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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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Chapter V: Time and Mode of Being


Chapter V Time and Mode of Being § 27. Introductory Remarks Concerning Concrete Time We have thus far conducted the existential analyses in such generality that our concepts of being extend beyond the realm of the real world – which is of particu- lar interest to us here. As a consequence, we have not yet touched at all on some existential moments, and it is precisely for this reason that we could not capture the full modes of being by means of the eight concepts adduced above. For one, we have heretofore dealt with the issue as if time had no influence at all on an en- tity’s mode of being, hence, as if “being-in-time” or “temporality [Zeitlich-Sein]” on the one hand, and “atemporality [Zeitlos-Sein]” on the other, had no bearing on the existence of the entity itself, but only determined the entity along some formal or material lines.680 The question arises as to whether the opposite is not in fact the case, whether therefore “being-in-time” does not belong to the innermost core of the mode of being.681 The question at issue here does not belong to a general theory of time or to a general theory of existence, but is rather a problem which in this context – where we examine the ontological problem of the existence of the real world – is of vital interest to us. For – true or not! – the real world as we grasp it in pre-philosophical, everyday experience appears to be organized in such a peculiar fashion that...

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