Friday, August 24, 2007

Windowless Monads?

"The Monads have no windows," says Leibniz. Kojima's monadology offers an alternative view of the monad, yet it is not so easy to disect his argument. He says, "Transcendental consciousness cannot enter and be confined in my monad without windows, contrary to the traditional opinion of Leibniz and Husserl, insofar as transcendental consciousness is essentially intersubjective (or intentionally associative) and open to the other" (Monad and Thou, p. 115). However, Kojima does not conclude that because transcendental consciousness is intersubjective therefore the monad must have windows. Rather, he argues that "in order to perform the ownness [Eigenheit] reduction and realize the enclosed monad, it is necessary not only to exclude the entire intentionality of the other ego and the other ego as transcendence, but also to constitute the 'world with unseen sides' through suspending my own transcendental consciousness itself" (ibidem, my emphasis). That is, he argues that the agent of the ownness reduction is not the transcendental consciousness but "the pregiven Leib [lived body] with its own consciousness" (ibidem). Transcendental consciousness has the ability to constitute the body as object (Körper), but never the body as it is lived. Yet if the lived body is able to discover that it belongs to somebody exclusively, it still is not clear to me in what sense we can talk about the lived body as being enclosed, or as being essentially windowless. Before jumping to the argument that life is essentially open, I'd like to take a closer look at what Kojima is saying to clarify the scope of our disagreement, if there is in fact one.

Of course, in the natural world the intentionality of the other is made anonymous in many cases, and it is even less likely to appear as pure immanence in the monad like the body of the other did. However, as a matter of fact, in order to make the intentionality of the other emerge in its proper mode, precisely the ownness reduction to my primordial sphere is indispensible. Then the monad is completely closed to the intentionality of the other except in its ontic meaning, insofar as, and only insofar as, the monad is the pregiven world centered on the Leib (and not on the Leib-Körper). Against this closedness of the monad the intentionality of the other appears, not simply as intentionally transcendent meaning, but rather as something breaking through its closedness, or as the penetration from transcendence into immanence. This is the phenomenon called the "look." The look is the emergence of the intentionality of the other itself by way of its meaning, as it is recognized most evidently in the case of penetration into my monad.

(p. 112, my emphasis)

It seems that here Kojima is saying that the monad has windows onto the ontic meaning of the other, though it cannot be interpreted except by passing through an ownness reduction that does not take place in the transcendental sphere. (This is Kojima's main disagreement with Husserl, who holds that the ownness appears in a transcendental sphere; see Cartesian Meditations, § 44.) So I note here one exception to the enclosure of the monad. There is, I think, another.

Now the transcendental other emerges as the "look" to my deepened monad as the genuine primordial sphere; it breaks through the completeness of my monad from the outside. Immediately corresponding to it, my transcendental consciousness breaks through the wall of the monad from the inside, mediated by my somatic ego, which has been dormant in the monad, holding the ontic meaning of the other, and posits the Körper of myself and others upon the There in cooperation with the invading transcendental others in order to establish the common objective world. At this point everything is objectified in the open horizon and even my monad disappears and appears only appresentively as mood.

(p. 116)

Kojima says in a footnote, "Mood is the monad appresented through objective space. Therefore it always contains the nuance that expresses one's accessibility to one's own concealed monad" (p. 236, No. 22). I find this very suggestive. Is it possible that the monad not only has windows onto the ontic meaning of others, but also a door (mood), a way of stepping in and out of the monad?

The following passage shows what Kojima sees as being at stake in a reduction to a primordial ownmost sphere of the monad:

[T]ranscendental intersubjectivity (with its sole objective world) and monadic individuality are not completely mediated by the Leib-Körper ego. Rather, these two strata embrace and influence the somatic ego from the top and bottom respectively, so to speak, in an immanent-transcendent way. Thus the life-world is not the simple field of the incarnation or the self-realization of transcendental reason, as Husserl thought. No light of reason could illuminate the very depths of monadic individuality. The dark foundation that supports the life-world from the bottom allows no simple rationalization. The life-world, or the somatic ego inhabiting it, is nothing other than the "contact point" of rationality and irrationality, as well as the "field of struggle" of both.

(p. 118)

In this passage it seems that there is a windowless quality to the monad since no "light of reason" can penetrate it. To talk about the openness of life in Kojima's terms we would be dealing with the somatic ego and not the monad. On the other hand, Kojima's monad appears to be pervious to the ontic meaning of the other, in the form of the look. And we can step out of the monad in the form of a mood that always carries the nuance of the monad's accessibility to us. I am ultimately unable decide whether Kojima's monads have windows (or doors). If they do have windows, they are not windows in the ordinary sense of allowing all light to pass through them. They are screened, allowing only the ontic meaning of the other to pass through.

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posted by Fido the Yak at 11:33 AM.


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