(2)The enigma of the problem of
Firstly, I would like to sketch the problematic set-up by Husserl along with the description of eThe Idea of Phenomenologyf
(1) Traditionally, philosophy has an enigma of ethe impossibility of the agreement of subject-objectf, namely ethe enigma of the problem of cognitionf. However, since natural science and modern positivistic sciences which bases on the former presuppose ethe agreement of subject-objectf, they donft take the problem into account from the outset.
(2)fThe enigma of the problem of cognitionf has long been proposed by the relativistskeptic. Philosophy which tries to defend the objectivity and universality of cognition, has intended to solve the problem in vain. Consequently, this problem still remains unsolved. And that situation also sustains a strong tendency of relativism in contemporary sciences.
(3) As long as the science of natural thinking@cannot solve the problem, philosophical thinking has to solve the problem and only the method of phenomenology can solve it.
Skepticism doubts all of the basic grounds of cognition. However, it is not that any knowledge cannot hold true, objective knowledge is in fact established in the field of natural science. Consequently, we should rather make an essential consideration about why such an enigma arises. Thus, Husserl provides the following tasks.
Firstly, in order to elucidate the enigma of the problem of cognition we have to establish an essential science of ethe criticism of cognition. However, as cognition in the sciences of the natural kind cannot be valid at all here, we should set up firmly the method of phenomenology.
Secondly, the elucidation of the enigma of the agreement of subject-object must be made in the form of a decisive refutation against the contention of skepticism that all grounds of knowledge are doubtful.
Thirdly, to do that we should take over the method of Descartes; the setting up of ethe primal cognitionf, namely, of the realm of absolutely assured cognitionf.
According to Husserl, the realm of absolutely indubitable eprimal cognitionf will be assured when we once exclude the schema of esubject-objectf, and instead put forth that of eimmanence-transcendencef. Through phenomenological reflection into eimmanent consciousnessf, we can settle an indubitable element in terms of eabsolute givennessf.
However, not just in eIdeasf but in the main works after eIdeasf, the meaning of the schema of eimmanence-transcendencef by Husserl is not quite clear. That is one of the main reasons for causing various different theories about the interpretation of phenomenology.
There are two points.
One is that Husserl succeeded the way of Descartesf ecogitof in elucidating the problem of cognition. That causes the suspicion that phenomenology repeats the solipsistic consciousness-ism. Another is the strong hue of ethe doctrine of groundingf. This also brings about doubt and criticism that phenomenology aims at the traditional truism and the possibility of strict cognition.
However, from our standpoint, no matter how these criticisms might be plausible, we have to say that Husserlfs elucidation of ethe enigma of the problem of cognitionf is completely valid. So, in order to verify that, we should first confirm the basic skeleton of the problem of cognition and next examine the essential schema of phenomenological method by Husserl.
(3) Overcoming the ebelief conflictf (excerpt)
We must answer the following two fundamental questions in order to verify the possibility of phenomenology.
Firstly, isnft Husserlfs attempt to determine ethe realm of indubitability,f which was succeeded from the Cartesian way, a etruisticf project of ethe strict doctrine of grounding?h
Secondly, what is the essence of the new cognitive schema of eimmanence- transcendencef, which was put forth by Husserl who abandoned the traditional schema of esubject-objectf in order to negate the past attempts of grasping the absolute truth?
In modern philosophy,@ethe enigma of the problem of cognitionf was submitted by Descartes as the thesis of ethe impossibility of the agreement of subject-object.f It means the skeptical aporia, saying gThere cannot be correct cognition.h After Descartes, Spinoza represented the metaphysical dogmatism in terms of the world knowledge, and Hume represented the strong skeptical empiricism as the antithesis of Spinoza.
It was Kant who tried to overcome ethe enigma of epistemologyf by creating the essential theory of cognition. He tried to lay the basis of the distinction between the realm of the possibility and the impossibility of the cognition by putting forth the idea of ething-in-itself.f However, his epistemology has a residuum of the theistic worldview in Europe so it could not thoroughly resolve the problem. Since then, this problem had remained in the field of positivism, idealism, and skepticism as an insoluble aporia.
However, the need and necessity of elucidating ethe enigma of the problem of cognitionf is not clear and persuasive enough from Husserlfs description. So I would like to sort out the problem with due considerations to Husserlfs motives.
The task of elucidating ethe enigma of the problem of cognitionf has a determinably significant range not only for philosophical theme but also for human intelligence. We can sort out the possibility of Husserlfs phenomenology into the following two tasks.
(1) The task for overcoming the ebelief conflict.f
(2) The task for creating the escience of essencef (universal philosophy for the meanings).
Modern Europe had two big belief conflicts as important moments for philosophy. One is the conflict between Catholicism and Protestantism, and it became the critical reason for the appearance of modern society. It seemed that modern European intelligence could have put the problem to an end with natural science and philosophy, but it came back on a broad scale again in the 19th century: ideological conflicts in politics, and the conflicts and confusions among academic schools and theories within modern experimental studies, which Husserl called the crisis in European sciences.
Why can we not find the way of solving the problem of belief conflict instead of overcoming it in the realm of human sciences, while there is a development of what is considered as objective knowledge in the realm of natural sciences? This confusion is increasingly serious problem. Against a background of this crisis in human sciences, the tendency of relativism and skepticism is getting stronger in sciences and thoughts. The conflict between Marxism which calls for the exclusively right world view and postmodern thoughts which appeared as the opposing thought against it epitomizes this tendency. It bears the aspect of the replay of the conflict between Spinozan dogmatism and Humean relativism.
Husserl considered Phenomenological essential epistemology as the fundamental methodology of overcoming this theoretical and belief conflict which modern science and thought cannot resolve, and this manifesto is explicitly shown in his book Crisis.
(4) Phenomenology as escience of essencef@(excerpt)
Husserl says in The Idea of Phenomenology that the possibility of emetaphysicsf in a true meaning is dependent on the essential equestion of epistemologyf in phenomenology. What Husserl meant by emetaphysicsf is not in a negative sense but in the most universal ontological meaning.
In Crisis, Husserl insists that although the task of emetaphysicsf in this sense used to be the most essential idea in modern philosophy, modern human science based on positive science has spoiled this idea by eturning away from the questions which are decisive for a genuine humanity.f Namely, emerely fact-minded sciences make merely fact-minded people.f
The concept of ethe science of essencef had to reach the universal and a priori science of human relationship in the life-world. That is to say, it meant the universal science about the occurring meanings and the values in human life (the quest for efundamental occurring of meaningsf in the life-world). This concept is well told in Crisis. According to Husserl, although philosophy has originally started as what included the idea of self-understanding of the existence and life of human beings derived from the Renaissance, this idea has ended up in failure in the mid-19th century.
The fundamental reason of that, Husserl says, lies in the fact that ethe enigma of the problem of cognitionf (this is called ethe enigma of subjectivityf in Crisis) has not been elucidated. This made positivism, whose task bases on ethe agreement of subject and objectf or objectively true knowledge, dominate the idea of European sciences, and made the questions of the meanings and the values of human existence ignored which philosophy should have quested for.
Phenomenology can be by far the foundation stone, which elucidates the eenigmaf by implementing the essential ecriticism of cognitionf and once again opens the way to make philosophy become the universal escience of essencef beyond ethe science of fact.f This is the chief motive of Husserlfs phenomenology shown in Crisis
However, it is hard to say that Husserlfs concept of the science of essence could have been developed in a full-scale manner. This is the reason that ambiguity is found in what Husserl meant by ethe science of essence.f But we can say that what he called ethe science of spiritf (namely human science) does not mean the quest for the fact but for the essence. We can see the concrete image of this in the section of eoriginal formation of meaning in life-worldf in Crisis, or ethe constitution of the spiritual worldf in Ideas II.
Anyhow, Husserlfs phenomenology had a wide range which starts from the fundamental ecritics of cognitionf and ethe essential theory of cognitionf to ethe universal theory of the meaningsf of human world.
The attempt of ethe grounding of the validity of cognition,f which Husserl did as the first step, or especially the emphasis on the concept of ethe absolute givenessf and ethe absolute evidence,f which was submitted against skepticism, made phenomenology misunderstood and criticized by many contemporary thinkers (Ricoeur, Rorty, etc.) as ethe grounding of the absolute truthf or ethe grounding of the strict cognition of objectivity.f Husserlfs phenomenology is understood as the logicism which tries to go back to the old metaphysical truism searching for the ground of the eapodictical truthf by these thinkers.
However, we must say that these criticisms against phenomenology are by far the misconceptions. We can turn down these criticisms by clearly articulating the basic structure of the problem of cognition which phenomenology had tackled, and the eprinciplef which had elucidated this enigma. The reason for that is because the principle which elucidated the enigma is never compatible with the concept such as ethe grounding of the truthf or ethe grounding of the validity of objective knowledge.f
(5)@The fate of skepticism (excerpt)
What Husserl aimed at by elucidation of ethe enigma of the problem of cognitionf was firstly to overcome the problem of ebelief conflictf in cognition, and secondly to reconstruct philosophy again as a universal science of essence.
But before examining these two problems, we should confirm several points about skepticism as an immediate task.
In eThe Idea of Phenomenologyf Husserl argues as below.
In philosophy, it is skepticism that has represented the standpoint of the impossibility (enigma) of cognition. The sciences of natural thinking, having ethe schema of subject-objectf as a basic presupposition, do not bring it into question.
However, in the field of human science (Geisteswissenschaften), no doubt, the definite tendency of the general relativity of sciences emerges in practice, the problem is at issue. But, as long as the modern positivistic human science is based on the foothold of ethe agreement of object-subjectf, it has no way to solve the problem from the very outset. For that reason, Husserl put an emphasis on the way of Descartes refuting skepticism by emethodical doubtf, namely, the way of setting up ethe platform of the absolutely indubitablef
But herefs a misleading context.
In order to elucidate ethe enigma of the theory of cognitionf, we have to find out the ground of the validity of cognition which can fully refute skepticism, therefore, fix the realm of completely indubitable cognition which is suggested by Descartes, that is , the realm of eprimal cognitionf, claimed Husserl.
However, although we understand that finding out the primal cognition means the decisive refutation against skepticism, Husserlfs argument cannot be said to be fully convincing as for why that means the very elucidation of the enigma of the problem of cognition. For, Descartes found out the primal cognition, ecogitof by methodical doubt, but from here, he secured the possibility of eagreement of subject-objectf by proving the existence of God.
If Husserl takes the same way as Descartes, it is no wonder that people think of phenomenology as an attempt at the restoration of strict truism.However, although Husserl and Descartes stand the same position with respect to securing the primal cognition as opposition to skepticism, Husserl is quite different from Descartes in how to ground ethe possibility of universal cognitionf from ethe primal cognitionf. But on this point Husserl didnft explain clearly.
The point in which the principle of Husserlian phenomenology is decisively distinguished from Descartes is that in Husserl the schema of esubject-objectf is completely abandoned, instead, that of eimmanence-transcendencef is set up. And what this schema of eimmanence-transcendencef means is the most crucial problem in phenomenology. In this respect, the method of Husserl is quite different from Kantian etranscendental idealismf as well.
What is the essential meaning of Husserlian phenomenology replacing the traditional schema of epistemology: esubject-objectf with that of eimmanence ?transcendencef? I wound say here, a viewpoint of regarding every eknowledgef not as the correct grasping of eobjective existencef but as ebelieff in objective existence in general.
In other words, the schema of eimmanence-transcendencef means not a viewpoint of how esubjectf meets eobjectf correctly but a method of seizing how etranscendencef is formed in eimmanencef. That is, the method of elucidating the structure of the credibility of ebelief-formingf.
Husserl holds in ethe Ideaf that any thoroughgoing skeptic has, in fact, the tacit belief of his own existence and the existence of the world itself.
That is the tacit existence-credibility about the world itself which everyone has with no exception. ( Husserl calls it ethe general positing of the worldf in eIdeasf, and eUrdoxaf in other case.
As long as a skeptic has the freedom to deny his tacit credibility of the world, it is meaningless to compel him to recognize it. So, Husserl views it that: although no one can prove the objective existence of the world in logic, any one has the eUrdoxaf of the world without exception, so this problem is settles [solved] when we elucidate the structure and the essence of the reason for that situation. (Husserlfs dissertation of eIdeasf from section 30 on is the description of the structure of ethe world-credibilityf.
Husserlfs words in the post script of eIdeasf best shows that phenomenology is the theory of inner ebelief-formationf, namely, the general theory of the credibility-structuref of the world.
sIts (phenomenological idealismfs) sole task and accomplishment is to clarify the sense of this world, precisely the sense in which everyone accepts it-and rightly so-as actually existing. That the world exists, that it is given as existing universe in uninterrupted experience which is constantly fusing into universal concordance, is entirely beyond doubt.t
Schema and the Structure of Formation of
Thus, we have two tasks for the time being;
Firstly, to definitely establish the principleof the method of phenomenological reduction.
Secondly, to make clear how science of essence may unfold based on the method phenomenological reduction.
First of all, what is the principle of phenomenological reduction? I would define it in terms of two main points:
i1)To abandon the Subject-Object schema. That is, we must be free from the schema, according to which a certain object being exists somewhere goutsideh and a@Subject is able to correctly cognize it.@This is what epoche@signifies.
(2)To replace the Subject-Object schema with an Immanence-Transcendence schema. As discussed above, it is essential to understand the fundamental structure where what matters is not how correctly the subject can comprehend the external object (truth), but how cognition (transcendence) is constituted as belief in the <immanent consciousness>.@
In this case, however, the Immanence-transcendence Schema should not be considered as a so-called cognitive constitution theoryin the context of Kantian philosophy. This is here the most important aspect to be confirmed.
Eugen Fink once suggested that the Husserlfs notion of transcendental constitution constantly fluctuates ebetween formation of meaning and creationf As is well known, Landgrebe took this opinion and raised this as one of the most difficult questions of phenomenology. (See eReflection on the Husserlfs constitution theoryf in gThe Basic Problems of Phenomenologyh).
The questions raised by Fink and Landgrebe focus on which should be stressed, spontaneity or passivity, in terms of the notion of gconstitutionh of meaning (noesis) in phenomenology. Does a subject itself give some meaning, or does it come from somewhere beyond the subject? That is the question.
This is however merely a question to be settled by inner reflection, and by no means the matter essentially important for the method of phenomenology. In regard to this question, it is vital to comprehend the difference between the Kantian cognitive constitution theory and the constitution theory of Husserl, both of which tried to grasp the essence of cognition in their own radical ways of thinking.
According to Kant, while no one can know a priorihow the world is, everyone is able to know a priorihow human cognition is gstructuredh. This a priori comprehension alone tells us the boundary line of our world knowledge by means of reason in an essential manner.
Kant insists that human cognition is structured to have a priori forms of sensation, understanding and reason. Sensation itself has a priori forms of time and space, understanding an a priori form of category and reason finally constitutes the formality of ultimate ideas of immortal soul, freedom and a supreme being. We are allowed to know that human reason, i.e., human idea has such a constitution. This is the Kantian theory of cognitive constitution.
This leads to a conclusion that humans are unable to know how the world exists in its ultimate and complete way and that therefore, while the world is reconceptualized as a thing-in-itself , the objectivity of human cognition can be guaranteed only in the context of commonalities of human experiences.
How about Husserlfs epistemology then? It is totally distinguished from the Kantian theory of ecognitive structuref in which human knowledge is regarded as actually structured as such and such.
Briefly looking at the development of European epistemology, Kant first conceived the basic structure of ideas, i.e., sensitivity, understanding and reason and their respective formalities. This conception was however immediately dismissed by a succeeding great philosopher, Georg Hegel. The essential framework of Hegelian epistemology consists of being, essence and conception, with categoriesconsidered to evolve around this structure. It is to be noted that, taking a notion of category (framework of thinking) for example, how to understand it is extremely varied from philosopher to philosopher.
The notion of constitutionused by Husserl refers to the way we <constitute> transcendence from immanence. However, what this constitution of transcendence from immanence means is not very clear, because in the first place the conception of transcendence allows for a number of ambiguous interpretations.
The word transcendence is frequently used in Husserlfs texts, and can be interpreted in many ways. When it is said that act of consciousness in immanence is to gconstituteh transcendence, what does it mean? This constitution is generally understood as a constitution of the meaning of an objective being (noema). In other words, we may say that constitution is the way we cognize what an object is.
The problem is however what this cognition means. As has been seen above, cognitive constitution theory, Husserlfs conceptions of constitution and transcendence are always ambiguous: it is by and large impossible for Husserlfs readers to grasp what these conceptions exactly mean by studying the commentaries and interpretations of various Husserlian scholars. Transcendence is at one time understood as something which is not immanent or real, at another time as that which transcends subject or its experience, and yet at another time as something similar to eEkstasef (ecstases) in Heidegger. The reason why the conception of constitution cannot be established is because the concept of transcendence itself has never been satisfactorily defined.
Now I would like to express my own view: Husserlfs notion of transcendence should be understood as
the belief of the existence of an object <constituted> within a
subject. In other words, without
taking this very view, it must be very difficult for anyone to understand in
what principle Husserl unraveled the puzzle
of the question of cognition.
Since I already wrote several books on this subject, here I would mention merely some of collateral evidence without plunging myself into a detailed demonstrative discussion. However, I would like to go into detail on another important aspect, that is, what kind of comprehension is made possible by my own interpretation of the essence of Husserlfs phenomenology.
sIn contradistinction, as we know, it is of the essence of the physical world that no perception, however perfect, presents anything absolute in that realm; and essentially connected with this is the fact that any experience, however extensive, leaves open the possibility that what is given does notexist in spite of the continual consciousness of its own presence "in person." According to eidetic law it is the case that physical existence is never required as necessaryby the givenness of something physical, but is always in a certain manner contingent. This means: It can always be that the further course of experience necessitates giving up what has already been posited with a legitimacy derived from experience.Afterwards one says it was a mere illusion, a hallucination, merely a coherent dream, or the like.t ( eIdeasf 46@translated by F. KERSTEN)
Section 46 of gIdeash as quoted above is one of the most important parts of the text discussing the relationship between immanence and transcendence. Here Husserl first emphasizes that, in the domain of immanent perception, gthe real existence hconfirmed there gcannot be denied in principleh. He then insists that in contrast, in the domain of transcendent perception, i.e. the world of things, a cognition of whatever seemingly complete and unsuspicious object never gives something absolute in essence..
If we attempt to replace his notion of transcendence@with some words understandable to everyone, the words can be nothing other than a belief of the existence of an object. On this assumption, I believe I can paraphrase the account of Husserl as follows.
All of what we consider as the objective world of things is eventually our belief, that is, our belief of existencewhich is constituted (formed) within our subject(immanence). However vastly our experiences extend, whatever consistent, realistic and unchangeable sense of reality fills our flow of experience, one cannot eliminate in principle the possibility that the thing is not real. However rich and vivid an experience is, one can never deny that it could have been a dream. On the contrary, whether it is dream or not, it is absolutely impossible to deny that we have lived the experience as our immanence (mental process). We therefore maintain that, while immanencegives something absolute, transcendence (belief of real existence) can always be doubted in nature.
Reality in the real world (=transcendence), that is, our belief of real existence is intrinsically guaranteed only by the fact that a continuous /harmonious unity is steadily maintained in the flux of our experiences. There is however no promise that this continuous harmony could permanently stay, so that variability constantly abides with this belief of real existence. That a reality which has never been doubted so far suddenly changes and become deprived of its validity may happen anytime as it is an intrinsic nature to the domain of transcendence..
If we understand Husserlfs notion of transcendence as a belief-formation of the world, the existence of an object and the way an object exists, his notions of validity and constitution will also become crystal-clear. Let us give another example.
sccpoint to a universal conformity to laws of structure on the conscious life, a regularity by virtue of which alone truth and actuality have, and / are able to have, sense for us. To be sure, that objects in the broadest sense (real physical things, subjective processes, numbers, states of affairs, laws, theories, and the rest) exist for me is a statement that says nothing immediately about evidence; it says only that objects are accepted by me - are, in other words, there for me as cogitata intended in the positional mode: certain believing.t(CM26)
It seems to me that the text given above can be interpreted in no other way than as follows: We express the actuality and truthiness regarding existence and the modes of existence of various objects (things, matters, rules, etc.) by using the words truth and reality.@However, when we say something certainly has its reality or truthfulness, it by no means confirms the reality or truth of an object itself, but merely means that the reality etc. has been established within <my> or <our> subject as a firm and invariable consciousness of belief in the existing object. No doubt, what Husserl means here by saying that an object is valid for me is that a belief=convictionconcerning the object has been formed (constituted) within our subject.
(7) Theory of
Belief -Structure of World-Conviction
We have to make sure at first that, though it is not wrong to name Husserlfs phenomenology a theory of cognitive constitution, it is something different from a eimaginarily createdftheory of cognitive structure like that of Kant. It should be considered instead as an utterly unique theory where any knowledge or cognition is grasped as a structure of belief constitution.
When we think this way, a decisive difference between the Kantfs and Husserlfs constitution theories is revealed to us. The framework of cognition with three forms of sensation, understanding and reason taught by Kant is merely his own conceptualization. Whether it is adopted by other people or not depends on the person.
On the contrary, the most remarkable feature in Husserlfs cognitive constitution theory is that it is a method, by which one directly eseesf through onefs inner reflection how immanence constitutes transcendence (i.e., various beliefs of existence). This method must be such that, in principle, the description of this structure of belief formation within consciousness can be done in the same way by everyone. In other words, the essential core of the method of reduction is to extract only a gstructureh that is regarded as the same for everyone. Let us set this aside for now, though.
When, in any case, we understand the notion of transcendence as a belief of the existenceof an object constituted in immanence, the whole picture of Husserlfs method of phenomenological reduction and its great potential will be disclosed to us very clearly. Let me elaborate this below.
I already mentioned the existing gsolutionsh for the enigma of subject-object agreement problem in European philosophies. Let me briefly summarize them as follows:
1. Theory of rational deductibility for the entire world as taught by Spinoza
2. Sheer relativism as suggested by Hume, Nietzschefs view-related cognition theory, post-modern thoughts, and skeptical-logical relativism in contemporary analytic philosophy.
3. Relative objective knowledge theory like that of Auguste Comte. He pointed out that, while there is no such thing as metaphysical absolute cognition, some objective knowledge certainly exists if we view knowledge as a practical requirement. Modern positive sciences have apparently developed based on this approach.
An important point is however that all these frameworks of epistemology, except for that of Nietzsche, implicitly assume thesubject-objectschema as their premise. Relativism = skepticism is constantly taking the lead on the enigma of cognitive problem and insists on relativizing a certain [all] knowledge or that there exists no universal cognition. Relativism claims logically in its own way that if truth exists, agreement between subject and object must be proved, but such a proof is simply impossible. This means that this negation theory also stands on the ground of the subject-object agreementschema itself.
Husserlfs phenomenological reduction on the other hand offers an entirely new solution for this enigma of subject-object agreement. This is indeed a type of approach that has come into existence for the first time in the history of European philosophy and cannot be found in philosophical teachings in any other civilization. It is a principleof regarding everything as belief-formation in immanence. How could this approach redefine the problem of cognition?
I will give an overview as follows.
As has been discussed in the text of my gComplete Decoding of Husserlfs Ideas of Phenomenologyh, Husserlfs point lies in replacing the subject-object schema with immanence-transcendence schema. This specifically means: Not that we face an external object and precisely duplicate it by means of our subject (=cognition); we depart from mental process(immanence) in our subject, where we in each case [every time] constitute our belief ofthe existence and meaning of various objects including things, affairs, humans and social relations, ideas and the world.
Consequently, any of our perception, judgment and cognition is a belief of the existence and meaning of an object, or to be more exact, an established belief that the object certainly exists, of the way it exists and of the certainty regarding the significance of its existence. The key task of phenomenological method is above all to analyze the belief structure in terms of such diverse beliefs of existence.
This analysis will make very clear what Husserl intended to mean by arguing that transcendence is a doxa in every regard, a validity that can never be verified in its existence and can never give an absolute something.
Transcendence is not an identification of a fact. Judgment or cognition, whatever it is, is a transcendence and cannot be an ultimate terminus. Since any judgment or cognition is a transcendence or belief of an objective existence that is incessantly <constituted> out of a constantly varying stream of experience (immanence), the fact of belief is always subject to change in accordance with variation of a continuous unity within the immanence. The key thesis of the statement that transcendence does not give an absolute something and is always associated with some dubitability is that transcendence invariably stands for a belief of different objects being actually <constituted> by the immanence.
Most notably, Husserl believed that this solution alone is able to completely solve the enigma of cognitive problem together with skepticism which has brought this enigma before us.
Let us make sure of what was meant by the enigma of cognitive problem. Why is it referred to as an enigma?
The reason is not merely that the logical impossibility of subject-object agreement means an utter impossibility of human knowledge of the world. The enigma is rather in the question why, despite the fact that subject-object agreement is logically unsustainable, an obviously objective knowledge exists in the disciplines of mathematics and natural sciences and we often have an unquestionable mutual agreement in our views on various daily matters.
With some account complementary to Husserlfs own, his theory of belief structure is believed to present an overall picture of world cognition as follows.
We are all constantly <constituting> our world knowledge of different levels as beliefbased on our own mental process experience.,and are leading our social life by exchanging such diverse world beliefs with one another. An overview of such beliefs can be given as follows.
1. Subjective belief
2. Communal belief
3. Universal belief
(2 and 3 are referred to as intersubjectivityby Husserl himself.)
1.Beliefs formed by individual subjects are maintained by perception and memory of immanence (individual intuition) and by the integration and agreement of meanings (essential insight ) associated with such individual intuition. This is so to speak a synchronic structure of belief. Such integration of meanings becomes a belief of an object in terms of reality only when supplied with temporal continuation, i.e. a continuous harmony. This is a diachronic structure of belief.
What is essential here is that anyone is able to cognize and extract onefs immanent belief structure about the belief of an object by reflecting onefs immanent consciousness.
Husserlfs analysis in the gIdeash mainly focuses on this belief structure of inner belief.@iThis structure is here explained using Husserlfs own terms such as horizon, the actional-the nonactional, adumbration, cogitatio-cogitatum, immanence-transcendence,etc. Note that Sections 33 to 46 are especially important.j
2.Another key argument is that, as inner reflection goes ahead, the subjectfs belief structure regarding belief of things is strongly supported by a belief that we are sharing our belief of things with others.
It is to be noted that the subjectfs belief that the real world and objects exist in reality is sustained, not by sharing belief of an object with others, but by a subjectfs implicit belief or credit in that it shares the same belief with others. This is what we call an intersubjective belief structure.
3.The world belief shared with others establishes a communal world belief. For instance, a credit for ethnic religions or divine rights of kings is built up as a communal world belief. Human society is indeed nothing but a network of such communal beliefs. Any community or society is unable to exist without such a communal belief.
Here is however another important dimension. Modern society has developed a new image of the world completely distinguished from preceding ones (the world of nature in general) by the method of natural science. This is also an intersubjective belief, of course, but is marked by a nature distinct from the credit for religions or divine rights of kings.
Such an intersubjective belief is characterized in that once it is established, it would never be relinquished entirely, and instead be expanded while being selectively diversified and modified. I would like to call this a universal belief.
Though I should not go into details about this notion of intersubjective belief structure for now, I understand that Husserlfs method of phenomenological reduction presents an epistemology of world as such a belief structure of world belief. Only when it is interpreted in this way, phenomenology can be an entirely new and original principle of epistemology which will figure out the existing enigma of epistemology.
We shall benefit in the following three respects from such an understanding of Husserlfs epistemology: It is not like Kantian cognition constitution theory claiming that one constitutes an objective knowledge by means of a particular framework of knowledge, but is to be taken as a belief constitution theoryregarding world knowledge.
(1)All the arguments for relativism=skepticism are completely refuted;
(2)Benefit 1 however does not mean to reinstate objectivism (subject-object agreement schema), but to dismiss it outright; and
(3)Universality of cognition can yet be secured in some way other than subject-object agreement.
The long-lasting enigma of cognitive problem is now to be completely resolved by these three benefits.@
(The meaning of established belief can easily be understood by thinking about the past. Onefs past experience can be identified only as a structure of intersubjective belief. Its real existence can never be proved, because any realistic evidence whatsoever is merely one for present experience. )
(8) Fallacy of Criticism of Phenomenology
I shall refer to two most typical theories
We have thus a prescription for the most general form of our question;
do not phenomenological necessity, the rigor and subtlety of Husserlfs
analysis, the exigencies to which it responds and which we must first recognize,
nonetheless conceal a metaphysical presupposition? Do they not harbor
a dogmatic or speculative commitment cc. This would be done precisely
in what soon comes to be recognized as the source and guarantee of all
value, the principle of principles: i.e., the original self-giving evidence,
the present or presence of sense to a full and primordial intuition.@(gSpeech
and Phenomenah, Introduction, Translated by David B. Allison and Newton
I defined, in one of my books gAn Introduction to Phenomenologyh, Derridafs criticism of Husserl as a criticism against the idea of Origin based on his argument of differance . Derridafs discussion offers a typical example of criticism of objective knowledge from a standpoint of logical relativism.
Objective knowledge has long been built on a foundation that a sure cognition acknowledged by anyone is posed as a so-to-speak axiom, based on which valid inferences may be carried out step by step. The theory of relativism=skepticism antagonistic to objective recognition has also a particular style on its own.
It examines the most basic certain cognition acknowledged by anyone and argues that any cognition, however certain it appears, is unable to have absolute certainty when examined methodically.
Derrida applies this very logic to the principle of principles maintained by Husserl. It offers several variations but their basic structure is the same.
Thus we come to let signs themselves depend on repeatability and presence, the simplest signdepend on possibility of re-presence. We let the presence of present be derived from repetition, and not vice versa.(gSpeech and PhenomenahTranslated from J.E by Isobe)
As is well known, Husserl mentioned individual intuition and seeing an essence (seeing a meaning) as a source of the legitimacy of all knowledge. The observations, according to Husserl, should be accepted as they manifest themselves and this approach was named by him the principle of principles. This is so to speak the primary cognition defined by Husserl.
According to him, perceptive representation ( individual intuition) is the primal cognitionon which all other cognitions are based. Any knowledge begins with perceptionactually taking place. Derrida by contrast claims as follows: Representation (perceptive image) cannot be defined as the primary thing, that is, the most original place where knowledge begins. It is because, while perceptive image appears to have a privileged presence as an absolute now, an extended investigation makes us find that this image of absolute nowhas already been gconstitutedh.
As anyone can see, a vivid presence (now) that is to be a source of all knowledge is actually unable to exist as such, but is given by constantly being provided with re-presence (a past). In other words, the now= presence (source) is made possible only by the effect of re-presence (incessant feeding of past = act of differance).
This argument is one of those typical critical discourses given by logical relativists and post-modern and logical analysis philosophers, but is utterly invalid as a criticism against Husserlfs phenomenology. Let me give the reasons summarized as follows.
Derridafs argument against absolute foundation of knowledge may be called pre-constitutional criticism. According to it, in-depth analysis teaches us that any basic element, however fundamental it may be, is in no way an absolute source, but has something more specific or subordinate that gconstitutesh the basic element. Consequently, we cannot establish anything as an ultimately original element. (In Kantfs discussion on Antinomies, the same logic is used to argue that one cannot define the minimum unit of a thing.)
Derridafs argument reverts back to a classical approach of skepticism. It is to be noted that Hegel gives a more substantial discussion on this subject. Hegel reduces all the phenomena to a phenomenon of gconsciousness experienceh in his gPhenomenology of Spirith. All things are then to be verified as affairs of consciousness. However, according to Hegel, since any consciousness phenomenon is based on a temporal constitution, one can by no@means find an absolutely original element or moment in consciousness (this is why truth can arise only in terms of dialectic process).
The advantage of Hegelfs criticism of pre-constitution theory over Derridafs sophistical counter-criticism is that it essentially relies on the structure of time and consciousness This impossibility of any original element manifested by Hegel is exactly what incites different ways of criticizing pre-constitution theory as in relativism and skepticism.
Derridafs criticism of original source still tends to be substantialistic. However, even Hegelfs approach that consciousness has a temporal structure in nature so that all things come to exist as already constituted cannot be a valid criticism of Husserlfs phenomenology. Why?
(@It is because our present vivid perceptive observation which is itself Husserlfs primal knowledge is not a ground for subject-object agreement, but a ground for formation of belief. A specific explanation is given below.)
Criticism of pre-constitution theory in epistemology suggested by Hegel is however valid only for an objective knowledge theory (universal cognition theory) which presumes the subject-object agreement schema. Relativism=skepticism has also criticized this objectivism as posing an enigma of cognitive problem.(H) Derridafs notion of differance signifies that one cannot find any absolute source or firm ground in knowledge. (Among the ways of criticizing the objective knowledge theory based on relativism, the most well known is the one formulated bySextus Empiricus, the philosopher in ancient Rome, who offered 17 different reasons for criticism. Hegel in turn gave an in-depth criticism of this kind of skeptical reasoning by quoting Empiricus in his gLectures on the History of Philosophyh. )
Derrida assumes that he is able to refute Husserlfs metaphysical ambition by criticizing his absolute presence. It is because Derrida deems it to be Husserlfs idea that an absolute presence of an individual observation in a subject exactly forms evidence for a presence of an object before the subject.
As has been discussed above in detail, however, the basic method of phenomenology is not in forming a foundation for subject-object agreement, but for the belief structure of world belief.
The argument for indefinability of original element given by pre-constitution criticism may be able to demonstrate the impossibility of subject-object agreementbut can never prove that the idea of belief structure is unfoundable.
2. The notion of giving a foundation for belief structureindicates the following. We usually understand by knowledge or cognition as an act by which a subject copies an objective reality of itself in some way. This is what is called the subject-object agreementscheme. According to Husserl, however, the notion of an absolutely existing entirety of the world is already a nonsense.@(See Section 55 in gIdeash) Then what should we understand by cognition?
All cognition is a belief in existence of the world and objects. Husserl declares:
sThe existence of a Nature cannotbe the condition for the existence of consciousness, since Nature itself turns out to be a correlate of consciousness: Nature isonly as being constituted in regular concatenations of consciousness.t(51)
What is meant by saying that the nature world is a correlative of consciousness is that it exists for us only as a hbeliefh constituted within our <immanent consciousness>. In other words, that an object, a thing or a matter exists for us signifies that it is formed as a belief of consciousness or a correlative of validity. This understanding will make the meaning of this text clear to everybody.
An event of a dream exists only for a certain individual subject. An apple I have here, by contrast, gives us an intersubjective belief that it must exist not only for me but for other people around me. (Note that a nutrient contained in the apple, for instance citric acid, gives us a validity=belief of its existence only as a result of our scientific pursuit.)
God has long been regarded valid (believed) by many people across the world as an unquestionable, indisputable real existence, especially by the people of medieval Europe. It has, on the other hand, never established validity beyond communal beliefin any period of time.
As is readily understood, out of various things and matters we know, some do not go beyond a subjective belief, and others a communal belief. Other objects, on the other hand, give us common validity of their existence, that is, universal belief, whichever nation, culture and religion we may belong to.
We assume that a real thing is known by anybody as gone and the same objective existenceh. This is however reverse to the fact in epistemological context. The fact is that when we come to believe that an object is unquestionably one and the same thing for anyone, we call the object a real thing.
Thus, the enigma of epistemology imposed for long on philosophy by skepticism can be fully elucidated only by the way we understand knowledge in general as a belief structure.
We can never discover a ground for subject-object agreement to be approved by everyone. If there is no such a thing as subject-object agreement, it will make no sense to question about the possibility of knowledge, say, to ask if universal knowledge may exist at all.
Despite the fact that logically there is no subject-object agreement, why have people developed an awfully extensive system of objective knowledge and are still keeping expanding it? Why is it that while the approach of natural science has established a universal system of objective knowledge, human science is by no means able to do so? What should we understand by the notion of universality of knowledge in human science?
These questions at least can be perfectly answered in principle by means of Husserlfs phenomenological reduction we have examined above.
(9) Logic of Appearance (excerpt)
Kant once discussed onratio cognoscendi forfreedom in his first and second Critiques. The question of whether or not freedom exists is to be termed by his own words ,a logic of appearance.
The reason why the question has been so significant in Europe is in its Christian view of Godfs Creation of the world and the subsequent view of objectivistic natural science. The implicit assumption that there exists the truth about the world and objects as such makes human freedom enigmatic.
The notion of freedom is in nature rooted in creation and order of meanings in the context of human relations. It is logically wrong to consider it to be a substantial causa. Questioning whether or not freedom truly exists is merely a logic of appearance arising from substantiation of conceptions, just like questioning whether or not everything is fatally determined. Philosophically, we should ask, under what kind of conditions one might feel deprived of onefs (sense of) freedom.
Likewise, the enigma of cognition(whether or not true knowledge is possible) raised by relativism=skepticism and their argument that such true knowledge is impossible now proves to be logic of appearance. This question first of all presumes the subject-object agreementschema and then tries to determine that such an agreement is impossible. Once this subject-object agreement schema is abandoned however, this question itself can also be dismissed as that of appearance.
I should now point out that many theories criticizing phenomenology regard it as aspiring to revive the classical subject-object agreement schema after all. Such a view is however derived from a failure to see the basic structure of phenomenological epistemology. Such criticisms are found not only in contemporary proponents of relativism but also in German school of phenomenology, to which Husserlfs direct students including Eugen Fink and Klaus Held belong.
Held, in his well-known book gThe Living Presenth , poses the following points as problems necessarily arising from Husserlfs method of phenomenology.
Firstly, ego captured by reflection is already an ego turned to be an object Secondly, ego remains at stop, and at the same time keeps streaming.
Thirdly, ego temporalizes itself, but also exists in itself as present. (translated from Japanese Edition)
Held pursued this question and claimed that here is a deep-rooted enigma for the method of phenomenology, naming it an enigma of the living present.
The key issue is that phenomenological pure ego is an ego toobjectivize and an ego to be objectivized (reflected) at the same time, and that it is a streaming ego and an ego at a stop as oneat the same time.
sSimply because the reflective being]nization is the phenomenologically possible only way of experience of a primordially functioning ego, simply for this reason, a question remains enigmatic: how should a temporal functioning presence be questioned beyond such an experience?t@i gThe Living Presenth.Translated from J.E by Isobej
The enigma emerges, according to Held, in that the ego to objectivize itselfcan never be objectivized (captured by reflection). Many other phenomenologists including Fink and Landgrebe share with him this view that here is an unsolvable enigma as they suppose Husserlfs phenomenology is an exploring effort for the ultimate origin of ego or consciousness.
This view shares however the same logic with such relativistic paradoxes as gEyes see everything but cannot see themselvesh, and gYou can never step into the same stream.h Derridafs critical argument against Husserl, gfNowf exists only in its incessant passing into the pasth belongs that logic as well. This way of reasoning is always replayed by contemporary thinkers such as Wittgenstein, Derrida and Foucault@by such terms as self-reference andAcycle of object level and meta level.
All these paradoxes, however, merely rely on logic of appearance presuming the subject-object agreement schema and substantiated conceptions.
Let us see for example a famous logical paradox that Achilles could not overtake the tortoise. If someone believes this paradox is a gproofh that a person is actually unable to overtake the tortoise, we could not but think this person is an airheadIAny philosophical thought of essential nature finds a fatal weakness in this paradox as Achilles overtakes the tortoise in reality, and suggests that what iselucidated by philosophy is such a logical weakness itself. Husserl proposed exactly this type of philosophy.
Consciousness-centrism, subjectivism, logicism, solipticism etc --- Husserlfs phenomenology is generally labeled as such by his critics. Any of them however fails to comprehend the crucial point of modern epistemology and simply dismisses the possibility of universal knowledgeby taking advantage of relativistic paradoxes. There is no legitimacy of criticism in this kind of approach.
Criticism of Husserl by Held or Fink is not distinguished from those contemporary relativistic teachings in logic, but is rather motivated by their intent to incorporate phenomenology into the pursuit of European metaphysics of being mainly advocated by Heidegger. This approach is however nothing but a breakaway from the intrinsic significance of Husserlfs phenomenology.
(10) Conclusion --- Philosophy as Science of Essence.
As we have made sure of the fallacy of modern criticism of phenomenology, we shall, once again, have an overview of the science of essential critique of cognitionthat Husserl attempted to offer in the gIdea of Phenomenologyh. Let us confirm the following three points:
(1) What is the key theme of Husserlfs phenomenology? What kind of problem does it intend to elucidate?
(2) By what method does it try to analyze it?
(3) What will be created as a result of this analysis?
(1)What is the key theme of Husserlfs phenomenology?
To unravel the enigma of epistemology which modern philosophy failed to solve --- this is the prime theme. Why is it of essential significance for philosophy? Since the disciplines of modern mental science(human science) misconceived the nature of cognition, they adopted as the basis of their pursuit the method of natural science which is founded on the subject-object agreement schema. This has endangered the ideal of universality of science.
This circumstance can be represented by two key terms, the enigma of cognitionand settling the belief conflict.
(2) By what method does it try to analyze it?
The enigma of cognition problem can be solved only by the method of phenomenological reduction. The subject-object agreementschema must be subject to epoche and replaced with immanence-transcendenceschema. That is, knowledge or cognition altogether is to be conceived as a belief@formed within an individual subject in terms of the world and objects.
The notion that an object itself exists as a substance is here a nonsense. So let us avoid a question of how or on what conditions knowledge corresponds to an object , or such an interpretation that phenomenology is a way to determine the conditions for correct or exact knowledge, or to identify the essence or origin of metaphysical consciousness or ego. Such an interpretation should inevitably lead phenomenology back to the antiquated doctrine of the truth and metaphysics.
What is to be questioned in the first place is instead how immanence <constitutes> transcendence; that is, how belief in general is established in our belief-structure. This is to be followed by a question of how different beliefs could grow into inter-subjective (communal) and universal beliefs. Especially, it is a question on what conditions diverse beliefs could acquire indubitability and become a broadly justifiable universal belief.
To determine the essential conditions and structure for formation of belief in immanence, this is the key task prevalent over the entire domain of phenomenological method.
The essential conditions for establishment of belief structure for an object or thing indicated by Husserl in his gThe Idea of Phenomenologyh and gIdeash can be divided in two major categories.
The first conditions are (1) that givenness of an object emerges in the form of individual intuition (perception, memory, imagination.), (2) that a certain essential insight (meaning=something universal)@accompanies with the individual intuition so that the two kind of giveness give the object its identity in their harmonious unity.
The second condition is that this givenness is emerging in onefs temporal flux of experiences with a constant continuous harmony.
(3) What will be created as a result of this analysis?
The resolution of the enigma of cognition problem will bring to an end all the arguments raised by skepticism against universality of knowledge. It is not that knowledge altogether is relative or that no valid knowledge exists. All the pieces of knowledge or cognition can be divided, depending on the conditions of givennessin immanence, into a merely subjective belief, a communal belief shared by a particular community, and lastly a universal belief (universal knowledge) that can be shared by humans in general.
By means of this analysis of belief -structure of cognition in general, phenomenology is able to leave the sphere of physical things as objects of cognition and step into the vast domain of knowledge to be handled by mental science or liberal arts. This is the very domain of the science of essence that Husserl intended to establish.
Our world of things (surrounding world) always emerges based on our belief structure concerning things or objects. According to Husserlfs view, the human world (personalistic world) expands on the ground of such structure of belief in existence of the surrounding world. (Although this subject is mainly discussed in his gIdeasUh and subsequent works, it is obvious that analysis of the essential structure of personalistic world, instead of physical world, is a vital core of Husserlfs science of essence.
By reference to his own terms, what is important about epistemological analysis in this domain is to determine the conditions for creating meanings in our living world. The aspects of believing in actual thingsf existence were not exactly a key interest for Husserl. The question was no doubt on what conditions the subjective and inter-subjective belief could be established in terms of diverse meanings developed by human relations
Husserl thus abandoned the subject-object agreement schema and replaced it with immanence-transcendence schema by way of adhering to the basic method of phenomenological reduction. He attempted to completely reorganize philosophical epistemology this way. (We may compare this with the counterpart achievements by Hume, Kant, Hegel and Nietzsche, but will not go into detail here.) Husserlfs ultimate goal is a vision of the science of essence to be established as phenomenology of reason.
Husserl wrote in Section 3 gConstitution of Mental Worldh in IdeasU )
sAlready decades ago, reactions@asserted themselves against the naturalistic interpretation, self evident@in the age of natural science, of the human sciences as@mere descriptive natural sciences. In the first rank Dilthey has@here earned for himself everlasting merit.ccWhat is needed is a@new "psychology" of an essentially different type, a universal@science of the spirit that is neither "psychophysical" email@example.com@(eIdeasfU@48)
gIdeasUh begins with Part 3 Constitution of Mental World. He declares in its introduction that he is now ready to unfold the universal science on mind, i.e., mental scienceas the science of essence.
What was meant by the universal science on mind mentioned here largely corresponds to his following discussion in his book gThe Crisis .
Historically considered, the modern notion of science as a positivistic one is only a marginal notion in terms of the ideal of science. Such a positivistic science neglects all the disciplines of studies regarding what has been referred to as metaphysicsin @Europe@ (the science of existence and the meaning of existence by the term of Husserl).
sExamined closely, these and all the excluded questions have their inseparable
unity in the fact that they contain(cc)the problems of reasonreason
in all its particular forms. Reason is the explicit theme in the disciplines
concerning knowledge (i.e., of true and genuine, rational knowledge), of
true and genuine valuation (genuine values as values of reason), of ethical
action (truly good acting, acting from practical reason).@(cc) Positivism,
in a manner of speaking, decapitates philosophy.t('Crisis'3)
The primary motive of Husserlfs phenomenology is firstly to establish the essential theory of cognition by means of a radical critique of cognition and the elucidation of the enigma of cognition. Secondly to reinstate, as a science of essence concerning mental world, the modern human sciencethat has been unable to achieve its purpose because it has based itself on the method of positivism.
It should be marked that according to Husserl, the first and second tasks are to be addressed by the same method of phenomenological reduction. This method of phenomenological transcendental reduction evolves in the facets of epoche, transcendental subject (pure ego), analysis of belief structure, eidetic reduction(essential insight ). (A number of scholars insist that Husserlfs phenomenological method has gone through considerable changes in his lifetime. However, if we read Husserlfs text carefully with no preoccupation, it seems indisputable that the substance of this method, i.e., the way immanence is constituted by transcendence, had been coherent and consistent all the way through his works from the gIdeah to gExperience and Judgmenth, though I refrain from demonstrating it in detail here.)
gThe Crisish exquisitely coveys his motif of science of essence as studies on universality of reason or mind. The following words found in this book seem quite symbolic in this context.
When we consider the effect of the development of the ideal of philosophy on all mankind, we should say as follows: The fight of philosophy form Descartes up to present means that ofe humanity which struggles to get hold of the new earth. It is also the fight between enon-philosophy without a challenge of philosophyf and ea genuine philosophy still alivef. The fight is over a decisive ideal as seen below.
sIt is the only way to decide whether the telos which was inborn in European humanity at the birth of Greek philosophythat of humanity which seeks to exist, and is only possible, through philosophical reason, moving endlessly from latent to manifest reason and forever seeking its own norms through this, its truth and genuine human nature whether this telos, then, is merely a factual, historical delusion(cc), or whether Greek humanity was not rather the first breakthrough to what is essential to humanity as such, its entelechy. To be human at all is essentially to be a human being in a socially and generatively united civilization; and if man is a rational being (animal rationale), it is only insofar as his whole civilization is a rational civilization, that is, one with a latent orientation toward reason or one openly oriented toward the entelechy which has come to itself, become manifest to itself, and which now of necessity consciously directs human becoming.t(eCrisisf6)
This description in gthe Crisish is sometimes referred to as Husserlfs manifestation of philosophical rationalismof extreme European nature. However, the readers who have thus far grasped the way and motive of Husserlfs phenomenology must be aware by now that such an understanding rather comes from a locally and historically restricted view of phenomenology..
Let me explain a bit more what Husserl tried to say here.
Human society has always developed a faculty of free reason in pursuit of an essential comprehension of human self and its world (society), wherever social freedom prevails at a certain level. This may be, in other words, an infinite movement, in which reason evolves its nature from a potential state to its very essence. We see its representative example in Greek philosophy. Modern philosophy, in its beginning, had also exhibited clearly this ideal of free development of reason. To righteously identify humans as existence that can grasp themselves and their society, cope with their problems and overcome their contradictions, altogether by means of intrinsic reason: this was a fundamental idea of scienceposed by modern philosophy. This idea however metamorphosed into a mere science of facts because it was unable to solve the enigma of cognition problem in a satisfactory way. It depends exactly on the task of founding a science of essence whether we can reestablish philosophy as a science for understanding humanfs own self and its existence by means of such intrinsic reason.
I would like to make some more additions to this motive of Husserl.
Modern age is marked by a tendency toward gcounter-philosophyh;that is, a twisted gantipathyh to such words as reason and universality. What is the nature of human reason referred to by Husserl incidentally? It is evidently impossible to criticize Husserlfs teaching by a mere anti-logos-centrism and other reactionary anti-rationalisms.
In the circumstance where society tolerates all kinds of free thoughts, people always extend their competence of free reasoning or rational way of thinking in diverse directions. This in turn allows them to thematize and examine all kinds of questions regarding the world and people. This infinite evolvement of the competence of reason will enable a truly great progress in human reason.
It is in fact a process to gradually abolish transcendent items that may already dominate onefs world view as an authoritative power in any historical development.
In the history of Europe, it has existed as powers of kings in ancient empires, and as an absolute divinity in the Christian church. This world view with a transcendent elementhas necessarily unified the meanings and values of human life, which in turn has created a dualistic dispute between absolute authority of knowledge and heretics. It is only the action of eliminating a unified transcendence in a world view that can tolerate the true diversity of knowledge and values. A possibility of universality of knowledge arises exactly from these efforts.
Universalityof knowledge and values should be distinguished from absoluteness of truth. The latter emerges from an enormous and immovable authority or power, or from a counter-action to it. Universality of knowledge and values,on the other hand,arises only from diversity of knowledge and values and efforts for their gcoexistence gand gmutual understandingh.
Universalitycan be developed only when people are aware of diverse meanings and values in their view of world, and yet ready to go beyond the difference to maintain and nurture abelief they can share with one another. Where an overwhelming absoluteness of knowledge and value dominates, the notion of unique truth thrives, as can been seen in Scholastic philosophy in mediaeval Europe. The unique truth can exist only as a communal beliefintended to build an absolute unity. Universality is unable to survive where this absolute truth exercises its vital power over people and society.
What people have needed to establish a universal knowledge can be perceived by having a brief look at the approach of natural science. This universal method of natural science comes into existence at atime when all kinds of arbitrary fictions for explaining the world are cleared away, any divine existence or power which authorizes a particular fiction is eliminated, every culture comes to use only the ideas and conceptions people can share with each other, and the rational way of reasoning alone prevails at liberty.
Universal knowledge or belief is not the one shared by a particular community alone, but the one obtained by using only the rational faculty of reasoning and universalization every human owns whatever culture or community he or she belongs to.
Modern philosophy was at its outset accompanied by an ideal about knowledge and value of people and the world that some common belief or understanding could be attained beyond the barrier of culture, religion and the like. That is, within the limit of its intrinsic possibility and necessity and only by means of the competence of universal reason. This idea was justifiable in itself. Modern human science however failed to know the difference between the objects of physical science and those of human science and confused them with each other, and this has given rise to a fatal crisis concerning universal knowledge. It means that modern human science (mental science by Husserl) failed to dismantle and remove the transcendent element, i.e. an idea of absolute entirety of an objective existence, an ideal of the world as it is in itself.
What is required to reinstate the initial ideal of sciencein modern Europe? Where can we find the conditionsby which a broadly acceptable universal common belief is established? Where is the boundary, beyond which we may step into the world of metaphysical fiction, say, pre-constitution,@ultimate origin, absoluteness. This is exactly why Husserlfs phenomenology is a theory not for giving a foundation of objective knowledge but for analysis of belief- structure.
Such a vision for universal human science regarding human knowledge and values is the key idea of philosophy contemplated by Husserl, which is definitely worth repeated extensive studies.
Finally let me quote some of Husserlfs texts most characteristic of the
phenomenological method as an analysis of belief -structure and give my
own word-by-word interpretation of those texts.
sccPhenomenological idealism does not deny the actual existence of the real world (in the first place, that means nature), as if it maintained that the world were mere semblance, to which natural thinking and the positive sciences would be subject, though unwittingly. Its sole task and accomplishment is to clarify the sense of this world, precisely the sense in which everyone accepts it-and rightly so-as actually existing. That the world exists, that it is given as existing universe in uninterrupted experience which is constantly fusing into universal concordance, is entirely beyond doubt. But it is quite another matter to understand this indubitability which sustains life and positive science and to clarify the ground of its legitimacy.
In this regard, it is a fundamental of philosophy, according to the expositions in the text of the Ideas, that the continual progression of experience in this form of universal concordance is a mere presumption, even if a legitimately valid one, and that consequently the non-existence of the world ever remains thinkable, notwithstanding the fact that it was previously, and now still is, actually given in concordant experience.
The result of the phenomenological sense-clarification of the mode of being of the real world, and of any conceivable real world at all, is that only the being of transcendental subjectivity has the sense of absolute being, that only it is "irrelative" (i.e., relative only to itself), whereas the real world indeed is but has an essential relativity to transcendental subjectivity, due, namely, to the fact that it can have its sense as being only as an intentional sense-formation of transcendental subjectivity.t@(eIdeasf Epilogue 5 translated by R. Rojcewicz and A. Schuwer)
(decoding)qThe way of phenomenological thinking has nothing to do with denying this real world exists. Certainly, phenomenology takes an approach that it does not presume the existence of real or object world and instead gbracketsh it for the moment. However, it does not insist at all that the real world is merely an appearance or that natural or positive science supposes only an appearance as real existence.
Phenomenology adopts the view of idealism methodically, i.e., deliberately, for the purpose of examining how the meaning of this world is given to us in the first place. Specifically, no one is able to logically prove that the world exists in reality. This has troubled many philosophers in the form of the enigma of cognition, which has not been answered yet. Faced with this question, phenomenology now comes up with a solution: Instead of proving that the real world exists in certainty, it examines why we all have no doubt about the existence of this world and why this belief of the world is associated with such a firm and necessary ground.
Needless to say, whatever suspicious person he or she may be, nobody doubts that the world certainly exists. This fact is however separate from the philosophical task to examine the ggroundh for this unquestionability, which is vitally important in the philosophical point of view.
We can briefly paraphrase it as follows. We are unable to suspect the reality of this world so long as the world within our experience continues to exist in a certain continuously coordinated harmony. In effect, it is most unlikely that this continuously coordinated harmony is lost in our daily experience. This is why we firmly believe that the world outside exists in reality.
It is however merely our implicit belief which remains in us on condition of such a continuous harmony. It must be clear to everybody that, philosophically, there is no guarantee that this harmony stays with us permanently intact.
According to the teaching of phenomenology, what remains with us as absolutely unquestionable is only our individual consciousness experience itself. Our belief of the existence of the world or different things arising from this experience in principle remains relative and is always accompanied by questionability. Belief of existence of the world and things can be phenomenologically considered as part of a network of meanings developed from our consciousness experiences.r(by Takeda)
The afterword in Ideas is concluded by the following impressive description.
sYet, in the last analysis, my book will be unable to help anyone who is already certain of his philosophy and his philosophical method and hence has never come to know the despair of one to whom the misfortune befell of being in love with philosophy and who, as a beginning student, amidst the jumble of philosophies, had to make a choice and became aware that there really was no choice at all,ccc
csince none of those philosophies were concerned with genuine presuppositionlessness and none had arisen out of the radicalism of an autonomous self-responsibility, the radicalism philosophy itself demands. In the present time is the situation much different? Anyone who believes he can appeal to the fruitful bathos of experience in the usual sense, or to the "sure results" of the exact sciences, or to experimental or physiological psychology, or to a constantly improving logic and mathematics, etc., and who believes he can find there philosophical premises, such a one will not be very receptive to my book, especially if he, in the grip of the scientific skepticism of our times, has altogether ceased to accept as valid the goal of a philosophy as rigorous science.
Thus he will be unable to muster the intensive interest required, and he will not consider worthwhile the great pains and expenditure of time that are demanded for an understanding, in my footsteps, of this beginning way as I have sketched it out. Only someone who is himself struggling with the beginning of philosophy will react differently, for he will be forced to say to himself: tua res agitur.t@(Epilogue 7)
(decoding@by Takeda)qAs is seen from the above discussion, this text
will help none of those people who are already so certain about their philosophy
and philosophical method that they have no motive or reason for radically
suspecting them ; those who have never had such an unhappy experience that,
once fascinated by the philosophical approach which seems to penetratingly
explore the basis of things, they then become deeply disappointed to find
that there is no true and thoroughgoing basis for things established yet
; and those who have never encountered, already in the beginning of philosophical
studies, the question of how to deal with the conflicting conditions where
diverse philosophical teachings or beliefs dispute each other for no particular
This question regarding true basis for philosophy does not appear to find a proper progress in its attempt to answer the question to this day. Some people are quite certain that they can cope with this question of possibility of knowledge by means of accumulated achievements in the disciplines of precise positive science including natural science, physiology and psychology, or by means of the exact analytical approach in contemporary logic and mathematics. It might be difficult for those people to accept my motif discussed in this book. No doubt it is also the case for those people who are stuck in that prevailing skepticism and contend that there is no such a thing as exact and universal knowledge.
Those people have no reason from the beginning to doubt the theory which they happened to adopt, or have never seriously contemplated such a question as universality of knowledge. The question I am trying to raise here will be received, I believe, only by those who are ready to fathom the radical essence of philosophy and to understand the significance of the question of beginning, as their own problem.r