Die Frage nach dem Ursprung der Geometrie als intentional-historisches Problem




Attempting to undertake a sollicitation of science in the name of a certain necessary counterviolent gesture, it is strictly uncircumventable to investigate into the strategical resources of the originary sollicitation of philosophy as was undertaken by Jacques Derrida from the 60’s on. Only thus is such a paraphrasis, such a supplementary grafting, possible. In this respect, Derrida’s 170 pages long 1961 introduction to Edmund Husserl’s last publication, to wit the 1936 “Die Frage nach dem Ursprung der Geometrie als intentional-historisches Problem,” first published as Appendix 6 in the 1934-7 Die Krisis der europäischen Wissenscgaften und die transzendentale Phänomenologie, proves paramount.

In his Introduction à l’Origine de la Géométrie de Husserl, Derrida’s minutuous and scrupulous reading of the aporias already Husserl himself grew more and more aware of, especially those of the constitution of intersubjectivity and temporality, eventually paved the way for deconstruction, the first clear articulation being the 1967 La voix et le phénomène. In the Introduction Derrida sets out from what Husserl must have experienced as a diaporeō (διαπορέω), as Aristotle has it: “I am stuck, I cannot get out, I am helpless.” The result is that the entire theoretical architecture of transcendental phenomenology finds itself subject to a sustained sollicitation.

Already in this first major publication, Derrida is thus tracing what later will stir the intellectual world. If one agrees with Mao that a thought is defined as something that necessarily splits in two, then one can with ease demonstrate that Derrida produced such a thought; it is not often one see such a turbulent dichotomizing splitting into camps of friends and foes. Post Derrida one simply cannot—that is, if one purports to build credibility and legitimacy—philosophize like one could and would before Derrida’s intervention. In this tremendous wake there is thus, of course, many a philosopher who finds his/her work exposed all of a sudden as no longer tenable; one is therefore confronted with a choice: either reconstruct, or defend on dubious grounds. Enormously influential as Husserl undoubtedly was for 20. century philosophy and science, it is likewise undeniable that the deconstructive sollicitation of philosophy has proved a traumatizing watershed for all post-phenomenological thought; in fact, the deconstructive reading of transcendental phenomenology—by Derrida considered as metaphysics in its most modern, critical and vigilant form—has made the latter rather untenable, if not straight-out illegible.

Even earlier, in 1954, in his very first substantial academic work, Le problème de la genèse dans la philosophie de Husserl, written as a dissertation for his diplôme d’études supérieures, first published in 1990, Derrida coined the term ‘dissimulated contamination.’ Already there, in the Preface to the 1954 Dissertation, the “collapse of the phenomenological enterprise” (xl) was boldly announced; Derrida eventually came to see the entire project of transcendental philosophy as compromised. That is precisely the question: how to read, how to make sense of, Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology post, in the retrograde wake of, Derrida’s interventions?

Serious as it is, this question comes forth all the more plausible and legitimate since in the years before his death Husserl himself had repeatedly cast systematic doubts upon the project of the transcendental phenomenology. (In 1935 Husserl wrote: “Philosophie als … strenge Wissenschaft … der Traum ist ausgeträumt.” The dream is over. For Husserl, philosophy as rigorous science had meant, from Ideen I on, a presuppositionless study of monadic consciousness in its transcendental constitution; however, problems relating to the transcendental-phenomenological constitution of intersubjectivity, the alter ego and temporality, problems of which eventually gave birth to the notion of Lebenswelt, produced the seismic tremor of this rather oneiric transcendental-solipsism.)

I venture, therefore, a reading of Derrida that starts where he starts—namely a critique of scientificity, by way of what he takes to be its most most modern, critical and vigilant metaphysical defense—and that holds onto that start. His Introduction will thus serve as what through which I will sift his entire oeuvre. In the Introduction he discovers the main problem of scientificity in general: writing, l’écriture. Again not without support from Husserl, since in his later writings Husserl increasingly realized the essential and problematical relation between scientificity and writing—as exemplified par excellence, precisely, in his Die Frage nach dem Ursprung der Geometrie. And what would not be more fit for such a task than to be motivated by that looming catastrophe, about which 1) already Husserl had discerned its first signs, against which 2) Derrida laid the foundations for an understanding of its conditions in philosophical and scientific culture, and of which 3) we all today are forced to acknowledge as the hitherto gravest danger ever to have faced humanity: a rampant ecodestruction? Husserl discerned a cultural crisis, and warned of the consequences of a lapse in philosophical responsibility relative the makings of science and technics; Derrida diagnosed writing as a form of transcendental autoimmunity; I will explain our rampant ecodestruction with reference to writing as transcendental autoimmunity.

Writing is the real constitutive agent of ecodestruction, and is, as such, an eternal virtual possible. But it needs science and technics as means. Writing qua highly complex evolved forms of science and technics proves ecodestructive. And thus we already face the question head-on: could it be that the ecodestructive imports of science and technics really are nature’s own, nature’s autoecodestruction—by way of writing, by way of science and technics, by way of our all too human myopic denegation of the virographematical nature of writing? That it is not necessarily a question of radical evil on humanity’s part, as if man autonomously positions himself against nature, as antibody, in general?





Un geste décisif reste à faire. A lui seul, le sujet parlant, au sens étroit du terme, est incapable de fonder absolument l’objectivité idéale du sens. (83.)

A speaking subject accomplishes nothing; to found, in absolute terms, the primeval condition of scientificity in general, namely Ideal Objectivity, writing is requisite. Such is therefore the decisive gesture, that remains, whose actualization will propel science. Oral communication—present, immediate and synchronic communication—among protogeometers is not sufficient to constitute ideal objectivity, the perdurance needed to form a scientific community and culture, the “continuing to be,” the “persisting factual existence,” as Husserl would write. Perdurance of ideal objects and objectivity is acutely vital if science is to sur-vive, and this perdurance must be constituted such that the ideal objects perdure even in the irradical absence of these fellow protogeometers. These objects must therefore perdure, not only during trips and dreams, but above all post mortem. In a certain highly determinate sense, death is the very condition without which science never would evolve, since death is what grants writing its character of perdurance; ideal objectivity comes by way of, is ensured by, death. Science necessitates the death of the subject.

We continue our reading:

Il manque encore à l’objet, pour être absolument idéal, d’être libéré de tout lien avec une subjectivité actuelle en général, donc de demeurer « même si personne ne l’a effectué dans l’évidence » (O., 185-6). (84.)

Science skews subjects. It does not tolerate “subjective” strata. If science could have it its own way, it would do entirely without subjects. Since this is contrafactual, we, individuals with subjecthood, must operate as if we were not, as if we were already dead and irreversibly gone. The object must be freed of every tie with an actually present subjectivity in general. Husserl goes on to write that in fact it must perdure “even when no one has actualized it [i.e., ideal objectivity] in evidence.”

If speech had accomplished to free the object of individual subjectivity, it had not managed to free the object from still being bound to its beginning and to the synchronity of an exchange within the very institutive community itself. Which is a major obstacle to true science. Science thrives the best where the practitioners of the scientific cultures dissimulate their own and shared non-being. Now, speech is already tracing its own future demise, speech is already tracing itself as writing; today we all recognize the plausibility in understanding speech by way of writing, and not, as had been done from Plato on well into the 20. century, writing by way of speech. Speech was always already haunted from its future revolution into writing.

C’est la possibilité de l’écriture qui assurera la traditionalisation absolue de l’objet, son objectivité idéale absolue, c’est-à-dire la pureté de son rapport à une subjectivité transcendantale universelle. Elle le fera en émancipant le sens à l’égard de son évidence actuelle pour un sujet réel et de sa circulation actuelle à l’intérieur d’une communauté déterminée.

It is writing that assures the required absolute traditionalization of the absolute ideal objectivity. Absolute ideal objectivity perdures as such and sustains omnispatiotemporality only on the condition that it is immersed in tradition. The identical reproduction of tradition is secured by what Husserl names ‘traditionalizing.’ A scientific tradition “traditionalizes” itself indefinitely, spreading through space and time. Specifying further, Derrida maintains that connotative of the status of absolute ideal objectivity is a relation of purity with an universal transcendental subjectivity. As we shall see, this subjectivity will succumb to the further analysis, since an universal transcendental subjectivity is tantamount to no subjecthood being implied at all. Relational purity between absolute ideal objectivity and universal transcendental subjectivity is an act of emancipation of sense. Sense is to be uprooted from all concrete and actual sensitivity, sensuality. Sense must aggress against and transgress its present concatenations in the living present of the real and determinate subject and scientific community. Husserl writes:

C’est la fonction décisive de l’expression linguistique écrite, de l’expression qui consigne, que de rendre possibles les communications sans allucution personelle, médiate ou immédiate, et d’être devenue, pour ainsi dire, communication sur le mode virtuel. (O., 186)

Derrida explicates:

Cette virtualité est d’ailleurs une valeur ambiguë : elle rend possibles du même coup la passivité, l’oubli et tous les phénomènes de crise. (84)

Husserl evokes virtuality. Writing enables a field of communication for which its subsistence neither mediate nor immediate address is called for. It institutes and constitutes communication as unmoored from presence in general, transgressing the determinate modalities of temporality and taking lodge in the indeterminate temporality of virtuality. But where Husserl still, here in Die Frage, tended to analyze writing according to a classical scheme that naively presupposes that origin is simple, that analysis is derivative, and that different dimensions are homogeneous, thus aspiring to demonstrate that a form of writing is possible that is contained within the autonomous control of the living present of the interior monologue of a monadic subject, Derrida will already here scrupulously expose the metaphysical naivety and infeasibility involved in Husserl’s analysis.

The ambiguity of the virtuality that writing entails consists simultaneously making possible passivity, forgetfulness and all the phenomena of crisis that concerns Husserl. Is this not a classical scheme already operated in the Antique of Plato, as already before that in the Egyptian myth of Thoth? Writing as possible remedy, as support and mnemotechnique, but always also representing grave danger? Writing as auxiliary helping the radix to be remembered, but writing also as what, fleeting beyond and irrespective of the authors innermost intentions, always threatens to forever eradicate memory? And truth and authenticity? Writing sublates the subjective assuming of responsibility: pharmakon. The undecidable pharmakon is still very much experienced by Husserl.

Virtuality ensures that the truth of writing considered as a « spatio-temporalité scripturale,» far from falling back into actual history which once created it, achieves and sanctions « l’existence d’une pure historicité transcendantale.» At this point, before continuing to define such a pure transcendental historicity, Derrida announces that the originality of this scripture will be determined further on.

En virtualisant absolument le dialogue, l’écriture crée une sorte de champ transcendantale autonome dont tout sujet actuel peut s’absenter.

A propos de la signification générale de l’έπoχή, J. Hyppolite évoque la possibilité d’un « champ transcendantal sans sujet » dans lequel « les conditions de la subjectivité apparaîtraient, et oú le sujet serait (84) constitué à partir du champ transcendantal » (1).

In virtualizing dialogue, writing creates an autonomous transcendental field whose working would be such that the irradical absence of any actual subject would be irrelevant to its functioning. Sense survives, not in spite of, but because of the irradical absence of the subject. In fact, the actual presence of any actual subjective intentionality in the business of science is marked as an undermining force. Hyppolite thus already evoked the irradicalization of the subject; rather, in articulating the significance of the Husserlian epochē, Hyppolite invokes the thesis according to which transcendental subjectivity itself is produced by this strange autonomous transcendental field of virtuality that writing creates: a “champ transcendantal sans sujet.” Only the absence of subjectivity from the transcendental field frees absolute Objectivity, and absolute Objectivity is thus tantamount to a transcendental field without a subject. Science emerges in the degree to which this transcendental field is freed of actual subjects, but inhabited by a supraspatiotemporal transcendental subjectivity.





Solely the final solution of a de jure anthropocide enables a single, virtual field, one in which the conditions of subjectivity would appear and where the subject thus would be constituted starting from the transcendental field on: from the constitution of this field on, constituted subjects would be simple monadic refractions of the One all-ecompassing master-monad. An immense mensopolitics.

To a certain degree Derrida confirms Hyppolite, but he also advances a hypothesis that shall prove formative for Derrida’s writing, and prove decisive for understanding the relation between writing and (auto)ecodestruction: it is certain that writing, he advances, is the very place of absolutely permanent ideal objectivities and therefore of absolute Objectivity, and that it « constitue un tel champ transcendantal » (85). Derrida contends that it is writing, as such, that constitutes this transcendental field without subjects, and that transcendental subjectivity can only fully appear and be announced on the basis of this field or its possibility. These statements interest us, since it is from here that Derrida makes another decision vital to the rest of his career: instead of tracing these and other systematically connected philosophemes to its imports hors-texte, Derrida decides to further demonstrate its textual workings and implications. We will come back to this.

« Il en est bien ainsi une « condition »,» Derrida writes. But why this reserve, these quotation marks? They serve to signal a distaste towards purity, and a will to circumscribe the Kantian ever-green postulate of the ‘conditions of possibility of knowledge.’ Derrida will in later works name certain ‘conditions of impossibility,’ integral to those of possibility. The theme of haunting, too, has already in the Introduction surfaced. And with haunting soon is realized a “hauntology” that mares regular ontology, and the whole conceptual apparatus of contamination, affection, infection, dissemination, autoimmunity, parasitology, the viral, etc.

Now, reminding us that Hyppolite’s explication of this transcendental field without a subject and its conditioning of transcendental subjectivity as such, is only legible as encapsulated within a closure of totalizing horizon of an intentional analysis that retains from writing nothing but its pure relation to a consciousness that grounds writing, Derrida will soon let his concerns emerge. Husserl’s epochē needs to insist on a consciousness that grounds writing, and downplay a certain factuality of writing which, if left to itself, would be of total insignificance. However Husserl and others succumbs to cherry-picking, nothing can change the now established fact that the absence of the subject from the transcendental field can only be one of factuality, a factual absence, the consequences of which are no doubt serious:

Car cette absence de la subjectivité au champ transcendantal, absence dont la possibilité libère l’objectivité absolue, ne peut être qu’une absence factice, même si elle éloignait à tout jamais la totalité des sujets réels. Le champ de l’écriture a pour originalité de pouvoir se passer, dans son sens, de toute lecture général ; mais sans la pure possibilité juridique d’être intelligible pour un sujet transcendantal en général, et si le pur rapport de dépendance à l’égard d’un écrivain et d’un lecteur en général ne s’annonce pas dans le texte, si une intentionnalité virtuelle ne le hante [m.i.] pas, alors, dans la vacance de son âme, il n’est plus qu’une littéralité chaotique, l’opacité sensible d’une désignation défunte, c’est-à-dire privée de sa fonction transcendantale. (85)

This irradical absence of the subject whose possibility institutes this subjectless transcendental field enabling transcendental subjectivity, can only be factual, « même si elle éloignait à tout jamais la totalité des sujets réels ». The originality of writing is its ability to dispense with, due to its sense, any present reading in general. If such was not the case, we would not be dealing with writing; writing constitutes itself in the degree to which it finds its very force and meaning in this ability to function in the total absence of any present readers. But if this is so, if the text is not haunted by a virtual intentionality, and if there is no pure juridical possibility of it being legible for a transcendental subject in general, then it signals a vacuous soul plagued by a chaotic literalness and a sensible opacity of a defunct designation, a designation deprived of its transcendental function. A severe judgment, but a judgment that shall prove critical for our task at hand.

Derrida points to a juridical dysfunction, a defunct structurality. 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 death as what unites these things to the absolute privilege of intentionality in the very instance of its essential juridical failure. We must ask what are the scientific and technical imports of such a default defunct condition of the grapheme, graphematics. Derrida himself never investigated into the here relevant questions. And it is badly needed. Given that our current science never before has had better conditions, it is small wonder all those impressive successes and the overall progression of science. But only a myopic will reduce to inessential eventuality all those terrible, horrifying, deeply dreadful effects whose impact will never be lessened by rhetorical strategies that furiously attempt to belittle them by naming them ‘side-effects.’ From nature’s point of view, it is not really egg boilers, moon landings and nanobots that are the real and primary efficiency of science; it is, of course, all those effects that pollutes, reduces, intoxicates, disturbs, destroys, etc., nature. For nature, egg boilers, moon landings and nanobots are but side-effects, secondary eventualities, of no real long-term significance: what matters is natural destruction through the agency of man.

In parenthesis: the paradigm is thus still Kant’s: knowledge is simply possible, it is already found, and secured. And a knowledge on par with reality itself intervening in that reality cannot possibly be harmful to what it intervenes in. Therefore, if there are harmful, non-intended, non-wanted effects they are simply the result of some minor flaws to be corrected, given time, and by that very same thing that produced harmful effects. A planet rampant with destruction of macro, meso, and micro milieus an increasing degree of which are irreversible, still has not one single research programme addressing this so grave situation. Of course, there are research observing, registering the heaping up of ecodestruction. But not one research programme that questions the very foundational presuppositions of the current dogmatically accepted paradigm of science, and that would complicate the Kantian scheme and add the investigation into possible conditions of impossibility of knowledge. All the more reasonable since a certain rather discomforting dysfunctionality of science is there for us all to see. A fact of which would only strengthen the Derridean hypotehesis according to which signs are well described as harboring a certain autoimmunity.

As concerns Husserl, how to save transcendental phenomenology from itself, from this Trojan horse that writing turns out to be? How to  make it immune to the dangers of writing? There is one solution: to appeal to writing as submissive secondarity and derivation of the inner, present and living truth of monadic monologue. To save transcendental philosophy, Husserl will, in his 1929 Formale und Transzendentale Logik, have to contend that the linguistic or graphic body is a flesh, a proper body (Leib), or a spiritual corporeality (geistige Leiblichkeit) (§2, p. 21). On the threshold of realizing the nightmare riding the very hearth of transcendental phenomenology, writing will from now on cease to be merely a mnemotechnical auxiliary and prosthesis to a truth whose own being-sense, for the transcendental subject, would nonetheless appear to be able to autonomously dispense with all graphemes. Now the possibility or necessity of being incarnated in the grapheme is no longer one of a simple submissive externity or factuality compared to the inner, living truth of absolute ideal obejctivity; it is the sine qua non condition of Objectivity’s internal achievement, completion and saturation: « Non seulement la possibilité ou la nécessité d’être incarnée dans une graphie n’est plus extrinsèque et factice au regard de l’objectivité idéale : elle est la condition sine qua non de son achèvement interne.» Science need to, must, incarnate in graphemes if it is to institute and constitute itself as such, and this is of an order of internal structure, thus not to be discarded as mere secondary and eventual factuality.

For knowledge to be possible it must incarnate in the world—by way of the graphic sign. Comment: I would propose that knowledge, together with the entire system that is essentially and structurally connected to its conception, is mediated, mediated by a certain graphematics, and a graphematics that since long, since its very inception and coming-to-being, has always already imploded the epistemic naivety that coagulates in names such as Plato, Descartes, Kant, Husserl, et cetera. In fact, as Derrida also notes, writing is to be positioned as the highest possibility of constitution (86). A form of constitution, it must be stressed very insistingly, whose inner structure will, by Derrida, likened to that of autoimmunity. It is my deepest contention and conviction that it is solely on such a background that we can coherently explain and understand the current condition of science split in success and ecodestruction. Further, when the system of graphematics is in its nascent state, its viral character will necessarily not be perceivable, but as graphematics evolve into science and technics the effects of virographematics will become more and more discernable, up to the point where the agency of technoscience threatens to undermine the very conditions of life as we know it. In the degree to which technoscience effectively intervenes in the constituents of reality it will necessarily appear as of viral, autoimmunitary character: which is what we indeed see is the case today.





Husserl insists in Die Frage that truth is not fully objective, i.e. ideal, intelligible for everyone and indefinitely perdurable, as long as it cannot be said and written. Derrida comments:

Sans doute ne tient-elle jamais son objectivité ou son identité idéales de telle ou telle incarnation linguistique de fait, et reste-t-elle « libre » au regard de toute facticité linguistique. Mais cette liberté n’est précisément possible qu’à partir du moment où la vérité peut en général être dite ou écrite, c’est-á-dire sous condition qu’elle le puisse. Paradoxalement, c’est la possibilité graphique qui permet l’ultime libération de l’idéalité. On pourrait donc presque inverser les termes de la formule de E. Fink: la non-spatio-temporalité n’advient au sens que par son incorporabilité linguistique. (87-8)

‘Non-spatiotemporal’ obviously intends the omni: truth, to be truth, needs to be valid for all particular cases, everywhere these cases apply. Science aspires to omnispatiotemporal truth, a truth that is supposed to roam free, but which upon closer analysis collapses. Science obtains omnispatiotemporality if and only if truth can be linguistically embodied. This should not, then, be taken to mean that truth first exists in and of itself, then dresses itself up. There is no truth until the the very moment of possibility of linguistic incarnation comes into being. And it is only this finite system that allows the opening of the infinite. Only a binding to writing allows a free ideality at all. Only a finite virographematics opens up existence to infinity, breaks open what we name ‘truth.’  What is this thing we name ‘truth’? Measured from its full import, it is not certain that it is of the good. If science intends the omni, in its split performance it actualizes a spreading negation of the spatiotemporal. Scientific truth is ambiguous, indeed. For Husserl, truth depends on a pure possibility of speaking and writing, but are independent of what is spoken or written, insofar as they are in the world.

In Die Frage, Husserl is acutely addressing the problematic milieu of writing, the internally reciprocal and irreducible relationship between scientificity and writing, and whose import was already acknowledged in his Logische Untersuchungen:

La science n’a d’existence objective que dans sa bibliographie [m.i.], ce n’est que sous la forme d’ouvrages écrits qu’elle trouve une existence propre, quoique riche en relations avec l’homme et ses fonctions intellectuelles; c’est sous cette form qu’elle se perpétue à travers les millénaires et survit aux individus, aux générations et aux nations. (LU, 1, Prol., §6.)

Derrida, commenting upon Husserl’s approach to a phenomenology of writing, illuminating the milieu of writing:  « Si c’est donc en son langage, par lui, que la vérité souffre d’une certaine labilité, sa déchéance sera moins une chute vers la langage qu’une dégradation à l’intérieur du langage » (90). A suffering truth’s downfall will be a degradation within language. If truth depends on the pure possibility of speaking and writing, it is nonetheless independent of what is spoken or written insofar as they are de facto worldly. This way truth is guaranteed total immunity;truth is always beyond measure. Whatever happens to truth and its gigantic conception on its way to its possible worldly actualization is therefore beyond its realm and mandate. This way truth is eternally—”non-spatiotemporally”—saved. No tribunal is allowed to problematize the conception of truth as such: either truth comes down all fine and well, or it will come down less optimally, the reason always without exception being the very worldly process of articulation. In a note Derrida explains that the interpretation of crisis for Husserl always refers to a disorder or malady of language: a degradation of the sign-expression into a sign-indication, of a “clear” (klar) intention into an empty symbol (n. 3, p. 90-91). We shall come back to the essential and interesting connotations between saving, the unscathed, the safe, the immune, salvation, and the holy.

En effet, dès que, comme cela lui est prescrit, le sens est recueilli dans un signe, celui-ci devient la résidence mondaine et exposée d’une vérité non pensée. Nous l’avons bien vu : que cette vérité puisse ainsi perdurer sans être pensée en acte ou en fait, voilà qui l’émancipe radicalement à l’égard de toute subjectivité empirique, de toute vie factice, de tout monde réal. En même temps, l’être-en-communauté de l’humanité « franchit une nouvelle étape » (O., 164) : elle peut, en effet, s’apparaître comme communauté transcendantale. (90-91.)

Sense is from then on gathered into the sign. Since truth can still perdure irrespectively of it being incarnated or not, a perdurance of which emancipates truth from “all empirical subjectivity, all factual life, and the whole real world,” Husserl suggests that man is lifted to a new level of life. In Derrida’s words we have before us a project for a “transcendental community” in the name of a truth that must reduce the world as such to reveal itself. Writing, understood in its most authentic sense, is thus to be construed as a transcendental reduction performed by and toward the ‘we.’ Here we must quote further from Derrida’s instructive explication:

Mais puisque, pour échapper à la mondanité, le sens doit d’abord pouvoir se recueillir dans le monde et se déposer dans la spatio-temporalité sensible, il lui faut mettre en péril sa pure idéalité intentionnelle, c’est-à-dire son sens de vérité. On voit ainsi apparaître dans une philosophie qui, au moins par certains de ses motifs, est le contraire d’un empirisme, une possibilité qui, jusqu’ici, ne s’accordait qu’à l’empirisme et la non-philosophie : celle d’une disparation de la vérité. (91)

Thus truth faces an insurmountable aporia. To be able at all to escape worldliness and concrete and scattered sensibilities, truth must first be able to deposit itself in a sensible spatiotemporal scripture, which incircumventably will mean that truth, of its own, on its own, continuously exposes itself and its pure intentional ideality to imminent danger. To appear at all, truth risks itself, risks complete disappearance. Derrida’s choice of word is deliberate: ‘disappearance’ as annihilation, and as cessation, whether intermittently or definitely, highlights a fundamental problem residing in transcendental phenomenology: if the exposing of truth to danger in becoming worldly never effectively affects the being-sense of truth itself, then what is the sense of Husserl’s repeated statements to the effect that, as he contends already in his Logische Untersuchungen (1, Prol., §6), writing is the intrinsic possibility and intrinsic condition of acts of objective cognition? Hence Derrida’s contention that determining the sense of this constantly imminent threat of disappearance of truth remains the most difficult problem posed by Die Frage and all of Husserl’s philosophy of history. And immediately is added: why is it that an unequivocal response on Husserl’s part cannot be found even when asking for the sense of truth’s appearing?

If incarnation and the fleshing out of truth can make truth disappear, but not taint or compromise truth itself in its being-sense, then what is it that judges such? Truth judges? Whence? A true judgment could only be legible and intelligible in the degree to which the fleshing out of of truth qua spatio-temporally embedded scripture was perfectly at one with, perfectly paralleling, the originary moment of truth. But how could one ever know? Whence to judge whether concrete incarnations perfectly converge upon pure truths? From scripturalized space and time themselves, hence, according to the premisses of transcendental phenomenology, not to be taken at prima facie. But scripturalized spatio-temporality is, to be sure, the only facie there is.

What then is this possibility of disappearance? First, Derrida rules out the hypothesis of a death of sense in general within the individual consciousness; Husserl declares that once sense appears in egological consciousness, its total annihilation, the returning to nothingness by the vanishing of retentions of retentions, becomes impossible. But ideal objectivity is threatened as incarnated truth.

Second, the graphic sign can in fact be destroyed, a danger inherent in its factual worldliness of inscription itself. Husserl considers sense neither an in-itself nor a pure spiritual interiority, but an “object” through and through, and thus there will be all reason to think that a critical forgetfulness which necessarily follows upon the destruction of objectivity’s custodial sign would imply not simply a suppression of sense but a thorough annihilation of it by way of its worldly entrusting. But such a hypothesis does not interest Husserl at all. Realizing the terrifying reality of the current risk, Husserl nonetheless denies it any philosophical significance. Accordingly, a bibliotic conflagration would intrinsically ravage “bound” cultural idealities due to their adherence to factuality; as only sensible “exemplars,” however, nothing is really at stake:

La vérité ne dépendant essentiellement d’aucun d’eux, ils pourraient tous être détruits sans que l’idéalité absolue, dans son sens même, en soit atteinte. Sans doute serait-elle modifiée, mutilée, bouleversée en fait, peut-être disparaîtrait-elle en fait de la surface du monde, mais son sens-d’être de vérité qui n’est pas dans le monde — ni dans ce monde-ci, ni dans un autre — resterait en lui-même intact. Il garderait sa propre historicité intrinsèque, ses propres enchaînements et la catastrophe de l’histoire mondaine lui resterait extérieure. (94)

Husserl’s argument is as follows: incarnations are specific exemplars. Even if truth and sense depends upon an essentially spatiotemporal incarnation for its own emancipation onto the non-spatiotemporality of absolute Ideal Objectivity, no one particular instantiation’s possible destruction is capable of thwarting truth. Therefore, even in the worst possible scenario, where all presently existing instantiations would be totally annihilated by universal conflagration, absolute Ideal Objectivity in its inner sense, meaning and force, would not in the least be affected. Even if this ideality would be changed, mutilated, and overthrown de facto, disappearing from the surface of the world, “its sense-of-being as truth, which is not in the world—neither in our world here, nor any other—would remain intact in itself.” Truth’s interior (innere) historicity would thus keep itself unscathed, immune, whatever possibly could happen to external (aussere) history.

Husserl would never concede to the objection that historicity, that is to say being-in-history, is precisely the possibility and necessity of being intrinsically exposed to the extrinsic, whatever that be: pure ideality being affected by a real effect, is a concession to sense lost. And therefore impossible. But is this not the metaphysical presupposition par excellence? How could Husserl possibly have responded, had he lived today, to our contemporary ecodestructive catastrophe, without, however, letting go of his premisses of transcendental phenomenology? He would be forced to admit either that generalizing and globalizing ecodestruction is according to truth-in-itself, or that the last few centuries of science represents not progression but regression and steady decline. Two extremely dubious positions. Husserl remains Kantian in this respect: « Si la géométrie est vraie, son histoire interne doit se sauver intégralement de toute agression sensible » (94). For Husserl geometry is true, since it must be true; truth must be unscathed, save and immune, if it is to be truth. We are here, on the contrary, obliged to deconstruct the very conception of truth and sense.

Before listing the third moment of the sense of disappearing, let us only be reminded of the function that the hypothesis of total world annihilation exercises for transcendental phenomenology: « découvrant à nouveau, sans traces, dans une autre histoire réelle, après l’ensevelissement de ce monde-ci, les chemins d’une aventure inhumée » (95). The hypothesis of a worldwide catastrophe could serve as a revelatory fiction, as is suggested in the famous analysis of Section 49 of Ideas 1: no real development, no real historicity, interests Husserl other than that of the variable example. After a certain eidetic-transcendental reduction, pure consciousness is intangible, even when the existing world is annihilated or factual experience dissolved “through internal conflict … into illusion” (Ideas 1, §49, p. 137). Husserl’s intention there is to reveal to the Ur-Region, that is to say transcendental consciousness, the essential relativity of the world’s sense, the world being the totality of regions. The same analogously applies to questions concerning truth, ideal objectivity, and sense. We have here a proposal of the eidetic independence, as concerns consciousness, truth, and sense, brought to light  in a methodological idealism by a fiction. Thus all factual peril stops at the threshold of their properly own internal historicities; in fact, according to Husserl objecting to this would be tantamount to abdicate responsibility for all rigorous discourse. Sense is not to be confused; it is not even perfectible, since it is—in/by/of itself—perfect de facto and de jure. Nothing can happen to it; no event can intervene with its always already perfect sense. Such is our old heritage; certain concepts are construed such that they can tolerate no alloity, no contamination, no compromise. These certain monarchic conceptions are construed in an exemplary absolutist manner. (Purism, e.g. as witnessed in the Nazi era, requires violent oppression and mass killing. Philosophically speaking, in terms, that is, of the traditional hegemony of the absolutist sanctioning of binaries whose constituents are hierarchically arranged, Nazism is, in a certain sense, coutume. There is a certain structural affinity: language is perhaps the primeval scene and paradigm whereby ostracism and allocide is systematically exercised. The originary must be sheltered, and must be pure.)

Third, Husserl will not, however, consider writing only a sensible phenomenon. Husserl has already acknowledged that writing is not merely a constituted sensible body (Körper), but also a properly constituting body (Leib)— « l’originarité intentionnelle d’un Ici-Maintenant de la vérité » (97). But then how could writing preserve its Leiblichkeit in case of corporeal disaster?

Husserl maintient donc l’analyse dissociative et désarticule l’ambiguïté. Pour saisir la nature du danger qui menace la vérité elle-même en sa parole ou en son écriture constituantes, pour ne pas sortir de l’historicité « interne », il va traquer l’intention d’écriture (ou du lecture), en elle-même et dans sa pureté ; il va isoler en une nouvelle réduction l’acte intentionnel qui constitue le Körper en Leib et le maintient dans sa Leiblichkeit, dans son sans vivant de vérité. Une telle analyse n’a plus besoin du Körper comme tel. (98).

Only in the intentional dimension of an animated body, in the Geistligkeit of the Leib, is sense intrinsically threatened. The forgetfulness involved, whether it remains as the disappearance of intersubjective truth or a historical category, is always to be reduced to a moral lapse on part of the ego. A modification of the pure ego, then: a pure ego that fails to re-activate all the, as it were dormant and virtual, steps or stages (Stufe), genetically as well as structurally, of sedimented sense.





Sense builds as if analogously with geological evolution, and therein lies precisely the danger, a danger, however, that is but a particular and subjective failure. Sense as deposited, constituting the virtuality of sense, upon the radical novelty of an upsurge; every advance of proposition (Satz) of a new sense is simultaneously a leap (Satz) and a sedimentary (satzartig) fall back of sense. Further: sense is articulated as the substantial permanence of what is supposed or situated under the surface of an actually present evidence. And also sense as something that an excavation always can bring back up to the surface and re-produce above ground as the foundation. Reaktivierung, or reanimating the whole chain of virtualities, is thus the chief operation by which sense rejuvenates itself, the well of eternal life.

Dans Logique formelle et logique transcendantale, puis dans la Krisis, l’objectivation linguistique et la symbolisation mathématique étaient présentées comme l’occasion de la l’aliénation technicienne et objectiviste, qui dégradaient la science en un art ou un jeu. L’accusation, reprise dans L’Origine, est plus spécialement dirigée contre l’enseignement méthodologique et opératoire des mathématiques. (98-9)

All this is prescribed by a certain archi-tectonics. In a note Derrida elaborates:

Bien entendu, les thèmes de la passivité et de la sédimentation, c’est-à-dire de la potentialité du sens, tiennent toute leur gravité de ce qu’ils se sont imposés à une philosophie de l’évidence actuelle dont le «  principe de principes » est la présence immédiate et en acte du sens même. Si la réactivation est précieuse et urgente, c’est parce qu’elle peut reconduire à l’évidence actuelle et active un sens qu’on récupère ainsi sur la virtualité historique. Si, en apparence, la phénoménologie s’est laissée convoquer hors d’elle-même par l’historie, elle a ainsi trouvé dans la réactivation le médium de sa fidélité. (100)

Transcendental phenomenology qua philosophy of actual presence and evidence implies sedimentation, sup-position, sub-sistence, sub-jection—and the ever-present danger of passivity and forgetting. Excavation into anterior and deeper—virtual—layers of sense: such must be done to occlude forgetting and a fortiori alienation, such is the moral imperative, the moral duty, of Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology. There is an ever-increasing virtuality inhabiting transcendental-phenomenological sense. For this sense to survive in a present moment and act of translucent evidence, the transcendental ego must traverse an ever greater virtual territory: sense survives by a successively greater burden of responsible traversing the virtual fields of originary instituting acts of truth.

But sedimentations that obliterate or eradicate sense occur only where there are surfaces allowing such; thus the equivocity of the expression as such is the chosen field of sedimentary deposits. Following Leibniz, Husserl dreams of a univocity, of a language that marks a rupture with lay language, with the “civic language” of which Leibniz used to speak, as when, in Nouveaux Essais sur l’Entendement Humain, he has Theophilus to say: “it depends upon us to fix their meanings, at least in any scholarly language, and to agree to destroy the tower of Babel” (Book II, Ch. ix, §9). Only a break with these latter pre-scientific languages can possibly pave the way for a means of defining and communication that is univocal.  “L’équivocité est le chemin de toute aberration philosophique” (p. 101). For Husserl, univocity is fundamentally on par with the entire axiomatics of exactitude (cf. n. 2, p. 103). But equivocity is itself equivocal: there is a contingent plurivocity or multisignificance, and an essential one, the latter being an, according to Husserl in his Logische Untersuchungen, “unavoidable rather than chance ambiguity, one that cannot be removed from our language by an artificial device or convention” (p. 314).

We already know that in the terms and premisses laid out above, Derrida must be reckoned as a ‘philosophical aberration’ in the degree to which Derrida repeatedly, in a great variety of contexts, and according to a great variety of motivations, has rigorously demonstrated that the grapheme in general is essentially equivocal, and that this is the destiny of any language, be it philosophical or not, scientific or literary. In his Introduction Derrida certainly notes a certain indomitable optimism on part of philosophers such as Leibniz and Husserl (n. 108, p. 101). How does Husserl deal with the deepening, even vanishing, relations between an actual presence and an ever-growing reservoir of virtual anteriority? As truth advances through time, more and more layers of virtual anteriority piles up, and the farther it adventures from its own originary act, and thus the greater the imperative burden of reanimating the whole chain so as not to fall prey to the lingering danger of forgetting and alienation. Husserl now attacks profundity [Tiefsinn], and, as in his Philosophie als strenge Wissenschaften, aligns it with that “chaos that genuine science wants to transform into a cosmos, into a simple, completely clear, lucid order. Genuine science, so far as its real doctrine extends, knows no profundity” (PRS, p. 144). Univocity arrests the chaos because “[q]u’il donne tout à voir dans une évidence actuelle, parce que rien ne s’y cache ou ne s’y annonce dans la pénombre des intentions en puissance, parce qu’il a maîtrisé toute dynamique du sens, le langage univoque reste le même” (I., 103). Or so Husserl thinks. Univocity removes truth out of the reach of history. Thus univocity monstrates the limpidity of history as the pure ether of the coming-of-truth.





Anticipating what soon shall be one of his hallmarks, Derrida contrasts Husserl to James Joyce, not so as to evaluate the possibly greater credibility of the project of Joyce, but so as to maintain and sustain the irradical undecidability of the situation, suspending the very possibility of making any decision, choice, or position. Embracing the opposition of Joyce would be just as metaphysical, and as untenable, as embracing the position of Husserl. To dehisce, to effectively sollicitate philosophy, one needs to suspend and let hang in the undecidable the two equally legible and reasonable positions, and instead “duce” a a certain third which destroys the very trinitarian horizon. As when in La dissémination Derrida has it that 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 textually destroy it: they are the marks of dissemination (and not of polysemy, as Ricæur would try have it) 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. (La dissémination, p. 32) There is a perverse systematicity, a paralogic, to the randomness, the dissemination of the lucky convergence of the sema (semantics, meaning, sense) and the semen, the rigorous undecidability. If the necessary counterviolence of sollicitation that Derrida undertakes as regards philosophy is seismic, it still, in this very gesture of undecidability, exercises a certain reticence towards gravitational settling, a certain insurrection towards the entire Aristotelian etiology.

Ulysses‘ Joyce: “History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake” (p. 34). Just before having this sentence appear, in the English version, in a note as short as the sentence quoted, Derrida makes use of the word ‘iteration.’ That mark shall work the undecidable lever around which discourse tries to organize itself, as poles, whether it be in a Husserlian or a Joycean way. Also, at same page appears the syntagma ‘labyrinthian field,’ an anticipation of the ending of the 1967 La voix et le phénomène, where appears Icarus and the burning sun. Nothing fortuitous in this. Joyce’s endeavor is summed up like this:

[R]épéter  et reprendre en charge la totalité de l’équivoque elle-même, en un langage qui fasse affleurer à la plus grande synchronie possible la plus grande puissance des intentions enfouies, accumulées et entremêlées dans l’âme de chaque atome linguistique, de chaque vocable, de chaque mot, de chaque proposition simple, par la totalité des cultures mondaines, dans la lus grande génialité de leurs formes (mythologie, religion, sciences, arts, littérature, politique, philosophie, etc.); faire apparaître l’unité structurale de la culture empirique totale dans l’équivoque généralisée d’une écriture qui ne traduit plus une langue dans l’autre à partir de noyaux de sens communs, mais circule à travers toutes les langues à la fois, accumule leurs plus lointains horizons communs, cultive les synthèses associatives au lieu de le « réduire », s’installe résolument dans le champ labyrinthique de la culture « enchaînée » par ses équivoques, afin de parcourir et de reconnaître le plus actuellement possible la plus profonde distance historique possible. (I., 104-5)

According to Jean Hyppolite’s Genesis and Structure of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit,” Husserl accuses the Weltanshauung of Hegel and contends that Hegelianism is always a romanticism, and that romanticism always leads to historicism when belief in its metaphysics of history has been lost. Truth’s historicity and traditionality is always already presupposed by every Odyssean repetition of Joyce’s type. Only historicism remains inside empirical history and confuses the bound idealities with the movement of truth itself. Now, Joyce is certainly aware of this and seeks to escape the nightmare of history, the only means of which is to allot itself a share with univocity. Conversely, Husserl was forced to admit an enrichening, irreducible, and always renascent equivocity into pure historicity. We see thus something that withstands any reduction, any epochē.

But absolute univocity is possible only in two limiting cases, according to Derrida. First, suppose the designated object to be independent of and prior to all culture. If such objects do exist, then the act of language itself would intervene and from the very beginning place that supposition in a culture which necessarily would load a word with intentions or with lateral and virtual reminiscences. Since equivocity is the very mark of every culture, this first hypothesis is therefore absurd and contradictory. Second, starting from the other pole of language, how could an absolutely ideal object be designated, and whose univocity would this time be constituted, not by some pre-cultural object, but by some transcultural object, say, a geometrical object? Husserl writes: “In accord with the essence of science, then, its functionaries maintain the constant claim, the personal certainty, that everything they put into scientific assertions has been said ‘once and for all,’ that it ‘stands fast,’ forever identically repeatable, usable in evidence and for further theoretical or practical ends—as indubitably able to be reactivated with the identity of its genuine sense” (O., 165-6). However, this identity of sense is always relative: it is inscribed within a mobile system of relations and takes its source in an infinitely open project of acquisition. Even if those relations are, in accord with the vocation of any science worthy of the title, those of pure idealities and truths, they will still be bound to give rise to singular placings in perspective, multiple interconnections of sense, and therefore some mediate and potential aims. Equivocity is de jure and de facto irreducible because words and language can never itself be, or made to be, absolute objects. This point is of acute importance to any attempt of a sollicitation of science. Derrida elaborates this extremely important point lucidly:

Ils n’ont pas d’identité résistante et permanente qui leur soit absolument propre. Ils tiennent leur être de langage d’une intention qui les traverse comme de médiations. Le « même » mot est toujours « autre » selon les actes intentionnels toujours différents qui en font un mot signifiant. Il y a là une sorte d’équivocité pure qui s’accroît au rythme même de la science [m.i.]. Aussi Husserl précis-t-il en note que l’énonciation scientifique, sans être remise en cause dans sa vérité, reste toujours provisoire et que « la connaissance objective, absolument établie est une idée infinie » (O., 189) L’univocité absolue est inaccessible. Mais comme peut l’être une Idée au sens kantien. Si l’univocité recherchée par Husserl et l’équivoque généralisée par Joyce sont en fait relatives, elles ne le sont donc pas symétriquement. Car leur telos commun, la valeur positive d’univocité, ne se révèle immédiatement que dans la relativité définie par Husserl. L’univocité est aussi l’horizon absolue de l’équivocité. En lui conférant le sens d’une tâche infinie, Husserl ne fait donc pas de l’univocité, comme nous pouvions le craindre, la valeur d’un langage soustrait à l’histoire par appauvrissement, mais la condition à la fois apriorique et téléologique de toute historicité. Elle est ce sans quoi les équivoques de la culture et de l’histoire empiriques elles-mêmes ne seraient pas possibles. 106-7

If univocity is always relative, and if univocity alone permits of the reduction of all empirical contents, is not the possibility of a pure history of sense to be doubted de jure? Concerning the problem of reactivation, Husserl will not fail addressing questions relating to finitude. It is impossible, in geometry as it is in other sciences, to accomplish a total and synchronic reactivation of the whole chain of virtuality, of the “immense chain of foundings back to the original premises” (O., 166) And even if it were to be possible, it would paralyze the internal history of geometry no less than would the radical impossibility of total reactivation. This external necessity that geometrical activity be intermittent, is paralleled by another internal and essential necessity: “aucune pièce de l’édifice géométrique n’étant indépendante, aucune réactivation immédiate n’est possible, à quelque niveau que ce soit” (108). What interests is the fact that Derrida not only states that there exists a certain irreducible, pure equivocity; pure equivocity grows in the very rhythm of science.

Mais ne faut-il pas alors, pour que l’histoire ait sa densité propre, que la nuit dans laquelle sont englouties les « archi-prémisses », tout en se laissant pénétrer mais jamais dissiper, ne cèle pas seulement le fait, mais le sens fondateur ? et que l’oubli « critique » des origines ne soit pas l’égarement accidentel, mais l’ombre fidèle au mouvement de la vérité ? La distinction entre le fait et le sens (ou le droit) s’effacerait dans la prise de conscience d’une finitude originaire. (108)

Rather than ostracizing this forgetfulness, labeling it ‘aberration,’ Derrida invites us to ponder the possibility that here we really are facing a new type of conditions of possibility, or rather conditions of impossibility. This structural forgetfulness is thus no less constitutive of the inner sense of truth than those conditions of possibility that are immediately more on par with the explicit concerns of transcendental phenomenology.

We need not regress to naive empiricism, or a defeatist historicism; the transcendental plane, however, is forever altered. Originary finitude and irreducible equivocity should not be taken as a defeat, failure, or a fall in dignity; the transcendental plane is an absolute requisite for thought, history, philosophy, science, politics, art, etc., but any thinking of the transcendental in general will have been effectively transformed by Derrida’s intervention. For instance, the critical forgetfulness should be considered a transcendental condition of impossibility for any type of originary sense or truth. Husserl does not worry, however, since all this is operated within a teleological horizon. For Husserl, univocity is both the apriori and the teleological condition for historicity, without which empirical culture and history would not be possible. Derrida, on the other hand, asks if this obviously irreducible finitude and mediacy will not actually inscribe Husserl’s whole purpose as nonsense. Husserl appeals to a normative foundation according to which sense, truth and ideal objectivity ought to be constituted in a certain manner; Derrida appeals to to irreducible originarity of the being-there of finitude and equivocity which mediates any instantiation of truth, sense, or ideal objectivity.

It is vital that science not becomes a “tradition empty of sense,” and only the continuance of reactivation ensures a science in plenitude of its living sense. To be sure, such reactivation is not to be considered as a condition for the functioning of science; science functions and advances without its sense being present consciously for the community of scientists. Husserl’s concern is more of a humanist one, concerned with the dangers of alienation: that science appears bizarre and unintelligible, that it breaks down into a sort of oneiric and inhuman absurdity, which clearly already has happened. That was, according to Husserl, already the situation in the 30s. But, Derrida asks, did not Plato describe this looming danger? Is not the eternal essences of Plato and Platonism only another name for a nonempirical historicity? “Geometry and the studies [sciences] that accompany it” are in always in danger of being exiled, sent off to some irresponsible abode. Incapable of “vision” (idein) and riveted to the hypotheses held as their principles. Confusing symbol with truth, they seem to us to dream (orōmen ōs oneirottousi) (Republic VII, 533c).



“Ainsi se trouvent éclairés la méthode et le sens de la question d’origine, en même temps que les conditions d’une traditionnalité de la science en général, states Derrida (O., 111). Clarifying method and sense of the questioning into the origin simultaneously clarifies the conditions of traditionality of science in general. Having clarified thus method and sense of the origin as well as the traditionality of science, Derrida goes on to analyze the Husserlian conception of horizon and “horizontalicity.” What is the specific and general horizon of science and scientificity in general, what is the horizon that science takes place in? If there is possible to establish transcendental-phenomenologically scientificity as such and in general, assuming such is possible even if Derrida in no way would grant Husserl having accomplished so, and if there is likewise possible to establish the very historicity of science in general, the time through which science finds itself and accumulates according to the strictest axiomatics of exactitude, it is now urgent for Husserl to provide an analysis of the horizon of science and scientificity. As has already been remarked by Derrida, in the degree to which there are flaws and failures these are only secondary, eventual, and historic in the empirical sense of the word; nothing is able to alter the perfectly pure spheres (originicity, historicity, horizonicity) inside of which science unfolds. And that’s our point, precisely, provided that one reads the proposition against what it was taken to mean by Husserl. There is something that alters the presumably perfect spheres of knowledge, seemingly immune to all contagion, even how much autoaffection is always tainted and soon assumes the form of autoinfection. Nothing is able to alter, the nothing itself, the nothing that Husserl, and so many others, tend to forget about, and end up have repressed, even foreclosed.

Husserl, pursuing to explicate the conception of the horizon, in accordance with the motives of the absolute of history and the imaginary variation, states: « Dans tous les cas, les problèmes, les recherches clarificatrices, les évidences rationnelles principielles sont historiques (historisch) … nous nous tenons donc dans l’horizon historique en lequel, si peu de choses déterminées que nous sachions, tout est historique. Mais cette horizon a sa structure essentielle qui doit être dévoilée par une interrogation méthodique ». (O., 199)

In accordance with Husserl’s conception of historicity, this field of inquiry has no limits since historicity embraces the infinite totality of being and sense. For Husserl—which was never interested in the concretes of empirical, external history—any intrascientific explication and any return to first axioms, to primordial evidences and instituting concepts, is per se also “historical disclosure” (O, 173). Accordingly Husserl will maintain that whatever our ignorance on the subject of actual history, we may know, a priori, that any cultural present in general, and therefore also any scientific present in particular, “implicates in its totality the totality of the past” (I, 109). And if this unceasing totalization of the historical present is inquired correctly, that is to say by way of imaginary variation, it will disclose the very realm of the universal a priori of history. A vast claim, one that Derrida is sure to tympanize. The historical present is thereby reduced to the pure instantiation of a historical Absolute; the historic present is, at any time, the historical absolute. A conception all the more absolutist in that Husserl maintains that the historical present is the ultimate universal form of any historical experience, and that this experience is always grounded in the living present of egological consciousness. Husserl underlines in a note that intrinsic history as such passes through the intrinsic history of the totality of individual experiences.

There is a transcendental need of a precomprehension of historicity; only such transcendental precomprehension provides the possibility of appearing of the facts of history. Where such a transcendental framework is lacking, all of experience would not even be that of facts, since these latter would appear as a senseless aggregate of fragments. There must be a “universal form,” which is the “most primordial and concrete lived experience” (I, 110). Husserl is after the most radical unity of the world.

…sens de historicité. (112)

De ce fait, toute élucidation intra-scientifique, tout retour aux premiers axiomes, aux évidences originaires et aux concepts fondateurs, est en même temps un « dévoilement historique ».  (112)

l’Apriori universel de l’historie. (112)

….comme un vérité historique est déterminable en général. (114)

[But our objections will neither be of a classical epistemologism type nor that of a historical relativism. It is a question of a certain grammatological relativism, very unlike all earlier forms of relativism.]

H : « Nous nous sommes alors déliés de toute attache avec la monde historique, dans son sens de facticité, monde considéré lui-même comme l’une des possibilités de la pensée » (O., 209) (118)

Mais d’autre part, l’Europe a le privilège d’être le bon exemple, car elle incarne dans sa pureté le Telos de toute historicité : universalité, omnitemporalité, traditionnalité infinie, etc. ; en prenant conscience de la possibilité pure et infinie de l’historicité, elle a réveillé l’histoire à sa propre fin. (121)


The Suspension of Ideality : Scientific Study of the Life-World (Lebenswelt)

Après avoir déterminé les conditions de la traditionalité en général, on a le droit de revenir à l’une de ces traditions qui, tout à l’heure guide exemplaire, est maintenant étudiée en elle-même. (124)

C’est, en effet, par son objectivation que l’idéalité—analysée en général et non en tant que géométrique dans la première partie du texte—entre en tradition et peut ainsi être délivrée, puis livrée. Il fallait donc commencer par rendre compte, comme l’a fait Husserl, de l’objectivité, c’est-à-dire de l’historicité de l’obejctité idéale en général. (124) […] historicité = au langage, à l’écriture, au pouvoir de réactivation, à la méthode, enfin, … historicité en général …  124, 118

Après avoir déterminé les conditions de la traditionalité en général, on a le droit de revenir à l’une de ces traditions qui, tout à l’heure guide exemplaire, est maintenant étudiée en elle-même. (124)

C’est, en effet, par son objectivation que l’idéalité—analysée en général et non en tant que géométrique dans la première partie du texte—entre en tradition et peut ainsi être délivrée, puis livrée. Il fallait donc commencer par rendre compte, comme l’a fait Husserl, de l’objectivité, c’est-à-dire de l’historicité de l’obejctité idéale en général. (124)

Husserl, on s’en souvient, se demandait plus haut : comment le sens idéal, déjà constitué dans l’immanence subjective, a-t-il pu être objectivé et engagé dans l’histoire et dans le mouvement de l’intersubjectivité ? il se demande maintenant : comment, dans un moment « antérieur », l’idéalité elle-même a-t-elle pu se constituer ? (125)

Cette nouvelle « epoché » des sciences objectives… 126, 119

…renoncer à toute scientificité. 126, 119

… «  en l’air », Sinnbeziehung… 126, 119

… [i]l faut sans cesse problématiser le rapport des vérités subjectives-relatives de la Lebenswelt et des vérités objectives-exactes de la science. Le paradoxe de leur relation mutuelle rend « énigmatiques » les deux vérités à la fois. C’est dans l’insécurité de cette énigme, dans l’instabilité de l’entre-deux que l’époché doit se tendre, entre l’άρχη et le τελσϛ d’un passage. 127, 119

…quand on veut se faire un chemin vers ce qu’il suppose toujours déjà : la constitution transcendantale de l’objet en général (avant l’objet idéal qui sert pourtant d’exemple-modèle pour l’objectivité), la couche anté-prédicative de l’expérience, la constitution statique et génétique de l’ego et de l’alter ego, la temporalité primordiale, etc. (128)

Cette nouvelle « epoché » des sciences objectives… 126, 119

…renoncer à toute scientificité. 126, 119

… «  en l’air », Sinnbeziehung… 126, 119

… [i]l faut sans cesse problématiser le rapport des vérités subjectives-relatives de la Lebenswelt et des vérités objectives-exactes de la science. Le paradoxe de leur relation mutuelle rend « énigmatiques » les deux vérités à la fois. C’est dans l’insécurité de cette énigme, dans l’instabilité de l’entre-deux que l’époché doit se tendre, entre l’άρχη et le τελσϛ d’un passage. 127, 119

Bodenlosigkeit. 127, 119

[N]aïveté de profondeur et non de légèreté, elle consiste à redescendre vers la perception pré-scientifique sans problématiser la « transgression » (Überschreitung) des vérités du monde de la vie vers le monde des vérités « en soi ».  127, 119

Sans cette question, il risque, si pénétrant soit-il, d’abdiquer toute scientificité en général et toute dignité philosophique pour avoir voulu précipiter une réaction légitime à ce que Husserl appelle l’ « hypertrophie intellectualiste ». 127, 120

Certes, le monde pré-scientifique est découvert dans ses structures essentielles par une double réduction : celle de toute culture factice déterminé et celle des superstructures scientifiques qui s’étendent au-delà des aires culturelles particulières pour s’en libérer. Mais cela ne doit pas nous faire oublier que ce monde culturel pré-scientifique peut être à son tour réduit dans un « époché » radicale, quand on veut se faire un chemin vers ce qu’il suppose toujours déjà : la constitution transcendantale de l’objet en général (avant l’objet idéal qui sert pourtant d’exemple-modèle pour l’objectivité), la couche anté-prédicative de l’expérience, la constitution statique et génétique de l’ego et de l’alter ego, la temporalité primordiale, etc. 128, 120-1

Sa science n’est plus simplement une science de l’esprit parmi d’autres. Elle est celle d’une activité constituant toute la sphère de l’objectivité idéale absolue et toutes les sciences éidétiques. Que cette historie constituante soit elle-même plus profondément constituée, tel est, à n’en pas douter, l’un des motifs les plus permanents de la pensée husserlienne ; l’un des plus difficiles aussi, car il s’accorde mal avec celui d’une historicité qui, comme Husserl le disait de plus en plus souvent, traverse tout de part en part, et d’abord l’ego lui-même. 129, 121

X. Geography, Infinitization, and the Idea in the Kantian Sense

… les structures invariantes qui ont conditionné l’avènement de la géométrie ? 130, 122

…un space et un temps anexatcs…

… « corporéité », une détermination particulière de la choséité (Dinglichkeit) en général…la corporéité ne recouvre pas exhaustivement la choséíté.

……une détermination éidétique supplémentaire… 131

La géométrie et la cinématique pures (et toutes les sciences associées dont elles sont ici l’exemple) seront donc des éidétiques matérielles, puisqu’elles ont pour objet la détermination chosale [chose=thing], puis corporelle, de l’objet en général. Mais ce sont des sciences matérielles abstraites, parce qu’elles ne traitent que de certaines composantes éidétiques de la chose corporelle en général, abstraction faite de sa totalité indépendante et concrète (qui comporte aussi les qualités « matérielles » (stofflic) sensibles et la totalité de ses prédicats. Formes spatiales, formes temporelles, formes de mouvement sont toujours prélevées sur la totalité du corps perçu. 131, 122-3

…de types morphologiques aux essences « vagues », … une science descriptive pré-géométrique. = géographie… 132-3

…n’est en rien entamée par l’anexactitude n´cessaire de l’objet perçu. Il fautbien se garder de la naïveté scientifique, qui fait considérer cette anexactitude de l’object ou du concept comme une « tare », comme une inexactitude. 132,

…de la praxis dans la vie quotidienne, … être perçus, restaurés et progressivement perfectionnés… 132,

H : …ces simples concepts sont inexacts par essence et non par hasard ; pour cette raison également ils sont non mathématiques. [Idees… I, § 74, p. 74.] (132)

…progressivement perfectionnés…s’opère selon la gradualité qualitative de l’intuition sensible…à une fixation éidétique rigoureuse et univoque

Husserl en Origin : (avant l’apparition de l’exactitude) « à partir de la factualité, une forme essentielle se laissera reconnaître par la méthode de variation » (O., 211 [referring to his own translation further on]) (132)

Mais cette pure idéalité est d’ordre sensible et en doit soigneusement la distinguer de la pure idéalité géométrique qui est, en elle-même, déliée de toute intuitivité sensible ou imaginative. […] Une fois constitué, le mathématique pur ne serait ainsi accessible qu’à un « entendement » dont la notion n’a pas de sens technique précis chez Husserl. (133)

H : « Espace géométrique ne signifie donc pas quelque espace imaginaire » (1). (K., § 9 a, p. 22.) (134)

1. Selon Husserl au contraire [contraire Kant], c’est parce qu’elle s’est déracinée de tout sol sensible en général que l’idéalité géométrique n’est pas imaginaire. (134)

Bien que l’idéalité géométrique soit produite à partir de l’idéalité morphologique sensible, ce point de départ facto-historique est supprimé comme fondement à l’intérieur de la géométrie constituée. (134)

ne se confond pas avec l’origine de la géométrie elle-même et de toutes les possibilités qui s’y rattachent ; elle autorise seulement ce que nous appelions plus haut la « géographie ». (134)

Le sens interne de la géométrie, que nous livre une analyse statique, commande que la question d’origine de la géométrie s’arrête au sens constitué de ce qui a conditionné immédiatement la géométrie. La provenance des idéalités (134) pré-géométriques peut être laissée provisoirement dans l’ombre (1). (135)

1. C’est en commençant par thématiser directement l’imagination comme un vécu original dans sa situation, à l’aide de l’imagination comme instrument opératoire de toute éidétique, c’est en décrivant librement les conditions phénoménologiques de la fiction, donc de la méthode phénoménologique, que la trouée sartrienne a si profondément déséquilibré, puis bouleversé le paysage de la phénoménologie husserlienne et abandonné son horizon. (135)

Paradoxalement, c’est parce que l’idéalité de l’espace géométrique n’est pas

Déterminer le sens de cette “disparation” de la vérité, tel est le plus difficile des problèmes posés par L’Origine et par toute la philosophie husserlienne de l’histoire.

Still is retained, thus, the naive conception according to which science and knowledge is simply possible, the deepest problem of which would be a growing cleavage between science and our life-world, producing what is already termed ‘cultural lag,’ a growing alienation cast in humanist terms. In my view, the stakes are much higher. By way of a certain reading of Derrida I hope to help demonstrate that the effects of deconstruction are not solely textual, something to make use of to intervene inside texts. Derrida himself was eager, of course, to underline that deconstruction is not reducible to some intra-textual order, that it is something far from ‘textual idealism’; his deployment of deconstruction was limited to ethico-political effects however. If the attempt at a deconstruction of science can claim raison d’être I would immediately venture to contend that the massive ecodestruction is explained. There is no reason to believe that science as such somehow is exempted from deconstruction, especially in the light of the global dominance ecodestructions have come to exert upon us all. Given that Derrida actually started out from within the most modern, subtle, and vigilant form of metaphysical defense of modern science, it also makes sense to start out from this phase of Derrida.

Toute détermination morphologique, c’est-à-dire pré-géométrique, s’opère selon la gradualité qualitative de l’intuition sensible… Ceci n’interdit pas une fixation éidétique rigoureuse et univoque des types morphologiques vagues. à H : « à partie de la facticité, une forme essentielle se laissera reconnaître par la méthode de variation » (O., 211)

…variation imaginaire à obtenir des types morphologiques inexacts ( ??), sous lequel est construite l’idéalité géométrique… 132, 124

à « substruction » … certaine idéalité… Seule une visée imaginative peut l’atteindre dans sa pureté pré-géométrique. Mais cette pure idéalité est d’ordre sensible…# la pure idéalité géométrique qui est, en elle même, déliée de toute intuitivité sensible ou imaginative. C’est l’imagination qui me livre le type morphologique pur… le mathématique pur ne serait ainsi accessible qu’à un « entendement » dont la notion n’a pas de sens technique précis chez Husserl. 133, 124

Bien que l’idéalité géométrique soit produite à partir de l’idéalité morphologique sensible, ce point de départ facto-historique est supprimé comme fondement à l’intérieur de la géométrie n’aurait pu naître, pose sans doute a son tour de délicats problèmes d’origine, dont Husserl est très conscient. 134, 125

Géographie à  regressus ad infinitum…, commande que la question d’origine de la géométrie s’arrête au sens constitué de ce qui a conditionné immédiatement la géométrie. 134, 125

…c’est parce qu’elle s’est déracinée de tout sol sensible en général que l’idéalité géométrique n’est pas imaginaire. N1 134, n. 140125

Paradoxalement, c’est parce que l’idéalité de l’espace géométrique n’est pas imaginaire, donc sensible, qu’elle peut se rapporter à l’unité totale du monde sensible et qu’une géométrie appliquée reste possible, allant jusqu’à se confondre à nos yeux avec la « vraie nature » qu’elle dissimule du même coup. En effet, une idéalité sensible, toujours née de l’imagination, ne pourrait donner lieu qu’à un espace et à une science de l’espace fantastiques, à une prolifération imprévisible et inorganique de types morphologiques. [Is this really so, or is it not clear from empirical enquiry that the uprootedness is precisely what destructs nature ? So it is not really a paradox. « The inorganics of instruments and instrumentality ».] 135-6, 126

…il considère la métrique empirique comme une étape supérieure à celle de la morphologie sensible sur le chemin de l’idéalité géométrique pure. Elle fait progresser dans le sens de la détermination univoque, intersubjective, donc idéal-objective de la chose géométrique. A un niveau bien supérieur ou ultérieur, l’arithmétisation de la géométrie sera du reste évoquée comme une nouvelle révolution à l’intérieur de la géométrie ; l’origine de cette science n’en sera d’ailleurs que plus profondément enfouie, et son sens, « évacué ». 136, 126

…les types morphologiques et phoronomiques… 137

Car l’instauration de la géométrie n’a pu être qu’un acte philosophique.

…inaugure l’attitude théorétique…  Par là, elle rend possible le décisif « passage à la limite » de l’idéalisation et la constitution du champ mathématique en général. 137

Il s’agit de la limite idéale de la transgression infinie, non de la limite factice de la finité transgressée.

A partir de l’infinitisation inaugurale, la mathématique connaîtra de nouvelles infinitisations qui seront autant de révolutions intérieures. Car si l’infinitisation originaire ouvre aux Grecs le champ mathématique aux fécondités infinies, elle n’en limite pas moins d’abord le système apriorique de cette productivité ; l’infinité même du contenu de production sera confinée à l’intérieur d’un système apriorique qui, pour les Grecs, sera toujours clos. 138, 127

…l’ « Euclide ideal »…sens, non au fait historique. …bouleversé par une nouvelle infinitisation. Mais celle-ci n’aura lieu qu’à l’intérieur de l’infinité comme possibilité d’un apriori mathématique en général. … l’infinitisation comme acte fondateur de la mathématique …  les infinitisations comme élargissements des systèmes aprioriques. … l’infinitisation institutrice. 138

n. 2 : Elles s’interessent toutes deux à une proto-origine anterieure à l’origine « galiléenne » des temps modernes. 140, 129

A partir d’un système apriorique fini, en lui, une infinité d’opérations et de transformations mathématiques sont déjà possibles, même si elles ne sont pas infiniment créatrices. Surtout, malgré la clôture du système, nous sommes dans l’infinité mathématique pour avoir définitivement idéalisé et dépassé les finités sensibles et factices. L’infinité infinie de la révolution moderne peut donc s’annoncer dans l’infinité finie de la création antique. 140, 130

…l’apriorité mathématique…systématicité mathématique. 140-1

A l’intérieur de l’infinité ouverte par les Grecs se produit une nouvelle infinitisation qui fera apparaître la clôture antérieure, non pas comme clôture paralysant les Grecs au seuil de l’infinité mathématique elle-même, mais comme clôture les limitant secondairement à l’intérieur du champ mathématique en général. […] Le processus d’infinitisation intra-mathématique pourra du reste se généraliser ensuite à l’infini et selon un rythme accéléré. 141, 130

n. 1. Le texte extrait de la Krisis, qui ne semble donc pas remettre en cause l’origine « grecque » de la mathématique comme tache infinie, pose ainsi le difficile problème intra-mathématique de la clôture, notion qui peut avoir de multiple sens selon les contextes où elle est employée. Sur toutes ces questions, nous renvoyons en particulier à S : BACHELARD, La logique de Husserl, chap. III, pp. 100, 123. Il y a d’ailleurs aussi une clôture du domaine mathématique en général, dans son unité idéale de sens mathématique, à l’intérieur de laquelle toute infinitasition devra se maintenir, simplement parce qu’elle concerne encore des objectités idéal-mathématiques. Au sujet de la mathématique en général, Husserl parle d’« un monde infini et pourtant enferme en soi d’obejctités idéales comme champ de travail » (K., § 9 a, p. 23).  141, 130

une origine de la géométrie. La géométrie n’a-t-elle pas une infinité d’actes de naissance en lesquels, chaque fois, s’annoncerait, en se dissimulant encore, une autre naissance ? Ne faut-il pas dire que la géométrie est en route vers son origine au lieu d’en procéder ? 141, 131

n. 1 Ceci n’est vrai, bien entendu, que dans la mesure où ces objectités se rapportent, immédiatement ou non, à la spatialité en général, si l’on considère la géométrie en elle-même et au sens strict ; au mouvement en général, si l’on considère la cinématique en elle-même et au sens strict. (Mais Husserl dit souvent que « géométrie » est une « abréviation » pour toutes les sciences objectives et exactes de la spatio-temporalité pure.) Mais cela est vrai, en général, pour toute objectité idéale absolument pure et « libre », si l’on considère la géométrie dans son exemplarité. 142, 131

Il est ainsi assuré de ne pénétrer l’historicité universelle que de l’intérieur, surtout s’il oriente par privilège son regard sur une tradition aussi « exemplaire » que celle de la mathématique.

L’ouverture de l’infini, loin d’être l’accès à quelque possible, anhistorique en soi et découvert dans une historie qui en serait transfigurée, n’est ay contraire que l’ouverture de l’histoire elle-même, dans la plus grande profondeur et la plus grande pureté de son essence. Sans cette déchirure du fini, l’humanité historique ou plutôt les humanités historiques n’auraient eu que l’unité socio-anthropologique d’un type empirique. Or, nous l’avons bien vu : une historie empirique ne se distingue pas essentiellement d’une non-histoire. 142, 131

…de rendre compte historiquement de la naissance de la philosophie qui a conditionne celle de la géométrie. L’origine de l’historicité (Geschictlichkeit) ne relèvera jamais d’une histoire (Historie). […] De telles tentatives n’auraient leur pleine valeur que dans la mesure où elles seraient menées avec la certitude que l’on parle alors de tout sauf de la réduction elle-même, de l’origine de la philosophie et de l’histoire elle-mêmes et comme telles. Dans le meilleur des cas, on parle de ce qui leur est strictement « parallèle ». 143, 132

D : … et qu’il perçoit sur un horizon d’infini … H : conçues en vue d’un perfectionnement… qui nait d’un acte spirituel d’idéalisation, d’un penser « pur » (O., 212) 144, 132

…une idéalité supérieure, absolument objective, exacte et non sensible… 144, 133

A la différence de l’idéalité morphologique, l’idéalité exacte a été produite sans le secours essentiel de la sensibilité et de l’imagination ; elle s’est détachée, par un saut, de toute amarre descriptive. Sans doute ce saut a-t-il pris son appui ou son appel sur l’idéalité sensible ; Husserl parle toujours de « support », de « substrat », de « soubassements » sensibles de la géométrie. Mais les fondations ne sont pas ici des fondements, bien que ceux-ci ne doivent pas faire oublier celles-là. C’est toujours un « penser pur », qui est responsable de l’essor idéalisateur et de la vérité géométrique comme telle. Le caractère inaugural de l’acte idéalisateur, la liberté radicale et irruptive qu’il manifeste, la discontinuité décisoire qui l’arrache à ses conditions passées, tout cela le dérobe à une description généalogique. 145-6, 133-4

n. 1. GONSETH note dans le même sens : « Le passage de la notion intuitive : la ligne de visée, à la notion ideale : la droite, est quelque chose de tout à fait indescriptible », Les mathematiques et la realite (p. 76).

…l’opération est toujours présentée comme un « passage à la limite ». A partir d’une structure anticipative de l’intentionnalité, l’idéalité morphologique est dépassée vers le pôle idéal et invariant d’une approximation infinie.

Mais pour que l’anticipation intentionnelle bondisse elle-même à l’infini, il faut qu’elle soit déjà idéale. Ce que autorise et commande à la fois cette idéalisation de l’anticipation, c’est la présence à la conscience d’une Idée au sens kantien. Celle-ci est l’objet d’une idéation, nom que Husserl donne souvent à l’idéalisation et qu’il faut distinguer de l’idéation comme intuition d’essence (Wesensschau). La différence entre ces deux idéations, c’est que l’une peut constituer un objet en une création, l’autre le déterminer en une intuition. L’idéation géométrique originaire, par exemple, fait surgir une essence qui n’existait pas avant elle. Elle est donc plus historique. … dans les deux cas, l’objet est une essence irréale, bien qu’elle ne soit en rien fantastique. … la Wesensschau ne fait que répéter l’idéalisation productrice. ….la passage-à-la-limite originaire n’est possible que s’il est guide par une essence qu’on peut toujours anticiper puis « reconnaître » parce qu’il s’agit d’une vérité de l’espace pur. …la création d’une éidétique. … par l’unité d’un « moment » abstrait (la spatialité) d’une région. … Elle n’est rien hors de l’histoire de la géométrie elle-même. 146-7, 134-5

…trouvée l’infini d’un « immer wieder » ou d’un « und so weiter » qui est le mouvement même de l’idéalisation mathématique en général. Si la structure du « toujours encore » est ici fondamentale, un privilège doit être reconnu à la dimension protentionnelle de l’intentionnalité et à celle de l’avenir dans la constitution de l’espace en général. 148, 135

On peut ainsi s’approprier et réduire absolument la transcendance de tout avenir vécu dans le geste même ou en le libère pour un développement infini. …que Sartre appelle la « transphénoménalité ». Ses développements ne nous échapperont jamais en droit. C’est pourquoi il peut paraître plus rassurant, plus nôtre. Mais n’est-ce pas aussi parce qu’il nous est devenu plus étranger ? 148

Mais cette rétention ne serait pas possible sans une protention qui en est la forme même ; d’abord parce qu’elle retient un Maintenant qui était lui-même un projet original, retenant lui-même un autre projet, etc. ; ensuite parce que la rétention est toujours la modification essentielle d’un Maintenant toujours haleine, toujours tendu vers un Maintenant prochain. … double enveloppement. … c’est-à-dire si l’ouverture de l’avenir infini est, comme telle, une possibilité vécue en tant que sens et en tant que droit. … L’unité de l’infinité…doit donc être pensée… donc toujours l’Idée au sens kantien qui ne se phénoménalise jamais elle-même. 149-50, 137

…aussi l’insatisfaction…la région la plus profonde…le champ qui s’offre à la lumière phénoménale mais la source à jamais nocturne de la lumière elle-même ? N’est-ce pas dans cette ombre essentielle que se réservent l’Idée et le pouvoir idéalisateur qui nous occupent ici exemplairement en tant qu’origine du mathématique ? 150, 137

…Husserl n’a jamais fait de l’Idée elle-même le thème d’une description phénoménologique. Il n’en a jamais défini directement le type d’évidence à l’intérieur d’une phénoménologie dont le « principe des principes » et la forme archétypique de l’évidence sont la présence immédiate de la chose même « en personne », c’est-à-dire, implicitement, de la chose finie ou définissable dans son phénomène, donc de la chose finie (ce en quoi le motif de la finitude a peut-être plus d’affinité qu’il n’y paraît d’abord avec le principe d’une phénoménologie qui serait ainsi tendue entre la conscience finitiste de son principe et la conscience infinitiste de son fondement final, « Endstiftung » indéfiniment différée dans son contenu, mais toujours évidente dans sa valeur régulatrice). 150-1, 137-8


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’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)

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 undecidable, that which, by analogy, Derrida says, cannot 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.”


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 the “present 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.


“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 himself–a 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.”

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!

2 Responses to “Die Frage nach dem Ursprung der Geometrie als intentional-historisches Problem”
  1. la question trГЁs utile

  2. I am not sure where you’re getting your info, but good topic. I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more. Thanks for excellent information I was looking for this information for my mission.

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