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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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§ 69. Some Attempts at a Solution of the Indicated Problems

§ 69.Some Attempts at a Solution of the Indicated Problems114


7.It would appear that there are domains whose elements change, and even come into being [entstehen] and cease to exist. Is the domain in which this occurs109, as domain, sensitive to these ˹changes˺110? And what would the situation with this be – especially with the real world, in which such facts [Tatsachen] would occur? When we speak here of “sensitivity,” we mean that the given domain is altered under the influence of these facts, or even ceases to exist. If it is “sensitive,” then the question becomes: what dimensions [Ausmaß] can these facts111 take on before the existence and identity of the given domain is threatened? And of what sort are the eventual changes of the domain? Are they purely formal, or only material? Or are they altogether absent?112 And yet another issue: If a domain is “sensitive” to the changes of its individual elements, then the question arises as to whether this domain itself exists in time, or whether time is [125] only something that shows up exclusively within the framework of the domain in which the transformations of the elements take place.

8.A quite special situation, and one that is very important for the controversy between idealism and realism, is presented by the problem of the relation between material objects (things and physical processes) and mental [psychischen] entities (persons and mental processes, conscious experiences in particular). This problem itself exceeds the scope of the formal issues being dealt with right now, since it is at...

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