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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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§ 51. The Relationship of Ideas to Autonomous Individual Objects

§ 51.The Relationship of Ideas to Autonomous Individual Objects


Loose as the connection is between the two systems of the intentional object’s properties, and great as their independence is from each other, we can still not deny that in these two different “aspects” of the intentional object we are dealing with one and the same: one and the same intentional object shows itself to us in two such different ways.

This whole disparity, independence, and even conflict between these two aspects of the intentional object does not occur in an idea. On the contrary, all structural properties of the idea are unequivocally and precisely determined by its Content, and accrue to it as its own characteristic moments quite independently of how we comport with it. An idea has just such and no other properties because a certain assortment of constants as well as a stock of variables is present in its Content, and because quite determinate relations and interconnections obtain between them which are specified by the material moments of the constants and variables. Nothing here depends on our will or caprice. No structural property occurs in the idea qua idea that would not have its existential basis in the idea itself, and in particular in its Content. We must discover the properties of the idea qua idea in exactly the same way, incidentally, as we must discover everything that is to be found in the [263] Content of ˹the idea˺71. We must employ to that end not only acts of immediate apriori intuition, but also...

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