Tran Duc Thao - Phenomenology and Dialectical Materialism

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Tran Duc Thao - Phenomenology and Dialectical Materialism

Text of Tran Duc Thao - Phenomenology and Dialectical Materialism


    E D I T E D BY R O B E R T S . C O H E N A N D M A R X W. W A R T O F S K Y

    VOLUME 49



    Translated by

    Daniel J . Herman and Donald V. Morano

    Edited by

    Robert S. Cohen



    DORDRFlCHT / B O S T O N / l,AN('ASTt:K / T O K Y O

  • Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

    Trln. Duc Thao. Phenomenology and dialectical materialism.

    (Boston studies in the philosophy of science ; v . 49) Translation of: Phenomknologie et matirialisme dialectique. Bibliography: p. Includes index. 1. Phenomenology. 2. Dialecticalmaterialsm. 3. Husserl,

    Edmund, 1859-1938. I. Cohen, Robert Sonnk. 11. Title. 111. Series. Q174.867 vol. 49 [B829.5] 001'.01 s [146'.32] 85-35 ISBN 90-277-0737-5

    Published by D. Reidel Publishing Company, P.O. Box 17, 3300 AA Dordrecht, Holland.

    Sold and distributed in the U.S.A. and Canada by Kluwer Academic PubIishers,

    160 Old Derby Street, Hingham, MA 02043, U.S.A.

    In all other countries, sold and distributed by Kluwer Academic Publishers Group,

    P.O. Box 322 ,3300 AH Dordrecht, Holland.

    Translated from Tran Duc Thao's Pheitomertologie et mattrialisme dialectique (Paris: Minh Tan, 195 l ; re-issued New York: Gordon

    & Breach Science Pubs., Inc., 1971).

    AU Rights Reserved. O 1986 by D. Reidel Publishing Company.

    No part of the material protected by this copyright notice may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,

    including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the copyright owner.

    Printed in The Netherlands.


    C H A P T E R O N E : T H E INTUITION O F E S S E N C E S 1. The Technique of Variation 2. Pure Idealities and Empirical Idealities 3. The True Significance of the Notion of Essence 4. Difficulties with the Objectivism of Essences. The Return to

    the Subject C H A P T E R TWO: T H E T H E M A T I Z A T I O N O F C O N C R E T E C O N - SCIOUSNESS

    5. The Return to Lived Experience in the Logische Unter- suchutzgetz

    6. The Discovery of the Reduction 7. The Exposition of the Ideen 8. The Critique of the Kantians 9. Fink's Reply. The Necessity of a More Radical Explanation

    10. The Notion of Constitution. The Signification of Transcen- dental Idealism

    11. The Constitution of the World of the Spirit 12. The Notion of Object. Perception and Judgment


    E D l T O R I A L P R E F A C E

    T R A N S L A T O R S ' F O R E W O R D

    A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S

    A U T H O R ' S P R E F A C E





    C H A P T E R T H R E E : T H E P R O B L E M S O F R E A S O N 13. Self-Evidence (~videtzce) and Truth 69 14. The problem of Error 73 15. [Self-] Evidence as Intentional Performance (Intetztiotzale

    Leis tung) 77

  • vi T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S

    16. The Possibility of Error as Contemporaneous with Truth 8 2 17. A Digression - The Theory of Evidence According to

    Descartes and the Problem of the Cartesian Circle 8 7 18. Phenomenological Description as a Critique of Authenticity:

    Static and Genetic Constitution 9 0 19. The Constitution of the Formal Domain: Logic and Mathe-

    matics 99 1-0. The Genesis of Judgment 11 1

    C H A P T E R F O U R : T H E R E S U L T O F P H E N O M E N O L O G Y 21. The Genesis of Antepredicative Experience and Its Real

    Content 11-1


    I N T R O D U C T I O N T O P A R T TWO 1. Consciousness and Matter

    C H A P T E R O N E : T H E D I A L E C T I C O F A N I M A L B E H A V I O R AS T H E B E C O M I N G O F S E N S E C E R T A I N T Y

    2. Phenomenological Givens and Real Givens 143 3. The Movement of the Internal Sense 146 4. The Movement of the External Sense 156 5. Remarks on the Preceding Development: The Passage to the

    Dialectic of Human Societies 172

    C H A P T E R T W O : T H E D I A L E C T I C O F H U M A N S O C I E T I E S AS T H E B E C O M I N G O F R E A S O N

    6. Use-Value and the Movement of Sacrifice 179 7. The Movement of Wealth and the Becoming of the Gods 189 8. Mercantile Economy and the Sacrifice of the Savior, God 194 9. Monetary Economy, the Transcendence of the Idea, and the

    Concept of Salvation 201 10. Capitalistic Economy, the Power of Abstraction and the

    Proletarian Revolution 2 12

    A P P E N D I X 219

    N O T E S 22 1

    B I B L I O G R A P H Y O F W O R K S C I T E D 24 1

    I N D E X OF N A M E S 243

    E D I T O R I A L P R E F A C E

    Triin Duc Thao, a brilliant student of philosophy at the 6cole Normale Super- ieure within the post-1935 decade of political disaster, born in Vietnam shortly after the First World War. recipient of a scholarship in Paris in 1935- 37. was early noted for his independent and original mind. While the 1930s twisted down to the defeat of the Spanish Republic, the compromise with German Fascism at Munich, and the start of the Second World War, and while the 1940s began with hypocritical stability at the Western Front fol- lowed by the defeat of France, and the occupation of Paris by the German power together with French collaborators, and then ended with liberation and a search for a new understanding of human situations, the young Thao was deeply immersed in the classical works of European philosophy. He was also the attentive but critical student of a quite special generation of French metaphysicians and social philosophers: Gaston Berger, Maurice Merleau- Ponty, Emile Brehier, Henri Lefebvre, Rene le Senne, Jean-Paul Sartre, perhaps the young Louis Althusser. They, in their several modes of response, had been meditating for more than a decade on the philosophy of Edmund Husserl, which came to France in the thirties as a new metaphysical enlighten- ment - phenomenology. With Husserl's phenomenology. there also came the powerful influences of a revived Hegel (of the Phenomenologl~) and of Martin Heidegger's existentialism, and, in a tangle of variants, there came a startling renewed investigation of Marx. The young Tran Duc Thao joined the search for objective truth, worked to overcome both psychologism and every weakening of knowledge by subjectivist limitation, investigated Hus- serl's writings in print and in the fine archives at Louvain (with the kindly help of H. L. van Breda). His progress was dialectical, Socratic and Hegelian, but also it was a material dialectic due both t o his Marxist studies and to the grim tasks of the greater liberation in his social life-world - the liberation of Vietnam.

    Thao's themes drove him to the border of Husserl's thought, just as Thao saw Husserl himself driven toward the apparent relativism of the final Krisis manuscripts. The privileged, indeed most precious, phenomenological activity is that of 'constitution', for which there is the endless work of passing from naive certainty to the developed no-longer-naive certainties of intentional


  • xx A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S

    Lastly, Daniel Herman wishes to heartily thank Anne who in her own way made this work possible by keeping little Nicole busy with her toys rather than with her daddy's translation. A U T H O R ' S P R E F A C E

    The work that we present to the public consists of research belonging to different times and inspirations. In the first part, written between 1942 and 1950, we set forth the essential features of phenomenology from a purely historical point of view and in the perspective of Husserl's own thought. Our critical objections serve only t o make evident internal contradictions found within the Husserlian corpus itself. In contrast, the second part, completed in 1951, is situated entirely within the position of dialectical materialism. It is true that there we take up again certain technical results of lived analyses, but only in terms of pure positive data, completely freed from the philosophical horizon that dominated Husserl's descriptive method. However, it is not a question in any sense of a mere juxtaposition of two contradictory points of view: Marxism appears t o us as the only conceivable solution to problems raised by phenomenology itself.

    Our task in setting forth Husserl's thought was a relatively easy one, since it was concerned only with the theory of phenomenological analysis under the three aspects that appeared successively in its evolution: the description of essences, the static explication of lived experience [vecu], and finally a genetic explication. Its concepts were simple enough, and, in addition, amply developed in the published works. But, obviously, theory is worthless without practice, and for a long time we believed that within the very presentation of the method should be included the achieved results of the method; however, the most important part of this work has remained unpub1ished.l It is here that we have encountered extraordinary difficulties, which are responsible for the long delay in the completion of this work and have radically reversed its orientation.

    The examination of unpublished manuscripts demonstrated, in fact, that the concrete analyses took a direction that was incompatible with the theoretical principles from which these concrete analyses were elaborated. From the beginning of our study of Husserl (in a work written in 1942 of w