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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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§ 74. The Phenomenon of the Intertwining of Two Object-Domains and the Problem of the Existential Selfsufficiency of the Domain

§ 74.The Phenomenon of the Intertwining of Two Object‐Domains and the Problem of the Existential Selfsufficiency of the Domain


Let us therefore take a closer look now at the “intertwining” of two object-domains. Is such an “intertwining” altogether possible, and if so, the question arises whether the “intertwining” domains continue at all to retain their selfsufficiency and reciprocal independence. If this were not the case, intertwining would rule out the distinctness [Besonderheit] of two domains. ˹As soon as the intertwining has been irreproachably established, we would have to give up the semblance that in some given case we are dealing with two domains and concede that we are only dealing with one. To put it another way, however: Two different domains could not then effectively “intertwine,” and we could only wind up with a phenomenon of intertwining.˺302 But then how could such a phenomenon be arrived at? Which of these options actually obtains?

We must reckon here with a variety of cases: either both of the domains in question are autonomous and contain autonomous elements, or one of them is autonomous and the other heteronomous (and with heteronomous elements), or, ←611 | 612→finally, both domains are heteronomous in the sense indicated. These cases must be dealt with separately.

We cannot assert at this stage of the deliberation that there actually is the fact of intertwining. For at the moment we do not yet have at our disposal the relevant material-ontological or metaphysical results. We must therefore rest satisfied with the consideration of certain possibilities that open up on the basis of the formal treatment...

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