One of the most vexing

Ξ August 6th, 2007 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Misc |

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    One of the most vexing questions raised by Husserl's yet unpublished Seventh Cartesian Meditation is that of the relation between the familiar (and -- in spite of some recent positivistic carping about trivialities like consistency and meaningfulness -- obvious) principle of the noematico-epochosynthetic correleticity and the Seventh Meditation's new and radical (1) [see endnote] principle of analysis-by-systematic-destruction-of-all-meaning (destitutive analysis). As is well known, Husserl scholarship in this area is sharply divided between the followers of Husserl's last and most faithful assistant, Johann Lebenswelter, and those of Husserl's most acute French critic, Marcel Gaston-Gaston. Until recently it was thought that this polar opposition stemmed from the different interpretive principles employed by the two scholars: Lebenswelter faithfully taking as fundamental the principle that "Husserl always means what he says, even when he says he doesn't," (2) and Gaston-Gaston, on the other hand, asserting that "Husserl never means what he says, especially when Lebenswelter thinks he does." (3) However, recently (4) the two men both agreed with Husserl's own assertion (5) that the two principles are equivalent for texts written after 1859. (Husserl regards his works prior to that year as mere "juvenile exercises.")

    However, the disagreement remains and, to get to the heart of the conflict, let us at once examine a passage in the Seventh Meditation that has been the focal point of the dispute. (6)

    "By referring to destitutive analysis, we must not be understood as intending (in the sense of radical directedness-to-a-preliminary-perceived objectivity) to imply that, speaking -- as always -- strictly within the finite-infinite limits of transcendental apodicticity, the object 'part-whole synthesis' is even partially reducible to the noematic correlate of affective suspension (in the sense of ideally intended noesis subsumed and founded by the epoche). (7) For, although this is, of course, the case, our concern is this realm of a fully concrete living of the a priori, is, as we have repeatedly said, solely to lay bare the horizontal quasi-content of this analysis' teleology. Here we may invoke Descartes' realization (fundamentally uninformed and absurd as it was, being formulated in a reasonable and intelligible way for the first time in our Logische Untersuchungen and even there still lacking the proto-foundation of a full scale synthetic analysis on the level of transcendent egologicism) that some things (res) are hard to understand." (8)

    According to Lebenswelter, we can understand this pregnant (9) passage only by applying a destitutive analysis to its own thought (what Lebenswelter acutely calls a "constitution-by-springing-back-upon-oneself"). This leads to a formation of a destitutional noema expressing, as Lebenswelter says, the essential destitution of the passage. As those familiar with the unwritten Ideen IV (perhaps Husserl's clearest work) will immediately realize, this destitution implies the eidetic mutual transcendence of all principles, including that of noematico-epochosynthetic correlaticity relative to that of destitutional analysis.

    Gaston-Gaston accepts, as he says in a daring adaptation of terminology, "the hyle but not the morphe of this analysis;" that is, "What it says is correct, but what it does not say is not corrrect." According to him, we can remedy this deficiency only by trying to not-say, not what Husserl said or did not say, but what he did not not-say. However, this is not as easy as it seems. ...


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