Looking at Richard Colledge’s Essay (2021) “Thomism and Contemporary Phenomenological Reduction” (Part 7 of 7)

0026 Are Catholic philosophers so alienated from science that they are willing to talk through the mouthpiece of phenomenology?

Are there other ways to enter into discourse in this modern Age of Ideas?

Why does the hylomorphic structure of reality constantly get co-opted in the pursuit of science?

Are phenomenologists implicated?

0027 Doctor Figal imagines a gap3c, whose interpretive polarity1c sparks the exteriorization2c of what the thing itself1amust be1b, thereby generating a noumenon1b(1a) that can be objectified as its phenomena1a, according to “social” scientific discipline2a.  He labels the operation, “objectivity2c“.

Is objectivity metaphysical?

Or, does it sound like “electricity”?

0028 Colledge is fascinated.  What marvelous transformations occur in the laboratory of Professor Figal.  Metaphysics alchemically mutates into the stuff of physics.

0029 Comments on Richard Colledge’s Essay (2021) “Thomism and Contemporary Phenomenology” offers value to the originating essay.  Not only is science brought into the picture, but the re-vision is rooted in Comments on Jacques Maritain’s Book (1935) Natural Philosophy.  Colledge has more than he knows.

003 It is wonderful to see striking similarities between Marion’s naming of givenness2c and Figal’s enumeration of objectivity2c.

Peirce’s categories offer ways to diagram that vision.


Looking at Richard Colledge’s Essay (2021) “Thomism and Contemporary Phenomenological Reduction” (Part 6 of 7)

0022 Okay, so far in this sequence of blogs, I have discussed three incentives for why Catholic philosophers may be interested in phenomenology.  I have also raised a question concerning why these philosophers do not mention science.

0023 The answer to the latter question is located in the relation within the Positivist’s judgment.  A positivist intellect (relation, thirdness) brings an empirio-schematic judgment (what ought to be, secondness) into relation with observations and measurements (what is, firstness).  The positivist intellect has a rule.  Metaphysics is not allowed.

0024 What is the result?

Catholic anti-reductionists are excluded from discourse… er, polite scientific society in this modern Age of Ideas.

The positivist intellect says, “No.”

So, why even try?

Why not discourse with the ones who might want to talk, the phenomenologists?

0025 Do I see Gunter Figal heading to the exit?

Professor Figal is interested in objectivity, not givenness.


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.”