Pure transcendental historicity: writing

Below are excerpts from John P. Leavey’s translation of Jacques Derrida’s L’origine de la géométrie. Introduction et traduction.

Edmund Husserl’s Origin of Geometry: An Introduction

Trans., with a preface, by John P. Leavey, Jr., ed. David B Allison (New York: Nicoals Hays, Ltd., 1978)

Edmund Husserl, L’Origine de la géométrie Paris: PUF 1962 (cf. Husserl, Die Krisis der europäischen Wissenschaften und die transzendentale Phänomenologie, ed. Walter Biemel, Amsterdam: M. Nijhoff, Husserliana vol. 6, 1954: pp. 365-386)

“A decisive step remains to be taken. By itself the speaking subject, in the strict sense of the term, is incapable of absolutely grounding the ideal Objectivity of sense. Oral communication (i.e., present, immediate, and synchronic communication) among the protogeometers is not sufficient to give ideal objectivities their “continuing to be” and “persisting factual existence,” thanks to which they perdure “even during periods in which the inventor and his fellows are no longer awake su such an exchange or even, more universally, no longer alive.” To be absolutely ideal, the object must still be freed of every tie with an actually present subjectivity in general. Therefore, it must perdure “even when no one has actualized it in evidence” (164 [modified]). Speech [langage oral] has freed the object of individual subjectivity but leaves it bound to its beginning and to the synchrony of an exchange within the institutive community. / The possibility of writing will assure the absolute traditionalization of the object, its absolute ideal Objectivity—i.e., the purity of its relation to a universal transcendental subjectivity. Writing will do this by emancipating sense from its actually present evidence for a real subject and from its present circulation within a determined community. “The decisive function of written expression, of expression which documents, is that it makes communication possible without immediate or mediate address; it is, so to speak, communication become virtual” (164 [modified]). / That virtuality moreover, is an ambiguous value: it simultaneously makes passivity, forgetfulness, and all the phenomena of crisis possible. / Far from having to fall again into a real [réale] history, a truth that we have gained from this history—scriptural spatiotemporality (whose originality we will soon need to determine)—sanctions and completes the … 189

Ch. VII, p. 87, not 164 or 189 as above.

… existence of pure transcendental historicity. Without the ultimate objectification that writing permits, all language would as yet remain captive of de facto and actual intentionality of a speaking subject or community of speaking subjects. By absolutely virtualizing dialogue, writing creates a kind of autonomous transcendental field from which every present subject can be absent. / In connection with the general signification of the epohē, Jean Hyppolite invokes the possibility of a “subjectless transcendental field,” one in which “the conditions of subjectivity would appear and where the subject would be constituted starting from the transcendental field.” [note 1] Writing, as the place of absolutely permanent ideal objectivities and therefore of absolute Objectivity, certainly constitutes such a transcendental field. And likewise, to be sure, transcendental subjectivity can be fully announced and appear on the basis of this field or its possibility. Thus a subjectless transcendental field is one of the “conditions” of transcendental subjectivity. [Is not conditions of impossibility announced right here?] / But all this can be said only on the basis of an intentional analysis which retains from writing nothing but writing’s pure relation to a consciousness which grounds it as such, and not its factuality which, left to itself, is totally without signification [insignificante]. For this absence of subjectivity from the transcendental field, an absence whose possibility frees absolute Objectivity, can be only a factual absence, even if it removed for all time the totality of actual subjects. The originality of the field of writing is its ability to dispense with, due to its sense, every present reading in general. But if the text does not announce its own pure dependence on a writer or reader in general [also launched already here] (i.e., if it is not haunted [also launched already here, alah] by a virtual intentionality), and if there is no purely juridical possibility of it being intelligible for a transcendental subject in general, then there is no more in the vacuity of its soul than a chaotic literalness or the sensible opacity [obscure?] of a defunct designation, a designation deprived of its transcendental function. The silence of prehistoric arcane and buried civilizations, the entombment of lost intentions and guarded secrets, and the illegibility of the lapidary inscription disclose the transcendental sense of deaths as what unites these things to the absolute privilege of intentionality in the very instance of its essential juridical failure. / When considering the de jure purity of intentional animation, Husserl always says the linguistic or graphic body is a flesh, a proper body (Leib), or a spiritual corporeality (geistige Leiblichkeit) (FTL, paragraph 2, p. 21). From then on, writing is no longer only the wordly and mnemotechnical aid to a truth whose own being-sense would dispense with all writing-down. The possibility or necessity of being incarnated in … 190

… a graphic sign is no longer simply extrinsic and factual in comparison with ideal Objectivity: it is the sine qua non condition of Objectivity’s internal completion. As long as ideal Objectivity is not, or  rather, can not be engraved in the world—as long as ideal Objectivity is not in a position to be party to an incarnation (which, in the purity of its sense, is more than a system of signals [signalisation] or an outer garment)—then ideal Objectivity is not fully constituted. Therefore, the act of writing is the highest possibility of all “constitution,” a fact against which the transcendental depth of ideal Objectivity’s historicity is measured. / What Fink writes about speech in his excellent transcript of the Origin is a fortiori true for writing: “In sensible embodiment occurs the ‘localization’ and the ‘temporalization’ (Temporalisation [remark this term for différance, spacing, etc.!]) of what is, by its being-sense, unlocated and untemporal” (“Die Frage,” p. 210).

the preface as “a fourth text. Simulating the postface, the recapitulation and the recurrent anticipation, the auto-movement of the concept, it is an entirely other, different text, but at the same time, as “discourse of assistance, it is the ‘double’ of what it exceeds.” [La Dissémination (Paris: Seuil, 1972), pp. 33-35] The fourth text, as text, is “the beyond everything [which] insofar as it withstands all ontology…is not a primum movens. However, it imparts to everything …a movement of fiction.” [ibid, p. 65] 3

Dissemination displaces the three of onto-theo-logy according to an angle of a certain bending-back. A crisis of versus: these marks no longer allow themselves to be resumed or ‘decided’ in the two of the binary opposition nor sublated [relever] in the three of speculative dialectics…they destroy the trinitarian horizon. They textually destroy it: they are the marks of dissemination (and not of polysemy) because they do not allow themselves at any point to be pinned down by the concept or concept of a signified. They ‘add’ there the more or less of a fourth term. [Le Dissémination, p. 32] 4

Here about the inability to decide meaning, not overabundance, or polysemy. In “Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences,” concerning the “two interpretations of interpretation,” that which “dreams of deciphering” the truth or origin and that which “affirms freeplay and tries to pass beyond man and humanism,” Derrida says he does not believe “that today there is any question of choosing.” It is the question of the undecidable¾that which, by analogy, Derrida says¾cannot be decided. Undecidability has a reference to decidability, as Sarah Kofman notes, that must be “crossed out.” [“Un philosophie ‘unheimlich,’ “ in Ecarts: Quatre Essais à propos de Jacques Derrida (Paris: Fayard, 1973), p. 148, n. 1] 5

There is, then, probably no choice to be made between two lines of thought; our task is rather to reflect on the circularity which makes the one pass into the other indefinitely. And, by strictly repeating this circle in its own historical possibility, we allow the production of some elliptical change of site, within the difference involved in repetition; this displacement is no doubt deficient, but with a deficiency [?] that is not yet, or is already no longer, absence, negativity, nonbeing, lack, silence. Neither matter nor form, it is nothing that any philosopheme, that is, any dialectic, however determinate, can capture. It is an ellipsis of both meaning and form; it is neither plenary speech nor perfectly circular. More and less, neither more nor less¾it is perhaps an entirely different question. [“La Forme et le vouloir-dire: note sur la phenomenology du langage,” in Marges, p. 207. ET in Speech and Phenomena, p. 128.]

Derrida’s Introduction:

Date/theme, “Die Frage nach dem Ursprung der Geometrie als intentional-historisches Problem,” first published in 1939, Eugen Fink the transcriptor, the original manuscript dates from 1936, the typed transcription bears no title, published after elaboration by Fink in Reveue Internationale de Philosophie, 1, No. 2 (January 15, 1939), pp. 203-25. Since then this text has been read and frequently cited under this form/title. Its history, at least, then, already conferred on it a certain right to independence.

Deeply rooted in K, its originality risks being not immediately apparent; distinguishing it from K not due to descriptive novelty, since nearly all its motifs are already present in other investigations; “In fact, The Origin of Geometry still concerns the status of ideal objects of science (of which geometry is one example), their production, by identifying acts, as “the same,” and the constitution of exactitude through idealization and passage to the limit¾a process which starts with the life-world’s sensible, finite, and prescientific materials. Also in question are the…” 25

… interrelated and concrete conditions for the possibility of these ideal objects: language, intersubjectivity, and the world as the unity of ground and horizon. Finally, the techniques of phenomenological description, notably those of the various reductions, are always utilized. Less than ever do their validity and fruitfulness appear impaired in Husserl’s eyes.” Ursprung no longer distinguishable by its twofold critique: Formal and Transcendental Logic, the Cartesian Meditations, and the Crisis had as starting point a “certain technicist and objectivist irresponsibility in the practice of science and philosophy.” Much earlier, in the Logical Investigations, in “Philosophy as Rigorous Science (the fundamental preoccupation), and in Ideas I, “against a historicism blinded by the empricist cult of fact and causalist presumption.” “But never had the two denunciations of historicism and objectivism been so organically united as in The Origin of Geometry, where they proceed from the same impulse and are mutually involved throughout an itinerary whose bearing is sometimes disconcerting [note 2 specifies: “a method which chooses its interruptions and multiplies the returns toward its beginning in order to reach back and grasp it again each time in a recurrent light.”].” “Now the singularity of our text rests on the fact that the conjunction of these two standing and tested refusals creates a new scheme: one the one hand, it brings to light a new type or profundity of historicity; on the other hand, and correlatively, it determines the new tools and original direction of historical reflection. The historicity of ideal objectivities, i.e. their origin and tradition ()in the ambiguous sense of this word which includes both the movement of transmission and the perdurance of heritage), obeys different rules, which are neither the factual interconnections of empirical history, nor an ideal and ahistoric adding on. The birth and development of science must then be accessible to an un-heard of style of historical intuition in which the intentional reactivation of sense should¾de jure¾precede and condition the empirical determination of fact.” 26

“In their irreducible originiality, the historicity of science and the reflection that it invites, Geschichtlichkeit and Historie, have certain common apriori conditions.” “In other words, the possibility of something like a history of science imposes a rereading and a re-awakening of the “sense” of history in general: ultimately, its phenomenological sense will merge with its teleological sense.” Husserl will attempt to accomplish a singular proof of such essential possibilities through geometry, “and to decipher therein the prescription of a general task.” [what I in turn will be doing by our text here, Derrida’s] thus both programmatic and exemplary value, as most of Husserl’s texts; “marked by the exemplary consciousness proper to all eidetic reduction and be guided by the pole of this infinite task, from which phenomenology alone can make its way.” Husserl’s “radicalness is ultimate according to the facts,” but “perhaps not so de jure.”

I

The mathematical object seems to be the privileged example and most permanent thread guiding Husserl’s reflection. This is because the mathematical object is ideal. Its being is thoroughly transparent and exhausted in its phenomenality. Absolutely objective, i.e., totally rid of empirical subjectivity, it nevertheless is only what it appears to be. Therefore, it is always already reduced to its phenomenal sense, and its being is, from the outset, to be an object for a pure consciousness.” [see n. 4 on the status of mathematical ideality for every object’s constitution.] 27

His first work, the Philosophy of Arithmetic could just as well have been termed The Origin of Arithmetic. It already concerns, despite a rightly emphasized psychologistic inflection, “the reactivation of the primordial sense of arithmetic’s ideal unities by returning to the structure of perception and the acts of a concrete subjectivity. Husserl himself already proposed to account at once for the normative ideality of number (which is never an empirical fact accessible to a history in precisely this same style) and for its grounding in and through the lived act of its production.” But the genesis of arithmetic is not thought of as history, as a cultural form and adventure of humanity. “In 1887-91, the origin of arithmetic was described in terms of psychological genesis. In The Origin of Geometry, after fifty years of meditation, Husserl repeats the same project under the species of a phenomenological history. This fidelity is all the more remarkable since the path traversed is immense.” First through the reduction of all historical or psychological genesis; then the genetic dimension of phenomenology is discovered, but genesis is still not history. Ideas I announced the passing from static to genetic constitution, established between the years 1915 and 1920, but still not engaged phenomenological description in the problems of historicity. “The thematization of transcendental genesis maintained the reduction of history; all that could be placed under the category of objective… 28

…spirit and the cultural world was repressed within the sphere of intraworldliness. The return to prepredicative experience, in Experience and Judgment and in Formal and Transcendental Logic, extended down to a precultural and prehistoric stratum of lived experience.” And Cartesian Meditations, speaking of “unity of history, it is a question of the unity of traces, of “references,” of synthetic “residues” within the pure egological sphere.” Husserl underscores that ideal objects, which alone assure the possibility of historicity, “i.e., the always intersubjective consciousness of history, do not belong to the eidos of the concrete ego (CM, §38, p. 78).” At the end of the Third Cartesian Meditation, he defines investigations concerning the “theory…of man, of human community, of culture, and so forth,” as [D:] “ulterior, regional, and dependent tasks (ibid., §29, p. 63). All these reductions hold a fortiori for the descriptions of primordial temporality and immanent duration.” Thus neutralization of psychological genesis and history are still on equal footing “in the texts which place the transcendental development in focus.” In the period of Krisis history breaks through into phenomenology, and “a new space of questioning is opened,” one that will be difficult to maintain in the regional limits which were so long prescribed for it.” But while constantly practiced in Krisis this “new access to history is never made a problem.” Once again we see legitimizing of phenomenology, through affirmation of teleology of reason and consciousness of a crisis. “On the other hand, to put the whole development of Western philosophy into perspective, to define the European eidos and the man of infinite tasks, and to recount the adventures and misadventures of the transcendental motif, concealed each time by the very gesture that uncovers it [is this not Derrida’s own move?]: all this would give credit to a kind of synoptic retrospection that no criticism of historic reason had explicitly justified from the start. Neither the structures of historicity in… 29

general (and we do not know whether the historicity of science and philosophy are examples or exceptions, whether they are the highest and most revelatory possibilities, or if they are simply beyond history itself), nor the methods of the phenomenology of history were made the objects of specific, original questions. This confidence was supported by the system of apodictic certainties of phenomenology itself, which could be considered as a criticism of reason in general. If this teleological reading of history could not be characterized in Husserl’s eyes by the dogmatic imprudence with which so many philosophers (from Aristotle to Hegel to Brunschvicg) perceive in the past only the labored presentiment of their own thought, it is because this reading referred to the very Idea of transcendental phenomenology¾which is not itself a philosophical system.” Three things necessary to show: 1) history, as empirical science, dependent upon phenomenology, revealing its fund of eidetic presuppositions “(this dependence, frequently affirmed, had always been treated by preterition [1. the action of passing over or disregarding a matter, esp. the rhetorical technique of making summary mention of something by professing to omit it. 2. (in Calvinist theology) omission from God’s elect; nonelection to salvation.], signaled rather than explored).” 2) that history (unique among other material sciences in being marked by “oneness and irreversibility, i.e., by non-exemplariness”) still lent itself to imaginary variations and eidetic intutitions, and 3) that certain eidetic content (in addition to the empirical and non-exemplary content of history) had itself been produced or revealed in “a history which irreducibly inhabits its being-sense. If, as Husserl affirms, the history of geometrical eidetic is exemplary, then history in general no longer risks being a distinct and dependent sector of a more radical phenomenology. By remaining completely within a determined relativity, history in general no less completely engages phenomenology with all its possibilities and responsibilities, its original techniques and attitudes.” 30

These ambitions animate the Krisis, and to all itents and purposes, the earlier works. “But it is in The Origin of Geometry and in the short fragments of the same period that these ambitions, it seems, are most immediately assumed.” Strongly tempted to see Origin as “the preface to a re-issue of FTL, whose purpose simply would be adapted to a material ontology.” In the Introduction to that work Husserl perceives the motif “radical investigations of sense” within thepresent condition of European science.” [my project will fit nicely in the between here of that intention and Derrida’s and present circumstances] NOW: “But we know that for Husserl the critical significance of this situation results less from some epistemological conflict inherent in the internal development of these sciences than from a divorce between a) the theoretical and practical activity of the science in the very renown of its progress and success, and b) its sense for life and the possibility of being related to our whole world. This freeing of science with respect to its bases in the Lebenswelt and its founding subjective acts undoubtedly remains a necessary condition for its conquests. But this freeing also involves the threat of an objectivist alienation, which conceals the instituting origins and renders them strange and inaccessible to us.” This has made our world [H:] “unintelligible.” “To meditate on or investigate the sense [besinnen] of origins is at the same time to: make oneself responsible (verantworten) for the sense (Sinn) of science and philosophy, bring this sense to the clarity of its “fulfil[ment],” and put oneself in a position of responsibility for this sense starting from the total sense of our existence.” The same disquietude and the same will are underscored and expressed in OG, from the very first pages on. 31

The question asked: only a specification of the general question begun and defined in FTL? Is it not a question of applying a general project whose program had already been organized to a singular and dependent science? Husserl: “These investigations, concerning the possible sense and possible method of genuine science as such, are naturally directed first of all to what is essentially common to all possible sciences. They should be followed secondarily by corresponding sense-investigations for particular groups of sciences and single sciences?” (p. 6) FTL’s anteriority in relation to the problems of origin for the other sciences has a systematic and juridical significance. A necessary anteriority stemming from the nature of traditional logic, always presented as the general theory of science, the science of science. The anteriority refers to the hierarchy of ontologies already elaborated in Ideas I; formal ontology treats the pure rules of Objectivity in general. “Now geometry is a material ontology whose object is determined as the spatiality of the thing belonging to Nature.” Every dimension of OG accentuates this dependency; its relative superficiality of description will thus be explained. “On several occasions Husserl notes that he presupposes the constitution of ideal objectivities of logic and language in… 32

…general, the correlative constitution of intersubjectivity, and all related investigations. In a certain sense, it is truly necessary to see that this order of dependence is not reversed. The phenomenon of “crisis,” as forgetfulness of origins, has precisely the sense of this type of “reversal” (Umkehrung).” [FTL writes of a remarkable reversal of science and logic; the sciences made themselves independent. Without “critical self-justification” they nevertheless “fashioned extremely differentiated methods, whose fruitfulness, it is true, was practically certain, but whose productivity (Leistung) was not clarified by ultimate insight.” This Umkehrung, concerning geometrical science and mathematics in general, Husserl has often defined as the falsifaction of sense [conditions of life], the displacement of ground, and the forgetting of origins.] [n. 16, from FTL, p. 2] Three forms: 1. Geometry, the model of exact science, defined as responsible for the naturalization of the psychic sphere, a fact pointed out already in the first part of “Philosophy as Rigorous Science,” [PRS] in Phenomenology and the Crisis of Philosophy, tr. Quentin Lauer (New York: Harper and Row, 1965), pp. 71-147. And in Ideas I he denounces the absurdity of geometrizing lived experience, on account of both geometrical exactitude and deductivity. 2. “The geometrical ideal (or that of mathematical physics), dogmatically received, is what impelled Descartes to cover over again the transcendental motif he had ingeniously brought to light. The certitude of the cogito becomes the axiomatic ground, and philosophy is transformed into a deductive system, ordine geometrico: [H:] “only this axiomatic foundation lies even deeper than that of geometry and is called on to participate in the ultimate grounding even of geometrical knowledge.” (CM, §3, p. 8.) 3. “Finally, the whole Krisis tends to show how geometry, the ground for the mathematization of nature, hides true nature. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why later on Husserl will hardly¾yet without explicitly questioning again¾the definition of geometry as an eidetic science or as the material ontology o spatially extended, natural things, a definition often proposed as an example up to Ideas I.” [n. 16.] 33 Husserl states that “Other paths are possible for sense-investigations with a radical aim; and the present work attempts to open up, at least in main sections, one suggested by the historically given relation of the idea of genuine science to logic as its antecedent norm.” [FTL, p. 7; Husserl’s emphasis] [virtual recluse]

the irradicalism of Derrida’s project; a spiraling movement is declared to be “the major find of our text, a bold clearing is brought about within the regional limits of the investigation and transgresses them toward a new form of radicality. Concerning the intentional history of a particular eidetic science, a sense-investigation of its conditions of possibility will reveal to us exemplarily the conditions and sense of the historicity of science in general, then of universal historicity¾the last horizon for all sense and Objectivity in general. Consequently, the architectonic relations evoked a moment ago are complicated, if not inverted.” OG is in the midst of these difficulties.

II

“Husserl takes numerous, diverse and rather intricate methodological precautions in the first pages.”

1. The notion of history conceived in a new sense; it is a question repeating an origin, therefore reflection does not work upon or within geometry itself as “ready-made, handed-down” (157). The attitude taken is not that of the geometer, as the latter already has at his disposal an already given system of truths; at his disposal are possibilities of new axiomatizations which (even with their problems and difficulties) already are announced as geometrical possibilities; not the attitude of the classic epistemologist’s “horizontal and ahistoric cut,” studying the systematical structure; both these attitudes rely on what Husserl in FTL had defined, recalled in Krisis, as a “naiveté of a priori self-evidence that keeps every normal geometrical project in motion,” (C, 9b, p. 29) [Kuhn?] “Not only are the intelligence and the practice of geometry always possible and occasionally profound and creative, but so is a certain second reflection on constituted geometry, all without disturbing or shaking [sollicitée] geometry in its buried sense.” The Crisis always echoed this. 34

One “’understands’” geometrical concepts and propositions, is [34] “familiar with methods of operation as ways of dealing with precisely defined structures,” says Husserl (ibid). Derrida immediately after stresses the word “familiarity”: “No geometrizing activity as such, however critical, can return to a point short of that “familiarity.” 2. But if we leave the actual or virtual givens of the received geometry, and if we then come to history’s vertical dimension, three confusions lie in the wait for us:” A) not interested in the manner of being which the sense of geometry had in Galileo’s thinking; it depends, in the best hypothesis, only on a psychology or history of cognition; and even if they did not reduce the normativity of ideal objects and geometrical truth to the empirical facts of lived experience; they would only inform us of the rootedness of truth in a psychological or historical milieu of fact; it would teach us nothing about the truth of geometry and its sense of origin; “For Gaileo¾whose name here is the exemplary index of an attitude and a moment, rather thana proper name¾was already an inheritor of geometry.”  In Crisis he says the secondary character of Galileo’s revolution, insisting on the scientific heritage that it supposed, notably that of “ ‘pure geometry,’ the pure mathematics of spatiotemporal shapes in general, pregiven to Galileo as an old tradition.” (C, §9a, p. 24.) 35

“If, in the Crisis, a very important place is reserved for … 35

…Galileo and his revolution (which Husserl situates at the origin of the modern spirit’s perils), here the radicalist demand wants to undo the sedimentations upon which the enterprise of an infinite mathematization was based. We must reduce the very remarkableness of the Galilean naiveté to free the question as to the origin of geometry.” H in C, what he will undertake a little later on in OG: G never had to “go into the manner in which the accomplishment of idealization originally arose (how it grew on the underlying basis of the pregeometrical, sensible world and its practical arts), or to occupy himself… 36

…with questions about the origins of apodictic, mathematical self-evidence” (C, §9b, p. 29) C: “It did not enter the mind of Galileo that it would ever become relevant, indeed of fundamental importance, to geometry, as a branch of a universal knowledge of what is (philosophy), to make geometrical self-evidence¾the ‘how’ of its origin¾into a problem. For us, proceeding beyond Galileo in our historical reflections, it will be of considerable interest to see how a shift of focus became urgent and how the ‘origin’ of knowledge had to become a major problem” (§9b p.29). D: “If the Galilean discovery resides especially in a formalizing infinitization of ancient mathematics, does not the return to them as an origin tie primordiality to a certain finitude? No simple response is possible to such a question, we will se that the infinite had already broken through, was already at work, when the first geometry began¾that it, too, was already an infinitization.” B) But this side of Galileo, is it the question of studying for itself the heritage given him? Not any more. It is not a “philological-historical…search” finding “particular propositions” (158) that the first geometers discovered or formulated. History of science in the classic sense; taking stock of the already constituted contents of geometrical cognitions, as precisely and completely as possible from archeological documents. Such investigation “can teach us nothing about the geometrical sense of the first geometrical acts.” “It cannot even recognize and isolate those acts as such except by supposing that the primordial sense of geometry is already known.” C) If return to the instituting sense of first acts, it is not a question of what in fact were the first acts, the first experiences, “the first geometers who were in fact responsible… 37

…for the advent of geometry.” It would flatter our historical curiosity, what Husserl attributes to a certain “romanticism,” etc. “But even if, at its limit, the determination would embrace all the historical facts that have constituted the empirical milieu for truth’s founding, it would still leave us blind about the very sense of such a founding: a sense that is necessary and compared to which these facts have at best only an exemplary signification.” Historical knowledge of things insofar: “supposing a fully developed clarity about the very sense of what is called the geometrical sense. And here, this means clarity about its sense of origin. The juridical priority of the question of phenomenological origin is therefore absolute.” The various inquiries here are caught up in the element of constituted geometry. They supposed or were confused with the results of a ready-made geometry that would have to be reduced if one were to attain consciousness about its origin, a consciousness that at the same time was an intuition of its essence. “In other words, although it only has for its content ideal essences, ready-made geometry holds here in bulk the status of a fact which must be reduced in its factuality so that its sense can be read. Indeed, in this case, the fact has the forgotten sense of the ready-made. But this reduction needs as its starting point the constituted result it neutralizes. [Deconstruction] There must always already have been the fact of a history of geometry, so that the reduction can be performed. I must already have a naïve knowledge of geometry and must not begin at its origin. Here the method’s juridical necessity overlaps history’s factual necessity. Despite certain appearances, philosophers of method are perhaps more profoundly sensitive to historicity, even though they seem to remove digressions from history’s path. / Both the necessity to proceed from the fact of constituted science and the regression towards the nonempirical origins are at the same time conditions of possibility: such are, as we know, the imperatives of every transcendental philosophy faced with something like the history of mathematics.” Transcendental regression, threads guiding. A fundamental difference remains, however, between… 38

Kant’s intention and that of Husserl, one that is perhaps less distinguishable than would first be imagined. Kant’s historical retrospection towards origins, he too evokes this mutation or transformation (Umänderung), Kritik der reinen Vernunft, preface to second edition, p. x., further: “The history of this revolution,” which is attributed to the “happy thought of a single man” in “an experiment from which the path that had to taken must no longer be missed and from which the sure way of science was opened and prescribed (eingeschlagen und vorgezeichnet war) for all times and in endless expansion,” was more “decisive” than the empirical discovery “of the path around the famous Cape,” p. x. Emphasized are the expression which are among the most frequent in OG. Therefore attentive to the [D:] “historical dimension of apriori possibilities” and to the “original genesis of truth whose birth (or birth certificate) inscribes and prescribes omnitemporality and universality¾not only for the opening of its possibility, but also for each of its developments and for the totality of its becoming.” Like Husserl he neutralizes the factual content of “this revolution in the mode of thinking”; it matter little that its history has not reached us. “The sense of the first demonstration can be rigorously grasped, even though we know nothing of the first actual experience or the first geometer: “whether,” as Kant specifies, “he be called Thales or whatever one desires.” [ibid.] Kant’s indifference to the factual origin is “more immediately legitimate than Husserl’s. For the inaugural mutation which interests Kant hands over geometry rather than creates it; it sets free a possibility, which is nothing less than historical, in order to hand it to us.” The revolution is a “revelation for” the first geometer; 39

not a production; understood under a “dative category,” the happy thought only the “empirical unfolding of a profound reception “What is most often translated by “revelation” is the allusion to “a light that is given,” to “a light dawns on”: “Dem ersten…dem ging ein Licht auf” (ibid., p. x).” Undoubtedly: Husserl’s production (Leistung) involves a stratum of receptive intuition; but the Husserlian intuition is absolutely constitutive and creative; objects or objectivities did not exist before it, “and this “before” of the ideal objectivity marks more than the chronological eve of a fact: it marks a transcendental prehistory.” The Kantian revolution “the first geometer merely becomes conscious that it suffices for this mathematical activity to remain within a concept that it already possesses.” Thus “construction” is only the explication of an already constituted concept that he encounters, as it were, in himself¾a description which no doubt Husserl as well would be true of every noncreative geometrical act, and which teaches us about the sense of ready-made geometry as such, but not about geometry in the act of being constituted.” [performativity] Then through reference to Kant is introduced the concept of trace: “”For,” as Kant says, “he discovered that he must not follow the trace of what he saw in the figure… 40

…or in the bare concept of that same figure. Rather he must beget (hervorbringen) (its object) with the help of what he himself put into it and what a priori was represented in it through the concept (through construction).” [ibid.] [The Erdmann edition notes that hervorbringen has no “object” in Kant’s text.] The geometrical concept reveals its freedom with respect to empirical sensibility [does it?] and then the “synthesis of the “construction” is irreducible.” Indeed this is an ideal history. But, it is the “history of an operation, and not of a founding.” “It unfolds explicative gestures in the space of a possibility already open to the geometer.” OG talks of the “protogeometer,” the “primally instituting (urstiftende) geometer”. [here Derrida will in a few years explicate the ethical and political consequences; my project otherwise] “And since Kant is interested in the possibility of geometry for a subject in general, it is not only less constricting, but also de jure necessary, the the de facto subject of such a “revelation” be “anyone at all,” and that the geometrical example serving as guide¾the demonstration of the isosceles¾be indifferent. The apriori nature of that concept within which we operate precludes all historical investigation whatever about its subject matter. Contrary to its synthetic explication, the concept itself, as a structure of apriori description, could not be historical, because it is not, as such, produced and grounded by the act of a concrete subject. Here all history can only be empirical.”

We never register anything. A sentence un-heard of. But true.

Nature will always find its way back to philosophy.

Decision. Aufklärung. Aleph.

Which is that nature will always and already fill philosophy.

And philosophy is the tumult of being.

And then comes all vibrant virtual bubbles of Virographematics.

It’s not much, perhaps, but that’s what we got.

We now understand profane talk.

And what Socrates said 25 hundred years ago.

The recent ecohistorical destructions, do they in some prophetic or mysterious way testify to truths in Heidegger and Luther’s urged Destruktion? The forgetting of being, is that part of the lines we now see unfold in ecohistory? Heidegger shares certain radicalist concerns with Husserl as much as crisis is described and explained in terms of forgetfulness of origins. Neither Luther nor Heidegger, not even the Derrida of the 60s and perhaps the 70s, could reasonably foretell what started to disseminate globally in consciousness from 1972 on, a year that marks a tremendous threshold in human history, the threshold we name the arrival of inversalization. Still, in Derrida’s early writings more than in his later ones, say from 1977 on, a fact which in itself conveys a strange logic of inverse representations, we have still the most powerful tools for analyzing our contemporary ecohistorical crisis, a crisis that is much more concrete and devastating than the the fall and crisis denounced by Heidegger and Husserl respectively.

But remember the postal principle is announced already in 62!

In Grundlagen der Geometrie from 1899 David Hilbert suggests that euclidean geometry, or any other mathematical theory, does not presuppose references to any entities. Hilbert shows how mathematical theories can be developed without any reference to a reality outside mathematics. Hilbert does not assume the possibility of assigning any truth to the axioms of geometry, or to a mathematical theory in general. He simply skips from mathematics the task of assigning truth to axioms from mathematics. In this respect Gundlagen der Geometrie breakes with the Euclidean paradigm. Against this position argues Edmund Husserl in his essay “The question of the Origin of the Geometry (1936)” for the idea, that the history of the most important terms of the sciences must be considered in order to determine their original meanings by revealing their link to the “life-world”. So we must go to the origin of geometry, to find out how and for what purpose geometry developed, but in doing so, Husserl cautions us from the historicism that doesn’t go beyond the usual facts. The method suggested by Husserl can be identified as a history of consciousness. Revitalizing of geometry must therefore include the consciousness, because it “involves a lively productively advancing formation of meaning.” Geometry, Husserl says, “is not a handed down ready made in the form of documented sentences.” The main goal of my talk is an introduction and analysis of Husserls 1936’s essay: “The question of the Origin of the Geometry”.

Edmund Husserl, L’Origine de la géométrie Paris: PUF 1962 (cf. Husserl, Die Krisis der europäischen Wissenschaften und die transzendentale Phänomenologie, ed. Walter Biemel, Amsterdam: M. Nijhoff, Husserliana vol. 6, 1954: pp. 365-386)

“A decisive step remains to be taken. By itself the speaking subject, in the strict sense of the term, is incapable of absolutely grounding the ideal Objectivity of sense. Oral communication (i.e., present, immediate, and synchronic communication) among the protogeometers is not sufficient to give ideal objectivities their “continuing to be” and “persisting factual existence,” thanks to which they perdure “even during periods in which the inventor and his fellows are no longer awake su such an exchange or even, more universally, no longer alive.” To be absolutely ideal, the object must still be freed of every tie with an actually present subjectivity in general. Therefore, it must perdure “even when no one has actualized it in evidence” (164 [modified]). Speech [langage oral] has freed the object of individual subjectivity but leaves it bound to its beginning and to the synchrony of an exchange within the institutive community. / The possibility of writing will assure the absolute traditionalization of the object, its absolute ideal Objectivity—i.e., the purity of its relation to a universal transcendental subjectivity. Writing will do this by emancipating sense from its actually present evidence for a real subject and from its present circulation within a determined community. “The decisive function of written expression, of expression which documents, is that it makes communication possible without immediate or mediate address; it is, so to speak, communication become virtual” (164 [modified]). / That virtuality moreover, is an ambiguous value: it simultaneously makes passivity, forgetfulness, and all the phenomena of crisis possible. / Far from having to fall again into a real [réale] history, a truth that we have gained from this history—scriptural spatiotemporality (whose originality we will soon need to determine)—sanctions and completes the … 189

… existence of pure transcendental historicity. Without the ultimate objectification that writing permits, all language would as yet remain captive of de facto and actual intentionality of a speaking subject or community of speaking subjects. By absolutely virtualizing dialogue, writing creates a kind of autonomous transcendental field from which every present subject can be absent. / In connection with the general signification of the epohē, Jean Hyppolite invokes the possibility of a “subjectless transcendental field,” one in which “the conditions of subjectivity would appear and where the subject would be constituted starting from the transcendental field.” [note 1] Writing, as the place of absolutely permanent ideal objectivities and therefore of absolute Objectivity, certainly constitutes such a transcendental field. And likewise, to be sure, transcendental subjectivity can be fully announced and appear on the basis of this field or its possibility. Thus a subjectless transcendental field is one of the “conditions” of transcendental subjectivity. [Is not conditions of impossibility announced right here?] / But all this can be said only on the basis of an intentional analysis which retains from writing nothing but writing’s pure relation to a consciousness which grounds it as such, and not its factuality which, left to itself, is totally without signification [insignificante]. For this absence of subjectivity from the transcendental field, an absence whose possibility frees absolute Objectivity, can be only a factual absence, even if it removed for all time the totality of actual subjects. The originality of the field of writing is its ability to dispense with, due to its sense, every present reading in general. But if the text does not announce its own pure dependence on a writer or reader in general [also launched already here] (i.e., if it is not haunted [also launched already here, alah] by a virtual intentionality), and if there is no purely juridical possibility of it being intelligible for a transcendental subject in general, then there is no more in the vacuity of its soul than a chaotic literalness or the sensible opacity [obscure?] of a defunct designation, a designation deprived of its transcendental function. The silence of prehistoric arcane and buried civilizations, the entombment of lost intentions and guarded secrets, and the illegibility of the lapidary inscription disclose the transcendental sense of deaths as what unites these things to the absolute privilege of intentionality in the very instance of its essential juridical failure. / When considering the de jure purity of intentional animation, Husserl always says the linguistic or graphic body is a flesh, a proper body (Leib), or a spiritual corporeality (geistige Leiblichkeit) (FTL, paragraph 2, p. 21). From then on, writing is no longer only the wordly and mnemotechnical aid to a truth whose own being-sense would dispense with all writing-down. The possibility or necessity of being incarnated in … 190

… a graphic sign is no longer simply extrinsic and factual in comparison with ideal Objectivity: it is the sine qua non condition of Objectivity’s internal completion. As long as ideal Objectivity is not, or  rather, can not be engraved in the world—as long as ideal Objectivity is not in a position to be party to an incarnation (which, in the purity of its sense, is more than a system of signals [signalisation] or an outer garment)—then ideal Objectivity is not fully constituted. Therefore, the act of writing is the highest possibility of all “constitution,” a fact against which the transcendental depth of ideal Objectivity’s historicity is measured. / What Fink writes about speech in his excellent transcript of the Origin is a fortiori true for writing: “In sensible embodiment occurs the ‘localization’ and the ‘temporalization’ (Temporalisation [remark this term for différance, spacing, etc.!]) of what is, by its being-sense, unlocated and untemporal” (“Die Frage,” p. 210).

In Grundlagen der Geometrie from 1899 David Hilbert suggests that euclidean geometry, or any other mathematical theory, does not presuppose references to any entities. Hilbert shows how mathematical theories can be developed without any reference to a reality outside mathematics. Hilbert does not assume the possibility of assigning any truth to the axioms of geometry, or to a mathematical theory in general. He simply skips from mathematics the task of assigning truth to axioms from mathematics. In this respect Gundlagen der Geometrie breakes with the Euclidean paradigm. Against this position argues Edmund Husserl in his essay “The question of the Origin of the Geometry (1936)” for the idea, that the history of the most important terms of the sciences must be considered in order to determine their original meanings by revealing their link to the “life-world”. So we must go to the origin of geometry, to find out how and for what purpose geometry developed, but in doing so, Husserl cautions us from the historicism that doesn’t go beyond the usual facts. The method suggested by Husserl can be identified as a history of consciousness. Revitalizing of geometry must therefore include the consciousness, because it “involves a lively productively advancing formation of meaning.” Geometry, Husserl says, “is not a handed down ready made in the form of documented sentences.” The main goal of my talk is an introduction and analysis of Husserls 1936’s essay: “The question of the Origin of the Geometry”.

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