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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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Appendix I [Ch. IV, § 23, n. 148]


⌜Ad 8. Idealist unity creationism does not on the other hand appear to be impos- sible in this group from an existential perspective – at least at first glance; it does, however, arouse serious doubts. According to it, the real world and pure consciousness would have to form one whole in which both existential domains would be reciprocally non-selfsufficient. At the same time, however, a deep ex- istential disparity would obtain between them, and this would be so in virtue of their essence. One of the components of this whole, indeed precisely the world- creating one, would be autonomous, whereas the other component coexisting with it within the same whole would be heteronomous. This existential differ- ence between them would perhaps express the dominant status of consciousness vis-à-vis the world; yet the doubt arises as to whether this difference is possible within the unity of one whole. The formal and material counterarguments that emerge in the case of realist unity creationism would also be adjoined to this. Finally, it is also highly doubtful that a non-selfsufficient consciousness would attain a fully satisfactory completion in a component which is supposed to be heteronomous. There would therefore be a demand for some third entity which would satisfy the need for completion of both of the domains under considera- tion. It would of course itself have to be autonomous, hence would find itself in

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