Feeling as the ground of striving? The contribution of Alexander Pfänder
The majority of Pfänder scholars (including Husserl himself) have focused their commentary more on Motives and Motivation than on the Phenomenology of Willing. In the former work, there is a clear delimitation of the sphere of voluntary acts as opposed to other acts of striving, such as desiring. The question that I ask in this chapter is both more general and more specific and is one which scholars have not paid sufficient attention to: whether that which makes a striving into a striving is an element that has the nature of a feeling. If it is such an element, one might get the idea that strivings are nothing more than an aggregate of a representative livedexperience and a feeling. Emulating Husserlian terminology, we might say that the ¿character of striving¿ of a lived-experience of striving would then have the nature of a feeling. If, however, that is not how things are, then lived-experiences of striving would be a specific type of lived-experience, different from experiences of representation and feeling. The reconstruction of these two positions, defended by Pfänder in the Phenomenology of Willing and Introduction to Psychology, respectively, casts light on a difficult question, i.e., that of the relationship between affective intentionality and the intentionality of the will. Keywords: feeling, will, striving, phenomenology, ethics
Alexander Pfänder¿s Phenomenology of Willing (1900) and Motives and Motivation (1911)2 offer a detailed phenomenological analysis of the lived-experience of striving and, in particular, of one such experience: willing. This is a true phenomenological analysis, in the sense that Adolf Reinach describes it at the beginning of Die Überlegung. It is not a question of employing the usual concepts, but rather to ¿enter into the phenomenon itself in order to faithfully reproduce what we can find alive in it¿ (Reinach 1989, pp. 279-80). Anyone who has approached this and other works by Pfänder will agree with Moritz Geiger¿s opinion about the latter¿s style of philosophizing: his principal interest is to give a voice to what is given insofar as it is given
(Geiger 1930, p. 3). The methodological principle of Selbstgegebenheit (Geiger 1930, p. 5) seeks, on the one hand, to offer a complete and non-reductive explanation of the phenomenon itself and, on the other, to show how to pass from the contemplation of the given to its scientifi c-conceptual description. 3 This brings with it a rejection of any and all attempts to explain what is given as truly being something else. Hence, Pfänder criticizes all attempts to dissolve the phenomenon of striving into other, different facts. The goal, in the end, is to identify the essential moments of the phenomenon. 4 It is from this methodological point of view that Pfänder deals with the question of the principal types of psychic experiences. In this domain, Pfänder (1904) distinguishes between three types of lived-experiences [ Erlebnisse ]: the representative (which he calls, in general, ¿consciousness of objects¿ ( Gegenstandsbewusstsein ), feelings ( Gefühle ) and experiences of striving ( Streben ). The principal issue here is whether (1) striving experiences are really constituted by the sum of a representational experience ( Gegenstandsbewusstsein ) and a feeling ( Gefühl ) or whether (2) lived-experiences of striving constitute a distinct type of experiences, different from both the consciousness of objects (representational experiences) and from the Gefühle .