• Richard T. Webster
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 12)


Tai de skiai aisousi, “they flit as shadows, ” says Plato, in The Republic,about the world of illusions. Yet we have to ask: “what is a shadow?” or “to flit?” It is not possible to say of anything that “it is not” or “it does not exist” tout court. One can only say, or imply, that it,which must be something, does not exist as one thing, but only as another, not as a body but as a shadow, or a word; not as a physical, but only as a mental phenomenon, for instance, or as one kind of such thing and not another. Thus we should not exactly be asking “what is,or really exists?” but “as whatdo the things that exist, exist or not exist?” What is thus called for is some regional ontology, some provisional overall view, at least — a Jungle Book,so to say, as distinct from the growling of only one lion. If this is difficult to obtain in a satisfactory way, it is nevertheless worth striving for, and we can but make our suggestions.


Secret Message Literal Meaning Logical Experience Absolute Importance Regional Ontology 
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  1. 1.
    ‘Ein Erlebnis schattet sich nicht ab’ (Husserl, Ideen.The Hague], I, 42).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cf. the following words of Etienne Gilson, which I have taken from an unpublished letter dated July 1966: “He [Wittgenstein] never asks the only question in which I am interested, and of which the answer has always eluded me: What is, in fact, the relationship of the material ord to immaterialmeaning? It seems to me that the answer to that elementary question, should we find it, would reveal to us the secret behind the development (or absence of development) of the history of metaphysical speculation from Plotinus to our own days. Why is what comes after One,a Nous! I feel more and more inclined to see no difference between the relationship of thought to language and that of Being to beings.”Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    In the article ‘Fenomenologia,’ in Enciclopedia Filosofica (Centro di Gallarate, 1957).Google Scholar

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© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1982

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  • Richard T. Webster

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