Sunday, October 14, 2007


I became distracted while reading Patočka's review of Husserl's ideas on the grounding of experience in ideas. The distraction concerns an example of a material or content eidos. It is claimed that the eidetic singularity note C has as its highest region the "acoustic as such" (Introduction, p. 74). However, possibly the note C is regionless, i.e., the "region" of middle C is vibration as such, which is not a region but the universe itself. Hazrat Inayat Khan says:

If the whole creation can be well explained, it is by the phases of sound or vibration, which have manifested in different grades in all their various forms in life. Objects and names and forms are but the expression of vibrations in different aspects. Even all that we call matter or substance, and all that does not seem to speak or sound–it is all in reality vibration.

(The Mysticism of Sound and Music, p. 18)

A bygone generation of anthropologists spoke of founding myths. Another generation spoke of key symbols and dominant metaphors. An ethnography of free thinkers remains virtually unimaginable, an ethnography of philosphers much less so. A musicology of philosophic vibrations can perhaps also be imagined. However intriguing such projects might be, it is doubtful that philosophers would agree to accept any grounding from outside their discipline. So I am critical of the attempt to ground fields of knowledge in anything outside of their own universes of meaning. I guess I believe that not everything can be known. At the same time I am not committed to the philosophies of utter groundlessness. I'm merely taking notes.

Having been distracted, I now return to Patočka's critique of Husserl's attempt to ground experience in the eidetic. Patočka accepts the idea of an eidos but draws some different conclusions. I quote a passage at length because it touches on several themes I've been reading about over the past year.

The grounding of experience in its facticity is not the same as grounding it in its contingency. This grounding in facticity does not proceed within the immanent realm of thoughts and imaginations but rather represents thought transcending its immanent domain, beyond the contents that are subject to our free variation together with the emphasis on what is coextensive. In such grounding, thought aspires to the means with whose aid it can move even beyond its most immanent domain. The point here is to think the radically other, the different, and yet not make it a mere matter of thought. The object must not become a mere object of imagination and thought, and yet it must be thought. In this sense, the relation of mind to facticity is not merely the relation of the necessary to the contingent within which the necessary is contained as one of its possibilities.

Perhaps we need to think the relation to fact most of all inversely as well: it is fact as such, in its radical irreducibility to the universal of whatever content, that presents the mind with the stimulus and opportunity to unfold its factual freedom of breaking free of mere givenness as such. This factical freedom, the possibility of not being content with present givenness, of not being bound to it, then unfolds in the activity of comparison, into the access to ideas, in the "constitution" of idealities which in reality are always bound to their factical foundation.

That is, this detachment from the given always presupposes the given and can never be so complete that it could fly over it and get an overview of all its structures and concealments. We are not reaching the material from which worlds are formed, the possibilities from which a creator selects, but rather are freeing ourselves from the particular for its cohesion, its unity, its coherence; we construe and project the nongiven on the basis of the given.

(pp. 84-85, Patočka's emphasis)

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posted by Fido the Yak at 9:24 AM.


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