Workshop on Husserl’s Texts (Primarily Ideas, I and II, Logical Investigations I & II and correlated parts of Crisis and Cartesian Meditations)
The proposed 10 days workshop aims at studying and understanding Husserl’s systematic progress in developing a phenomenology of intentionality, constitution and sense-making that ultimately converged into discovering common,universal and intersubjectively shared structure of the world as experienced by subjects across cultures. Husserl developed Phenomenology as First Philosophy in the sense that phenomena as such are sedimented in human experience in a variety of ways such as invariant logical and mathematical structures and also as a responsibility for truth. Not only that logic and mathematics provide ground for justification of our reflective judgments on objectified natural world, but it also looks for ultimate foundations of validity of truths known in Sciences in commonness of their methods and in the universal achievements of consciousness of the humans.
Not only that the world is intersubjectively shared because of its common foundations and what consciousness makes out of it, but it is also an operative constitution of pre-givenness of a pre-scientific world that acts as the basis of scientific investigations, their truths and their process of sedimentation of sense.
Husserl developed rigorous notions of phenomenological and eidetic reduction, noetic-noematic correlation and a notion of transcendental ego in the first phase of his writings, to be later transformed into intersubjective notion of self and other and life-world.
Husserl gave rise to overarching notion of transcendental reduction that has a dynamic intentional structure bringing together sense and world under an instersubjectively constituted cognitive ego-agent and its field of cognition. This is the much sought after phenomenological explanation to an other neglected notion of intersubjectivity (as stated by Husserl in the preface of Ideas I) that, according to Husserl, can complete his project of establishing ‘the correlate of self-giveness’ and ‘the correlate of predicate judgment’ , as espoused in Ideas II, First Book entitled ‘General Introduction to Pure Phenomenology’. Much of the nuanced arguments in Ideas I in 1913 centering upon noema-noesis connection that brings together ‘objectives sense’(gegenstänilcher sinn) and intentional correlates in the acts of consciousness (including background beliefs and occurrent higher states of thought) that succeeds in asserting that phenomenology is the eidetic foundation of psychology. A clear understanding of the role of psychology in philosophy can make us clear about Husserl’s uses of ‘pure’ in terms of double meaning of ‘pure description’ and ‘seeing, but not interpreting’ the fact and the real. No sooner we seem to get a hold of the idea of ‘pure’, we seem to lose it in Husserl’s insistence on ‘pure or transcendental phenomenology’, raising the question how pure is transcendental and vice-versa. The text Ideas I could be read to answer this issue and embedded question.
This confusion about an eidetic reduction, that reduces facts to essences and transcendental reduction that reduces the given to ‘meant as given’ in a transcendentally reduced pure consciousness that could be further identified as being of ‘meant as given’, which could also be characterized as pure transcendent phenomenon of being. The predicate ‘transcendental’ appear in 1913, which needs to be clarified in reading Ideas I how transcendental and pure consciousness plays its role in sense-constituting and sense-bestowing activities of being. Then what turns out to be meaning of ‘pure and transcendental consciousness’ remains as a question with Husserl giving a clue that it is not transcendentally reduced fact of consciousness, but it is the eidos of transcendental consciousness. The eidos arises in the reduction from psychological phenomena to pure essence and to an eidetic reduction that puts aside all the empirical data and delves into the phenomenological epoché A particularization of eidetic universality of pure or transcendental consciousness is another issue that needs to be addressed by looking beyond the ‘givenness of objects’ as discussed in Ideas I. This will call for an inner perception and reflective judgment on objects that are given to an intersubjectively shared field of cognition.
Much of what remained unaddressed in Ideas I will leave its trail in Ideas II. Modes of consciousness, which is directed to something objective is also a ‘natural reflection’ on its mode of existence. In Ideas II phenomenological reduction leading to eidetic reduction of sense achieves the same what is achieved by epoché. Bracketing of world-beliefs, psychological states and other such background factors leads to a retention of the being of the world by placing it upon absolute grounds that opens up new ways of thinking, theorizing and experiencing. Husserl termed it as Erlebnis as a special case of epoché, as suspension of originary consciousness and its contents are suspended in order to modify the present act of consciousness and its intentional contents by a new kind of erlebnis after suspension that further superimposes and modifies itself to what is meant as being and existence. This new superimposed Erlebnis in contrast to Erlebnis in general is affected by an active ego or any ego-acts. These ego-acts affect what is synthesized in transcendental consciousness is called as active synthesis, which comes after Epoché performed by transcendental ego, which has just been a passive reduction to sense of the given. This redescritpion of empty or static temporality of transcendental ego into an active synthesis in Ideas II yielded quite a few theoretical achievements. Especially in phenomenology of constitution, transcendental ego through its synthesizing acts constitutes a sense-structure which is intersubjectively available. Correspondingly, Husserl developed an idea of ‘personal ego’ as embodied form of transcendental ego that remains as a lived body and performs active synthesis of all the ego-acts into an immanent transcendence of reciprocal relation between personal ego and the world. The text Ideas II need to be read to explore the connection between personal ego, the lived body, intersubjectivity and the phenomenon of the world qua being.
Moving further to Husserl’s ‘Studies in the Phenomenology of Constitution’ given in the second book of Ideas II discusses the involvement of transcendental ego in the material, spiritual, animal and psychic worlds by an understanding of Ego as a position-taking Subject. This move from ego to Subject as a ‘spirit-soul’ as a subject of lived experience and further to an understanding of experience of the Other s open up phenomenology of constitution to the ways in which everything comes to consciousness and not everything being constituted by consciousness.
The dynamic intentional structure of consciousness leads to arguments about validation of sense structure in apriori logical forms (LI, 20-1) as well as in a notion of self-evidence that actually validates a structure of reasoning and sense is the subject matter of Logical Investigations I. That we are not conscious about meaning and judgment but the thing that a statement concerns itself is arrived at in Logical Investigations. Logical reflection as it arises in a thought-context gives rise to meaning-content and how it happens is the subject matter of logical Investigations I. Logical Investigation II looked at a judgment as a given state of affairs and its underlying objectifying presentation and its content. The workshop can read Investigation I and II to connect issues of meaning-intention and meaning-fulfillment as they are represented and categorized in sense-structures.
Although Husserl claimed to have absorbed issues and problems thrown up by Investigations in Ideas, yet a reading of the two volumes shall prepare the learners to identify ways and means of connecting the departures from Investigations to Ideas.
The two other major texts that need to be brought into discussion are Crisis (1935-8/1970 English) and Cartesian Meditations (1960 English) . In Crisis, Husserl pointed out an idea of life-world that is constituted by a community of me as a member of ‘a community of transcendental egos’ that transform itself into self and other by diverse and inter-woven sense-bestowals. Life-world is a world shared with others in terms of sense constitution and structure of meanings. It is the rational structure underlying natural attitude towards objects in the world that becomes ground of sense or guiding clue for transcendental-phenomenological return to ‘the ultimate life’. This return is return to the concrete, as the pre-given sense of the world is sedimented in the later sense-bestowals together with transcendental subjectivity of we-community becomes the potential future experience that brings something new within the life-world. Cartesian Meditations outlined Husserl’s notions about intersubjectivity, bodily presence of others and the thematic epoché of subjective-objective content of apperception within universal transcendental epoché of transcendental phenomenology. The workshop needs to read this with specific references to thematic epoché and its variations in Cartesian Meditations.
Tentative Schedule: April 16 th to April 24 th, 2017 at ICPR, New Delhi/Lucknow.
Selected Participants will be paid ACIII depending on their entitlements besides lodging and boarding.
Last date for sending application: 15 March, 2017
Participants are to be drawn from IITs, Universities and colleges and other comparable higher education institutions of Northeast India, India and abroad from among the students, research scholars, post-Docs and early and middle career faculty members who have demonstrated interest in Phenomenology and related fields with some amount of orientation in terms their formal learning degrees. No: about 20, on a First come First acceptance combined with other relevant criteria as stated herewith.
Resource Persons: Resource persons would include Prof.V.C.Thomas and Prof. V.T. Sebastian, Prof. Jule Simon (Univ. of Texas), Prof. Babu Taliath (tentative) and others who have in-depth knowledge and research in various areas of Phenomenology and related areas.
Co-ordiantor/Director: Dr. Prasenjit Biswas, NEHU, Shillong
 Husserl argued that the ego continually constitutes itself as existing it time and time becomes the universal form of egological genesis. Husserl, Cartesian Meditations, sec. 37.