Husserl’s book “The Crisis of the European Sciences” is his last and most influential book. It was written in Nazi Germany, and Husserl was under severe pressure, because he was a Jew. The book identifies the moral and existential crises of the age, and defends the relevance of philosophy in a time of both scientific progress and political barbarism. It is also a response to Heidegger, who was Husserl’s student, but then turned away from him. It offers Husserl’s perspective on the problems of human finitude, history and culture. The book introduces the influential notion of the ‘life-world’ — a pre-given, familiar environment that includes both ‘nature’ and ‘culture’ — and offers a clear introduction to phenomenology as both a method and a philosophy.
I am reproducing here a small section of the book, entitled “The Way into Phenomenological Transcendental Philosophy from Psychology.”
- Part IIIB: The Way into Phenomenological Transcendental Philosophy from Psychology. …
- § 57. The fateful separation of transcendental philosophy and psychology.
- § 58. The alliance and the difference between psychology and transcendental philosophy. Psychology as the decisive field.
- § 59. Analysis of the reorientation from the psychological attitude into the transcendental attitude. Psychology “before” and “after” the phenomenological reduction. (The problem of “flowing in.”)
- § 60. The reason for the failure of psychology: dualistic and physicalistic presuppositions.
- §61. Psychology in the tension between the (objectivistic-philosophical) idea of science and empirical procedure: the incompatibility of the two directions of psychological inquiry (the psychophysical and that of “psychology based on inner experience”).
- §62. Preliminary discussion of the absurdity giving equal status in principle to souls and bodies as realities; indication of the difference in principle between the temporality, the causality, and the individuation of natural things and those of souls.
- §63. The questionable character of the concepts of “outer” and “inner” experience. Why has the experience of the bodily thing in the life-world, as the experience of something “merely subjective,” not previously been included in the subject matter of psychology?
- §64. Cartesian dualism as the reason for the parallelisation. Only the formal and most general features of the schema “descriptive vs. explanatory science” are justified.
- § 65. Testing the legitimacy of an empirically grounded dualism by familiarising oneself with the factual procedure of the psychologist and the physiologist.
- § 66. The world of common experience: its set of regional types and the possible universal abstractions within it: “nature” as correlate of a universal abstraction; the problem of “complementary abstractions.”
- § 67. The dualism of the abstractions grounded in experience. The continuing historical influence of the empiricist approach (from Hobbes to Wundt). Critique of data-empiricism
- § 68. The task of a pure explication of consciousness as such: the universal problem of intentionality. (Brentano’s attempt at a reform of psychology.)
Part IIIB: The Way into Phenomenological Transcendental Philosophy from Psychology. …
§ 57. The fateful separation of transcendental philosophy and psychology.
LET US GO BACK to the times in which modern man and the modern philosopher still believed in themselves and in a philosophy, when, in the context of the transcendental motivation, they struggled for a new philosophy with the responsible seriousness of an inner, absolute calling that one senses in every word of the genuine philosopher, Even after the so-called collapse of the Hegelian philosophy, in which the line of development determined by Kant culminated, this seriousness remained intact for a time in the philosophies reacting against Hegel (even though its original force was weakened). But why did transcendental philosophy not achieve the unity of a development running through all its interruptions? Why did self-criticism and reciprocal criticism among those still animated by the old spirit not lead to the integration of compelling cognitive accomplishments into the unity of an edifice of knowledge which grew from generation to generation, which merely needed perfecting through constantly renewed criticism, correction, and methodical refinement? In this regard the following general remark must first be made: an absolutely novel procedure like that of transcendental science, which was lacking any sort of guidance by analogy, could be before the mind at first only as a sort of instinctive anticipation. An obscure dissatisfaction with the previous way of grounding in all science leads to the setting of new problems and to theories which exhibit a certain self-evidence of success in solving them in spite of many difficulties that are unnoticed or, so to speak, drowned out. This first self-evidence can still conceal within itself more than enough obscurities which lie deeper, especially in the form of unquestioned, supposedly quite obvious presuppositions. Yet such first theories continue to be helpful historically; the obscurities become more troublesome, what is supposedly obvious is questioned, the theories are criticised for this, and this creates the stimulus for new attempts.
Furthermore, transcendental philosophy, for essential reasons (which are perfectly clear from our systematic presentations), can never undergo the unnoticed transformation into a mere techni and thus into a process of depletion whereby what has become a technique retains only a hidden meaning – one whose full depths, indeed, can be revealed only transcendentally. We can understand, accordingly, that the history of transcendental philosophy first had to be a history of renewed attempts just to bring transcendental philosophy to its starting point and, above all, to a clear and proper self-understanding of what it actually could and must undertake. Its origin is a “Copernican turn,” that is, a turning-away in principle from the manner of grounding in naïve-objective science. As we know, transcendental philosophy appears in its primal form, as a seed, in the first Cartesian Meditations as an attempt at an absolutely subjectivistic grounding of philosophy through the apodictic ego; but here it is unclear and ambiguous, and it immediately subverts its genuine sense. Neither the new stage, the reaction of Berkeley and Hume against the philosophical naïveté of mathematical, natural-scientific exactness, nor even Kant’s new beginning led to the genuine sense of the required Copernican turn – the sense, that is, of grounding once and for all a systematic transcendental philosophy in the rigorous scientific spirit. A true beginning, achieved by means of a radical liberation from all scientific and prescientific traditions, was not attained by Kant. He does not penetrate to the absolute subjectivity which constitutes everything that is, in its meaning and validity, nor to the method of attaining it in its apodicticity, of interrogating it and of explicating it apodictically.
From then on, the history of this philosophy was necessarily a continued struggle precisely for the clear and genuine sense of the transcendental turn to be carried out and of its method of work; to put it in another way, it was a struggle for the genuine “transcendental reduction.” Our critical reflections on Kant have already made clear to us the danger of impressive and yet still unclear insights or, if you will, the illumination of pure insights in the form of vague anticipations while one is still working with questions posed on an unclarified ground (that of what is “obvious”); and this also made comprehensible how he was forced into a mythical concept-construction and into a metaphysics in the dangerous sense inimical to all genuine science. All the transcendental concepts of Kant – those of the “I” of transcendental apperception, of the different transcendental faculties, that of the “thing in itself” (which underlies souls as well as bodies) – are constructive concepts which resist in principle an ultimate clarification. This is even more true in the later idealistic systems. This is the reason for the reactions, which were in fact necessary, against those systems, against their whole manner of philosophising. To be sure, if one became willingly engrossed in such a system, one could not deny the force and moment of its thought-constructions. Yet their ultimate incomprehensibility gave rise to profound dissatisfaction among all those who had educated themselves in the great new sciences. Even though these sciences, according to our clarification and manner of speaking, furnish a merely “technical” self-evidence, and even though transcendental philosophy can never become such a techni, this techni is still an intellectual accomplishment which must be clear and understandable at every step, must possess the self-evidence of the step made and of the ground upon which it rests; and to this extent (taken thus formally) the same thing holds for it that holds for every technically self-evident science practiced artfully, such as mathematics, for example. It helps not at all to try to explain the incomprehensibility of the transcendental constructions by outlining, in the same spirit, a constructive theory of the necessity of such incomprehensible things; nor does it help to try to suggest that the overwhelming profundity of the transcendental theories implies corresponding difficulties of understanding and that people are too lazy to overcome them. So much is correct, that any transcendental philosophy must, and with essential necessity, create extraordinary difficulties for the natural man’s understanding – for “common sense” – and thus for all of us, since we cannot avoid having to rise from the natural ground to the transcendental region. The complete inversion of the natural stance of life, thus into an “unnatural” one, places the greatest conceivable demands upon philosophical resolve and consistency. Natural human understanding and the objectivism rooted in it will view every transcendental philosophy as a flighty eccentricity, its wisdom as useless foolishness; or it will interpret it as a psychology which seeks to convince itself that it is not psychology. No one who is truly receptive to philosophy is ever frightened off by difficulties. But modern man, as man shaped by science, demands insight; and thus, as the image of sight correctly suggest, he demands the self-evidence of “seeing” the goals and the ways to them and every step along the way. The way may be long, and many years of toilsome study may be necessary; this is true in mathematics, but it does not frighten him whose life-interest is mathematics. The great transcendental philosophies did not satisfy the scientific need for such self-evidence, and for this reason their ways of thinking were abandoned.
Turning back to our subject, we shall now be able to say, without being misunderstood: just as the emerging incomprehensibility of the rationalistic philosophy of the Enlightenment, understood as “objective” science, called forth the reaction of transcendental philosophy, so the reaction against the incomprehensibility of the attempted transcendental philosophies had to lead beyond them.
But now we are faced with the question: How is it to be understood that such an unscientific style could be developed and propagated at all, in great philosophers and their philosophies, when the development of modern philosophy was so animated by the will to science? These philosophers were by no means mere poets of ideas. They were not at all lacking in the serious will to create philosophy as an ultimately grounding science, however one may wish to transform the sense of ultimate grounding. (Consider, for example, the emphatic declarations of Fichte in the drafts of his Wissenschaftslehre or those of Hegel in the “Preface” to his Phenomenology of Mind.) How is it that they remained bound to their style of mythical concept-constructions and of world-interpretations based on obscure metaphysical anticipations and were not able to penetrate to a scientifically rigorous type of concepts and method and that every successor in the Kantian series conceived one more philosophy in the same style? Part of transcendental philosophy’s own meaning was that it arose out of reflections on conscious subjectivity through which the world, the scientific as well as the everyday intuitive world, comes to be known or achieves its ontic validity for us; thus transcendental philosophy recognised the necessity of developing a purely mental approach to the world. But if it had to deal with the mental, why did it not turn to the psychology that had been practiced so diligently for centuries? Or, if this no longer sufficed, why did it not work out a better psychology? One will naturally answer that the empirical man, the psychophysical being, himself belongs, in soul as well as body, to the constituted world. Thus human subjectivity is not transcendental subjectivity, and the psychological theories of knowledge of Locke and his successors serve as continued admonitions against “psychologism,” against any use of psychology for transcendental purposes. But in exchange, transcendental philosophy always had to bear its cross of incomprehensibility.
The difference between empirical and transcendental subjectivity remained unavoidable; yet just as unavoidable, but also incomprehensible, was their identity. I myself, as transcendental ego, “constitute” the world, and at the same time, as soul, I am a human ego in the world. The understanding which prescribes its law to the world is my transcendental understanding, and it forms me, too, according to these laws; yet it is my – the philosopher’s – psychic faculty. Can the ego which posits itself, of which Fichte speaks, be anything other than Fichte’s own? If this is supposed to be not an actual absurdity but a paradox that can be resolved, what other method could help us achieve clarity than the interrogation of our inner experience and an analysis carried out within its framework? If one is to speak of a transcendental “consciousness in general,” if I, this singular, individual ego, cannot be the bearer of the nature-constituting understanding, must I not ask how I can have, beyond my individual self-consciousness, a general, a transcendental intersubjective consciousness? The consciousness of intersubjectivity, then, must become a transcendental problem; but again, it is not apparent how it can become that except through an interrogation of myself, [one that appeals to] inner experience, i.e., in order to discover the manners of consciousness through which I attain and have others and a fellow mankind in general, and in order to understand the fact that I can distinguish, in myself between myself and others and can confer upon them the sense of being “of my kind.” Can psychology be indifferent here? Must it not deal with all this? The same or similar questions address themselves, as they do to Kant, to all his successors who became so lost in obscure metaphysics or mythology. One would think, after all, that we could attain a scientific concept even of an absolute reason and its accomplishments only after working out a scientific concept of our human reason and of human, or of humanity’s, accomplishments – that is, only through a genuine psychology.
The first answer to this question is that transcendental philosophy (and also philosophy of any other attempted style), quite apart from concern about psychologism, had reason enough not to hope for any counsel from psychology. This was due to psychology itself and to the fateful, erroneous path forced upon it by the peculiarity of the modern idea of an objectivistic universal science more geometrico, with its psychophysical dualism. In the following I shall try to show (paradoxical as this thesis must appear here) that it is precisely this restriction placed upon psychology, which falsifies its meaning and to the present day has kept it from grasping its peculiar task, that bears the primary responsibility for the fact that transcendental philosophy found no way out of its uncomfortable situation and was thus caught in the concepts and construction it used to interpret its – in themselves valuable – empirical observations, concepts, and constructions, which are completely devoid of any legitimation from original self-evidence. If psychology had not failed, it would have performed a necessary mediating work for a concrete, working transcendental philosophy, freed from all paradoxes. Psychology failed, however, because, even in its primal establishment as a new kind of [science] alongside the new natural science, it failed to inquire after what was essentially the only genuine sense of its task as the universal science of psychic being. Rather, it let its task and method be set according to the model of natural science or according to the guiding idea of modern philosophy as objective and thus concrete universal science – a task which, of course, considering the given historical motivation, appeared to be quite obvious. So remote was any sort of doubt in this matter that it was not until the end of the nineteenth century that it became a philosophical motif of thought at all. Thus the history of psychology is actually only a history of crises. And for this reason psychology could also not aid in the development of a genuine transcendental philosophy, since this was possible only after a radical reform through which psychology’s essentially proper task and method were clarified through the deepest sort of reflection upon itself. The reason for this is that the consistent and pure execution of this task had to lead, of itself and of necessity, to a science of transcendental subjectivity and thus to its transformation into a universal transcendental philosophy.
§ 58. The alliance and the difference between psychology and transcendental philosophy. Psychology as the decisive field.
ALL THIS WILL BECOME understandable if, in order to elucidate the difficult, even paradoxical, relation between psychology and transcendental philosophy, we make use of the systematic considerations through which we made clear to ourselves the sense and the method of a radical and genuine transcendental philosophy. By now we are without doubt that a scientific psychology of the modern style – no matter which of the many attempts since Hobbes and Locke we may consider – can never take part in the theoretical accomplishments, can never provide any premises for those accomplishments, which are the task of transcendental philosophy. The task set for modern psychology, and taken over by it, was to be a science of psychophysical realities, of men and animals as unitary beings, though divided into two real strata. Here all theoretical thinking moves on the ground of the taken-for-granted, pre-given world of experience, the world of natural life; and theoretical interest is simply directed as a special case to one of the real aspects of it, the souls, while the other aspect is supposed to be already known, or is yet to be known, by the exact natural sciences according to its objective, true being-in-itself. For the transcendental philosopher, however, the totality of real objectivity – not only the scientific objectivity of all actual and possible sciences but also the prescientific objectivity of the life-world, with its “situational truths” and the relativity of its existing objects – has become a problem, the enigma of all enigmas. The enigma is precisely the taken-for-grantedness in virtue of which the “world” constantly and pre-scientifically exists for us, “world” being a title for an infinity of what is taken for granted, what is indispensable for all objective sciences. As I, philosophising, reflect in pure consistency upon myself as the constantly functioning ego throughout the alteration of experiences and the opinions arising out of them, as the ego having consciousness of the world and dealing with the world consciously through these experiences, as I inquire consistently on all sides into the what and the how of the manners of givenness and the modes of validity, and the manner of ego-centeredness, I become aware that this conscious life is through and through an intentionally accomplishing life through which the life-world, with all its changing representational contents, in part attains anew and in part has already attained its meaning and validity. All real mundane objectivity is constituted accomplishment in this sense, including that of men and animals and thus also that of the “souls.” Psychic being, accordingly, and objective spirit of every sort (such as human societies, cultures), and in the same manner psychology itself, are among the transcendental problems. It would be absurdly circular to want to deal with such problems on a naïve, objective basis through the method of the objective sciences.
Nevertheless, psychology and transcendental philosophy are allied with each other in a peculiar and inseparable way, namely, in virtue of the alliance of difference and identity – which is no longer an enigma for us, but has been clarified – between the psychological ego (the human ego, that is, made worldly in the spatio-temporal world) and the transcendental ego, its ego-life, and its accomplishment. According to our clarifications, the ultimate self-understanding here allows us to say: in my naïve selfconsciousness as a human being knowing himself to be living in the world, for whom the world is the totality of what for him is valid as existing, I am blind to the immense transcendental dimension of problems. This dimension is in a hidden [realm of] anonymity. In truth, of course, I am a transcendental ego, but I am not conscious of this; being in a particular attitude, the natural attitude, I am completely given over to the object-poles, completely bound by interests and tasks which are exclusively directed toward them. I can, however, carry out the transcendental reorientation – in which transcendental universality opens itself up – and then I understand the one-sided, closed, natural attitude as a particular transcendental attitude, as one of a certain habitual one-sidedness of the whole life of interest. I now have, as a new horizon of interest, the whole of constituting life and accomplishment with all its correlations – a new, infinite scientific realm – if I engage in the appropriate systematic work. In this reorientation our tasks are exclusively transcendental; all natural data and accomplishments acquire a transcendental meaning, and within the transcendental horizon they impose completely new sorts of transcendental tasks. Thus, as a human being and a human soul, I first become a theme for psychophysics and psychology; but then in a new and higher dimension I become a transcendental theme. Indeed, I soon become aware that all the opinions I have about myself arise out of self-apperceptions, out of experiences and judgments which I – reflexively directed toward myself – have arrived at and have synthetically combined with other apperceptions of my being taken over from other subjects through my contact with them. My ever new self-apperceptions are thus continuing acquisitions of my accomplishments in the unity of my self-objectification; proceeding on in this unity, they have become habitual acquisitions, or they become such ever anew. I can investigate transcendentally this total accomplishment of which I myself, as the “ego,” am the ultimate ego-pole, and I can pursue its intentional structure of meaning and validity.
By contrast, as a psychologist I set myself the task of knowing myself as the ego already made part of the world, objectified with a particular real meaning, mundanised, so to speak – concretely speaking, the soul – the task of knowing myself precisely in the manner of objective, naturally mundane knowledge (in the broadest sense), myself as a human being among things, among other human beings, animals, etc. Thus we understand that in fact an indissoluble inner alliance obtains between psychology and transcendental philosophy. But from this perspective we can also foresee that there must be a way whereby a concretely executed psychology could lead to a transcendental philosophy. By anticipation, one can say: If I myself effect the transcendental attitude as a way of lifting myself above all world – apperceptions and my human self-apperception, purely for the purpose of studying the transcendental accomplishment in and through which I “have” the world, then I must also find this accomplishment again, later, in a psychological internal analysis – though in this case it would have passed again into an apperception, i.e., it would be apperceived as something belonging to the real soul as related in reality to the real living body.
[If I learn to clarify, to understand from my own point of view as an ego, how other human beings are simply human beings for themselves, how the world is constantly valid for them as existing, the world in which they live together with others and with me, and how they, too, are ultimately transcendental subjects through their accomplishments of world – and self-objectification, then once again I must say to myself: I must take the results of my transcendental clarification in respect to the transcendental self-objectification of others and apply them to their human existence, which is to be judged psychologically].
And, conversely: a radical, psychological unfolding of my apperceptive life and of the particular world appearing in it, in respect to the how of the particular appearances (thus of the human “world-picture” ) – this, in the transition to the transcendental attitude, would immediately have to take on transcendental significance as soon as I now, at the higher level, constantly take into account the meaning-conferring accomplishment which is responsible for the objective apperception, i.e., the accomplishment through which the world-representation has the sense of something really existing, something human and psychic, the sense of being my psychic life and that of other human beings – the life in which everyone has his world-representations, finds himself as existing, representing, acting according to purposes in the world.
This to us rather obvious consideration, which is nevertheless still in need of a deeper grounding, could of course not be accessible prior to the transcendental reduction; but was not the alliance between psychology and transcendental philosophy always strongly noticeable, in spite of all obscurity? Indeed, this alliance was, in fact, a motif which constantly codetermined the [historical] development. Thus it must at first appear curious that transcendental philosophy since Kant found no real usefulness at all in the psychology which, since the time of Locke, after all, wanted to be psychology grounded in inner experience. On the contrary, every transcendental philosophy which was not erring in the direction of empiricism and scepticism saw the slightest admixture of psychology as a betrayal of its true undertaking, and waged a constant battle against psychologism – a battle that was meant to have, and did have, the effect that the philosopher was not permitted to concern himself at all with objective psychology.
To be sure, even after Hume and Kant it remained a great temptation, for all those who were not to be aroused from their dogmatic slumbers, to want to deal psychologically with epistemological problems. In spite of Kant, Hume was still not understood; the very fundamental systematic work of his scepticism, the Treatise, was little studied; English empiricism, i.e., the psychological theory of knowledge in the Lockean style, continued to spread, even flourished. Thus it is true that transcendental philosophy, posing completely new kinds of questions, naturally had to struggle against this psychologism. But our present question is no longer concerned with this, for it is directed not at the philosophical naturalists but at the true transcendental philosophers, including the creators of the great systems themselves. Why did they not concern themselves at all with psychology, not even with analytic psychology based on inner experience? The answer already indicated, which still demands further exposition and grounding, is: psychology since Locke in all its forms, even when it sought to be analytic psychology based on “inner experience,” mistook its peculiar task.
All of modern philosophy, in the original sense of a universal ultimately grounding science, is, according to our presentation, at least since Kant and Hume, a single struggle between two ideas of science: the idea of an objectivistic philosophy on the ground of the pre-given world and the idea of a philosophy on the ground of absolute, transcendental subjectivity – the latter being something completely new and strange historically, breaking through in Berkeley, Hume, and Kant. Psychology is constantly involved in this great process of development, involved, as we have seen, in different ways; indeed, psychology is the truly decisive field. It is this precisely because, though it has a different attitude and is under the guidance of a different task, its subject matter is universal subjectivity, which in its actualities and possibilities is one.
§ 59. Analysis of the reorientation from the psychological attitude into the transcendental attitude. Psychology “before” and “after” the phenomenological reduction. (The problem of “flowing in.”)
HERE WE AGAIN take up the notion which we previously anticipated from the transcendental-philosophical point of view, the notion which already suggested to us the idea of a possible way from psychology into transcendental philosophy. In psychology the natural, naïve attitude has the result that the human self-objectifications of transcendental intersubjectivity, which belong with essential necessity to the makeup of the constituted world pre-given to me and to us, inevitably have a horizon of transcendentally functioning intentionalities which are not accessible to reflection, not even psychological-scientific reflection. “I, this man,” and likewise “other men” – these signify, respectively, a self-apperception and an apperception of others which are transcendental acquisitions involving everything psychic that belongs to them, acquisitions which flowingly change in their particularity through transcendental functions which are hidden from the naïve attitude. We can inquire back into the transcendental historical dimension, from which the meaning and validity – accomplishment of these apperceptions ultimately stems, only by breaking with naïveté through the method of transcendental reduction. In the unbroken naïveté in which all psychology, all humanistic disciplines, all human history persists, I, the psychologist, like everyone else, am constantly involved in the performance of self-apperceptions and apperceptions of others. I can, of course, in the process thematically reflect upon myself, upon my psychic life and that of others, upon my and others’ changing apperceptions; I can also carry out recollections; observingly, with theoretical interest, I can carry out self-perceptions and self-recollections, and through the medium of empathy I can make use of the self-apperceptions of others. I can inquire into my development and that of others; I can thematically pursue history, society’s memory, so to speak – but all such reflection remains within transcendental naïveté; it is the performance of the transcendental world-apperception which is, so to speak, ready-made, while the transcendental correlate – i.e., the (immediately active or sedimented) functioning intentionality, which is the universal apperception, constitutive of all particular apperceptions, giving them the ontic sense of “psychic experiences of this and that human being” – remains completely hidden. In the naïve attitude of world-life, everything is precisely worldly: that is, there is nothing but the constituted object-poles – though they are not understood as that. Psychology, like every objective science, is bound to the realm of what is prescientifically pre-given, i.e., bound to what can be named, asserted, described in common language – in this case, bound to the psychic, as it can be expressed in the language of our linguistic community (construed most broadly, the European community). For the life-world – the “world for us all” – is identical with the world that can be commonly talked about. Every new apperception leads essentially, through apperceptive transference, to a new typification of the surrounding world and in social intercourse to a naming which immediately flows into the common language. Thus the world is always such that it can be empirically, generally (intersubjectively) explicated and, at the same time, linguistically explicated.
But with the break with naïveté brought about by the transcendental-phenomenological reorientation there occurs a significant transformation, significant for psychology itself. As a phenomenologist I can, of course, at any time go back into the natural attitude, back to the straightforward pursuit of my theoretical or other life-interests; I can, as before, be active as a father, a citizen, an official, as a “good European,” etc., that is, as a human being in my human community, in my world. As before – and yet not quite as before. For I can never again achieve the old naïveté; I can only understand it. My transcendental insights and purposes have become merely inactive, but they continue to be my own. More than this: my earlier naïve self-objectification as the empirical human ego of my psychic life has become involved in a new movement. All the new sorts of apperceptions which are exclusively tied to the phenomenological reduction, together with the new sort of language (new even if I use ordinary language, as is unavoidable, though its meanings are also unavoidably transformed) – all this, which before was completely hidden and inexpressible, now flows into the self-objectification, into my psychic life, and becomes apperceived as its newly revealed intentional background of constitutive accomplishments. I know through my phenomenological studies that I, the previously naïve ego, was none other than the transcendental ego in the mode of naïve hiddenness; I know that to me, as the ego again straightforwardly perceived as a human being, there belongs inseparably a reverse side which constitutes and thus really first produces my full concreteness; I know of this whole dimension of transcendental functions, interwoven with one another throughout and extending into the infinite. As was the case previously with the psychic, everything that has newly flowed in is now concretely localised in the world through the living body, which is essentially always constituted along with it. I – the-man, together with the transcendental dimension now ascribed to me, am somewhere in space at some time in the world’s time. Thus every new transcendental discovery, by going back into the natural attitude, enriches my psychic life and (apperceptively as a matter of course ) that of every other.
§ 60. The reason for the failure of psychology: dualistic and physicalistic presuppositions.
THIS IMPORTANT SUPPLEMENT to our systematic expositions clarifies the essential difference between the essentially limited thematic horizon, beyond which a psychology on the basis of the naïve having of the world (i.e., any psychology of the past prior to transcendental phenomenology) cannot think in principle – it would have not the least conception of a plus ultra – and, on the other hand, the new thematic horizon which a psychology receives only when the transcendental, coming from transcendental phenomenology, flows into psychic being and life, i.e., only when naïveté is overcome.
With this the alliance between psychology and transcendental philosophy is illuminated and understood in a new way; and at the same time we are provided with a new guideline for understanding the failure of psychology throughout its whole modern history, over and above everything we have attained in our earlier systematic considerations by way of motives for evaluating it.
Psychology had to fail because it could fulfil its task, the investigation of concrete, full subjectivity, only through a radical, completely unprejudiced reflection, which would then necessarily open up the transcendental-subjective dimension. For this it would obviously have required considerations and analyses in the pre-given world similar to those we carried out in an earlier lecture in connection with Kant [ §§ 28 ff., above] . There our gaze was guided at first by bodies, in their manners of pre-givenness in the life-world, whereas, in the analyses required here, we would have to take our point of departure from the manners in which souls are pre-given in the life-world. An original reflective question is now directed toward what and how souls – first of all human souls – are in the world, the life-world, i.e., how they “animate” physical living bodies, how they are localised in space-time, how each one ‘lives” psychically in having “consciousness” of the world in which it lives and is conscious of living; how each one experiences “its” physical body, not merely in general, as a particular physical body, but in a quite peculiar way as “living body,” as a system of its “organs” which it moves as an ego (in holding sway over them); how it thus “takes a hand” in its consciously given surrounding world as “I strike,” ‘I push,” “I lift” this and that, etc. The soul “is”, of course, “in” the world. But does this mean that it is in the world in the way that the physical body is and that, when men with living bodies and souls are experienced in the world as real, their reality, as well as that of their living bodies and souls, could have the same or even a similar sense to that of the mere physical bodies? Even though the human living body is counted among the physical bodies, it is still “living” – “my physical body,” which I “move,” in and through which I “hold sway,” which I “animate.” If one fails to consider these matters – which soon become quite extensive – thoroughly, and actually without prejudice, one has not grasped at all what is of a soul’s own essence as such (the word “soul” being understood here not at all metaphysically but rather in the sense of the original givenness of the psychic in the life-world); and thus one has also failed to grasp the genuine ultimate substrate for a science of “souls.” Rather than beginning with the latter, psychology began with a concept of soul which was not at all formulated in an original way but which stemmed from Cartesian dualism, a concept furnished by a prior constructive idea of a corporeal nature and of a mathematical natural science. Thus psychology was burdened in advance with the task of being a science parallel to physics and with the conception that the soul – its subject matter – was something real in a sense similar to corporeal nature, the subject matter of natural science. As long as the absurdity of this century-old prejudice is not revealed, there can be no psychology which is the science of the truly psychic, i.e., of what has its meaning originally from the life-world; for it is to such a meaning that psychology, like any objective science, is inevitably bound. It is no wonder, then, that psychology was denied that constant, advancing development displayed by its admired model, natural science, and that no inventive spirit and no methodical art could prevent its repeated involvement in crisis. Thus we have just witnessed a crisis in the psychology which only a few years ago, as an international institute – psychology, was filled with the inspiring certainty that it could finally be placed on a level with natural science. Not that its work has been completely fruitless. Through scientific objectivity many remarkable facts relating to the life of the human soul have been discovered. But did this make it seriously a psychology, a science in which one learned something about the mind’s own essence? (I emphasise once again that this refers not to a mystical “metaphysical” essence but to one’s own being-in-oneself and for-oneself which, after all, is accessible to the inquiring, reflecting ego through so-called “inner” or “self-perception.”)
§61. Psychology in the tension between the (objectivistic-philosophical) idea of science and empirical procedure: the incompatibility of the two directions of psychological inquiry (the psychophysical and that of “psychology based on inner experience”).
ALL SCIENTIFIC empirical inquiry has its original legitimacy and also its dignity. But considered by itself, not all such inquiry is science in that most original and indispensable sense whose first name was philosophy, and thus also in the sense of the new establishment of a philosophy or science since the Renaissance. Not all scientific empirical inquiry grew up as a partial function within such a science. Yet only when it does justice to this sense can it truly be called scientific. But we can speak of science as such only where, within the indestructible whole of universal philosophy, a branch of the universal task causes a particular science, unitary in itself, to grow up, in whose particular task, as a branch, the universal task works itself out in an originally vital grounding of the system. Not every empirical inquiry that can be pursued freely by itself is in this sense already a science, no matter how much practical utility it may have, no matter how much confirmed, methodical technique may reign in it. Now this applies to psychology insofar as, historically, in the constant drive to fulfil its determination as a philosophical, i.e., a genuine, science, it remains entangled in obscurities about its legitimate sense, finally succumbs to temptations to develop a rigorously methodical psychophysical – or better, a psychophysicist’s empirical inquiry, and then thinks that it has fulfilled its sense as a science because of the confirmed reliability of its methods. By contrast to the specialists’ psychology of the present, our concern – the philosopher’s concern – is to move this “sense as a science” to the central point of interest – especially in relation to psychology as the “place of decisions” for a proper development of a philosophy in general – and to clarify its whole motivation and scope. In this direction of the original aim toward – as we say – “philosophical” scientific discipline, motifs of dissatisfaction arose again and again, setting in soon after the Cartesian beginnings. There were troublesome tensions between the [different] tasks which descended historically from Descartes: on the one hand, that of methodically treating souls in exactly the same way as bodies and as being connected with bodies as spatio-temporal realities, i.e., the task of investigating in a physicalistic way the whole life-world as “nature” in a broadened sense; and, on the other hand, the task of investigating souls in their being in-themselves and for-themselves by way of “inner experience” – the psychologist’s primordial inner experience of the subjectivity of his own self – or else by way of the intentional mediation of likewise internally directed empathy (i.e., directed toward what is internal to other persons taken thematically ) . The two tasks seemed obviously connected in respect to both method and subject matter, and yet they refused to harmonise. Modern philosophy had prescribed to itself from the very beginning the dualism of substances and the parallelism of the methods of mos geometricus – or, one can also say, the methodical ideal of physicalism. Even though this became vague and faded as it was transmitted, and failed to attain even the serious beginnings of an explicit execution, it was still decisive for the basic conception of man as a psychophysical reality and for all the ways of putting psychology to work in order to bring about methodical knowledge of the psychic. From the start, then, the world was seen “naturalistically” as a world with two strata of real facts regulated by causal laws. Accordingly, souls too were seen as real annexes of their physical living bodies (these being conceived in terms of exact natural science); the souls, of course, have a different structure from the bodies; they are not res extensae, but they are still real in a sense similar to bodies, and because of this relatedness they must also be investigated in a similar sense in terms of “causal laws,” i.e., through theories which are of the same sort in principle as those of physics, which is taken as a model and at the same time as an underlying foundation.
§62. Preliminary discussion of the absurdity giving equal status in principle to souls and bodies as realities; indication of the difference in principle between the temporality, the causality, and the individuation of natural things and those of souls.
THIS EQUALISATION in principle of bodies and souls in the naturalistic method obviously presupposes their more original equalisation in principle in respect to their prescientific, experiential givenness in the life-world. Body and soul thus signified two real strata in this experiential world which are integrally and really connected similarly to, and in the same sense as, two pieces of a body. Thus, concretely, one is external to the other, is distinct from it, and is merely related to it in a regulated way. But even this formal equalisation is absurd; it is contrary to what is essentially proper to bodies and souls as actually given in life-world experience, which is what determines the genuine sense of all scientific concepts. Let us first of all pick out several concepts which are common to natural science and psychology and which supposedly have the same sense in both instances, and let us test this sameness of sense against what actual experience, as determining sense quite originally, shows, prior to the theoretical superstructures which are the concern of procuring exact science; that is, let us test it against what is given as physical and as psychic in straightforward life-world experience. What we must do now is something that has never been done seriously on either side and has never been done radically and consistently: we must go from the scientific fundamental concepts back to the contents of “pure experience,” we must radically set aside all presumptions of exact science, all its peculiar conceptual superstructures – in other words, we must consider the world as if these sciences did not yet exist, the world precisely as life-world, just as it maintains its coherent existence in life throughout all its relativity, as it is constantly outlined in life in terms of validity.
Let us first reduce spatio-temporality (temporality as simultaneity and successivity) to the spatio-temporality of this pure life-world, the real world in the prescientific sense. Taken in this way it is the universal form of the real world in and through which everything real in the life-world is formally determined. But do souls have spatio-temporality in the true sense, in existence in this form, as do bodies? It has always been noted that psychic being in and for itself has no spatial extension and no location. This denial of the spatiality of the psychic was obviously oriented around the actual content of experience, [though] without a radical distinction between life-world and scientifically thought world. But can world-time (the form of successivity) be separated from spatiality? Is it not, as full space-time, the proper essential form of mere bodies, in which form the souls take part only indirectly? All objects in the world are in essence “embodied,” and for that very reason all “take part” in the space-time of bodies – “indirectly,” then, in respect to what is not bodily about them. This applies to spiritual objects of every sort, primarily to souls, but also to spiritual objects of every other sort (such as art works, technical constructions, etc.). According to what gives them spiritual signification, they are “embodied” through the way in which they “have” bodily character. In an inauthentic way they are here or there and are coextended with their bodies. Equally indirectly they have past being and future being in the space-time of bodies. Everyone experiences the embodiment of souls in original fashion only in his own case. What properly and essentially makes up the character of a living body I experience only in my own living body, namely, in my constant and immediate holding sway [over my surroundings] through this physical body alone. Only it is given to me originally and meaningfully as “organ” and as articulated into particular organs; each of its bodily members has its own features, such that I can hold sway immediately through it in a particular way – seeing with the eyes, touching with the fingers, etc. – that is, such that I can hold sway in a particular perception in just the ways peculiar to these functions. Obviously it is only in this way that I have perceptions and, beyond this, other experiences of objects in the world. All other types of holding-sway, and in general all relatedness of the ego to the world, are mediated through this. Through bodily “holding sway” in the form of striking, lifting, resisting, and the like, I act as ego across distances, primarily on the corporeal aspects of objects in the world. It is only my being – as ego, as holding sway, that I actually experience as itself, in its own essence; and each person experiences only his own. All such holding-sway occurs in modes of “movement,” but the “I move” in holding-sway (I move my hands, touching or pushing something) is not in itself the spatial movement of a physical body, which as such could be perceived by everyone. My body – in particular, say, the bodily part “hand” – moves in space; [but] the activity of holding sway, “kinesthesis,” which is embodied together with the body’s movement, is not itself in space as a spatial movement but is only indirectly co-localised in that movement. Only through my own originally experienced holding sway, which is the sole original experience of living – bodiliness as such, can I understand another physical body as a living body in which another “I” is embodied and holds sway; this again, then, is a mediation, but one of a quite different sort from the mediation of inauthentic localisation upon which it is founded. Only in this way do other ego-subjects firmly belong to “their” bodies for me and are localised here or there in space-time; that is, they are inauthentically inexistent in this form of bodies, whereas they themselves, and thus souls in general, considered purely in terms of their own essence, have no existence at all in this form. Furthermore, causality too – if we remain within the life-world, which originally grounds ontic meaning – has in principle quite a different meaning depending on whether we are speaking of natural causality or of “causality” among psychic events or between the corporeal and the psychic. A body is what it is as this determined body, as a substrate of “causal” properties which is, in its own essence, spatio-temporally localised. Thus if one takes away causality, the body loses its ontic meaning as body, its identifiability and distingtuishability as a physical individual. The ego, however, is “this one” and has individuality in and through itself; it does not have individuality through causality. To be sure, because of the character of the physical living body, the ego can become distinguishable by any other ego and thus by everyone in respect to its position in the space of physical bodies, a position which is inauthentic and which it owes to its physical, living body. But its distingtuishability and identifiability in space for everyone, with all the psychophysically conditioned factors that enter in here, make not the slightest contribution to its being as ens per se. As such it already has, in itself, its uniqueness. For the ego, space and time are not principles of individuation; it knows no natural causality, the latter being, in accord with its meaning, inseparable from spatio-temporality. Its effectiveness is its holding-sway-as-ego; this occurs immediately through its kinesthesis, as holding-sway in its living body, and only mediately (since the latter is also a physical body) extends to other physical bodies.
In terms of the life-world, this means nothing other than that a body, which as such can already be explicated with its experiential meaning through its own essential properties, is always at the same time a body, in its being-such, under particular “circumstances.” First of all, it belongs to the most general structure of the life-world that the body has, so to speak, its habits of being in its being-such, that it belongs within a type which is either known or, if it is “new?” to us, is still to be discovered, a type within which the explicable properties belong together in typical ways. But it is also part of the life-world’s formal typology that bodies have typical ways of being together, in coexistence (above all in a given perceptual field) and in succession – i.e., a constant universal spatio-temporal set of types. It is due to the latter that each particular experienced body is not only necessarily there together with other bodies in general but is there as being of this type, among other bodies typically belonging to it, in a typical form of belonging together which runs its course within a typical pattern of succession. Accordingly each body “is”, in the way that it is, under “circumstances”; a change of properties in one body indicates changes of properties in another – though this must be understood roughly and relatively, just as it is, essentially, in the life-world; there can be no question of “exact” causality, which pertains to the idealising substructions of science.
§63. The questionable character of the concepts of “outer” and “inner” experience. Why has the experience of the bodily thing in the life-world, as the experience of something “merely subjective,” not previously been included in the subject matter of psychology?
THE FUNDAMENTAL MISTAKE of wanting to view men and animals seriously as double realities, as combinations of two different sorts of realities which are to be equated in the sense of their reality, and accordingly the desire to investigate souls also through the method of the science of bodies, i.e., souls as existing within natural causality, in space-time, like bodies – this gave rise to the supposed obviousness of a method to be formed as an analogue to natural science. The understandable result of both natural-scientific method and the new psychological method was the false parallelism of “inner” and “outer” experience. Both concepts remained unclear in respect to sense and function (their scientific function for physics, psychology, psychophysics).
On both sides, experiences are conceived as being performed in theoretical function; natural science is supposed to be based on outer, psychology on inner, experience. In the former, physical nature is given; and in the latter, psychic being, that of the soul. In accord with this, “psychological experience” becomes an equivalent expression for “inner experience.” To put it more precisely: what is actually experienced is the world as simply existing, prior to all philosophy and theory – existing things, stones, animals, men. In natural, direct life, this is experienced as simply, perceptually “there” ( as simply existing, ontically certain presence) or, just as simply, in terms of memory, as “having been there,” etc. Even to this natural life, possible and occasionally necessary straightforward reflection belongs. Then relativity comes into view, and what is valid as simply being there, in the particularity of its manners of givenness in life itself, is transformed into a “merely subjective appearance”; and specifically it is called an appearance in relation to the one thing, the “entity itself,” which emerges – though again only relatively – through corrections when the gaze is directed upon the alteration of such “appearances.” And the same thing is true in respect to the other modalities of experience or their correlative temporal modalities.
This has already been carefully thought through in another connection, and if we bring it to mind here with renewed, lively clarity, there results the question: Why does the whole flowing life-world not figure at the very beginning of a psychology as something “psychic,” indeed as the psychic realm which is primarily accessible, the first field in which immediately given psychic phenomena can be explicated according to types? And correlatively: why is the experience which actually, as experience, brings this life-world to givenness and, within it, especially in the primal mode of perception, presents mere bodily things – why is this experience not called psychological experience rather than “outer experience,” supposedly by contrast to psychological experience? Naturally there are differences in the manner of life-world experience, depending on whether one experiences stones, rivers, mountains or, on the other hand, reflectively experiences one’s experiencing of them or other ego-activity, one’s own or that of others, such as holding sway through the living body. This may be a significant difference for psychology and may lead to difficult problems. But does this change the fact that everything about the life-world is obviously “subjective”? Can psychology, as a universal science, have any other theme than the totality of the subjective? Is it not the lesson of a deeper and not naturalistically blinded reflection that everything subjective is part of an indivisible totality?
§64. Cartesian dualism as the reason for the parallelisation. Only the formal and most general features of the schema “descriptive vs. explanatory science” are justified.
FOR GALILEAN natural science, mathematical-physical nature is objective-true nature; it is this nature that is supposed to manifest itself in the merely subjective appearances. It is thus clear – and we have already pointed this out – that nature, in exact natural science, is not the actually experienced nature, that of the life-world. It is an idea that has arisen out of idealisation and has been hypothetically substituted for actually intuited nature. [Cf. § 36.] The conceptual method of idealisation is the fundament of the whole method of natural science (i.e., of the pure science of bodies ), the latter being the method of inventing “exact” theories and formulae and also of reapplying them within the praxis which takes place in the world of actual experience.
Here, then, lies the answer – sufficient for our present train of thought – to the question posed, as to how it happens that nature, as given in the life-world, this merely subjective aspect of “outer experience,” is not included under psychological experience in traditional psychology and that psychological experience is instead opposed to outer experience. Cartesian dualism requires the parallelisation of mens and corpus, together with the naturalisation of psychic being implied in this parallelisation, and hence also requires the parallelisation of the required methods. To be sure, because of the way in which the ready-made geometry of the ancients was taken over, the idealisation which thoroughly determines its sense was almost forgotten; and on the psychic side such an idealisation, as an actually executed and original accomplishment in a manner appropriate to the nature of the psychic, was not required, or rather not missed. Of course it should have been evident that idealisation in fact has no place on this side, since there could be no question here of anything like perspectivisation and kinestheses, of measurement or of anything analogous to measurement.
The prejudice of the appropriateness of the same method produced the expectation that, by practicing this method in its appropriate version, one could arrive, without any deeper subjective-methodical considerations, at stable theorising and a methodical technique. But it was a vain hope. Psychology never became exact; the parallelisation could not actually be carried out, and – as we understand – for essential reasons. This much we can say even here, though much still needs to be done for the sake of the much needed ultimate clarity on all sides, so that we can also understand the survival of those various forms in which modern dualistic and psychophysiological (or psychophysical) psychology for long periods could have the appearance of a properly aimed methodical execution and the conviction of continued success as truly a fundamental science of the psychic; also, so that we can understand why psychophysical empirical inquiry, which is thoroughly legitimate and quite indispensable could not count as the pathway to or the execution of a genuine psychology which would do justice to the proper essence of the psychic itself. In any case, we can already say in advance, on the basis of insight, that the psychic, considered purely in terms of its own essence, has no physical nature, has no conceivable in-itself in the natural sense, no spatio-temporally causal, no idealisable and mathematisable in-itself, no laws after the fashion of natural laws; here there are no theories with the same relatedness back to the intuitive life-world, no observations or experiments with a function for theorising similar to natural science – in spite of all the self-misunderstandings of empirical experimental psychology. But because the fundamental insight has been lacking, the historical inheritance of dualism, with its naturalisation of the psychic, retains its force, but it is so vague and unclear that the need is not even felt for a genuine execution of the dualism of the exact sciences on both sides, such as is required by the sense of this dualism.
Thus the schema of descriptive vs. theoretically explanatory science, too, was kept in readiness as being obvious; we find it sharply emphasised in respect to psychology in Brentano and Dilthey, and in general in the nineteenth century – the time of passionate efforts finally to bring about a rigorously scientific psychology which could show its face alongside natural science. By no means do we wish to imply by this that the concept of a pure description and of a descriptive science, or beyond that ‘ even the difference between descriptive and explanatory method, can find no application at all in psychology, any more than we deny that the pure experience of bodies must be distinguished from the experience of the psychic or the spiritual. Our task is critically to make transparent, down to its ultimate roots, the naturalistic – or, more exactly, the physicalistic – prejudice of the whole of modern psychology, on the one hand in respect to the never clarified concepts of experience which guide the descriptions and on the other hand in respect to the way in which the contrast between descriptive and explanatory disciplines is interpreted as parallel and similar to the same contrast in natural science.
It has already become clear to us that an “exact” psychology, as an analogue to physics (i.e., the dualistic parallelism of realities, of methods, and of sciences), is an absurdity. Accordingly there can no longer be a descriptive psychology which is the analogue of a descriptive natural science. In no way, not even in the schema of description vs. explanation, can a science of souls be modelled on natural science or seek methodical counsel from it. It can only model itself on its own subject matter, as soon as it has achieved clarity on this subject matter’s own essence. There remains only the formal and most general notion that one must not operate with empty word-concepts, must not move in the sphere of vagueness, but must derive everything from clarity, from actually self-giving intuition, or, what is the same thing, from self-evidence – in this case from the original life-world experience of, or from what is essentially proper to, the psychic and nothing else. This results, as it does everywhere, in an applicable and indispensable sense of description and of descriptive science and also, at a higher level, of “explanation” and explanatory science. Explanation, as a higher-level accomplishment, signifies in this case nothing but a method which surpasses the descriptive realm, a realm which is realisable through actually experiencing intuition. This surpassing occurs on the basis of the “descriptive” knowledge, and, as a scientific method, it occurs through a procedure of insight which ultimately verifies itself by means of the descriptive data. In this formal and general sense there is in all sciences the necessary fundamental level of description and the elevated level of explanation. But this must be taken only as a formal parallel and must find its meaning-fulfilment in each science through its own essential sources; and the concept of ultimate verification must not be falsified in advance by assuming, as in physics, that certain propositions in the specifically physical (that is, the mathematically idealised) sphere are the ultimately verifying propositions.
§ 65. Testing the legitimacy of an empirically grounded dualism by familiarising oneself with the factual procedure of the psychologist and the physiologist.
WHEN DESCRIPTION is understood in this way, then, it must characterise the beginning of the only psychology which is true to its origins, the only possible psychology. But it soon becomes manifest that clarity, genuine self-evidence, in general but especially here, is not to be bought cheaply. Above all, as we have already indicated, the arguments of principle against dualism, against the double stratification which already falsifies the sense of experience purely within the life-world, against the supposed likeness of the reality (in the life-world) of physical and psychic being in respect to the innermost sense of reality, against the likeness of temporality and individuality in the two cases – these arguments are too philosophically oriented, too oriented toward principle, to be able to make any sort of lasting impression on the psychologists and scientists of our time or even on the “philosophers.” One is tired of arguments of principle, which, after all, lead to no agreement; from the start one listens with only half an ear, prefers to trust in the power of the indubitable accomplishments performed in the great experiential sciences, to trust in their actual methods, their actual work of experiencing – experiencing which is, naturally, in each case peculiar to the area in question: experience of the physical for the physicists, of the biological for the biologists, of the human for the humanists. Certainly it is quite proper that they are called experiential sciences. If we pay attention not to the reflections in which scientists speak about their method and their work, i.e., philosophise (as in the usual academic orations for special occasions), but rather to the actual method and work itself, it is certain that the scientists here constantly have recourse in the end to experience. But if we place ourselves within this experience, the experience itself showed it will be argued against us – that, in respect to the corporeal and the spiritual, the mistaken dualistic interpretation is taken up into the supposed experiential meaning and gives researchers the right to do justice to dualism, which is actually purely empirically grounded, and to operate just as they do with inner and outer experience, with temporality, reality, and causality. The philosopher can speak as insistently as he wants about absurdity in principle, but he cannot prevail against the power of tradition. Now we too, of course, are by no means ready to sacrifice our objections, precisely because they are radically different from argumentations using concepts which are historically inherited and not newly interrogated in respect to their original sense, and because our objections themselves where derived from precisely the most original sources, as anyone can convince himself who tests our presentation. This does not mean, however, that the procedure of the working experiential sciences, the sense and the limitation of their legitimacy, is explicitly made clear; and as for psychology in particular, our present subject, its procedure, always psychophysiological, is not made clear – neither its legitimacy nor the temptations it offers. This is true not only of all the primitive methodical forms of former times but also of the most highly developed forms that have appeared since the second half of the nineteenth century. The necessity of separating the experience of bodies from the experience of the spirit has not been clearly established; nor has the legitimacy, claimed in advance, of taking the experience of bodies, with the constant signification it has for the psychologist as for everyone else, and including it in the psychic, thus making its universality an all-encompassing one. This, of course, involves us in paradoxical difficulties. But difficulties that can be pushed to one side by good, successfully functioning work cannot be pushed to one side by a universal philosophy; rather, they must be overcome, since philosophy exists precisely in order to remove all the blinders of praxis, especially scientific praxis, and to reawaken, indeed to rescue, the true and actual, the full purpose, that science (here psychology) should fulfil as its inborn meaning. Thus we cannot be spared from inquiring back into the most general ground from which the possible tasks of psychology, as of every objective science, arise, namely, the ground of the common experience within which the experiential sciences work, to which, then, they appeal, if – denying all “metaphysics – they claim to satisfy the inviolable demands of experience.
§ 66. The world of common experience: its set of regional types and the possible universal abstractions within it: “nature” as correlate of a universal abstraction; the problem of “complementary abstractions.”
WE SHALL BEGIN with a general consideration in which we simply repeat what has been said earlier, though deepening it, in order to be able to say something decisive, with original and vital clarity, about the questions raised. We already know that all theoretical accomplishment in objective science has its place on the ground of the pre-given world, the life-world – that it presupposes prescientific knowing and the purposive reshaping of the latter. Straightforward experience, in which the life-world is given, is the ultimate foundation of all objective knowledge. Correlatively, this world itself, as existing prescientifically for us (originally) purely through experience, furnishes us in advance, through its invariant set of essential types, with all possible scientific topics.
First we consider what is most general here: that the universe is pre-given as a universe of “things.” In this broadest sense “thing” is an expression for what ultimately exists and what “has” ultimate properties, relations, interconnections (through which its being is explicated); the thing itself is not what is “had” in this manner but precisely what ultimately “has” – in short (but understood quite unmetaphysically), it is the ultimate substrate. Things have their concrete set of types, finding their expression in the “substantives” of a given language. But all particular sets of types come under the most general of all, the set of “regional” types. In life it is the latter that determines praxis, in constant factual generality; and it first becomes explicit with essential necessity through a method of inquiry into essences. Here I mention distinctions such as living vs. lifeless things land, within the sphere of living things, the animals, i.e., those living not merely according to drives but also constantly through ego-acts, as opposed to those living only according to drives (such as plants). Among animals, human beings stand out, so much so, in fact, that mere animals have ontic meaning as such only by comparison to them, as variations of them. Among lifeless things, humanised things are distinguished, things that have signification (e.g., cultural meaning) through human beings. Further, as a variation on this, there are things which refer meaningfully in a similar way to animal existence, as opposed to things that are without signification in this sense. It is clear that these very general separations and groupings derived from the life-world, or the world of original experience, determine the separation of scientific areas, just as they also determine the internal interconnections between the sciences in virtue of the internal interconnection and overlapping of the regions. On the other hand, universal abstractions, which encompass all concretions, at the same time also determine subjects for possible sciences. It is only in the modem period that this latter path has been followed; and it is precisely this path that is relevant for us here. The natural science of the modem period, establishing itself as physics, has its roots in the consistent abstraction through which it wants to see, in the life-world, only corporeity. Each “thing” “has” corporeity even though, if it is (say) a human being or a work of art, it is not merely bodily but is only “embodied,” like everything real. Through such an abstraction, carried out with universal consistency, the world is reduced to abstract-universal nature, the subject matter of pure natural science. It is here alone that geometrical idealisation, first of all, and then all further mathematising theorisation, has found its possible meaning. It is based on the self-evidence of “outer experience,” which is thus in fact an abstracting type of experience. But within the abstraction it has its essential forms of explication, it relativities, its ways of motivating idealisations, etc.
Now what about human souls? It is human beings that are concretely experienced. Only after their corporeity has been abstracted – within the universal abstraction which reduces the world to a world of abstract bodies – does the question arise, presenting itself now as so obvious, as to the “other side,” that is, the complementary abstraction. Once the bodily “side” has become part of the general task of natural science and has found its theoretically idealising treatment there, the task of psychology is characterised as the “complementary” task, i.e., that of subjecting the psychic side to a corresponding theoretical treatment with a corresponding universality. Does this ground the dualistic science of man and assign to psychology its original sense, as it almost seems to do, in an unassailable manner, i.e., truly purely on the basis of life-world experience, without any metaphysical admixture? Thus it applies first to the realm of human beings and then, obviously in the same manner, to the realm of animals. This would also, then – or so it seems – give order in advance to the procedure of the sciences of social and objectified spirit (the humanistic disciplines). As the correlative abstraction teaches us, man (and everything else that is real in animal form) is, after all, something real having two strata and is given as such in pure experience, purely in the life-world; what is required for the regional science of man, then, is obviously first of all what is sometimes called (by contrast to social psychology) individual psychology. Human beings, concretely, in the space-time of the world, have their abstractly distinguished souls distributed among bodies, which make up, when we adopt the purely naturalistic consideration of bodies, a universe to be considered in itself as a totality. The souls themselves are external to one another only in virtue of their embodiment; that is, in their own abstract stratum they do not make up a parallel total universe. Thus psychology can be the science of the general features of individual souls only; this follows from the way in which they are determined in their own essence by the psychophysical framework, by their being integrated into nature as a whole. This individual psychology must, then, be the foundation for a sociology and likewise for a science of objectified spirit (of cultural things), which after all refers, in its own way, to the human being as person, i.e., to the life of the soul. And all this can be applied by analogy – just as far as the analogy reaches – to animals, to animal society, to the surrounding world with its specifically animal signification.
Do these considerations, which have led us back to the ground of life-world experience – that is, to the source of self-evidence, to which we must ultimately appeal here – not justify the traditional dualism of body and psychic spirit or the dualistic interrelation between physiology, as the science of the human ( and also animal ) body, on the one hand, and psychology, as the science of the psychic side of man, on the other? Even more than this: is this not indeed an improvement upon dualism as compared with the rationalistic tradition instituted by Descartes, who also influenced empiricism? Namely, is dualism not freed from all metaphysical substruction by the fact that it wants to be nothing more than a faithful expression of what experience itself teaches? To be sure, this is not quite the case, according to the way in which psychologists, physiologists, and physicists understand “experience”; and we have indicated the sense of experience which is decisive for the scientists’ work, correcting their usual self-interpretation. A metaphysical residuum is to be found in the fact that natural scientists consider nature to be concrete and overlook the abstraction through which their nature has been shaped into a subject matter for science. Because of this, the souls, too, retain something of a substantiality of their own, though it is not a self-sufficient substantiality, since, as experience teaches us, the psychic can be found in the world only in connection with bodies. But before we could pose further and now important questions, we had to take this step. We had first to help empirical inquiry toward an understanding of itself; we had to make visible, through reflection, its anonymous accomplishment, namely, the “abstraction” we described. In doing this, we are thus more faithful to empirical inquiry than the psychologists and the natural scientists; the last residuum of the Cartesian theory of two substances is defeated simply because abstracta are not “substances.”
§ 67. The dualism of the abstractions grounded in experience. The continuing historical influence of the empiricist approach (from Hobbes to Wundt). Critique of data-empiricism
BUT NOW WE MUST ASK what there is in dualism and in the “stratification” of man and of the sciences, after the new legitimacy of the latter has been shown through the above theory of abstraction, that is and remains truly meaningful. We have deliberately made no use of our first critique of this dualism, of our indication of the way in which the spatio-temporal localisation and individuation of psychic being are secondary in principle; our intention was to familiarise ourselves completely with the psychophysical dualistic empiricism of the scientists in order to arrive at our decisions within the universal framework of the total world of experience as the primal ground. In addition to new insights, which are fundamentally essential, as we shall see, for the understanding of the genuine task of psychology, we shall also find again those earlier insights mentioned above.
Let us take up the abstraction we discussed; it will reveal its hidden difficulties all too soon. Let us take it quite straightforwardly and naturally as a differentiated direction of gaze and interest on the basis of the concrete experience of man. Obviously we can pay attention to his mere corporeity and be one-sidedly and consistently interested only in it; and likewise we can pay attention to the other side, being interested purely in what is psychic about him. In this way the distinction between “outer” and “inner” experience (and first of all perception) also seems to be automatically clear, to have an inviolable legitimacy, together with the division of man himself into two real sides or strata. To the question of what belongs to the psychic side and what of this is given purely in inner perception, one answers in the familiar way: it is a person, substrate of personal properties, of original or acquired psychic dispositions (faculties, habits). This, however, supposedly refers back to a flowing ‘life of consciousness,” a temporal process in which the first and especially noticeable feature is that of the ego-acts, though these are on a background of passive states . It is supposedly this current of “psychic experiences” that is experienced in that abstractive attitude of focus upon the psychic. What is directly and actually perceived (and it is even thought to be perceived with a particular sort of apodictic self-evidence) is the presence-sphere of the psychic experiences of one man, and only by that man himself, as his sinner perception”; the experiences of others are given only through the mediated type of experience called “empathy” – unless this latter type of experience is reinterpreted as an inference, as it generally used to be.
However, all this is by no means so simple and so obvious as it was taken to be, without any closer consideration, for centuries. A psychology derived from an abstraction which is parallel to the physicist’s abstraction, on the basis of an “inner perception” and other types of psychological experience which are parallel to outer perception, must be seriously questioned; indeed, taken in this way, it is impossible in principle. This obviously applies to every dualism of the two real sides or strata of man, and every dualism of the sciences of man, which appeals purely to experiencing intuition.
From the historical point of view we must consider the empiricist psychology and the sensationalism that have become dominant since the time of Hobbes and Locke and have corrupted psychology up to our own day. In this first form of naturalism, supposedly on the basis of experience, the soul is set off by itself in the closed unity of a space of consciousness as its own real sphere of psychic data. The naïve equation of these data of psychological data-experience with those of the experience of bodies leads to a reification of the former; the constant view to the exemplary character of natural science misleads one into taking these data as psychic atoms or atom-complexes and into considering the tasks of the two sides to be parallel. Psychic faculties or, as they later come to be called, psychic dispositions – become analogues of physical forces, titles for merely causal properties of the soul, either belonging to its own essence or arising from its causal relationship with the living body, but in any case in such a way that reality and causality are understood in the same way on both sides. Of course, right away, in Berkeley and Hume, the enigmatic difficulties of such an interpretation of the soul announce themselves and press toward an immanent idealism which swallows up one of the two “parallels.” Yet up through the nineteenth century this changes nothing about the way in which psychology and physiology, which supposedly follow experience, in fact do their work. It was easy to carry the “idealistic” naturalism of the immanent philosophy of those successors of Locke over into the dualistic psychology. The epistemological difficulties made so noticeable by Hume’s fictionalism were overcome – precisely through “epistemology.” Reflections which were appealing, but which unfortunately evaded genuine radicalism, were undertaken in order to justify ex post facto what one does in any case in the natural striving to follow the evidence of experience. Thus the growing acquisition of obviously valuable empirical facts took on the appearance of having a meaning which could be understood philosophically. We have a perfect example of the sort of epistemological-metaphysical interpretations which follow in the footsteps of science in the reflections of Wundt and his school, in the doctrine of the “two points of view,” of the theoretical utilisation of the one common experience through a twofold “abstraction.” This doctrine appears to be on the way toward overcoming all traditional metaphysics and to lead to a self-understanding of psychology and natural science; but in fact it merely changes empirical dualistic naturalism into a monistic naturalism with two parallel faces – i.e., a variation of Spinozistic parallelism. In addition, this Wundtian way, as well as the other ways of justifying the psychology which is bound to empirical dualism, retains the naturalistic data-interpretation of consciousness in accord with the Lockean tradition; though this does not keep them from speaking of representation and will, of value and the setting of goals as data in consciousness, without radically posing the question of how, through such data and their psychic causality, one is supposed to understand the rational activity presupposed by all psychological theories, which are reason’s accomplishments – whereas here, in the theories themselves, this activity is supposed to appear as one result among the others.
§ 68. The task of a pure explication of consciousness as such: the universal problem of intentionality. (Brentano’s attempt at a reform of psychology.)
THE FIRST THING we must do here is overcome the naïveté which makes the conscious life, in and through which the world is what it is for us – as the universe of actual and possible experience – into a real property of man, real in the same sense as his corporeity, i.e., according to the following schema. In the world we have things with different peculiarities, and among these there are also some that experience, rationally know, etc., what is outside them. Or, what is the same thing: The first thing we must do, and first of all in immediate reflective self-experience, is to take the conscious life, completely without prejudice, just as what it quite immediately gives itself, as itself, to be. Here, in immediate givenness, one finds anything but colour data, tone data, other “sense” data or data of feeling, will, etc.; that is, one finds none of those things which appear in traditional psychology, taken for granted to be immediately given from the start. Instead, one finds, as even Descartes did (naturally we ignore his other purposes), the cogito, intentionality, in those familiar forms which, like everything actual in the surrounding world, find their expression in language: “I see a tree which is green; I hear the rustling of its leaves, I smell its blossoms,” etc.; or, “I remember my schooldays,” “I am saddened by the sickness of a friend,” etc. Here we find nothing other than “consciousness of…” – consciousness in the broadest sense, which is still to be investigated in its whole scope and its modes.
This is the place to recall the extraordinary debt we owe to Brentano for the fact that he began his attempt to reform psychology with an investigation of the peculiar characteristics of the psychic (in contrast to the physical) and showed intentionality to be one of these characteristics; the science of “psychic phenomena,” then, has to do everywhere with conscious experiences. Unfortunately, in the most essential matters he remained bound to the prejudices of the naturalistic tradition; these prejudices have not yet been overcome if the data of the soul, rather than being understood as sensible (whether of outer or inner “sense”), are simply understood as data having the remarkable character of intentionality; in other words, if dualism, psychophysical causality, is still accepted as valid. This also applies to his idea of a descriptive natural science, as is shown by his conception of their parallel procedure – setting the task of classifying and descriptively analysing psychic phenomena completely in the spirit of the old traditional interpretation of the relation between descriptive and explanatory natural sciences. None of this would have been possible if Brentano had penetrated to the true sense of the task of investigating conscious life as intentional – and investigating it first of all on the basis of the pre-given world, since it was a question of grounding psychology as an objective science. Thus Brentano set up a psychology of intentionality as a task only formally, but had no way of attacking it. The same is true of his whole school, which also, like Brentano himself, consistently refused to accept what was decisively new in my Logical Investigations ( even though his demand for a psychology of intentional phenomena was put into effect here). What is new in the Logical Investigations is found not at all in the merely ontological investigations, which had a one-sided influence contrary to the innermost sense of the work, but rather in the subjectively directed investigations (above all the fifth and sixth, in the second volume of 1901) in which, for the first time, the cogitata qua cogitata, as essential moments of each conscious experience as it is given in genuine inner experience, come into their own and immediately come to dominate the whole method of intentional analysis. Thus “self-evidence” (that petrified logical idol) is made a problem there for the first time, freed from the privilege given to scientific evidence and broadened to mean original self-giving in general. The genuine intentional synthesis is discovered in the synthesis of several acts into one act, such that, in a unique manner of binding one meaning to another, there emerges not merely a whole, an amalgam whose parts are meanings, but rather a single meaning in which these meanings themselves are contained, but in a meaningful way. With this the problems of correlation, too, already announce themselves; and thus, in fact, this work contains the first, though of course very imperfect, beginnings of “phenomenology.”