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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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§ 79. The Connection Between the Controversy over the Existence of the World and the Body-Soul-Problem

§ 79.The Connection Between the Controversy over the Existence of the World and the Body‐Soul‐Problem


I do not intend to consider here whether the adduced facts that were discovered in the external experience of the physical human body actually obtain and can also be ascertained without any overly serious reservations. This is an issue for the positive sciences or metaphysics, and correlatively for the relevant epistemological deliberations. The only question that is important within the framework of the ontological investigation is whether the facts mentioned here – should they actually obtain – would play for consciousness the role that is ascribed to them in the cited conceptions. The particularly important question is what role they would play in the problem of the existential connection between the pure ego, the conscious experiences effected by it, and the body – which, as we say, is “linked” with it. Would the validity [Bestehen] of these facts speak sufficiently in favor of consciousness a) being existentially derived from the physiological processes in the body of the psycho-physical individual (the human being), b) being dependent on them, or finally c) being non-selfsufficient vis-à-vis these? But before attempting to answer these questions, I must once again pause.

The mentioned facts present themselves differently when, in making use of the experience of other living beings’ (humans’) bodies [Körpern (Leibern)], we at the same time make use of the function of directly expressing at least some mental facts [psychischer Tatsachen]197 in bodily states and processes (behaviors), than they do when we infer concerning mental facts solely on the basis of observed...

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