Phantasie and Phenomenological Inquiry - Thinking with Edmund Husserl Open Access

Aldea, Andreea Smaranda (2012)

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This dissertation explores and argues for the import of the imagination (Phantasie) in Edmund Husserl's phenomenological method of inquiry. It contends that Husserl's extensive analyses of the imagination influenced how he came to conceive the phenomenological method throughout the main stages of his philosophical career. The work clarifies Husserl's complex method of investigation by considering the role of the imagination in his main methodological apparatuses: the phenomenological, eidetic, and transcendental reductions, and eidetic variation - all of which remained ambiguous despite his extensive programmatic discussions. The work illuminates and clarifies aspects of the Husserlian phenomenological method never before explored.

In order to clarify Husserl's eidetic method of inquiry, I propose a new way of thinking about the imagination - as direct intuitive presentation (eigentliche anschauliche Vorstellung) and as horizonal-nexic level of consciousness exhibiting the neutrality, freedom, and possibility as its essential features. Following Husserl's studies of the imagination, I propose a three-level model of consciousness (realizing, imagining, and eidetic) and explore the dynamic flexibility of each level (as horizon within which acts such as judgments or memories can unfold). This model of consciousness allows for a rethinking of the sources and conditions for the possibility of eidetic phenomenological inquiry - topics Husserl was mostly silent about.

Through a rethinking of the model of consciousness, I propose a tight and substantial relationship between the natural (everyday) and artificial (methodological, theoretical) attitudes. I argue that the structure and systems of possibilities pertaining to the artificial attitude - i.e., our actual as well as possible methodological tools - are structurally and well as informationally bound to the structure and system of possibilities pertaining to the natural
attitude. In order to explore the nature of the relationship between these two attitudes I argue that we must take a closer look at the structure and abilities of imagining consciousness - the sole nexic-horizonal level that can function both naturally and artificially. This insight regarding the nature of consciousness clarifies Husserl's transcendental idealism in its intimate connection to the everyday. Understanding Husserl's philosophical stance is thus purged of all possibility of mistakenly labeling it as entailing immanent detachment, solipsism, or Platonic idealism.

Table of Contents


Abbreviations 1

Introduction: Imagining - A World Regained 2


Chapter 1 - Perception and Phantasie - Inquiry and the Two Worlds of Thought 17

§1. Bildbewusstsein - The Paradox of Imaging Consciousness

§1 α . The structure of Bildbewusstsein as image consciousness

§1 β . Images - the Conflict and Paradox of Bildbewusstsein

§1 γ . Other types of indirect intuitive presentation - symbol, sign, analogy

§1 δ . Non-presence and Bildbewusstsein as Reproduction and Presentification (Vergegenwärtigung)

§2. The World of Perception - Reality, Knowledge and Being

§2 α . The structure of Perception (Wahrnehmung)

§2 β . Realizing Consciousness and the Constitution of Reality

§2 γ . The Grounding Belief of Perception - Conflict and the Quest for Knowledge and Being

§3. The World of Phantasie - Irreality, Inquiry and the Otherwise

§3 α . Mental Images and Phantasie - from Bildbewusstsein to Wahrnehmung

§3 β . The Structure of Phantasie as imagining consciousness

§3 γ . Imagining Consciousness and the Constitution of Irreality

§3 δ . The uniqueness of Phantasie - Conflict, Inquiry, and the Otherwise

§4. Conflict and Skepsis - The Asking of a Question

§4 α . The Two Worlds of Thought

§4 β . Skepsis - Seeking the Non-present

Chapter 2 - Phantasiemodifikation and the Neutrality of Inquiring Thought 80

§1. Retentional and Memorial Modification as Positional

§1 α . Retentional Modification as Synthesis of Identification

§1 β . Memorial Modification as Associative Synthesis of Recognition

§1 γ . Positionality - Order and Knowledge Acquisition

§2. Modality Modification as Positional

§2 α . Doxic and Ontic Modalization

§2 β . Existence and Positional Inquiry

§3. Phantasiemodifikation as Non-Positional

§3 α . Neutrality Modification as Phantasiemodifikation

§3 β . Fundierung and Phantasiemodifikation

§3 γ . Positionality and Non-positionality Compared

§4. The Neutrality of Inquiring Thought

§4 α . Non-positional Inquiry - The Importance of ‘Mere Thought'

§4 β . Essence and An Other Kind of Positionality

Chapter 3 - Phantasiemodifikation and the Freedom and Possibility of Inquiring Thought 129

§1. Phantasie and Possibility

§1 α . Real Possibility

§1 β . Irreal Possibility

§2. The Bound Freedom of Phantasie

§3. Imaginative Variation as Phantasiemodifikation

§3 α . Imaginative Variation - Freedom and Possibility

§3 β . Free Variation and Neutrality Modification

§4. Idealization and the Irreal

§4 α . Eidetic Inquiry as Idealization and Free Imaginative Variation

§4 β . Universalizing Thought - Two Kinds of Eidetic Inquiry


Chapter 4 - Abstraction, Universals, and the Beginning of Phenomenology 164

§1. The Structure of Consciousness

§1 α . Brentano's Structure of Consciousness

§1 β . Husserl's Structure of Consciousness and His Critique of Brentano

§2. Fundierung and Modifikation - Consciousness Rethought

§3. The Philosophical Import of Intentionality

§4. Abstraction and Ideal Objects

§4 α . Brentano's Abstraction and the Status of Intended Objects

§4 β . Husserl's Abstraction and its Ideal Objects

§5. Husserl's Descriptive Phenomenology - The Carving of a Philosophical Path

Chapter 5 - Phenomenological Reflection and the Natural Attitude 210

§1. The Transcendental Phenomenological Project as Artificial (künstlich)

§1 α . Consciousness and the Phenomenological Method: Structures and Systems of Possibilities

§1 β . Transcendental Reflection and the Demands of Ideation

§2. Phantasiemodifikation and The Roots of Theoretical Inquiring Consciousness

§2α. Phantasiemodifikation as Natural Radical Modification. The Two Levels of the Natural Attitude: Perceptual and Imagining Consciousness

§2 β . Theoretical Inquiring Thought: Surpassing the Limits of the Natural Attitude

§3. The Shift from the Natural to the Artificial

§3 α . Phantasiemodifikation: A Multifaceted Affair

§3 β . Whence Neutrality? Dispelling the Myth of Self-Standing Neutrality Modification

§3 γ . The Ambiguity of Non-Positional Consciousness

Chapter 6 - Phenomenological Reflection Rethought 268

§1. Phantasiemodifikation and the Transcendental-Phenomenological Reductions

§1 α . Husserl's Reductions

§1 α 1. The Epochê

§1 α 2. The Phenomenological Reduction

§1 α 3. The Eidetic Reduction

§1 β . Rethinking the Reductions as Transcendental Non-Positional Modifications

§1 β 1. The Epochê Rethought

§1 β 2. The Phenomenological Reduction Rethought

§1 β 3. The Eidetic Reduction Rethought

§1 γ . Phenomenological Modification (Phen.Mk1): Manifested Natural-Artificial Bond

§2. Eidetic Variation Rethought

§2 α . Husserl's Eidetic Variation

§2 α 1. Phenomenological Reflection as Descriptive Analysis of Experience

§2 α 2. Husserl's Eidetic Variation

§2 β . Artificial Non-Positional Consciousness (Art.N-P) and Eidetic Variation

§2 β 1. The Given and the Taken

§2 β 2. Phantasie and the Shift from the Variant to the Invariant

§2 γ . Higher-order Eidetic Variations and Post-Ideational Thought

Conclusion: Inquiring Thought - (A) World Stretched Open 389

Bibliography 399

List of Figures:

Map of Leveled Nexic-Horizonal Consciousness 258

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