From: Malcolm Riddoch <riddoch@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 6 Nov 1999 16:24:30 +0800
>The straightforward perception of something **as a present thing**
>is, Heidegger argues ...
>already thematic objectivization, because the only reason it doesn't
>seem "theoretical" is precisely that the tradition takes the basic
>perception of a present thing to be "pure" and "straightforward,"
>instead of the deprived sight which Heidegger identifies it as.
Yes, and so it is in Husserl as well. We don't have straightforward
perceptions of something as 'this presently occurring thing'. That's
the point of calling it 'straightforward', it's unproblematically
given as what it is, and within the meaningful everyday context of
the flux of lived experiences. On the basis of this you might then
take that thing out of its originary everyday practical context and
then thematize it in respect to objectivity, and this is what Husserl
analyses in Ideas 1, but nonetheless that thematizing regard is
subordinate to the practical context from which it is abstracted
(Ideas 2). You're account of the difference between scientific regard
and everyday 'sight' is following this movement from Ideas 1 to Ideas
2; we'll make a Husserlian out of you yet Mr Crifasi :)
>For Heidegger, truly "straightforward" sight does **not** determine
>beings as present things at all, but rather "purely" as work. So
>Husserlian "straightforward perception" still falls under the
>Heideggerian critique, because he is assuming that the
>straightforward perception of things as present things occurs even
>while we are absorbed in the world - ie, that practical sight is
>fundamentally the same as non-practical sight.
Hmmm... and what is 'non-practical sight'? By this I take it you mean
'theoretical sight'? After all, we are talking about practical and
theoretical intentional comportments ... and their associated flux of
perceptions. But no, we don't usually thematize things that we
perceive as 'this present thing', it just appears as what it is.
>This is excellent, because we are now getting to the root of the
>matter here. I have argued the Heideggerian side against many
>Husserlians, and at this point the same reply always recurs: Weren't
>you conscious while you were absorbed, weren't you seeing the screen
>straightforwardly while you were absorbed, etc.? In order to
>conclude that I was conscious and seeing while I was absorbed, I
>have to reflect back to when I was absorbed. But my reflection can
>be accurate only if my "reflective" sight is the same as my
>"absorbed" sight in the first place.
huh? How can it be the same? What you're talking about here is the
difference between philosophical reflection and absorbed everydayness
... and this equally applies to Heidegger's notion of authenticity.
And the self reflexive analytic regard of the phenomenologist is most
certainly not "the same as my 'absorbed' sight", cos the latter
practical sight is precisely not concerned with being self-reflexive.
Husserl's quite definite on this methodological distinction in ideas
2 and elsewhere, as is Heidegger of course.
>So the argument that one was conscious and straightforwardly seeing
>while absorbed assumes precisely the point in question - whether
>reflective sight is the same as absorbed sight. This is a very
>important point, because Husserlians almost always use this argument
>when defending the notion of pure perception.
Well I'm no Husserl scholar, but I'd say the reason they use this
argument is because it is valid, and especially in regard to the
early Heidegger's ontology. You're still pushing this reflective
'theoretical' notion, but I fail to see how reflecting on
everydayness necessarily assumes that everydayness therefore has the
structure of that philosophical reflection. And this would be as much
a problem for Heidegger's self-reflexive method as it is for any
philosophy in general.
>Heidegger says, "Readiness-to-hand is the way in which entities as
>they are 'in themselves' are defined ontologico-categorically." (p.
>71, German) This is in response to the traditional notion that pure
>perception is what grasps entities in a truly "straightforward"
>manner (hence, straightforward perception). Heidegger is saying that
>total absorption is a different kind of encounter and is actually
>the more "straightforward" one, and "pure perception" is actually
>the deprived one because entities become things that are used in
>work, not purely work (which is the more primordial encounter).
Well you're just conflating, again, the difference between
straightforward perception as such, and the traditional way in which
presence is understood as the present at hand. In BPP Heidegger shows
how this traditional philosophical abstraction of presence as present
at hand presupposes "productive or perceptual-intuitive comportment"
(p. 117/165). Still within the temporal horizon of presence, it's
these productive-perceptual comportments that first bring something
to perception in order for it to then be grasped thematically 'as
this occurring thing'. And yes this latter is an error in thinking.
According to Heidegger it's the relation of practical comportments to
this pre-theoretical productive perception that is the key to
understanding the Temporalitaet of being. And this is why I find
Husserl's account of non-theoretical practice in relation to
perception and originary temporality so interesting in Ideas 2, it's
dealing with the same intentional structures as Heidegger's
>Husserl is therefore calling our natural absorption "prejudiced"
>because world-existence is "read into" the phenomena, rather than
>"genuinely seen" in the phenomena.
I don't think he means bracketing 'world' in the sense that Heidegger
is using it ie, in the 'worldhood of the world'. And Heidegger also
brackets the average everyday sense of what world means, otherwise
there'd be no existential analytic.
>We are getting to the heart of the matter now, specifically with
>your argument that we are still conscious and straightforwardly
>perceiving while practically absorbed. Let's continue.
But it's absurd ... of course you were conscious when you wrote this.
And if there were no colours, or somaesthesis, none of the background
noises, no forms objectively enduring 'in time' to constitute your
body sitting there at the computer in your room, you wouldn't exist.
And all of this straightforward perceptual background is precisely
something that is given unproblematically without your having to
reflect on it, it is not a construct or object of rational processes
of consciousness. That is until we come to reflect on it
philosophically, as do Husserl and Heidegger. Then we can thematise
the practical meaningful context of presence, and bracket out the
traditional philosophical regard that emphasises theoretical
intentionality as a fundamental ground. But that's phenomenology for
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