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Controversy over the Existence of the World

Volume II

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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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c) Positive Qualities and Performance Capabilities (Capacities) within the Essence of the Object

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There is the problem of whether, and if so to what extent, the essence of an individual object can be changed, if the latter undergoes or is accessible to change at all. In view of the distinction of 204 different types of essence of an individual object, this question must obviously be differentiated into several questions. In addition – in accordance with the distinctions made earlier – two different concepts of change must be opposed: a “change” of the object consists either in its losing some particular property and gaining a new one in its place, or else in retaining a particular property, only in a lesser or greater, that is, more perfect, development and refinement [Ausgestaltung] of a particular matter in the given object. In the latter case it is a question of occurrences in organic or mental life in which some specific quality shows up at first in an embryonic state, as it were, by barely registering its presence in the object, and only later, in the course of living, is increasingly more embodied and achieves a more perfect development in it, and indeed the development of a Gestalt that was originally present in the object only quasi implicite. Certain modifications show up thereby within the scope of this quality itself, e.g. with respect to its inner differentiation or ˹imprint [Prägung]˺205. But despite this, during the entire process of “development,” of attaining to a full “bloom” – or, conversely, during [442] the process of a regression, of a degeneration,...

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