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On the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time.

Brough's translation of Husserl's writings on time-consciousness found in volume 10 of the critical edition of Husserl's works (Husserliana) is a welcome addition to the growing catalogue of translations of Husserl. The texts collected in Husserliana 10 are of central importance to understanding Husserl's phenomenology. They are indispensable first to understanding the "wonder" (p. 260) of time-consciousness, whose analysis is "an ancient burden" (p. 3), and the "most difficult" (p. 286) and "perhaps the most important" (p. 346) problem in phenomenology. But they are also indispensable to understanding the most fundamental structures of all experience and of the ego. The irreducible and unitary form of time grounds the possibility of experiencing the duration, concreteness, and individuality of all objects, whether immanent or transcendent, whether processional or enduring; indeed, even ideal objects are experienced as timeless only against the backdrop of the temporal. The analysis of time-consciousness therefore discloses intentionalities essential to the experience of every possible object.

This translation surpasses that previously available (by James S. Churchill [Indiana University Press, 1964]) in several respects. First, Brough's translation, unlike Churchill's, is based on the critical edition of 1966 rather than the Heidegger edition of 1928. Consequently, Brough's translation also includes the important supplementary texts gathered by Rudolf Boehm for the critical edition.

Second, the research of Rudolf Boehm and Rudolf Bernet regarding the status and dates of the texts comprised by Husserliana 10 was available to Brough. The 1928 edition brought together texts in such a way as to obscure the significant changes within Husserl's thought. While both the critical edition and Brough's translation follow the plan of the 1928 edition, the availability of the material regarding the dating of the various parts of that text and of the supplementary texts enables one better to understand both Husserl's development and his mature position.

Third, Brough's translation establishes a better balance than Churchill's among (1) scholarly demands for as literal a translation of the German as possible; (2) interpretative clarity in translational choices--and given Brough's long-standing scholarly devotion to the analysis of these texts, I can think of no one more suited to achieve this interpretative clarity; and (3) the demands of English syntax and the English ear. Brough's translation is more faithful to the original; his translational choices are better, even when Churchill's different ones are not incorrect.

Fourth, this volume is graced by Brough's lucid introduction. Brough first discusses the history of the texts, and he recounts how they came to have the form they do. Since the texts span the years 1893 to 1917, it is clear to anyone familiar with Husserl's philosophy that there must have been fundamental changes in Husserl's views of time-consciousness owing to the gradual development of his theory of the phenomenological method and, especially, of the phenomenological reduction, which was first explicitly presented in The Idea of Phenomenology (Husserliana 2) in 1907. Consequently, Brough takes up the issue of the relation between Husserl's developing sense of the phenomenological reduction and these writings on time-consciousness. Insofar as the reduction is a methodological device disclosing the intentional correlation between consciousness and its objects as intended, Brough then turns his attention to this correlation.

The largest part of Brough's introduction, following a brief discussion of the temporal object as experienced, is devoted to the discussion of Husserl's evolving views of the consciousness of time. Brough establishes the problematic and context for Husserl's account of time-consciousness by briefly reviewing Husserl's understanding of and objections to the theories of Meinong and Brentano. Even if Meinong is successful in explaining the succession of consciousness, he cannot explain the consciousness of succession. Brentano cannot adequately explain the awareness in the present of the past (and future), that is, he cannot adequately account for the momentary awareness of the temporal extent of the intended object. Husserl's distinction between primary memory (later called "retention") and secondary memory (memory in the full and ordinary sense) are the key to his resolution of these problems. But his understanding of primary memory or retention changes significantly around 1909, for his earlier theory suffered from defects similar to those infecting Brentano's. Brough provides concise explanations of Husserl's earlier and later views and the reasons for Husserl's change of view, and he prepares the reader very well for both the richness and complexity of Husserl's own texts.

Brough's admirably clear translation is of great value not only to Husserl scholars already acquainted with these texts but to all philosophers interested in time and our awareness of it. The clothbound volume is a handsome, but expensive, book. The paperback will be equally handsome, differing only its binding. This text is very attractive for those teaching Husserl at the graduate level; unfortunately even the paperback is expensive, at least for typically impoverished graduate students. But at least the paperback makes Husserl's careful and insightful reflections on time-consciousness available to a wider English-speaking audience, and those who can afford it should buy it; it is a volume which repays careful rereadings.
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Author:Drummond, John J.
Publication:The Review of Metaphysics
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 1, 1993
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