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This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Just a short note to myself this time:

I've just started reading one of Husserl's early essays, "Philosophy as Rigorous Science," as a means of trying to get into his concept of phenomenology. It seems to me at this stage that Husserl's idealist philosophy-- a strong refutation of the empirical philosophies of his time-- may prove useful in valorizing the content of myths, be they religious or literary.

In "Mythicity, Threat or Menace," I wrote:

'Doty's summarization of Gould troubles me: "We live within a world where symbolic meanings may help-- do help-- yet are never fully able to bridge the ontological gap." In other words, primtives who don't know what a storm is, but who simply formulate a storm-god as a relational aid to the unknown phenomenon, have made an ontological myth, but one which is bound to collapse.'

This formula is clearly empiricist at base: it is taken for granted that the story of a storm-god has no ontological reality beside the reality of the storm. At the conclusion of that essay I wondered whether or not Hegel's idea of "conceptual grasping" might have some relevance-- after all, the attempt of a sentient creature to grasp his environment conceptually might be regarded as an ontological fact in itself, apart from the validity of the story in which he places those concepts. I further noted in "Gore and Allegory" that I regarded the patterns found in myths to be ontologically valid, particularly as exemplified by Campbell (though I suspect Husserl wouldn't have much use for Campbell, even as he did differ with Hegel). On the matter of Husserl's attitude toward "constancy" (which approximates my use of the term "pattern'), editor Quentin Lauer says:

"Husserl attempts to solve a Humean difficulty by invoking a new notion of objective validity. For Hume there is nothing in the constancy of a multiplicity of experiences that guarantees their objectivity. For Husserl this is precisely what objective validity means: the constant identity of content in experiences-- without existential implications."

One might well wonder whether or not Jung's concept of a collective unconscious would constitute such "constancy," if one could statistically demonstrate its ubiquity via its appearance in the least likely places--

Such as the popular culture which, from an empiricist standpoint, should never be any better than it had to be...

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