Phenomenology and Metaphysics

Review of Metaphysics 19 (1):103 - 114 (1965)
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Aaron Gurwitsch's The Field of Consciousness develops with great care a phenomenological "field theory of conscience." The explorations of various aspects of, and approaches to, experience include extensive references to the literature; both mention and use are made of the work of Husserl, James, Piaget, von Ehrenfels, Stumpf, Koffka, Bergson, Ward, G. F. Stout, and Merleau-Ponty. Out of this research a phenomenological basis is provided for the concepts of an objective space, time, and existence. Roman Ingarden's Time and Modes of Being, a translation of part of the first volume of his two-volume Spór o istnienie swiata, published in Polish in 1946-7, is concerned with developing for metaphysical use the concepts of all possible modes of being, once time, space, and individual existence are granted. Gurwitsch and Ingarden use highly sophisticated phenomenological tools originating with Husserl to gain phenomenological and ontological results. Nathan Rotenstreich in Spirit and Man, 1963, uses introspection as his method, accommodating himself to a number of the distinctions of phenomenology, e.g., intentionality; but the puristic stance of the phenomenologist is missing; hence the average number of conclusions per paragraph is notably higher than in either of the other works. Rotenstreich begins with awareness, like Gurwitsch; like Ingarden he discusses modes of being; but his purpose lies in discovering and interrelating the basic themes appropriate to certain conclusions about man's status in and over against the space-time world.



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