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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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XI. The Form of the State of Affairs. State of Affairs and Object

Chapter XI


Our next step toward solving the problem of the essence of the existentially autonomous, individual object1 is to flesh out the distinction between the state of affairs and the object. It is a difference in form owing to which both these forms, or that which is formed by them – the state of affairs and the object – are closely bound together.

The existence of states of affairs2 was pointed out at the beginning of the 20th century.3 And this was indeed arrived at as a result of having started from logical problems. Namely, the effort was being made to get a grip on what exactly is the correlate of a categorical judgment, or of a declarative sentence [Aussagesatz], in distinction from the correlate of a name. The latter constitutes the “object” in the sense employed here, whereas the state of affairs is the correlate of the sentence. Nor was there in the course of that effort an awareness of the distinction between the state of affairs as the intentional correlate of the sentence4, and the state of affairs ˹to be found within the existential scope of some autonomous object˺5. I believe that I exposed this distinction in my book The Literary Work of Art ˹(§ 22)˺, where I was primarily concerned with purely intentional states of affairs – so as to bring [280] ←265 | 266→into view the sphere of what is depicted in the literary work.6 Here, on the other hand, it will be necessary to deal in greater...

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