Sunday, August 05, 2007


Kojima calls attention to the following section from Husserl's Crisis (I'm using Carr's translation because its handy):

We perform the epochē–we who are philosophizing in a new way–as a transformation of the attitude which precedes it not accidentally but essentially, namely, the attitude of natural human existence which, in its total historicity, in life and science, was never before interrupted. But it is necessary, now, to make really transparent the fact that we are not left with a meaningless, habitual abstension; rather, it is through this abstention that the gaze of the philosopher in truth first becomes fully free: above all, free of the strongest and most universal, and at the same time most hidden, internal bond, namely of the pregivenness of the world. Given in and through this liberation is the discovery of the universal, absolutely self-enclosed and absolutely self-sufficient correlation between the world itself and world-consciousness. By the latter is meant the conscious life of the subjectivity which effects the validity of the world, the subjectivity which always has the world in its enduring acquisitions and continues to actively shape it anew. And there results, finally, taken in the broadest sense, the absolute correlation between beings of every sort and every meaning, on the one hand, and absolute subjectivity, as constituting meaning and ontic validity in this broadest manner, on the other hand.

(§ 41)

For Kojima Husserl's thinking here marks a repudiation of his earlier Cartesianism, which is stunted by a premature "return to the subject." Kojima comments, "It is remarkable that here the consciousness produced by the epoché is no longer called pure consciousness but rather a world-consciousness, and that the correlation between consciousness and the world is emphasized rather than the self-sufficiency of consciousness itself" (Monad and Thou, p. 41). However, whereas Husserl stresses the freedom of the philosopher from the pregiven world, Kojima stresses the ineluctability of the world even in and through the epoché, and he designates this world as pregiven, as prethetic. Kojima turns to Husserl's argument in Experience and Judgement that the world is a precondition of all praxis, including the praxis of life and the praxis of cognition, and he criticizes Husserl for not seeing the full meaning of this argument:

We may ask, however, does Husserl adequately grasp this world [of world-consciousness] in truth? Indeed, he attained a quite correct recognition of pregivenness, indubitable certainty, and the passivity of the world. However, he fails, it seems, to gain an authentic insight into the profoumd relevance of the "pre-thetic" character of the world insofar as we can tell from Experience and Judgement. As a result he did not discover the prethetic self (Existence) thematically as the necessary indubitable correlate of this world. His regress to the ideal region of "transcental subjectivity" begins anew.

That he did not recognize the authentic meaning of the "pre-positionality" of the world is clearly shown by the fact that he identified this world immediately with the life-world, the field of intersubjective daily praxis. However, as he himself acknowledged elsewhere, this world is the precondition or the universal basis of all praxis; therefore it is the precondition or the basis of the life-world and is not the life-world itself.

If we confuse the reduction of the pre-thetic world with the reduction to the life-world, the pre-thetic self will inevitably become entangled in a chaos of various theses through the reduction, among them the kinesthetic thesis. According to this account Husserl must again refrain from any commitment to the general thesis of the world and must insist on the reduction to solitary transcendental subjectivity as the second stage of the epoché, as can be seen in First Philosophy and in the Crisis. As a result, the life-world, including the psychological ego, becomes an integration of intentional objects that must be constituted by transcendental subjectivity alone, though on the basis of an anonymous pregivenness. One cannot deny the (somewhat lukewarm) resonance of Cartesianism even in Husserl's latest period of thought.

(pp. 46-47)

I recall that for Husserl of the Cartesian Meditations the intrinsically first being is transcendental intersubjectivity (§ 64), so in one sense the discovery of world-consciousness is a minor modification of Husserl's phenomenology. Perhaps the key issue revolves around what steps one takes to discover the first being and then what steps one takes after such a being has been discovered. And yet we may wonder at why Husserl didn't discover existence as the "necessary indubitable correalate of this world" if indeed such is the case. What qualities does existence have (worldliness, disposition, a relation to others) that transcendental subjectivity lacks? Can we discover these qualities through the epoché, or does the phenomenological method require that we return to the subject?

Before I get to Kojima's conclusions, I want to explore a few of the ramifications of his analysis so far. The first ramification is that the thesis of intentionality is undermined. Consciousness, according to Kojima, is consciousness of the pregiven world before it is consciousness of something (p. 44). Is this simply to say that the horizon is a universal originary fact of consciousness? Well, Kojima's model for world-consciousness is not perception but imagination. This, I think, ties into another elaboration of his analysis, concerning the problem of embodiment.

Renaud Barbaras, as you may remember, holds that embodiment pertains to the subject because the structure of phenomenality demands it (see The Uniqueness of the World). Kojima puts forward a similar kind of argument, but whereas Barbaras would have us broaden our understanding of perception to get to this point, Kojima sees phenomenality as the business of the imagination. As I understand it, Kojima is saying that embodiment is an aspect of thrownness, and the agent of throwness is our old friend transcendental subjectivity. Hmm. It's a little difficult for me tell where Kojima's critical interpretation of Husserl leaves off and his own thinking begins. Let me recount what he says on the matter.

At this point we are aware that this stage of transition from the pre-thetic, pregiven world to the general thesis of the life-world, on the side of the world, must correspond exactly to that of the transition from the pre-thetic self to the transcendental corporeal (somatic) ego, on the side of the subject. The pre-thetic self as the primordial form of Existence is necessarily thrown into the common general-thetic world by the radical reflection of transcendental subjectivity, and it is given the kinesthetic vestment of voluminosity (body-schema) and becomes a corporeal ego. This voluminosity or spatial corporeity of the ego accompanied by the nonreflective transcendental consciousness is able to constitute a similar voluminosity analogically around any image given from the world at a stroke through the transcendental principle of coupling. This is to say that to constitute an object in the life-world we need no complete sythetic convergence of images. A certain image will associatively call up an optimum image and then, tout à coup, an inner horizon will be established around it through transcendental coupling (what Husserl describes in section 38 of the Cartesian Meditations as primal foundation or Urstiftung through passive synthesis seems to coincide with this, at least as a result).

Therefore, the pre-thetic world and the pre-thetic self do not suddenly disappear even in the establishment of the general thesis of the life-world by transcendental subjectivity. Rather, the pre-thetic world remains as the dimension of the optimum image of the object and its meaning, and the pre-thetic self remains as the dimension of imagination and projection.

(pp. 49-50)

Kojima has intended to show that the proper agent of transcendental reflection is not the transcendental ego, as Husserl believed, but the somatic ego (p. xii). Its puzzling that he says this and then posits a thrownness into corporality by the radical reflection of a transcendental subjectivity. Kojima's somatic ego appears to be more a creature of phenomenality than a being defined by its existential thrownness into the world. Well, I have my doubts. He concludes:

We are not primal transcendental subjectivity as an ego that is able to posit everything including its own essence, nor are we primordial world-Being as a nature-monad that produces everything in its own image. We are rather a Being-in-between with double subjectivities, defined by both extremities, whose somatic inbetweenness should be the theme of investigation for future philosophy....

(p. 63).

I don't how far I'd travel down that road, but I reckon that Kojima is right in noticing world-consciousness as a problem and in seeing its relation to the problem of embodiment.

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posted by Fido the Yak at 1:28 PM.


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