Comments on “Models, Science and Intersubjectivity” by Harald Wiltsche

Oct 20 2017

Article at Models, Science, and Intersubjectivity

I have been reading Mohanty, Jitendranath. Edmund Husserl’s Freiberg Years, 1916-1938. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011). I was interested in it because it reviewed Genetic Phenomenology strand in Husserl’s thought. But it also reviews the Intersubjectivity strand much better than the Passive Synthesis strand.

His presentation makes it quite clear that Husserl was ultimately saying something like Transcendental Subjectivity is Intersubjectivity. In other words, he solves the problem ultimately by fiat which is really no solution. But the problem that Husserl has with solipsism is ultimately the problem that Western science itself has and the critique of Phenomenology by Science advocates is really a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

This is why Heidegger’s initiative in Being and Time is so important. Heidegger seizes on Husserl’s idea of the “monad” and makes that Dasein. He posits it as something prior to the arising of the dualism between Subject and Object. And this is a big step toward the solution of this problem. But this of course entails other problems to do with the unleashing of a regress in Meta-levels of Being. But Heidegger’s whole project is meant to solve multiple problems with Husserl’s Transcendental Phenomenology at the same time mostly by building off of the Genetic Phenomenology strand in Husserl courses. Of course we do not find that out until later.

Phenomenology is developed purely in a present-at-hand or Pure Being mode. Heidegger introduces a ready-to-hand or Process Being mode and gives Dasein an Existential basis seemingly outside ontology. This kicks off the development of Fundamental Ontology as a basic theme in Continental Philosophy. Another basic theme is Genetic Phenomenology taken up by Merleau-Ponty and Deleuze explicitly.

But the problem of Solipsism remains in Husserl’s thought despite claims to the contrary by him. Derrida uses these problems as the basis for his deconstruction of Husserl’s philosophy in Speech and Phenomena. If Husserl was convincing that Transcendental Subjectivity is Transcendental Intersubjectivity, that deconstruction of Derrida would be a moot point.

It seems to me that the real solution to the problem with intersubjectivity must be not just getting to a place prior to the arising of the subject/object split. But prior also to the mitsein/dasein split. And to do that it seems that we have to go all the way to the level of Wild Being as it is defined by Merleau-Ponty and taken up and developed by Deleuze as Transcendental Empiricism with respect to their version of Dasein and the Monad which is the Transcendental Field.

I try to show how this is possible in my recent article “Primordial Sociality and Intersubjectivity: Exploring the Socius”. I try to show that we need to go all the way up the meta-levels of Being to Wild Being in order to get to a place prior to the division between dasein/mitsen and I also invoke Emergent Time as a resource for attempting to solve the problem of solipsism within the Husserlian context.

Phenomenology shows that Science itself has a problem of solipsism while claiming to have theories that are reproducible by a community of observers. The solipsism of science is seen in the exclusion of the subject and the claims of objectivity that cannot be sustained. Husserl is only delving into the common problem and attempting to find a way out. But the whole problem is set up and maintained by the subject/object duality that is the basis of science. Basically we need to go even further than Heidegger did when he concentrated on Dasein which was Husserl’s Monad as the basis of his philosophy and tried to make it something prior to the arising of the subject/object split. Merleau-Ponty went further and extended Phenomenology by developing further the idea of Dasein into the Transcendental Field that contains invisiblities interspersed in the visiblities. Deleuze goes even further down this road consolidating the moments of Genetic Phenomenology in Difference and Repetition to support our understanding of Wild Being and developing Transcendental Empiricism as an alternative to Phenomenology.

This problem of the solipsism (objectivity) of Science continues to be a fundamental problem that later phenomenologist have continued to work on as the advocates of science ignore the problem. But even with the developments of Genetic Phenomenology so far the solution to the problem of solipsism and intersubjectivity has been elusive. Hopefully by bringing to bear the resources of Emergent Time along with advances in Fundamental Ontology we can solve this problem. But that solution must in turn transform not just phenomenology but Science itself.

See Meta-levels of Being

See also Genetic Phenomenology and Fundamental Ontology of the Meta-levels of Time

Kent Duane Palmer

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