edmund-husserl

Nicht von den Philosophien sondern von den Sachen und Problemen muß der Antrieb zur Forschung ausgehen.
— 

The motivation to do research must not originate from the philosophers, but from the things and problems.

Edmund Husserl (1859 – 1938), Austrian-German philosopher, mathematician, and founder of phenomenology

There is indeed no seeing of a physical thing that would not be ‘imperfect’ … Perception of something physical, in conformity with its essence, includes indeterminations — but includes them.
— 

Husserl, Ideas II, 176/185.

In seeing something from one side, we view it “imperfectly.” Yet perception itself includes these “imperfections.” We apperceive them. Yet it’s difficult to tell whether Husserl, by saying our perception “includes them,” thinks objects can be completely given. In one sense, we grasp the whole and nothing exceeds the presence of the thing. In another sense, the object always exceeds its presence, can never be given completely, withdraws.

Every experience, Husserl things, “includes specific imperfections.” Even though the inner life and sensations of an animal (for instance) cannot be given except mediately, they do “presence” for Husserl. They “are there,” he writes. We perceive this inner life, yet always only indirectly.

Yet even if the inner life of the animal withdraws, even if we cannot have “their current sensations or sentiments,” Husserl would maintain that we could have “the same” sensations through a similar situation, by interacting with the same objects (for example). Perhaps our optical organs are different, but if communication is possible, he thinks that any two human beings can reach common grounds. We have experience as a common basis.

Perhaps we could even speak of the experience of withdrawal? The experience of a distance between our experiences and the experience of the other? Perhaps the difference lies in a matter of emphasis. 

MBTI & Ideas
Intuition (N) and “abstracting from a variety of possible instances”

“Under intuition, however, Husserl includes not only sensory perception, in seeing physical objects (or hearing, touching, smelling, tasting things), but also “seeing” or having “insight” about essences or essential truths, (…)

On Husserl’s theory of intuition of species, then, I grasp the species Red by considering in imagination the similarities among various red objects, each bearing its own instance of Red.

By abstraction from a variety of possible instances of Red in various objects, I grasp intuitively the species Red itself. (…)

My judgments are supported by intuitive evidence – today we speak of “pattern recognition.” (…)

Well, as we organize our extant knowledge about eucalyptus trees (drawn from perception and inference), we imagine varying properties, concluding that some properties are characteristic of eucalyptus and others are not, given our actual observations of such trees.

Our observations lead us to conclude, as we vary characteristics in imagination, that individual trees may vary somewhat from the norm. (…)

Intuition of essences is, then, is not a simple, single experience of suddenly “seeing” how things are.

It is, rather, an experience of grasping, with intuitive evidence, how things are, given prior experiences and background beliefs, many of which are part of our collective development of knowledge about objects falling under a certain essence.”

Source: Husserl (David Woodruff Smith, 2013)

See also: Siddhartha Mukherjee

See also: Oliver Sacks

See also: Hannah Arendt: “every metaphor discovers ‘an intuitive perception of similarity in dissimilars’ and, according to Aristotle, is for this very reason a ‘sign of genius’

What was lacking, and what is still lacking, is the actual self-evidence through which he who knows and accomplishes can give himself an account, not only of what he does that is new and what he works with, but also of the implications of meaning which are closed off through sedimentation or traditionalization, i.e., of the constant presuppositions of his [own] constructions, concepts, propositions, theories. Are science and its method not like a machine, reliable in accomplishing obviously very useful things, a machine everyone can learn to operate correctly without in the least understanding the inner
possibility and necessity of this sort of accomplishment? But was geometry, was science, capable of being designed in advance, like a machine, without an understanding which was, in a similar sense, complete-scientific? Does this not lead to a regressus in infinitum?
—  Edmund Husserl, The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology

“Consciousness is just consciousness “of” something; it is its essential nature to conceal “meaning” within itself, the quintessence of “soul,” so to speak, of “mind,” of “reason.” Consciousness is not a title-name for “psychical complexes,” for fused “contents,” for “bundles,” or streams of “sensations” which, meaningless in themselves, could give forth no “meaning,” however compactly massed they might be; but it is “consciousness” through and through, the source of all reason and unreason, all right and wrong, all reality and illusion, all value and disvalue, all deed and misdeed. Thus consciousness is *toto caelo* from that which sensationalism takes it solely to be, from what in point of fact is in itself meaningless, and irrational material, though capable, to be sure, of rationalization. What this rationalization amounts to is a point which we shall soon learn better to understand.“

Edmund Husserl - Ideas: General Introduction to Pure Phenomenology.
Translated by W. R. Boyce Gibson, p. 231

Compared to the absolute knowledge we ascribe to God the creator, one says to oneself, our knowledge in pure mathematics has only one lack, i.e., that, while it is always absolutely self-evident, it requires a systematic process in order to bring to realization as knowing, i.e., as explicit mathematics, all the shapes that “exist” in the spatiotemporal form. In respect to what exists concretely in nature, by contrast, we have no a priori self-evidence at all. The whole mathematics of nature, beyond the spatiotemporal form, we must arrive at inductively through facts of experience. But is nature in itself not thoroughly mathematical? Must it not also be thought of as a coherent mathematical system? Must it not be capable of being represented in a coherent mathematics of nature, precisely the one that natural science is always merely seeking, as encompassed by a system of laws which is “axiomatic” in respect of form, the axioms of which are always only hypotheses and thus never really attainable? Why is it, actually, that they are not? Why is it that we have no prospect of discovering nature’s own axiomatic system as one whose axioms are apodictically self-evident? Is it because the appropriate innate faculty is lacking in us in a factual sense?
—  Edmund Husserl, The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology
Life on the level of nature is characterized as a naïvely direct living immersed in the world, in the world that in a certain sense is constantly there consciously as a universal horizon but is not, merely by that fact, thematic. Thematic is that toward which man’s attention is turned. Being genuinely alive is always having one’s attention turned to this or that, turned to something as to an end or a means, as relevant or irrelevant, interesting or indifferent, private or public, to something that is in daily demand or to something that is startlingly new. All this belongs to the world horizon, but there is need of special motives if the one who is caught up in such a life in the world is to transform himself and it to come to the point where he somehow makes this world itself his theme, where he conceives an enduring interest in it.
—  Edmund Husserl, Philosophy and the Crisis of European Man (1935)
Galileo, the discoverer-or, in order to do justice to his precursors, the consummating discoverer-of physics, or physical nature, is at once a discovering and a concealing genius. He discovers mathematical nature, the methodical idea, he blazes the trail for the infinite number of physical discoveries and discoverers. By contrast to the universal causality of the intuitively given world ( as its invariant form), he discovers what has since been called simply ,the law of causality, the “a priori form” of the “true” (Idealised and mathematized) world, the “law of exact lawfulness according to which every occurrence in "nature"­ Idealized nature-must come under exact laws. All this is discovery-concealment, and to the present day we accept it as straightforward truth. In principle nothing is changed by the supposedly philosophically revolutionary critique of the "classical law of causality” made by recent atomic physics. For in spite of all that is new, what is essential in principle, it seems to me remains: namely, nature, which. is in itself mathematical; it is given in formulae, and it can be interpreted only in terms of the formulae.
—  Edmund Husserl, The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology
According to Husserl’s theory, all that exists is the perception of the cat. And the cat itself? Well, we can just do without it. Bye-bye kitty. Who needs a cat? What cat? Henceforth, philosophy will claim the right to wallow exclusively in the wickedness of pure mind. The world is an inaccessible reality and any effort to try to know it is futile. What do we know of the world? Nothing. As all knowledge is reflective consciousness exploring its own self, the world, therefore, can merrily go to the devil.
—  The Elegance of The Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

Paterson is a philosophical film that points toward gratefulness

In constructing this sort of world, Jarmusch does a little gentle philosophical prodding of his own. Walking Marvin one night on his way to the bar, Paterson hears a rapper (Method Man) in a laundromat practicing in front of a spinning washer. The rapper trips and stops, then mutters to himself, “No ideas but in things, no ideas but in things.”

That’s a quotation from [William Carlos] Williams and a mantra for imagism, but it also mirrors a dictum from Edmund Husserl, the 19th-century philosopher who more or less founded phenomenology, in which philosophers begin with the sensations of lived experience — the feeling of the shoes on feet or, presumably, the matches on the kitchen counter — and work their way out to the significance. Husserl’s maxim was to go “back to the things themselves,” to encounter the world on its own terms by observing the feelings it provokes in us. In doing so, phenomenologists believe, we more fully grasp the nature of our existence, and gain the tools to live better lives.

That’s what Paterson does throughout Paterson: He observes the simple design of the matchbox or the beer at the bottom of his glass, and then observes the emotion it provokes in him, and turns it, quite literally, into poetry.

The result is not angst. Paterson and Laura are not wealthy; they live in a small house in a working-class city and don’t have a lot of extras. Their lives are, by most accounts, very small. But they love and support each other, and their contentment — even when things go wrong — works its way into Paterson’s poetry as gratefulness.

Did Paterson’s poetry give him this lens of grateful compassion on his world? Or did he become a poet because he learned it, or felt it intrinsically? Was it the days of listening to people’s stories and living with Laura? Or was it learning to observe and write down feeling?

Paterson doesn’t give answers, but it holds a lot of wisdom regardless. Jarmusch directs our attention through Paterson’s and gives a glimpse of goodness that’s in short supply, both onscreen and in the real world. Paterson’s own poetry, following Williams, has the ability to make readers see the world in a new way. In making Paterson, Jarmusch has pulled off the same feat.

It must be recalled again that the ancient skepticism begun by Protagoras and Gorgias calls into question and denies episteme, i.e., scientific knowledge of what is in-itself, but that it does not go beyond such agnosticism, beyond the denial of the rational substructions of a “philosophy” which, with its supposed truth-in-themselves, assumes a rational in-itself and believes itself capable of attaining it. According to skepticism, “the” world is not rationally knowable; human knowledge cannot extend beyond the subjective-relative appearances. Starting from this point (for example, from Gorgias’ ambiguous proposition “There is nothing), it might have been possible to push radicalism farther; but in reality it never came to this. The skepticism which was negativistically oriented toward the practical and ethical (political) lacked, even in all later times, the original Cartesian motif: that of pressing forward through the hell of an unsurpassable, quasi-skeptical epoche toward the gates of the heaven of an absolutely rational philosophy, and of constructing the latter systematically.
—  Edmund Husserl, The Crisis of European Sciences, translated by David Carr