing, i.e. that which distinguishes it from utter nothingness.

But my proposal is precisely that it is not existence but rather givenness that is most fundamental. Givenness is presupposed by our being able to think and talk about a thing. But something more is added when we discover that it exists.

Steven,

To my mind that makes no sense. Given to whom? If Jupiter is given to the subject who thinks of him, then givenness is a relational property, and Jupiter is not transcendent. If, on the other hand, givenness is monadic, then 'givenness' is just another name for being or existence.

>How would the majority of philosophers answer the question?

I've no idea. My suggestion was that analytic types would give one answer, and that Continental types the other. The total number of 'votes' would depend on which side had the majority.

I see. Thanks for clarifying.

Vorsein, perhaps.

Bill:

To my mind that makes no sense. Given to whom? If Jupiter is given to the subject who thinks of him, then givenness is a relational property, and Jupiter is not transcendent. If, on the other hand, givenness is monadic, then 'givenness' is just another name for being or existence.

I'm not sure it makes sense for Logical Investigations Husserl, but it might make sense in terms of Husserl's views about intersubjectivity and objectivity in some of his later work (e.g. Cartesian Meditations), so that givenness is the most basic "quality", and transcendent existence = givenness for all (or "all" within the various stipulations Husserl gives in, e.g. the Meditations).

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