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Controversy over the Existence of the World

Volume II


Roman Ingarden

Roman Ingarden (1893–1970), one of Husserl’s closest students and friends, ranks among the most eminent of the first generation of phenomenologists. His magisterial Controversy over the Existence of the World, written during the years of World War II in occupied Poland, consists of a fundamental defense of realism in phenomenology. Volume II, which follows the English translation of Volume I from 2013, provides fundamental analyses in the formal ontology of the world and consciousness as well as final arguments supporting the realist solution. Ingarden’s monumental work proves to be his greatest accomplishment, despite the fact that outside of Poland Ingarden is known rather as a theoretician of literature than an ontologist. The most important achievement of Ingarden’s ontology is an analysis of the modes of being of various types of objects – things, processes, events, purely intentional objects and ideas. The three-volume Controversy is perhaps the last great systematic work in the history of philosophy, and undoubtedly one of the most important works in 20th-century philosophical literature.

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§ 44. The Individual Existentially Autonomous Object and the Material

§ 44.The Individual Existentially Autonomous Object and the Material


When we try to gain insight into the motives that ˹prompt this˺185, they appear to be of a two-fold kind: 1. that we imperceptibly switch from the summative whole to the absolute whole, and this precisely because the indivisibility of the organism [120] is emphasized; 2. that we declare as divisible only an object whose parts are capable of continuing to subsist – as selfsufficient and even independent wholes – after the implemented partition. And what is significant here is that these parts preserve the type of object-determination which they still had as parts that have not been separated out. At issue therefore are not cases where a part separated out of the organism sustains itself in being by way of completing itself into a full organism.186 Meanwhile, for all more highly evolved animal organisms, and in particular for the human body, not only is the organism itself killed by the effectively implemented partition, but also the individual parts (“organs”187) are altered – both anatomically as well as chemically and in their physiological function – to such an extent that they cannot continue to subsist (as “organs”) unless they are transplanted into an environment resembling their mother-organism (Carrel). One is consequently inclined ←122 | 123→to reject the divisibility [Teilbarkeit] of the (more highly evolved) animal organisms altogether. Nevertheless, the animal organism is amenable to being188 decomposed in various ways into constituents189 (always, of course, only after the respective living being has perished), and to being regarded from the perspective of the whole/...

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