Looking at Joseph Trabbic’s Essay (2021) “Jean Luc-Marion and … First Philosophy” (Part 5 of 5)

0017 Comments on Joseph Trabbic’s Essay (2021) “Jean Luc Marion and … First Philosophy” adds value to the original.

How much value?

Maybe two Euros worth.

0018 What is the value of a Euro?

That is a very good question.

0019 Can a one Euro coin be reduced to its matter and form?

Can a Euro be reduced to instrumental and material causalities?

Surely, according to the empirio-schematic judgment, a one Euro coin can be accounted for by its constituent metals and circular shape.  There is a science to coining money.  Isn’t there?

0020 Or, does the givenness of the Euro allow us to imagine that a Euro is more than metal and shape?

Does the givenness of the Euro say that what the thing itself must be may be treated as a thing itself, supporting novel, “social”, sciences, where the noumenon can be objectified as its phenomena?

0021 If this is so, then phenomenological reduction precedes Husserl by over a century.

Is that possible?

Can what the thing must be become a thing itself?

There is something eye-catching and nonsensical about givenness.

Trabbic graciously accepts that Marion must make sense and leads the reader to that glittering impossible possibility.


Looking at Joseph Trabbic’s Essay (2021) “Jean Luc-Marion and … First Philosophy” (Part 4 of 5)

0014 Ah, phenomenology situates empirical science.

This is one lesson found in Reverie on Mark Spencer’s Essay (2021) “The Many Phenomenology Reductions” (available for purchase at smashwords).

0015 Givenness puts phenomenology into perspective.

This statement stands at the heart of Comments on Joseph Trabbic’s Essay (2021) “Jean Luc Marion and … First Philosophy” (also available at smashwords).

0016 Yet, neither Spencer nor Trabbic mention science.


Looking at Joseph Trabbic’s Essay (2021) “Jean Luc-Marion and … First Philosophy” (Part 3 of 5)

0009 The following looks like a hylomorphe, but it does not belong to the realm of actuality.

Figure 1

0010 This dyad expresses what is in the Positivist’s judgment.

The Positivist’s judgment constitutes the second first philosophy, arising and ruling out the first first philosophy.

0011 What is a first philosophy?

A first philosophy addresses the question, “Why is there something rather than nothing?”

This is the first question that every philosophy must confront.

0012 Many prefer to skip to the next question, “What is ‘something’?”

The first first philosophy, as practiced by scholastics of the Latin Age, says, “It must be the things of God and of everyday life.”

The second first philosophy, modern science, says, “No, it must be phenomena, the observable and measurable facets of things.”

The third first philosophy, Husserl’s phenomenology, says, “We must return to the noumenon, the thing itself, and figure out what the noumenon must be.”

But, is the thing itself the same as what the thing itself must be?0013 Here is where Jean-Luc Marion enters the picture and says, “A fourth first philosophy should place Husserl’s situating of science into perspective, by addressing the question, ‘Why are there noumena, rather than nothing?’.”


Looking at Joseph Trabbic’s Essay (2021) “Jean Luc-Marion and … First Philosophy” (Part 2 of 5)

0006 Trabbic’s approach to Jean Luc-Marion’s masterwork, The Phenomenology of Givenness, is curious.

Trabbic precisely executes a style that is rarely used in contemporary works.

He asks us to recognize a possibility (that seems to be impossible).

0007 First, the reader must recognize that there are phenomena, rather than nothing.  Things themselves are simply given.

Second, the reader must recognize that givenness implies a gift with no giver and no recipient.

0008 Trabbic’s construction leads the reader up the staircase of one and down the staircase of two.

The literary structure is beautiful to behold.


Looking at Joseph Trabbic’s Essay (2021) “Jean Luc-Marion and … First Philosophy” (Part 1 of 5)

0001 Joseph Trabbic’s essay appears in the American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly (volume 95(3), pages 389-409).  This is the second article on phenomenology to attract attention.  The full title is “Jean Luc-Marion and the Phenomenologie de la Donation as First Philosophy”.

Jean-Luc Marion is a French phenomenologist who attempts to put Husserl’s paradigm into perspective.  His book is published 25 years ago.  It still confounds readers.

Trabbic performs admirably in trying to decipher both the French language and the book.

0002 There is a lot to unpack, especially since science is not mentioned at all.

I wonder what Husserl is up to when he calls for a return to the noumenon?

Perhaps, scientists focus so much on phenomena that they neglect the thing itself.

0003 This is the lesson formulated in Reverie on Mark Spencer’s Essay (2021) “The Many Phenomenology Reductions”(available for purchase at smashwords).  Spencer also publishes in the American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly.  The full title of Spencer’s article is “The Many Phenomenological Reductions and Catholic Metaphysical Anti-Reductionism”.

Spencer mentions Jean-Luc Marion, along with many other phenomenologists.

It is like going through an old jewelry box.

Jean-Luc Marion sparkles.

0004 Comments on Joseph Trabbic’s Essay (2021) “Jean Luc Marion and … First Philosophy” (also available at smashwords) builds upon this reverie.

Why does Jean-Luc Marion catch the eye?


Looking at Mark Spencer’s Essay (2021) “The Many Phenomenological Reductions” (Part 4 of 4)

0014 Despite the hazards involved, there are opportunities.  

The Christian realist cannot speak in terms of metaphysics, because those words are not allowed in polite scientific society.

Perhaps, the Christian realist can convey the same meaning, presence and message with phenomenological terms, which are designed to sidestep the dictates of the positivist intellect.  The language of phenomenology is adapted to not wake the sleeping dog of science.

0015 Spencer ends the article in an impasse.

The impasse is theatrical.

Spencer declares, “Phenomenology longs to speak the language of metaphysics.  Metaphysics longs to speak from the platform of phenomenology.  Why can’t we find an accommodation?”

The phenomenologist cannot answer by saying, “An accommodation will destroy us both.”

0016 For Christians and phenomenologists alike, there is something to be learned from Mark Spencer’s 2021 essay, “The Many Phenomenological Reductions and Catholic Metaphysical Anti-Reductionism”, appearing in the summer issue of the American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, and Razie Mah’s commentary, available at the smashwords website.

Science cannot be ignored.


Looking at Mark Spencer’s Essay (2021) “The Many Phenomenological Reductions” (Part 3 of 4)

0009 Sound is a very interesting thing.

Dogs can hear sounds that humans cannot.

Does that mean that humans cannot be effected by inaudible sounds?

Can humans be impacted by inaudible sounds?

0010 These questions have proper grammatical form, but they do not speak to the heart of the matter.

Phenomenologists speak in a specialized language that scientists do not hear.  The scientist’s ears are tuned to hear about measurements, models and precisely defined terms.  Phenomenology does not speak of phenomena in scientific terminology.

The guard dog of science is on the prowl for another language that scientists do not want to hear, the language of metaphysics.  So, phenomenologists also do not speak of phenomena using metaphysical terms.

0011 In short, phenomenologists strive to be impactful while being inaudible.

0012 Mark Spencer does not reflect on the tentative engagement between phenomenology and science.

He innocently explores an accommodation between Christian realism and phenomenology.

After all, both indirectly situate science.

0013 Well, forget the “after all”. 

Spencer does not mention science at all.

As such, he threatens to wake the sleeping dog of the positivist intellect.

His proposals make phenomenologists jittery.

Talk of metaphysics will upset a delicate arrangement.


Looking at Mark Spencer’s Essay (2021) “The Many Phenomenological Reductions” (Part 2 of 4

0006 The scenario depicted in the prior blog appears in Comments on Mark Spencer’s Essay (2021) “The Many Phenomenological Reductions”, available for purchase at smashwords.

Search for Razie Mah, Mark Spencer, and phenomenological reductions.  The electronic article in smashwords, or some other electronic literature venue, should appear.

0007 The engagement between phenomenology and science is delicate.  Phenomenologists attend to the same phenomena as scientists.  But, they do not compete with scientists.

Scientists directly situate phenomena using the empirio-schematic judgment (which is first diagrammed in Comments on Jacques Maritain’s Book (1935) Natural Philosophy), in the normal context of a positivist intellect.  The positivist intellect has a rule.  Metaphysics is not allowed.

Phenomenologists sidestep science, by contemplating phenomena, while reducing their field of consciousness to exclude the machinations of science, among other distractions.  The goal is to identify what the thing itself must be, without any metaphysical baggage… er… I mean… terminology.  Anything that sounds like metaphysics will raise the ire of scientists.

0008 It is like tiptoeing around a sleeping dog.  The metaphorical dog protects science against metaphysics.  It has been known to gnaw on the bones of its victims, especially the ones who uttered the word, “hylomorphism”.  That word sounds totally metaphysical.  “Hyle” is Greek for “matter”.  “Morphe” is Greek for “form”.

To the sleeping dog of science, physics is the master of the house.

The master of the house says, “No metaphysics.”


Looking at Mark Spencer’s Essay (2021) “The Many Phenomenological Reductions” (Part 1 of 4)

0001 What is Phenomenology?

Phenomenology belongs to (what John Deely calls) the Age of Ideas, starting with the Western civilization’s turn from scholasticism towards mechanical philosophy.

0002 Mechanical philosophers, such as Rene Descartes (1596-1650 AD) say, “Forget final and formal causation.  Think in terms of material and instrumental causalities.  Attend to phenomena, the observable and measurable features of our world.  Then, build mathematical and mechanical models using well defined terms.”

0003 Later, Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) codifies a reaction against this fixation, arguing that we must not forget the thing itself (the noumenon).  Sure, phenomena are crucial to scientific observations and measurements.  But, the noumenon cannot be objectified as its phenomena.

0004 Then, Edmund Husserl (1856-1939) declares, “I have developed another way to situate phenomena.  By consciously focusing on phenomena, while bracketing out all this measurement business, along with other distractions, I can identify the noumenon, what the thing itself must be.”

0005 Now, there are two ways to situate phenomena.

First, scientists directly situate phenomena through observations and measurements.  They build models.  They are not interested in the thing itself.

Second, phenomenologists virtually situate phenomena through a method of bracketing assumptions, such as the empirio-schematic judgment, to end up with a noumenon, what the thing itself must be.


Comments on Armand Maurer’s Essay (2004) “Darwin, Thomists and Secondary Causality” (Short Preparation)

These comments are posted as an advertisement of the series titled, “Peirce’s Secondness and Aristotle’s Hylomorphism”.

This series should be of interest to high-school and college students interested in science and religion in the upcoming Age of Triadic Relations.

Short introductions are found on the page of each e-work appearing in smashwords dotcom.  The entire series offers more than a dozen commentaries.

In 2004, Armand Maurer publishes a brief history of primary and secondary causalities. They first appear in the Neoplatonic Book of Causes, which Aquinas comments on. It is popularized by Suarez.  Darwin accesses them, as potential avenues for appreciating his theory of evolution. These comments examine this story using the category-based nested form.