“As concerns Phenomenology, it aims at being a descriptive theory of the essence of pure transcendental experiences from the phenomenological standpoint, and like every descriptive discipline, neither idealizing nor working on the substructure of things, it has its own justification. Whatever there may be in ‘reduced’ experiences to grasp eidetically in pure intuition, whether a real portion of such experience or as intentional correlate, that is its province, and is a vast source of absolute knowledge for it.
Still, let us see more clearly to what extent really scientific descriptions can be set up on the phenomenological field, with its infinite number of eidetic concreta, and to what services they can be put.
It is part of the peculiarity of consciousness generally to be continually fluctuating in different dimensions, so that there can be no talk of fixing any eidetic concreta or any of the phases which enter immediately into their constitution with conceptual exactness. Let us take, for instance, an experience of the genus ‘imagery of a thing’ as it is given us either in phenomenologically immanent perception or in some other (of course reduced) intuition. The phenomenologically particular object (the eidetic singularity) is then just this imagery of the thing in the whole wealth of its concreteness, precisely as it participates in the flow of experience, with the precise determinacy or indeterminacy with which it lets its thing appear, now in this aspect, now in that, and with just that distinctness or mistiness, that fluctuating clearness and intermittent obscurity, and so forth, which is peculiar to it. It is only the individual element which phenomenology ignores, whilst it raises the whole essential content in its concrete fullness into eidetic consciousness, and takes it as an ideally selfsame essence, which like every essence could particularize itself not only hic et nunc but in numberless instances. We can see at once that a conceptual and terminological fixation of this and every similar flowing concretum is not to be thought of, and that this applies to each of its immediate and no less flowing parts and abstract aspects.
If now there is no question of an unambiguous determination of eidetic singularities in our realm of description, it is quite otherwise with the essences at a higher specific level. These are susceptible of stable distinction, unbroken self-identity, and strict conceptual apprehension, likewise of being analysed into component essences, and accordingly they may very properly be made subject to the conditions of a comprehensive scientific description” (Husserl 1975:191-192).
1975 Ideas: General Introduction to Pure Phenomenology. W.R. Boyce Gibson, trans. New York, NY: Collier Books.
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