Horizon and vision.
The phenomenological idea of experience versus the metaphysics of sight
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ФЕНОМЕНОЛОГИЧЕСКИЕ ИССЛЕДОВАНИЯ • STUDIES IN PHENOMENOLOGY • STUDIEN ZUR PHANOMENOLOGIE • ETUDES PHENOMENOLOGIQUES
HORIZON AND VISION. THE PHENOMENOLOGICAL IDEA OF EXPERIENCE VERSUS THE METAPHYSICS OF SIGHT
DSc, PD of Faculty of Philosophy, Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg, 79 098 Freiburg, Germany. E-mail: fausto. fraisopi@philosophie. uni-freiburg. de
Can the nature of «vision» be captured by a metaphysics of sight or only by a phenomenological description of «seeing»? Furthermore, the relation between a metaphysics of sight and a Phenomenology of «seeing» can be presented in two different ways: a relation of continuity as well as of opposition. The first one takes necessarily the Phenomenology of «seeing» as only preparatory for the Metaphysics of sight as such. The second one affirms that we have to do with two opposite ways of questioning the nature of the prominent approach of mankind to the world, the theorem. The aim of this paper is to show how this second way is possible if and only if we affirm that the Phenomenology of «seeing» is a method to keep away the problems and the paradoxes of the first way and of an a-critical acceptation of the metaphysics of sight. What provides to give to Phenomenology of «seeing» an anti-metaphysical commitment is the idea of horizon as transcendental structure of «seeing». Seeing as «experiencing» as well as «theorizing» became a contextual seeing, essentially related to a contextual situation. More generally, each appearance (phainomenon) consists of a whole system of appearances that are contentless but are also potential manifestations of the same type. The structure of possibility of horizon is a modal (not substantial) structure, denying any possible statement concerning the metaphysical nature of seeing or the possibility of a «metaphysical» seeing as such.
Key words: theoria, vision, Augustine, inner Space, Husserl, transcendental phenomenology, horizon, mathesis universalis.
ГОРИЗОНТ И ВИДЕНИЕ. ФЕНОМЕНОЛОГИЧЕСКАЯ ИДЕЯ ОПЫТА VERSUS МЕТАФИЗИКА ВЗГЛЯДА
Габилитированный доктор философии, приват-доцент философского факультета университета им. Альберта и Людвига г Фрайбург, 79 098 Фрайбург, Германия.
E-mail: fausto. fraisopi@philosophie. uni-freiburg. de
Может ли природа «видения» быть постигнута метафизикой взгляда или же только с помощью феноменологической дескрипции «усмотрения»? Более того, отношение между метафизикой
© Fausto Fraisopi
прозрения и Феноменологией «усмотрения» может быть представлено двумя различными способами: как отношением преемственности, так и отношением противостояния. Первый из них с необходимостью трактует Феноменологию «усмотрения» как подготовку к метафизике взгляда как таковой. Другой утверждает, что мы должны иметь дело с двумя противоположными способами особого отношения человека к миру, theorem. Задача данной статьи состоит в том, чтобы показать, как этот второй путь оказывается возможным, если и только если мы утверждаем, что Феноменология «усмотрения» является методом избегания проблем и парадоксов первого из названных способов, а также не-критического принятия метафизики прозрения. То, что позволяет придать Феноменологии «усмотрения» анти-метафизический характер, — это идея горизонта как трансцендентальной структуры «усмотрения». Усмотрение — это «испытывание», равно как и «теоретизиование», ставшее контекстуальным «смотрением», сущностно соотнесенным с ситуацией контекста. В общем, каждое явление (phainomenon) содержит в себе целое системы явлений, которые являются бес-содержательными, но также и потенциальными манифестациями того же самого типа. Структура возможности горизонта — модальная (не субстанциальная) структура, исключающая всякое возможное утверждение относительно метафизической природы усмотрения или возможность «метафизического» смотрения как такового.
Ключевые слова: theoria, видение, Августин, внутреннее пространство, Гуссерль, трансцендентальная феноменология, горизонт, mathesis universalis.
Although evoked in the context of phenomenology, Husserl’s claim of «metaphysical neutrality» (Zahavi, 2002) raises the issue of perception (Marion, 2004, 11−63), or what is the same, the possibility of a non-metaphysical or irreducible form of vision. Such a claim, however, raises as many questions as it purports to answer. One particularly hard problem is whether a metaphysically neutral conception of vision can avoid falling into the trap of reducing vision to perception.
Phenomenology tasks itself with answering the following questions: is it possible to reduce vision to the field of experience without reducing it to perception? How such residual element in vision makes it other as a sum of perceptual qualia? In order to answer such questions, Husserl, like Kant (Fraisopi, 2009b, 11−40), looks at the central problem of «theorem» in the «state of openness» originally described by Greek thought.
Generally, Phenomenology’s metaphysical neutrality, and its application to the idea of vision is not a systematizing approach. Rather, it is freed from the very idea of univoc-ity of sight or a plurality of meanings of metaphysically structured sight. Even more generally, Phenomenology opens the idea of sight, of vision, by presupposing that the richness of sight, in all its forms, is even richer than a seeing reduced to a well-determined, complete structure of genera and species.
To be sure, this argument requires to understand how the so-called metaphysical neutrality of phenomenology merges with a broad conception of vision without becoming terribly imprecise or vague. In fact, the broad conception of vision, what I’ll refer to as an «enlargement», evolved into a project to describe these forms of vision. This evolution comes at a time when phenomenology discovers the structure determining every form of experience as such: the structure of horizon. This structure, which is constitutive of every experience, appears as the transcendental element enabling phenomenology
to consider the «state of openness» of all forms of visions without, for this reason, declining into a form of metaphysical Egology. In other words, such a structure is nothing else than one part, the core, of the «transcendental» phenomenology, the other being the «I» itself. It’s not a coincidence if it’s precisely when phenomenology formulates the «principle of all principles» that the «I-horizon"1 rises as an essential structure of every experience. In this way the description of the openness of forms of vision becomes Phenomenology’s fundamental task:
But enough of such topsy-turvy theories! No theory we can conceive can misleaded us in regard to the principle of all principles: that every primordial dator in intuition is a source of authority for knowledge, that whatever presents itself in «intuition» is primordial form (as it were its bodily reality), is simply to be accepted as it gives itself out to be, through only within the limits in which it then presents itself (Husserl, 2012, 92).
Openness is vagueness, at first, at least. Vague forms of vision and intuition, necessarily linked to vision, appear in the syntagmatic expression «every primordial dator» or «every originarily giving intuition» (jede originare gebende Anschauung) as form of indetermination but, at the same time, as determination of a connection. This connection is present in any form of vision as well as the structure of horizon in which «something» appears- that is what lets itself be seen, what makes itself visible. The transcendental self as horizon, or as structure of horizon, «makes visible» anything intuitive. As Michel Henry’s critique of classical Phenomenology makes clear, such a position rediscovers the true nature ofphainesthai in Greek thought (Henry, 2000, 67−68).
Framing all forms of sight, every form of theoria, the phenomenological structure of horizon works as a unifying power. Yet it is a unifying power that is not, at the same time, a metaphysical structure. It remains uncontaminated by metaphysical commitments, and we, as scholars of phenomenology, have to unearth the distinction between sight, the Greek conception of vision, and what can be individuated as the structure, the horizon.
In Paideia, Werner Jaeger affirms with potent clarity that, «the theoria of Greek philosophy was deeply and inherently connected with Greek art and Greek poetry». (Jaeger, 1939, xxi) We must, in other words, discover the origins of this correlation between horizon and vision in Greek thought, starting from the very beginning, before even the transformation of theoria into a philosophical (and metaphysical) concept. Moreover, if phenomenology breathes new life into the intimate sense of vision as opened by a horizon, as horizontally situated, our «archeology» will try to understand the structure itself as something «primitive». And we’ll be doing so even before dividing a metaphysical from a non-metaphysical form of seeing.
1 About the so-called «I-horizon» principle, see (Henry, 1991, 3−26) and (Marion, 1997, 257−270). See also (Fraisopi, 2012, 317−362).
1. The Archeology of Vision and the Genesis of the Metaphysics of Sight
The speculative and spiritual constitution of man realizes itself, finds its own origin, in the opening of vision. The Greek culture sings, thinks, and categorizes such openness in many expressive forms. But the transition from singing (epos) to thinking (in a general pre-Platonic form), and from thinking to categorizing, is not linear, but a far more interesting evolution at once discordant and problematic. The epos is the manifestation releasing this original unity between «I» and «horizon», a humanity (not yet a subjectivity) as openness, a theoria as first relation or exposure to the kosmos, (not yet an uni-versum), a human nature opened by all forms of seeing and, consequently, to all forms of visible objects as such. The theoria is based on the openness of sight as «I-horizon" — that is, as structure. Here, it finds its first eidetic legitimation.
The epos describes man’s evolution from the Argonauts to the classical heroes. Po-lutropon refers to the image of an experience linked to an open horizon. The Greek man is open to the sea, a wide-open horizon of exploration, and determined by his desire of experience, the polutropeia, the historia, the knowledge of the world. But consistent with the essence of kosmos as multiversum, opened by the theoria, the sea receives many names, thalassa, pontos, okeanos. The sea is at once thalassa, the closest meaning of «sea», and the primordial and most maternal. Thalassa is a primordial divinity, daughter of Ether and Emera, the Ether and the Daylight. The Ether, by Hesiod, arises from Herebos, the Darkness, and from Nux, the Night. The same for Hemera, the Day or the Daylight.
By marrying his sister, Ether generates three elements, strictly related, in our perspective, to the speculative meaning of seeing and, consequently, of theoria. These three elements are Gaia, Ouranos and Thalassa. The sea is here, viewed from the mainland or from the island: Thalassa is viewed with the sky through our sight, the contemplation (theoria) of horizon. In light of this intimate meaning of the sea, always linked to the earth, Thalassa is not an ordinary sea, but «mare nostrum», the Mediterranean Sea. Thalassa creates with Pontos the fishes. Pontos is the male meaning of «sea», the meaning by which men learn to detach themselves from the mainland, from Gaia, and discover a path, an itinerary, the itinerary searched and found from every man precisely as polutropon.
Pontos is the meaning by which we can understand the idea of exploration as knowledge (and rediscover, maybe, the idea of knowledge as exploration). By every exploration, Pontos became Pelagos, high seas, where the horizon surrounds vision and thought. Through this meaning, the horizon can became finally the anthropological archetype of the vision, the theoria. In the Pelagos, man finds himself in empty space. But he is radically linked to the horizon, there where the shelter of Gaia is far (as well as Hestia). There, man discovers and recognizes himself as istor. At the same time, the sea became a titan, Okeanos. The man facing the open sea mirrors the situation that became essential to Western civilization: openness to the horizon, as theoria but — at the same
time and necessarily — as thaumazein. Gaia and Pontos create Thaumas, the marvelous. The thaumazein must only be co-essential to the theoria, as openness of sight to the horizon. From Thaumas and Electra, generated by Okeanos and Thetis (daughter of Ouranos and Gaia), Iris is born, the symbol itself of the sight, or the vision:
For this feeling of wonder shows that you are a philosopher, since wonder is the only beginning of philosophy, and he who said that Iris was the child of Thaumas made a good genealogy (Plato, Thaet., 155 d).
Plato understood that the genealogy of gods, theogony, more than a fuzzy tale, a simple myth. Theogony was, as mythos, both the proto-cosmological form and an intelligent picture of human situation. Is that genealogy only a theogonic tale or the first definition of a more original dimension? It is the sign of the consciousness, by the Greek, of a deep connection, the connection between openness of the kosmos and vision. The openness of the kosmos, of the horizon of the world, shows its essential link with the vision under the form of theoria, in the form of thaumazein as affective disposition for this kaleidoscopic openness.
Until Plato, theoria characterizes Western thought as metaphysics, which is given a sacral meaning.2 This sacral meaning will be transformed into the vision of philosophy and into a metaphysics of sight. Plato transforms the sacral and initiatic dynamics of vision, its mystic meaning, into the vision of ideas: a profane vision, but not less powerful. So much so it confers upon the equivocity of theoria its logical-philosophical status- that is, a metaphysical status. For Anaxagoras already, — whose role is fundamental in Phaedon, where the theory of ideas appears at the first time — the theorem is employed in a philosophical meaning in relation to the nous: «theoresai ton ouranon kai teperi ton olon taxin» (Aristotle, 1951, I, 5, 1216a, 13). Herodotus also identifies theoria to knowledge, to the wisdom (Sophia) (Herodotus, 1988, I, 30, 2). Plato, however, is the first who truly employs theoria in a philosophical sense.
Theoria, theorein, as well as skopein, hlepein, and horan, are translated from the sacral domain elsewhere. In The Laws, the theoroi are the political observers sent by the polis. Also, the theorein is characterized as a «making knowledge», «seeing», «in-specting». In this sense, theorein is human knowledge, knowledge of and about mankind, knowledge of traditions, political actions, values, and good institutions. But seeing, theorein, means moreover «seeing visible things», the reality of the world but also the ideas. Sight has two meanings: one, the sensible (thea), which is always illusory. The other is the most important sight, the vision of the soul contemplating ideas. The soul became, in the Phaedrus, «agapa te kai theorousa talethe» (Plato, Phaed., 247d). Involved in the heavenly procession of the soul, the soul can see, can grasp its own
2 Cf. (Rausch, 1982).
divinity but also a supersensible reality concerning the «divinity», entirely translated into a philosophical dimension.
The secularization of an ancient, polytheistic sacral vision of the world, introducing a split between the theoria of the supersensible and the theoria of the corruptible reality, will become more important through Augustine and Modernity. By this dichotomy, Plato avoid the value of every the sensible life. He describes the affection of sense in general as the illusory art of perspective and of the shadows (skiagraphia) in opposition with the clear grasping of the spiritual life of the soul. It is Plato who, defining Western thought as Metaphysics, establishes the distance between two dimensions and two forms of vision, sketching a philosophical method able to bring the human to the so-called «divine» (theios). Philosophical method is thus entirely characterized by the metaphysics itself. We can return to the «divine» dimension — after its loss — by a philosophical decision, the decision of elevating the soul to the eternal truth. And this «divine» itself will no longer be the same «divine»: what changed are the terms themselves of the language of its revelation. This revelation comes primarily by the soul and a metaphysical sight.
Truth and mistake are now determined by that metaphysics of sight. In the Sophist the mistake, the self-mistaking, is analogue to an optical illusion (Plato, Soph., 235a-236c), but optics here does not refer to the same Optics of Descartes and Newton. It refers to a peculiar Optics of the soul. The theoria, determined from the beginning of Greek thought by a sort of constitutive horizontality, as multidimensionality of forms of seeing and, at the same time, as co-existence between man, world and divine, is now «verticalized». Being verticalized is polarized, requiring a division in two opposed declinations. Man became the limit between two dimensions, of two different worlds, the crossing-point between two forms of horizon: an external horizon of brute reality, and an internal horizon of self-elevating soul, of introspection. Such a dichotomy was truly unimaginable for the Greek pre-platonic thought. 3
Even in the extraordinary description of the theorein Aristotle, in the Nichomachean Ethics, 10, 7−8, Aristotle neither makes clear the ultimate sense of theoria nor reduces the idea of theoria into a metaphysical conceptual framework in a platonic sense. Many scholars asked the question whether its «extraordinary praise of the theoretical life» is «compatible with the rest of the work» (Roochnik, 2009, 69).
What is the theoria for Aristotle? As Roochnik argues, «Aristoteles never explicitly articulates what theoria is, but he does provide clues» (Roochnik, 2009, 70). Exactly as for the idea of a searched (zetoumene) or first science (prote episteme) — Aristotle described his subject matter in a variety of ways («first philosophy», or «the study of
3 Cf. (Vernant, 1989, 225): «…pour l’homme grec, il n’y a pas d’introspection. Le sujet ne constitue pas un monde interieur clos, dans lequel il doit penetrer pour se retrouver ou plutot se decouvrir. Le sujet est extroverti. De meme que l’reil ne se voit pas lui-meme, l’individu, pour s’apprehender, regarde vers ailleurs, au-dehors. La conscience de soi n’est pas reflexive, repli sur soi, enfermement interieur, face a face avec sa propre personne».
being qua being», or «wisdom», or «theology») — he described in a variety of ways the situation of theorizing. As the first philosophy is, at the same time, science of beings as beings and theology, the theoria is the common spiritual situation of every theorizing activity (as actualization of knowledge) and, at the same time, as theoretical activity, is a sort of «supreme» activity, because is vision (or is «to look at») «of the supreme things» (Nightingale, 2004, 238). As for the question of being, the essential dimension of theoretic activity stills remains open by Aristotle: «Let there be two aspects of the soul that have reason. One is that by which we theorize (theoroumen) those sorts of beings whose principle cannot be otherwise. The other is that by which [we theorize] those that can» (Aristotle, 1962, 1139a, 6−8).
Theorizing is, by Aristotle, the moving principle of the human soul (Aristotle, De An., 412a, 10−11), a sort of an anthropological keystone of human living, the core itself of our exposure to the world, that what precisely links the psychological and the ontological dimensions without enclosure in a spiritual metaphysical interiority: «For this [theoretical] activity is supreme (kratiste) since mind is supreme of what which is in us, and of knowable object (ton gnoston), those of mind are supreme» (Aristotle, 1962, 1177a, 19−21).
Anyway, the theoria, as keystone of an entire anthropology, the Greek idea of Man as exposure to the world, 4 will not included, by Aristotle, in a metaphysically closed interiority.
2. Processus ad intus: Augustine’s Eschatological Idea of Vision
The philosophical elaboration of introspection radically opposite to the sensible life takes place already in Stoicism. In a wide world, or perceived as such, incomprehensible for the ancient Greek ethos of the polis, mankind searches in the bios theoretikos — a mere shadow of the theorem as keystone of human openness to the world — its own «identity». This is so because that identity is denied, or ignored, by the world itself. The bios theoretikos as such is the consequence of the dichotomy introduced by metaphysics itself as alternative between external and internal/spiritual world. From this point of view, the bios theoretikos can be interpreted as the first step of that massive revolution in late-ancient thought describing a kind of retraction from an unlimited world to delve into man himself, searching inside what outside could not be found: the very meaning of existence or the true identity.5 We can define such retraction as movement of late ancient thought, based upon that metaphysical dichotomy, processus ad intus.
4 Cf. (Nightingale, 2004, 238).
5 Cf. (Marrou, 1958).
The processus ad intus became clear and extremely powerful through Augustine. Augustine overtakes the obscurity of gnostic demonology as well as the Neoplatonic panpsychism. In the late ancient world, such form of theoria, exhausted in all its philosophical solutions, seems to be something inessential: Western thought understood the necessity to overcome speculatively the theoria as originarily formulated by a disappearing — if not already disappeared — world. This speculative overcoming consists in the speculative unclear understanding of the I-horizon as essence itself of the theoria, that is to say, in the claim of the metaphysical, creatural, openness of the «I» as horizon by God and to God.
The formula by which Augustine overcomes the vagueness and openness of the late ancient idea of theoria, and thereby the idea of a metaphysical anonymous selfreference, is «homo interior». The radicalization of the idea of theoria as metaphysically belonging to every man, to every «I» as «horizon», is clearly formulated in the De vera religione, as symbol not only for an anthropological but also for a theological turn: «Noli foras ire, in te ispum redi, in interiore homine habitat veritas. Et si tuam naturam muta-bilem invenieris, transcende et te ipsum».6 Augustine continues: «Sedmemento, come te transcendis, ratiocinantem hominem te transcendere. Illuc ergo tende, inde ipsum lumen rations accenditur» (Augustinus, 1861, XXIX, 72).
In the conceptual schema characterizing the speculative dimension by Augustine — «from the external to the internal, from the internal to the upper» (Augustinus, 1845, 1, 145, 5)6 7 — the theoria, the ratiocinans anima, is simply derived, not original or primary. Augustine knows how to interpret the deep difference between the Pagan and the new Christian worldview, a difference stemming from the idea itself of a Revelation, completely different for the sublimity of classical rationalism of the theoria. It is that state of mind, more metaphysical than any Greek metaphysics, hidden in the sacred books more than showed indirectly by the world, by which Augustine can definitively overcome the first form of metaphysics (of sight) by a more radical questioning. Man searches inside himself, as a reflection of a world become senseless, the reflection of God.8 Man searches for the meaning of a diaphanous exteriority, man searches the significance revealing itself in a dark face, the «Other» of Revelation. What is interesting here is precisely the relation between this speculative relation and the turn in the concept of «vision», its degradation to something not original.
The analysis of interiority as horizon leads to a completely different characterization of the «vision»: vision, sight is a derivate, phenomenologically defined and limited. The vision as such is limited a parte ante and a parte post, becoming only a moment of an itinerarium mentis in Deum. The vision is determined a parte ante, by a quest
6 This part is quoted also in (Husserl, 1973, 39).
7 Cf. (Gilson, 1988, Chap. II).
8 Cf. (Augustinus, 1998, 1−115).
of metaphysical identity of meaning. The same vision is determined, a parte post, by a metaphysical recognition, face-to-face, between man and God by the Revelation. The vision is not only a dimension, but a functionally oriented moment. Towards what vision is precisely oriented? Towards the Revelation (as metaphysical Sight) as such. The entire analysis of the (phenomenological) vision as a simple moment, is based on a postulate, by which precisely the unknown God, the agnosthos theos9 revealing itself to man, knows the man better, infinitely better than he could know himself: «cognoscam te, cognitur meus, cognoscam sicut et cognitus sum» (Augustinus, 1877, X, 1). There is no simple introspection. The introspection is instead oriented to reveal the insignificance of the sensible world for the man itself, opening to the significance given by the metaphysical sight of Revelation.
The Augustine exercise of «confession» is not only an analysis of his own interior-ity, but the quest of a meaning already supposed as present, precisely present in the postulate of a cognoscens, God. God, as cognoscens, can reveal us to ourselves by revealing itself, in his true face, by a metaphysical sight. «Et tibi quidem, dominem, cuius oculis nuda est abyssus humanae conscientiae, quid occultm esset in me, etiamsi nollem confi-teri tibi?» (Augustinus, 1877, X, 2). Only by considering the terminus ad quem of the analysis of interiority — clearly formulated in Book XV of De Trinitate — can we arrive to understand the rhetorical question of Augustine. The exercise of confession is not only a quest beyond the finitude of vision in the world, but also, beyond the finite: «interrogate mea intentio mea et responsio earum species eorum» (Augustinus, 1877, X, 6).9 10
The inner man — the phenomenological immanence revealed by the reduction of external experiences — is where the quest of a meaning can take place, without any intention to remain with that openness of phenomenological dimension, but to overcome it by an eschatological term (or «arrival»). The first step of the exploration of an inner horizon must be the platonic gesture to differentiate two forms of theoria, the first purely external, mundane, and the internal one, that is not yet speculative, revealed as eschatological. The theoria, where vision occurs in inner horizon is not the same as the external vision. The passage — transitio — from outside to inside shows, at the same time, the dimension of memoria: «aula ingens memoriae meae».
The inner space can be described following the essential dynamics of intentional-ity. The memoria is not only, trivially, the remembrance, a particular region or function of consciousness, it is also the region itself of consciousness as such, wherein the beam of human intentionality orients itself, differentiates itself, illuminates, and puts aside. From this breadth, this capacity (capacitas), arises the wonder, the amazement, the enigma in the mirror of which the man sees God, he who reveals to the man himself his nature:
9 Cf. (The Holy Bible, 2006, Acts, 17, 22−34).
10 Cf. also (Brachtendorf, 2000).
& lt-. & gt- et vis est haec animi mei atque ad meam naturam pertinet, nec ego ipse capium tantum, quod sum. Ergo animus ad habendum se ipsum angustum est, ut ubi sit quod sui non capit? numquid extra ipsum ac non in ipso? quomodo ergo non capit? multa mihi super hac aboritur admiratio, stupor adprehendit me (Augustinus, 1877, X, 8). 11
Here, Augustine locates the speculative reality of the «I», a paradoxical reality. This reality can be fixed only by a syntagmatic expression, which is not less paradoxical: locus interior. The locus interior is where intentionality orients itself as orientation of thought: «cogitando quais colligere atque animadvertendo curare». A form of cogito is also discovered: Augustine interprets such cogito by the meaning of spatiality, as an intellectual grasping based upon the original spatiality of the theoria. Man is not the image of God due to his corporal morphology but rather due to his «inner openness», his «being horizon». Through this similarity, any crude anthropomorphism as such will be surpassed. However, the creatural nature of the image characterizes the consciousness by its own distance from God, by its own metaphysical «delay».
The XIV Book of the De Trinitate describes this difference, locates the unavoidable delay in relation to the origin as creaturality of man, creaturality of the image in opposition to which the image is «image». The image is an «image of» a term of specularity. Here, thanks to the claim of the speculative nature of man precisely as «image», Augustine inevitably goes beyond the ancient paradigm of theoria because the soul cannot grasp its own ultimate nature by an eidetic vision, by an act of contemplation as theoria, but only by a catoptrical dynamics:
Incorporalem substantiam scio esse sapientiam, et lumen esse in quo videntur quae ocu-lis carnalibus non videntur: et tamen vir tantus tamque spiritalis: Videmus nunc, inquit, per speculum in aenigmate, tunc autem facie ad faciem (I Cor. XIII, 12). Quale sit et quod sit hoc speculum si quaeramus, profecto illud occurrit, quod in speculo nisi imago non cernitur. Hoc ergo facere conati sumus, ut per imaginem hanc quod nos sumus, videremus utcumque a quo facti sumus, tamquam per speculum. Hoc significat etiam illud quod ait idem apostolus: Nos autem revelata facie gloriam Domini speculantes, in eamdem imaginem transformamur de gloria in gloriam, tamquam a Domini Spiritu (II Cor. III, 18).
At this point Augustine, in a very radical and irrevocable way, overcomes the Greek meaning of «theoria», radicalizing the platonic dichotomy in a theological way:
11 Cf. Augustine’s Confessions (1955), newly translated and edited by A. C. Outler, Philadelphia: «Therefore is the mind too narrow to contain itself. And where should that be which it does not contain of itself? Is it outside and not in itself? How is it, then, that it does not grasp itself? A great admiration rises upon me- astonishment seizes me».
Speculantes dixit, per speculum videntes, non de specula prospicientes. Quod in graeca lingua non est ambiguum, unde in latinam translatae sunt apostolicae Litterae. Ibi quip-pe speculum ubi apparent imagines rerum, a specula de cuius altitudine longius aliquid intuemur, etiam sono verbi distat omnino- satisque apparet Apostolum a speculo, non a specula dixisse, gloriam Domini speculantes (Augustinus, 1886, XV, 8). 12
It is a matter of kathoptrizomenoi and not of theoresai, mirroring not seeing, «per speculum videntes, non de specula prospicientes». The difference of a spiritual Dioptrics as theoria is completely different from the spiritual Katoptrics introduced by Paulus and elevated to a speculative level by Augustine, is easy to see if we think of the analogy between a spiritual and a non-spiritual optics, for dioptrical as well as for katoptrical dynamics. 13 The katoptrical moment of vision in ancient world is unclear, confused by the nature itself of the mirror. Augustine and Paul have this mirror in mind when they oppose the katoptrizein to the theorein, opposing at the same time a clear and distinct vision to a confuse deformed image, remaining inaccessible to human sight. But there is another reason on the ground of anthropological definition of katoptrical vision by Augustine: the mirror gives a dark grasp of the self, a grasp necessarily unsuccessful, determined to demanding something else for taking place, the mirror itself.
That means the denial of the status of theoria as direct vision, as immediate grasp of the self (by introspection for instance) and, at the same time, the claim of a redirected vision, redirected by the mirror as giving back only an obscure or deformed image. The mirror is the sign of passivity. The Christian God reveals itself obscurely, implicitly — by the human presentiment of the lack of meaning. Only this Revelation can start, effectively, the processus ad intus:
12 Cf. (Augustine, 2002, 181): «I know that wisdom is an incorporeal substance, and a light in which those things are seen that are not seen with carnal eyes, and yet a man so great and so spiritual has said: «We see now through a mirror in an enigma, but then face to face». If we inquire what this mirror is, and of what sort it is, the first thing that naturally comes to mind is that nothing else is seen in a mirror except an image. We have, therefore, tried to do this in order that through this image which we are, we might see Him by whom we have been made in some manner or other, as through a mirror. Such is also the meaning of the words spoken by the same Apostle: «But we, with face unveiled, be holding the glory of God, are transformed into the same image, from glory to glory, as through the Spirit of the Lord». He uses the word speculantes, that is, be holding through a mirror [speculum], not looking out from a watchtower [specula]. There is no ambiguity here in the Greek language, from which the Epistles of the Apostle were translated into Latin. For there the word for mirror, in which the images of things appear, and the word for watch-tower, from the height of which we see something at a greater distance, are entirely different even in sound- and it is quite clear that the Apostle was referring to a mirror and not to a watchtower when he said «be holding the glory of the Lord" — but when he says: «we are transformed into the same image,» he undoubtedly means the image of God, since he calls it the «same image,» that is, the very one which we are beholding- for the same image is also the glory of God». See also (Augustinus, 1955, X, 5).
13 Cf. (Frontisi-Ducroux, F. & amp- Vernant, J. P, 1997).
Mirificata est scientia tua ex me- invaluit, et non potero ad illam. Ex me quippe intelle-go quam sit mirabilis et incomprehensibilis scientia tua, qua me fecisti- quando nec me ipsum comprehendere valeo quem fecisti: et tamen in meditatione mea exardescit ignis, ut quaeram faciem tuam semper (Augustinus, 1886, XV, 7). 14
The theoria has shed its character of originarity: in the terms of the speculative situation by Augustine, the theoria becomes the mirroring of the full Glory of God. It is presented and affected ab initio by a metaphysical limitation. It is a derived form:
Transformamur ergo dicit, de forma in formam mutamur, atque transimus de forma ob-scura in formam lucidam- quia et ipsa obscura, imago Dei est- et si imago, profecto etiam gloria, in qua homines creati sumus, praestantes ceteris animalibus. De ipsa quippe natura humana dictum est: Vir quidem non debet velare caput, cum sit imago et gloria Dei. Quae natura in rebus creatis excellentissima, cum a suo Creatore ab impietate iustificatur, a de-formi forma formosam transformatur in formam. Est quippe et in ipsa impietate, quanto magis damnabile vitium, tanto certius natura laudabilis. Et propter hoc addidit, de gloria in gloriam: de gloria creationis in gloriam iustificationis. Quamvis possit hoc et aliis modis intellegi, quod dictum est, de gloria in gloriam: de gloria fidei in gloriam speciei- de gloria qua filii Dei sumus, in gloriam qua similes ei erimus, quoniam videbimus eum sicuti est. Quod vero adiunxit, tamquam a Domini Spiritu- ostendit gratia Dei nobis con-ferri tam optabilis transformationis bonum (Augustinus, 1886, XV, 8). 15
This nature of theoria is nobler, but only among created things, creatures. Only if it will be purified from its impiety, this form can realize the real structure of man, but
14 (Augustine, 2002, 181): «Thy knowledge is become wonderful to me- it is sublime, and I cannot reach to it [cf. Psalm 139: 6]. For I understand from myself how wonderful and how incomprehensible Your knowledge is, by which You have made me, when I consider that I cannot even comprehend myself whom You have made- and yet in my meditation a fire flames out [cf. Psalm 39: 3], so that I seek Your face evermore [cf. Psalm 105: 4]».
15 (Augustine, 2002, 182): «He means, then, by «We are transformed,» that we are changed from one form to another, and that we pass from a form that is obscure to a form that is bright: since the obscure form, too, is the image of God- and if an image, then assuredly also «glory,» in which we are created as men, being better than the other animals. For it is said of human nature in itself, «The man ought not to cover his head, because he is the image and glory of God.» And this nature, being the most excellent among things created, is transformed from a form that is defaced into a form that is beautiful, when it is justified by its own Creator from ungodliness. Since even in ungodliness itself, the more the faultiness is to be condemned, the more certainly is the nature to be praised. And therefore he has added, «from glory to glory:» from the glory of creation to the glory of justification. Although these words, «from glory to glory,» may be understood also in other ways- - from the glory of faith to the glory of sight, from the glory whereby we are sons of God to the glory whereby we shall be like Him, because «we shall see Him as He is.» But in that he has added «as from the Spirit of the Lord,» he declares that the blessing of so desirable a transformation is conferred upon us by the grace of God».
not more as dioptrical dynamics, clear form of vision, but only as katoprical dynamics: «a deformi formaformosam transfertur in formam» (Augustinus, 1886, XV, 8). Even the clearest theoria can be only a derived form. It can attain only an obscure form of ultimate reality. The theoria, even the clearest, remains in spite of everything, in its dimension of imperfection, remains — as sign of the gloria creationis, the glory of creation — only a functional step for the glorification of faith.
Vision, but only in the metaphysical form of vision «face-to-face» with an ultimate reality, God, is «gloria speciei, gloria justifications». This metaphysical form escapes, as proper vision, to the mortal form of vision («in isto modo videndi qui concessus est huic vitae» [XV, 9]), derived vision, creatural vision: «per speculo in aenigmate». It also describes a triple modality of vision of which the «theoria» in a phenomenological meaning is the medium: the vision oculis carnalibus is the common sensory vision. The vision «interiore conspectus», is a phenomenological method to inspect the horizon of consciousness. The glorified vision, «gloria specie», is an eschatological term. The meaning/vision, theoria as «visio animi quaedam», is only a mirroring of the «gloria specie» and at the same time a confused reflex of the true reality giving as such, as act of caritas, the justification of everything, and also of all remaining forms of vision. Consequently, every possible act by the internal phenomenological vision, «interiori conspectus», remains a shadow, not of ideas, as the sensory vision by Plato, but of an eschatological vision. But that does not prevent a deep masterly analysis by Augustine:
Quandoquidem cogitatio visio est animi quaedam, sive adsint ea quae oculis quoque corporalibus videantur, vel ceteris sentiantur sensibus, sive non adsint, et eorum simi-litudines cogitatione cernantur- sive nihil eorum, sed ea cogitentur quae nec corporalia sunt, nec corporalium similitudines, sicut virtutes et vitia, sicut ipsa denique cogitatio cogitatur- sive illa quae per disciplinas traduntur liberalesque doctrinas- sive istorum omnium causae superiores atque rationes in natura immutabili cogitentur- sive etiam mala et vana, ac falsa cogitemus, vel non consentiente sensu, vel errante consensu. (Augustinus, 1886, XV, 9). 16
All of human knowledge, «universa scientia hominis», that we can achieve as theoria is nothing other than a reflex, a deformed vision, making nothing else as refer-
16 (Augustine, 2002, 184): «Since thought is a kind of sight of the mind- whether those things are present which are seen also by the bodily eyes, or perceived by the other senses- or whether they are not present, but their likenesses are discerned by thought- or whether neither of these is the case, but things are thought of that are neither bodily things nor likenesses of bodily things, as the virtues and vices- or as, indeed, thought itself is thought of- or whether it be those things which are the subjects of instruction and of liberal sciences- or whether the higher causes and reasons themselves of all these things in the unchangeable nature are thought of- or whether it be even evil, and vain, and false things that we are thinking of, with either the sense not consenting, or erring in its consent».
ring, in its creatural finiteness, to the Holy Trinity, because it is its own image. The science of the intelligentia and the wisdom of the voluntas, expressing and linking each other by the verbum interior, the inner speech, form with this latter the grey (if not dark) image of the Trinity. This image finds its ontological position as human existence only by the caritas. And the human existence is an effect of caritas, a gift of these same caritas by which, following Paul, we will pass «de gloria in gloriam»: «Nunc autem manetfides, spes, caritas, tria haec- major autem ex his est caritas» (I Cor. 13, 13).
The institution of the horizon wherein any theoria can be displayed is definitively characterized as a work of charity. Thus, the human existence opened to the world of things as well as to God as he who created those things as «entia create» is a double specularity, with the world, the profane specularity wherein the human condition can only find insignificance and disorientation, and with God, the source of meaning itself. This radical reversal of classic anthropological paradigm makes the horizon that every «I» is phenomenologically only a bound between the sensible and the eschatological dimension of existence, without autonomous rule outside the place of manifestation for the Revelation.
3. Phenomenology and the Structure of Horizon
We will search in vain for a similar speculative nature in the idea of subjectivity by Husserl and in the idea of horizontality of experience as elaborated by phenomenology, or, at least, by phenomenology as a rational, descriptive approach of mental intentional states. Husserl does not discover the idea of horizon as a new concept for the characterizing experience. The concept of horizon was already essential for the Kantian transcendental approach to sensible experience as openness to a structured phenomenal world. 17
Through Husserl, and in particular with the transcendental turn of phenomenology in the first book of Ideas and upon his work on the sixth Logical Investigation, the horizon becomes a structure, maybe the true structure of experience, of every form of experience, and moreover of every form of seeing, without reference to a transcendence whatsoever. The work on the sixth Logical Investigation presents, to Husserl and moreover to transcendental phenomenology, a new set of problems, questions and theoretical issues, which are deeply related to the concept of intuitive fulfillment. Here, the relation between core and halo, developed in 1908, must be integrated with the concept of horizon as a fundamental structure of perception and every other kind of experience.
The experience also became a contextual experience, essentially related and determined from a contextual situation. More generally, each appearance consists of a whole system of appearances that are empty of content but also potential manifestations of the same type. The state of consciousness depends upon the openness to pre-traced potenti-
17 Cf. (Fraisopi, 2009a).
alities. The horizon, which is part of the noematic dimension described in Ideen I, begins to presents itself as this fundamental intentional structure. 18
By the claim that every experience is rooted upon the «universal ground of the world» Husserl affirms that every experience of everything takes place in a horizon: «Every experience has its own horizon». What is even more interesting is the intrinsic, essential link — from a phenomenological point of view — that the description of intentional structures shows between an object-experience whatever and the horizon-experience as such. Only if we think every experience as doubly oriented, to the thematic object as well as to its horizon, can we locate its structure as experience as well.
The structural connection of every experienced-object as well as an experiencing-subject to the horizon is what makes an experience something situated, rooted in a world. In a certain way, the introduction of the metaphysically neutral concept of «intentional-ity» as «having something as object» (Etwas als Objekt haben) sheds new light upon the relation between vision and the world outside the metaphysical (onto-theo-logical) framework established by the translation of the Greek speculative grammar into the medieval (theological) thought.
Phenomenology as critical disposition will always remain metaphysically neutral. Even if this metaphysical neutrality seems problematic to legitimate in relation to logical and psychological commitments, even if the concept of «World» in the late writings can appear as a metaphysical term, Husserl’s Phenomenology always remains neutral before metaphysical terms of the classical Onto-theo-logy, a heritage of Cartesian-Wollfian tradition. In this sense, Husserl accepts the legacy of transcendental thought and radicalizes it, by the neutralization of every idea of Soul, World and God in phenomenological description of structures of experience. If we can speak of a «World of experience» it’s only because this world appears by and thanks to a structure, the horizontality of every relation to an object.
As issue of a deep and radical elaboration of the rationalist theory of the subject (from Kant to Leibniz), the use of the concept of horizon could not became a fundamental explicitly located structure before Husserl and the transcendental turn of phenomenology. With phenomenology, the horizon became «structure», descriptively clear and, moreover, declined in every way of noematic structuration of experience.
In this way, the structure of experience is tripartite and the intentionality, released from the metaphysical relation subject-objet (Subjekt-Objekt-Beziehung) (Heidegger, 1990, 186), became bipolar: it shows a polarity in the direction of noematic component, what was naively called «the object», and a second polarity in the direction of the horizon itself. The reference to this structure, essentially correlated with the noematic sense as such, determining it and being activated from it, is central for a new interpretation of «experiencing» (Erfahren) opposed to any hypostasis either of a metaphysical ego (as source of intentionality) or of an ontological necessarily fixed ontology of objectity (as reference of intentionality).
18 We presented a more detailed approach to this argument in (Fraisopi, 2009b).
Each moment of an oriented intentional act implies a set of possibilities of other acts of the same type (or of another type), which selection or actualization depends on the contextual circumstances. These possibilities are empty representations, devoid of a fulfillment:
To the system of progressive orientation to new perceptions (and in particular to new manifestations), in which an unique moment of the thing comes to givenness [Gege-benheit] by different modalities of manifestation, corresponds a system of empty components of representation. At the same time from these empty components differs the system of variable circumstances, to which the progressive orientations, as motivated, refer themselves. The change of any circumstance every time motivated & lt-… >- shows a continuous gait and claims thetically, in accordance to the expectance, the arrival of appearances belonging to the fulfillment (Husserl, 2002, 133).
Every possibility, included in the horizontality of experience as intentional dynamics, is «undetermined» but its «indeterminacy» (Unbestimmtheit) is not entirely «empty» but shows a modal essential property, because it is an «indeterminacy & lt-… >- determinable in multiple ways» (Husserl, 2002, 133). With the first book of the Ideas, the structure originally belonging to perception and perceptual field is extended and generalized to every form of experience (temporal horizon, mathematical horizon, fiction horizon). The ego, as egological pole and constitutive of every objectal experience, is constitutively linked to the structure of horizon, that is to say to a structure of empty co-present representation open, and kept open, by another intentional structure, and necessarily another intentional reference, no less important than the primary intentional moment of thematic orientation.
In its experiencing, and moreover in every form of its seeing, the ego depends on a structure of horizon. Where there is an experience, there is a horizon. This connection is so fundamental, so intimately belonging to experience, it represents the core of the principle of all principles. The limits wherein an original giving intuition can be recognized as such are the limits prescribed from the structure of horizon in which the subject enters in relation with any intuition, the limits of its noematic constitution. That is to say that every intuition is recognized as such, as a primary term of a seeing, of a vision, only in relation to the set of mapped potentialities (vorgezeichnete Potentialitaten) as frame for its own and proper appearing.
This raises the question as to why the forms of horizontality could not be meant as metaphysical structures mapping, as invariant frameworks, every seeing. The identification between the forms of horizontality as metaphysical structures, would determine, without exception, the fall of every the phenomenological approach to the forms of vision in a new form of metaphysics of sight? Every form of horizontality as framework is not invariant, not self-standing in a metaphysical space, but comes out from a genesis, a genetic process, building itself through the stream of our own experiencing. Every
motivated orientation as choice of a potentiality of new thematic acts, as precisely «motivated», implies the independence of this structure of mapped potentialities from the ego as well as from the matter of intuition. There is neither any possible metaphysics of ego nor any possible metaphysical fixed ontologies capable of reducing the structure of motivation in every form of seeing to something not belonging to the stream, that is to say to the life of experience. 19
The dimension of theorein, the openness of seeing in all its forms and in all its change, does allow neither a metaphysical nor an ontological transcendence, that is to say: a fixed term able to be characterized as the ground of variability of seeing and of being seen. The life of experience is the latest horizon of thinking, the non plus ultra for a thought that will remain anchored to evidence without falling in visionary hypostasis of ultimate realities. It is why any attempt to radicalize phenomenology as well as to naturalize it, would mean a decline to a form of Metaphysics equally unable to lead and to support the labor of phenomenology itself. And this work, or labor, is not only the descriptive approach to phenomena but also the capacity to stay on the field of our experience, of the finiteness, of the relativity of every form of vision, without searching an escape eo ipso be it metaphysical or eschatological.
It is not a matter of orthodoxy or heterodoxy in phenomenology (Janicaud, 1992, 78), but of its capacity to stay within the phenomenological limits of vision itself as framed spaced by our own nature as horizontality. For this reason, every attempt to escape from this horizon of absolute relativity, ontological as well as egologic, as «phe-nomenologie de l’exces» (by E. Levinas, J. -L. Marion, M. Henry, J. -L. Chretien)20 can only rediscover theological motives or movements to link the openness of the horizon of seeing, of visibility, of vision, to something other, a crypto-metaphysical «figure»: the «Other» as Third, the Incarnation, the Donation and so on. Every figure introduced into the relativity of forms of vision described from the phenomenological approach appears as a reduction of the infinite richness of manifestation itself to a hidden, albeit powerful metaphysical gesture. This gesture is clearly responding to the temptation to give up the phenomenological rationalism precisely in the hope to find an acquiescence of exploring.
The hope is the same hope residing in Augustine’s thought, to find in the horizon-tality of inner experience, a senseless mirroring of a senseless world, the metaphysical eschatological moment of a Revelation. But there is no place, precisely following the relativity of forms of vision rediscovered by phenomenology, for a primary figure of vision, concentrating in itself the significance of the stream of our experience. The «vision» is a general name indicating the constitutive relation of man to his horizon- that is, the general name for a multiplicity of relations between man and phainomena, changing and progressively increasing with the enlargement of our own horizon.
19 Cf. (Fraisopi, 2010, 46−63).
20 Cf. (Canullo, 2004).
The task of phenomenology, as Mathesis, or as renewal of modem idea of Mathesis on a new basis, consists in the description of such multiplicity. 21 No more, no less. And the Mathesis as vision, as a particular form of vision, cannot escape — if not by metaphysical illusory assumptions — from the horizon of a human, relative, project.
The idea of Mathesis universalis determines and forms basically the entire evolution of philosophy and science in the Neuzeit but also of Phenomenology itself. Husserl affirms in the third book of Ideas: «my way to phenomenology was essentially determined by Mathesis universalis». If we must locate the possibility of capturing an idea of knowledge capable of resisting the emergence of Complexity and the foundational crisis of modern science, we have indeed to consider the idea of Mathesis universalis from a phenomenological point of view.
It is paradigmatic what Descartes says in his letter to Picot, as an introduction to «Principia philosophiae». Philosophy, Descartes says, «signifie l’etude de la Sagesse. Par la Sagesse on n’entend pas seulement la prudence dans les affaires, mais une parfaite connaissance de toutes les choses que l’homme peut savoir». «La philosophie s’etend a tout ce que l’esprit humain peut savoir». Beyond the pedagogical side of Cartesian definition — that must basically represent the sense itself of an enquiry about the sense of Mathesis — we are mainly interested in the definition as such. The definition in itself is always available because its generality gives it a philosophical character, independent from the crisis in which falls the Galilean-Cartesian science at the beginning of twentieth Century with the following emergence of ontological as well as egological relativity. And what changes is precisely the content of the project itself as construction of a Mathesis: there is, on one hand, a metaphysical foundation, there is, on the other hand, the need of finding a non-metaphysical constitution of Mathesis. Let’s come back to Descartes:
afin que cette connaissance soit telle, il est necessaire qu’elle soit deduite des premieres causes, en sorte que, pour etudier a l’acquerir, ce qui se nomme proprement philosopher, il faut commencer par la recherche de ces premieres causes, c’est-a-dire des Principes (Descartes, 1996, IX, 2−3).
All the difference between a Mathesis in a metaphysical sense and in a non metaphysical one consists in the qualification of those first causes, of those first principles. The analysis of Husserl’s Idea of Mathesis universalis will bring us to the point of a parting of ways between Metaphysics and Phenomenology of sight. In the Introduction to «Formal and transcendental logic» — when is matter to put into question the unity of knowledge beyond and independently from its positive growth — Husserl claims:
21 We know, from Husserl itself, that the idea of Phenomenology as Mathesis, as universal descriptive project was modeled upon the idea of a Theory of Multiplicities (Mannigfaltigkeitslehre) firstly formulated, in Mathematics, by Riemann. Cf. (Husserl, 1975, 248−250).
Thus modem science has abandoned the ideal of genuine science that was vitally operative in the sciences form the time of Plato- and in its practice, it has abandoned radicalness of scientific self-responsibility. No longer is its inmost driving force that radicalness which unremittingly imposes on itself the demand to accept no knowledge that cannot be accounted for by originarily first principles, which are at the same time matters of perfect insight — principles that profounder inquiry makes no sense. Science as actually developing may been very imperfect in this respect. But the essential thing was that the radical demand guided a corresponding practical striving toward perfection, and that logic accordingly was still assigned the great function of exploring, in their essential universality, the possible avenues to ultimate principles and, by displaying in detail the essence of genuine science as such (and therefore its pure possibility), giving to actual science its norm and guidance. Nothing was more remote, therefore, than to aim at a sort of merely technical productivity, the naivete of which sets it in extremest contrast to the productivity of a radical selftesting by normative principles. But this matter of principles (as all the giants of the past, from Plato on, have seen) gains its full force, its full apodictic evidentness on every side, form the universality with which all sciences are inseparably connected as branches of one sapientia universalis (Descartes).
The emancipated special sciences fail to understand the essential one-sidedness of their productions- they fail to understand that they will not encompass in their theories the full being-sense of their respective provinces until they lay aside the blinders imposed by their method, as an inevitable consequence of the exclusive focusing of each on its own particular province: in other words, until they relate their combined researches to the universality of being and its fundamental unity (Husserl, 1969, 4).
It is precisely the challenge of a transcendental logic to think the unity of science and, more generally of knowledge, as unity that depends essentially on the cognitive structures of the subject. However, this subject is not yet the metaphysical subject, able to grasp metaphysical entities (or logical structures) in a mysterious way. It is the status of first principle that made the difference between the possibility of a metaphysical Mathesis and a non metaphysical one. Such principle, for Phenomenology, has an unsubstantial, un-metaphysical content, as openness of seeing as such: the I-horizon.
The alternative between Metaphysics and Phenomenology of sight does not only mean a particular possible moment of a philosophical approach but also determines the general approach to our experience, to our way to intend this experience, that is to say the fundamental decision of our questioning the world. At the end of Metaphysics, after the collapse of metaphysical systems of thought, Phenomenology arises as the more radical way to questioning a progressively wider horizon of phenomenality, completely independent from the need for an ultimate term of significance, for an eschatological illusion of completeness.
But that radical questioning raises new anthropological as well as cosmological questions. Phenomenology could provide a philosophical approach to these questions. In this relativity of visions, of relations to things, a fixed idea of man, a fixed idea of world, in other words, a world-image (Weltbild) wherein we find our own image, are quite impossible. It’s impossible, for us, to seek to find an ultimate version of the world, i. e. an affirmative cosmology, or an ultimate version of man, i.e. an affirmative anthropology. There will be no affirmative theory, strong and complete enough, able to remove the relativity of vision as structure of our relation to the horizon of every seeing. The unique possible answer is: not! It’s precisely the so strong and essential connection between the «I» (but also the «eye») and the horizon that determines every anthropology as well as every cosmology as only «privative» (Barbaras, 2008, 235). The unique specularity we could find is between «I» and «horizon», without eschatological possible escape, without definitive or ultimate fixation. The residual positivity beyond the crisis of metaphysics (and also of every form of metaphysics of sight), as a sort of pre-philosophical nature, is an equivalence between two variable terms constitutively linked by «seeing»: «pantes anthropoi tou eidenai oregontai physei» (Aristotle, 1831−1870 (Metaph.), I, 980a). The I-horizon does not only mean that the «I», as core, had always an «horizon» but also that in its own experiencing it’s horizon (and only horizon). Only in this way, by the way of a phenomenological Mathesis, we can rediscover the idea of aprote episteme.
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