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Controversy over the Existence of the World

Volume I


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 I, which receives here its first complete and critical translation into English, initiates the grand project of refuting transcendental idealism, and begins by setting the foundations for an elaborate and precise ontological system. This is Ingarden’s greatest accomplishment, who is rather known as a theoretician of literature than an ontologist outside of Poland. 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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Translator’s Note


Roman Ingarden’s Controversy over the Existence of the World (it has become “canonical” to omit the definite article from the English translation of the book’s German title) appeared in 3 versions during his lifetime: A) Spór o istnienie świata, Vols. I/II, Kraków: PAU, 1947/48; B) Spór o istnienie świata, Vols. I/II, Warszawa: PWN, 1960/61; C) Der Streit um die Existenz der Welt, Bd. I/II, Tbingen: Max Niemeyer Ver- lag, 1964/65.1 A fourth version (a hybrid that splices passages from B and C), as edited, and with German passages translated into Polish, by D. Gierulanka, appeared as Spór o istnienie świata, Vols. I, II, Warszawa: PWN, 1987. B is a “corrected [or improved]” version of A. C is a revised edition of B, partially translated and partially rewritten by the author. In the translation at hand, C is the main text, and those who wish to get a straight reading of Ingarden’s “definitive” (because it was his last) statement can do so by ignoring all “markings” in the body of the text other than bold-face footnote numerals (which also indicate translator’s notes). All the rest is for those who for untold reasons may wish to delve into a comparative reading of B and C. The style adopted for enabling the reader to do so resembles those of the AB edition of Kant’s main Critique and of the Husserliana edition of the Logische Untersuchungen. My project differs from these, for one, in that not all changes are accounted...

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