Philosophy For Kids: Cause and Effect (Part 2 of 2: The Middle)

So, last time I was talking about how causality ( eg. The irreversibility of the cooked egg) is not simply the mind, nor the world, but a MIDDLE between the two.  Let’s think about this middle.  In the history of philosophy, especially with philosophers Brentano and Husserl, we have the idea that the basic truth is consciousness (intentio in Latin) is always consciousness of something (intentum in Latin).  We put these 2 Latin words together to call the issue “Intentionality.”  So, for instance, I see (intentio) the house (intentum). 

This position of the basic-ness of intentionality in philosophy later changed when philosopher Husserl’s greatest student philosopher Heidegger looked at the work of the poet Holderlin and philosopher Nietzsche.  Heidegger said our “being-in-the- world”  is more basic than the separation between intentio and intentum, and makes the two possible.  For example, I experience boringness to be a characteristic of the book, like plot and setting and characters, even though we know it isn’t because the next person may not experience to book as boring at all.  Just the same, boringness isn’t just simply in my mind, because there are specific things about just this book that are causing me to find it boring.  So, this unity of being-in-the-world as (i) the boringness of the book and (ii) my being bored emotion is a middle something that is more original and shapes my being bored (intentio) and the boring book (intentum). 

The philosopher Kant raised this problem of the middle without properly solving it when looking at causality and so tried to fix the difficulty by saying along with the Mind and World, there is also a third thing he called The Imagination which allows the 2 to work together.