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Controversy over the Existence of the World

Volume II

Series:

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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§ 47. The Form of the Intentional Object that Corresponds to a Straightforward Act of Meaning

§ 47.The Form of the Intentional Object that Corresponds to a Straightforward Act of Meaning

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Nothing changes in essentials when we merely have a vivid presentation of certain objects, and “envision” them in any way we like, as dictated by our sheer whim – or by the inner compulsion of our poetically stirred imagination. Here of course no illusion arises of the kind we can have in the previous case, as if we could see these objects of which we merely have a presentation almost like “actual” things in the perceptual space. Here, the objects of which we only have a presentation hover before us in a “presentational space” that is completely isolated ←198 | 199→from the perceptual space; they emerge there out of a murky medium in which they alternate between becoming more blurry and emerging more distinctly, but are always as if “veiled”159 – without being capable of achieving any direct “immediacy” of appearing or givenness, as was possible in the case of the imagined ships, boats, etc. “seen” in the sky. Each of these different modes of160 appearance of the fantasized objects is161 characteristic for each of these cases. But let us note immediately that in both cases they only comprise a substratum by which we are not bound in our imagination – or at least not strictly bound. For no matter how alterably and vacillatingly in the second case the merely presented objects might appear, they are themselves not at all intended as so alterable and vacillating. The properties of the objects that we conjure up in poetic or dream fantasies are in...

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