vendredi, janvier 07, 2011


"Leanabh le Calman" le Pablo PICASSO, 1901
§4 - Grepen uit de structuur-analyse van kosmisch latere zin-modaliteiten tot verwerving van inzicht in de volgorde der wetskringen.
Sealladh modalach an 
The modal viewpoint of 
(feeling/ sensory realm)
     The theoretical field of research of the so-called psychological special science will be delimited univocally only if the view is given up that the "Gegenstand" (= the modal field of research) of this science is to be found in the 'soul' as a collective idea of modal functions. The meaning of this idea is not further defined or delimited. Also the metaphysical conception of the 'psychè', which more or less still influences psychology, should be relinquished.
     The Biblical meaning of the word 'soul', where it is used in its pregnant sense of religious centre of human existence, has nothing to do with a theoretically abstracted complex of modal functions. Neither has it anything to do with the metaphysical Greek conception of the psychè. This must be clear to any one who has discovered that the background of all such views is the immanence standpoint in philosophy. The Bible does not theorize at all about the human soul (let alone theorizing from the philosophical immanence standpoint).
     If in future we speak of a 'psychic law-sphere', we mean a modal aspect of human experience, delimited from all the other aspects by its nuclear moment of feeling. The modal meaning-nucleus of feeling is doubtless original in the cosmic-temporal order, i.e. irreducible to other modal meaning-nuclei.

Feeling as a supposed chief class of psychical phenomena. FELIX KRUEGER's discovery and its interpretation in genetic psychology.
     Modern psychology has been led astray by conceiving of feeling as one of the chief classes of 'Erlebnisse' [*] and by co-ordinating it with volition and knowing as the two other classes. This misconception is due to the faculty psychology of the XVIIIth century since ROUSSEAU, especially to TETENS and KANT.
     It is true that since the decline of this faculty-psychology there have been discovered some states of affairs which do not agree with this classification.
* (Note added by FMF) 
"Erlebnis" = "experience"
"Erlebnisse" = "experiences".
However, consider also a few examples of current usage:
prägendes Erlebnis = formative experience
psychedelisches Erlebnis = psychedelic experience
ein gewaltiges/unvergessliches Erlebnis =  a tremendous/unforgettable experience
ein tolles Erlebnis = a great adventure
Aha-Erlebnis = sudden insight/ eureka moment/eye-opening experience
Erlebnis-Programm = programme of events
traumatischer Erlebnisse = traumatic experiences

     ALSO re philosophical usage of Erlebnis see also the following extract from A Heidegger Dictionary by Michael Inwood -  
     experience: German has two verbs meaning 'to experience': 1, erleben, from leben, 'to live', has the flavour of 'live through'. One can experience, erleben, e.g. fear by feeling it or by witnessing it, An Erlebnis is an experience with an intense effect on one's inner life, but not necessarily externally, as in 'That was quite an experience'. 2. erfahren from fahren, to go, travel, etc, hence lit. 'go forth', has a more external quality. It can mean 'to learn, find out, hear of', but also 'to receive, undergo', something. An Erfahrung is an experience as, or of, an external, objective event, and the lessons one learns from such events. Erfahrungswissenschaft is 'empirical science'; by contrast, an Erlebnisaufsatz is an essay based on personal experience.
     Erlebnisse, lived experiences, are especially important in Dilthey. They are inner states, activities and processes that we are aware of or 'live through', but do not usually make objects of introspection. The connection with life is explicit: 'Starting from "life" itself as a whole, [Dilthey] tried to understand its "lived experiences" in their structural and developmental inter-connexions' (BT - Sein und Zeit/Being and Time, 46).
     Despite his early attachment to the concept of life (e.g. LIX, 36ff.), Heidegger is uniformly wary of the notion of Erlebnis and das Erleben ('experiencing'). He associates it with an 'experiencing I, subject or consciousness' LIX. 92). In BT he has two main objections: 1. An Erlebnis is an isolated, temporary experience. 2. An Erlebnis is an inner, psychical event, intrinsically detached both from the body and from the external world. To conceive the self in terms of Erlebnisse implies that it is either pierced (sic) together from intrinsically distinct, momentary experiences or is an underlying thread that persists unchanged throughout its Erlebnisse (BT. 114). To regard moods (BT, 136, 340, 344; XXIX, 123) or conscience (BT, 169, etc.) as experiences ignores their disclosure of WORLD and DASEIN. Dasein is not aware of itself by focusing on its experiences, but in 'what it does, uses, expects, avoids', in things it is concerned about in the world around it (BT, 119). Affects, passions and feelings are not to be seen as inner experiences: 'what we are concerned with here is not psychology, not even a psychology underpinned by physiology and biology, but [. . .] with the way in which man withstands the "There" [das 'Da'], the openness and hiddenness of the beings among which he stands' (NI, 55/ni, 45). 'Fortunately the Greeks had no experiences, [. . . ]' (NI - Nietzsche, 95/ni, 80. Cf. AWP - Die Zeit des Weltbildes/ The Age of the World Picture, 87/134). Hence they did not believe that the point of art is to provide them.
     Later, Heidegger uses Erlebnis for the experience, sensation or 'buzz' to be derived from, say, a drug or a rally. Technology's erosion of man and diminution of the world are offset by its ability to give us experiences. All that matters is the quality of the feeling (Gefühl) or experience, since they can have no significance for our lives or our world (LXV, 406, 495) (A Heidegger Dictionary by Michael Inwood, The Philosopher Dictionaries, Blackwell, 1999, reprint 2000).
     Especially the German psychologist FELIX KRUEGER, a disciple of WILHELM DILTHEY, has observed that feeling is implied in every 'Erlebnis' as a quality of the totality of our inner experience and that in this totality there is a continuous transition from feeling to the 'differentiated forms of consciousness'. Attention is also paid to the 'universality' of feeling with respect to these states of affairs. But this discovery has been interpreted in the line of a psychologistic transcendental Idea of origin laid at the basis of genetic psychology. Consequently this interpretation within the cadre of genetic psychology has led to the erroneous conclusion that feeling would be the undifferentiated origin of the other 'classes' of Erlebnisse' (the noetic and volitional) which were supposed to rise from it through differentiation. This cannot be true. In the footsteps of FRANZ BRENTANO and EDMUND HUSSERL the 'Erlebnis' is conceived of as an intentional act of human consciousness, in contradistinction to the abstract 'sensation'. Then it must be evident that feeling, unlike volition and knowing, cannot be an act but only a modal aspect of every act. It is correctly defined by JAMES DREVER in his Dictionary of Psychology (1952) as 'a general term for the affective aspect of experience', though the adjective 'affective' should be replaced by the more general term 'emotional'.
     It is impossible to regard real acts, like the volitional or noetic 'Erlebnisse', as modal aspects of experience. On the contrary, every real act functions necessarily in the integral modal horizon of human experience, which embraces the totality of all the modal aspects. This fact cannot be lost sight of except under the influence of the metaphysical dogma concerning the dichotomy of temporal human existence as a composite of a 'material body' and a 'spiritual soul'. The more modern version of this dichotomistic conception (MAX SCHELER) speaks of an antithesis between a vital-psychical sphere and a 'Geist' which can make the former and the entire 'world' [in]to its theoretical 'Gegenstand'. But also this view contradicts the unbreakable meaning-coherence between the aspects.
     It is an undeniable fact that in the first life-phase of a suckling baby feeling precedes the first development of logical distinction; the latter precedes the controlling manner of forming sounds, which in its turn precedes the primitive symbolical designation of concepts by words etc. But that does not prove that the higher mental functions originate from feeling as their undifferentiated origin. Rather it testifies to the truth of our view of the order of the modal aspects of experience, as a real temporal order, related to subjective duration in the genetic process.

The 'Erlebnisse' and the modal delimitation of the psychological viewpoint. Erlebnis and behaviour.
     If the 'Erlebnisse' as real acts of experience imply the whole horizon of modal aspects, it follows that it is impossible to find in them the specific 'Gegenstand' of psychology without a delimitation of the specific modal viewpoint from which they are to be examined.
     This specific viewpoint cannot be found in the inner subjective character of the 'Erlebnis'. For the inner character of the latter does not detract from its encompassing the whole horizon of modal aspects [1] and its subjectivity cannot be examined scientifically without its relation to the different modal laws to which it is subjected. 
[1] The modal horizon of human experience corresponds to the modal aspects of empirical reality. Consequently, the inner act of experience as a concrete ‘Erlebnis' cannot be restricted to its psychic feeling-aspect. This will appear to be the key to the solution of the epistemological problem which we shall discuss in the third part of this Volume.
In this respect there is no difference between 'Erlebnisse' as inner acts of consciousness and external behaviour. The latter cannot be neglected by psychology insofar as it can be an objectively perceptible expression of the intentional direction of the inner act. On the other hand external behaviour in its objective sensory aspect cannot be a real psychological object of research apart from its relation to the subjective inner experience of which it may be an objectively perceptible expression. Behaviourism is not to be regarded as a trend of psychology proper [2]
[2] The thesis that the inner acts of experience cannot be studied by psychology because science is bound to objective sensory phenomena cannot be maintained. We must bear in mind that the aspects of human experience have a modal structure of a universally valid character and that by means of language it is possible to establish a real social contact between our own inner experience and that of our fellow-men. My inner life of experience is not closed within itself. It can only exist in a social exchange of experiences penetrating my own consciousness and subconsciousness. In a very close community of two persons the inner act-life of the one can often be completely open to that of the other so that they penetrate one another mutually and 'flow together'.
     That is why the psychological method of 'empathy' into the inner act-life of the other man has a solid foundation in the inner structure of this life.
     As to animal feeling, we must observe that it cannot be completely strange to us. In my anthropology, which will be explained in the third volume of my new trilogy Reformation and Scholasticism in Philosophy, I have argued that the act-structure of inner human experience is founded in a lower structure qualified by feeling-drives in which the psychical aspect has not yet opened its anticipatory spheres. In the so-called 'enkaptic structural whole' of the human body this animal structure is bound by the higher act-structure of human experience. Nevertheless, it is continually present as a sub-conscious under-layer of the latter and it can freely manifest itself in certain limiting situations (Grenzsituationen) in
which the controlling function of the higher act-life has become inactive. Depth-psychology has been able to lay this bare.
But the point in question remains: What is the specific modal determination of the field of psychology, if the latter is to be conceived of as a special science and not as a philosophical anthropology, or as a typical total-science in the sense of positive sociology.
Animal psychology and the unity of the psychological viewpoint.
     This question urges itself upon us still more stringently, if we consider the fact that psychology is not restricted to human 'Erlebnisse' but that there is also an animal psychology [3].
[3] See the preceding note.
Animals lack the inner human acts of experience, because the latter are necessarily related to the ego as the transcendent centre of human existence. They lack actual subject-functions within the logical and post-logical modal law-spheres which in every real act of experience are essential. Within these modal aspects they can have only object-functions in the subject-object relation of human experience.
     If animal psychology is to be regarded as a real branch of psychology, it must have the same general modal viewpoint as the psychology of human 'Erlebnisse'. This must be clear if it is considered that the unity of the psychological viewpoint is not to be found in typical totality-structures of human experience, but only in a specific modal aspect, which is made the 'Gegenstand' of theoretical thought in its logical function.
     This does not detract from the fact that psychology has to examine concrete phenomena which present themselves only within typical structures of individual totality, as for instance human acts of thought and remembering, volitional acts, acts of fantasy, and so on. But these totality-structures are not to be viewed as psychological ones if one wants to escape the absolutization of the psychical viewpoint. They can only express themselves in a typical way within the specific modal aspect which delimits the field of psychology.
     This aspect has logical, historical, linguistic, social, economical, aesthetical, juridical, and moral anticipations. It also anticipates the ultimate limiting aspect of human experience, that of faith (in the feeling of confidence and certainty in the faith in God's revelation or in the feeling of unbelief, respectively). In other words, psychology has indeed a modal field of research which has real universality in its proper sphere.
     The volitional, the intellectual, the fantasy-directions of human act-life, in their individual as well as in their social manifestations, can all be studied in their psychological aspect.
     But psychology cannot exceed the modal boundaries of its field without entangling itself in an illegitimate 'psychologism'.

The pseudo-psychological conception of the human ego and the I-thou relation.
     A fortiori the human ego and its relation to other egos cannot be of a psychical character.
     There does not exist a 'psycho-physical ego', or a 'transcendental-logical ego', or an 'historical-existential ego', or an ego as 'psychical' centre of human 'Erlebnisse'. All these so-called egos are nothing but idols of an apostate human self-consciousness. The human ego to which all human experience is related is one and the same: it transcends all modal functions and all temporal individuality-structures of human existence referred to it. It is the single central point of reference for all of them, but not any science whatever can make it into its 'Gegenstand'.
     When psychology speaks about self-feeling, self-impulse, self-love or ego-ism, self-preservation, self-control, self-observation or -introspection and so on, it can mean only psychological phenomena which manifest themselves in a concentric direction to the ego. But the ego itself escapes every attempt to grasp it in a psychological view. The human ego expresses itself in the entire temporal human existence, but it recedes as an intangible phantom as soon as we try to localize it in our temporal experience.
The impossibility of a definition of feeling as the meaning-kernel of the psychical aspect. The psychological distinction between 'feelings' and sensations (Empfindungen).
     So we must always stress the necessity of a modal delimitation of the psychological field of research.
     To my mind the specific aspect embracing the modal viewpoint both of human and animal psychology can be found only within the law-sphere whose modal structure has feeling as its meaning-kernel. I cannot see another possibility unless I can be shown a better way for a truly modal delimitation of the specific psychological viewpoint.
     There cannot exist a material criterion oriented to the concrete contents of human experience; for every concrete temporal 'Erlebnis' can be viewed theoretically according to its psychical aspect.
     If feeling is the original meaning-kernel of the latter, it must be impossible to define it by means of specific qualities designated by analogical terms. There is a German adage: "Was man nicht definiren kann, das sieht man als ein Fühlen an." [What cannot be defined is called a feeling]. But the same can be said with respect to the meaning-nucleus of every other modal aspect of human experience.
     Many psychologists have tried to distinguish feelings from sensations and representations by specific characteristics. In contradistinction to the latter classes of 'Erlebnisse', feelings are supposed to be characterized by their polarity. They lack a spatial character, and their actuality excludes every possibility of reproduction. But these theoretical distinctions, apart from their psychological serviceableness, have nothing to do with feeling as the modal meaning-nucleus of the psychical aspect of experience.
     The latter is not a concrete 'Erlebnis' viewed from its psychical aspect; rather it is the nuclear moment of a modal meaning-structure which determines every concrete phenomenon of consciousness functioning in it with respect to its modal-psychical character. In its modal meaning every psychical phenomenon is characterized by this kernel-moment. Sensations (Empfindungen) are 'elementary' subjective feeling-phenomena referring to objective sensory qualities of things or events. They can be moments of the so-called polar feelings of pleasure and pain which project themselves in the sensorily perceived objects. They can also be experienced in an attitude of indifference.
     But indifference, too, is a feeling-attitude in its modal psychical sense. Interest and indifference are only complementary manifestations of feeling which can be experienced in a continuous transition.

The retrocipatory structure of the modal feeling-aspect.
     The structure of the full psychic modality of meaning, considered from its retrocipatory side, necessarily shows analogies of number, space, movement, energy, and organic life. If we want to analyse these retrocipatory meaning-moments theoretically as sharply as possible, it is necessary to start from the psychic aspect in its unopened, restrictive state, as it is realized in animals.
     The so-called 'higher feelings' will not be considered for the present. The modal psychic meaning in its merely retrocipatory structure is sensory.
     Sensibility is an evident analogy of the biotic meaning of organic life in the modal meaning of feeling. 'Sensory' means 'of the senses', and sensory feeling is closely bound up with, and founded (by the cosmic order) in the biotic modality of meaning [4].
[4] SCHELER has tried to conceive the 'pure essence' of feeling entirely isolated from the organic meaning of life. This procedure results in the sublimation of the modal meaning of feeling, because the latter only functions in the intermodal coherence of the aspects.
It is a structural meaning-moment in the life of feeling, which is not life in its original modal sense, since it is qualified by the meaning-nucleus of the psychic aspect. Though it is necessarily founded in the biotic aspect, it is not subject to biotical laws, but it has its own psychical law-sphere (cf. the laws of association, the law of the polarity of feelings of pleasure and pain etc.).
     Sensory feeling reacts on biotic stimuli but this psychic reaction is never biologically, let alone mechanically, explicable. For the sensory psychic reaction is qualified neither by the original nucleus of the biotic nor by that of the physical meaning-aspect. Sensibility, as a biotic retrocipation in the original modal meaning of feeling, in its turn refers back to an analogy of movement in this modal meaning. Sensory feeling necessarily expresses itself in sensory movements of feeling which are called 'emotions'. But the concept of 'emotion' should not be identified with particular types of psychic movement like the 'affects', or the 'passions'. Emotion is necessarily founded in the original meaning of movement but only by the intermediary of biotical and physical analogies. Emotional life is immediately founded in organic and physical-chemical processes which in their turn refer back to the original modal meaning of movement. We shall revert to such complications in the meaning-structure.
     Behind this modal analogy of movement, however, a spatial analogy and one of number announce themselves in the structure of the psychic modality of meaning.
     The subjective sensory feeling of space, the objective sensory picture of space, and the sensory multiplicity (of impressions) will be examined in a later context.
     Some examples will now be given of the structural analysis of the normative law-spheres. This will show that here, too, the cosmic order of time guarantees the law-spheres concerned a fixed place, which cannot be ignored by theoretical thought with impunity.

Herman Dooyeweerd, New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Vol II/ Part I/ Chapt 2/§4 pp 111-118)
Às an leabhar "An Introduction to Christian Philosophy" le J.M. Spier