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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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§ 45. The Class Conception of the Individual Object and Its Critique

§ 45.The Class Conception of the Individual [164] Object and Its Critique


Whatever the case may be in this regard, the material would still continue to be a something whose What293 could be determined, or could at least be determined in a meaningful way, and its properties could also be clarified. Whether it turns out that there is just a single material that fills out the (material) world continuously – which the ancient Ionians divined as ὕλη – or rather that the material world consists of infinitely many “smallest particles” that occur discontinuously dispersed here and there in empty space – as is supposed to be the case according to all atomistic theories of “matter” – in either case the material would be nothing other than a primally individual object whose nature and properties would be curiously concealed “behind” the things we perceive, but which would yet be capable of being somehow apprehended. The thought then occurs that the material and its properties ought not to be contrasted as something primally individual to the something derivatively individual that is built up over it and is grounded in it, but ought rather to be contrasted as an existent “in itself” to the somehow subjectively conditioned “world-image” [Weltbild], “phenomenon” [Erscheinung], and the like. This something subjectively conditioned could then still be interpreted in two different ways: that is to say, it would be either only something qualitative, in the sense of matter I, which for some subjective reasons was built over the basis of the “existent in itself” and attained to appearance, but ˹which˺294, in accordance with [151...

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