Sunday, 20 April 2008

Husserl's indeterminacy of perception

"If I apprehend a box, from the very outset it has for the apprehension a back side and an interior, though for the most part these are very undetermined. For example, it remains an open question whether the box is full or empty, whether the back is polished or not, etc. ... The indeterminateness is an immanent character of the apprehension, and we must note well that it is not at all identical everywhere and, as it were, of a monochrome character but instead has many tints and grades. Indeterminateness is never absolute or complete. Complete indeterminateness is nonsense; the indeterminateness is always delimited in this or that way. I may not know exactly what sort of form the back side has, yet it precisely has some form; the body is a body. I may not know how matters stand with the colour, the roughness or smoothness, the warmth or coldness, yet it pertains to the very sense of the apprehension of a thing that the thing possess a certain colour, a certain surface determination, etc. When I glance at the thing it stands there as a thing; the apprehension gives it, in a meaningful way, a form, a colour, etc., and does so not only with regard to the front side but also with regard to the unseen side. Yet it is only "a" colour, "a" form, etc. That is, these are not "determinately" predelineated in the apprehension...the apprehension has the character of "indeterminateness.""

Thing and Space, by Edmund Husserl, p. 50