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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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§ 73. Concerning Domains of Existentially Heteronomous Entities

§ 73.Concerning Domains of Existentially Heteronomous Entities287


Whatever the upshot of this last question, at least this much appears to be clear: not all species of objects that – especially in the realm of derivatively individual objects – are idealiter possible, when considering the system of the highest genus constitutive for a given world and the species of various levels allowed by it, must in fact exist within that world.

Ad 2. But what about the mentioned inauthentic genera and species of the derivatively individual objects within a world? What are these “inauthentic” genera actually, and how is their existence within a (possible) world explained?

As we said, the derivatively individual objects existing in a world must have an essence which permits them to have acquired or externally conditioned properties, but which at the same time does not of itself alone determine unequivocally the matter of these properties – precisely because they are merely acquired or externally conditioned. The contact of object G(X) with object G(Y)263 in some segment of the world, and the process V that possibly transpires between them, can first be the sufficient condition for the origination in object G(X) of some determinate acquired or externally conditioned property. However, object G(Y) and process V may not suffice for this in some cases, whereby the presence of objects G(Z), G(M), G(N), etc. and of the corresponding processes V n is still necessary. The acquired or externally conditioned properties accruing to object G(X) are then conditioned...

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