So much of their concern is about that they call Sensations, Empfindungen. Consider an apple. There are so many sensations connected with that: color, taste, feel, smell, weight, hardness, and on and on. They have been called secondary qualities and the question is whether they are in the apple or in the mind experiencing it. Husserl following Brentano made a distinction between act and object. The act of sensing the properties is other than the properties. Or is it? There is something about sense that are both in the mind and in the apple. Where is the redness of the apple? Even the word “sensation” seems to collapse the distinction between sensing and the sensed. I call myself a phenomenological realist. I think the redness of the apple is tied to the apple and it is not in my mind. I purposively did not say “in” the apple. I’m trying to avoid Aristotle’s substance theory. I want more of a Platonism.
My understanding of the latter Husserl is that he eventually put sensations in the mind. They became a property of the Self. The Self ordered those sensations into a world which it posited or shoved out away from itself. That is Idealism creating the world. In my philosophy all those sensual properties of things are “out there” in the world. The problem for me then as a realist is how I make contact with those properties. I think there is an intentional Nexus that unites thought with its object. That nexus is intimate indeed. I become poetic in my description of how the sensa penetrate me, pierce into my mind, possess me. I am passively taken by their intense presence. That is the job of the Nexus. I and the sensa are two, not one, but the Nexus unites me with that. Thus I walk out into the world and it overcomes me. Overwhelms me. I become a whirling dervish. I don’t create the world. I am undone by the world.
Here is something about T. P. Nunn –
John Passmore, in his book A Hundred Years of Philosophy, wrote:
"The first, in England, to formulate the characteristic doctrines of the New Realism was T.P. Nunn. Best known as an educationalist, Nunn wrote little on philosophy, but that little had an influence out of all proportion to its modest dimensions. In particular, his contribution to a symposium on ‘Are Secondary Qualities Independent of Perception?” was widely studied both in England where, as we have already noted, it struck Bertrand Russell’s roving fancy, and in the United States. Nunn there sustained two theses: (1) that both primary and the secondary qualities of bodies are really in them, whether they are perceived or not: (2) that qualities exist as they are perceived.
Much of his argument is polemical in form, with Stout’s earlier articles as its chief target. Stout had thought he could begin by presuming that there are at least some elements in our experience which exist only in being perceived – he instanced pain. But Nunn objects that pain, precisely in the manner of a material object, presents difficulties to us, raises obstacles in our path, is, in short, something we must reckon with. ‘Pain,’ he therefore concludes, ‘is something outside my mind, with which my mind may come into various relations.’ A refusal to admit that anything we experience depends for its existence upon the fact that it is experienced was to be the most characteristic feature of the New Realism.
The secondary qualities, Stout had also said, exist only as objects of experience. If we look at a buttercup in a variety of lights we see different shades of colour, without having any reason to believe that the buttercup itself has altered; if a number of observers plunge their hands into a bowl of water, they will report very different degrees of warmth, even although nothing has happened which could affect the water’s temperature. Such facts demonstrate, Stout thought, that secondary qualities exist only as 'sensa' – objects of our perception; they are not actual properties of physical objects.
Nunn’s reply is uncompromising. The contrast between ‘sensa’ and ‘actual properties’ is, he argues, an untenable one. All the shades of colour which the buttercup presents to an observer are actual properties of the buttercup; and all the hotnesses of the water are properties of the water. The plain man and the scientist ascribe a standard temperature and a standard colour to a thing and limit it to a certain region of space, because its complexity would otherwise defeat them. The fact remains, Nunn argues, that a thing has not one hotness, for example, but many, and that these hotnesses are not in a limited region of space but in various places around about the standard object. A thing is hotter an inch away than a foot away and hotter on a cold hand than on a warm one, just as it is a paler yellow in one light than it is in another light. To imagine otherwise is to confuse between the arbitrary ‘thing’ of everyday life and the ‘thing’ as experience shows it of be.
In Nunn’s theory of perception, then, the ordinary conception of a material thing is revolutionized; that is the price he has to pay for his Realism. A ‘thing’, now, is a collection of appearances, even if every appearance is independent of the mind before which it appears."
I can see here that you are looking for a technical answer. Have you read Kant's Critique of Pure Reason? It is not really for reading, but studying, for the idealism you align yourself with surely has to be brought into a study of Kant for the reason that he articulated the things your discuss above in the most rigorous fashion imaginable. He drops the earlier jargon of secondary and primary qualities altogether. In their place he puts sensory intuitions and apriori aesthetic intuitions, respectively. The out there of things is dismissed as noumenal unthinkables. Kant is an empirical realist, and he does not cross this line to talk much about objects that are still there when perceptual/cognitive systems leave the room: We take the room with us, so to speak..no, quite literally. He only grudgingly talks about those mysterious X's
Kant lays the foundation for phenomenology (AND positivism, for Kant was a no nonsense philosopher with no patience for empty dialectics, regardiing God, immortality, the soul), and phenomenology is, in my estimation, Real philosophy. Anyway, since your interests go to such details, this kind thing might be a welcome clarification. Kant may be a rationalist, and I certainly don't agree with everything he says at all, but he opens the doors to existential thinking, if accidentally)
Frankly, Nunn, Passmore, I haven't read, but your account of them seems to invite a deeper analysis, as with Kant, Husserl, fink, and others.
And also, given your appreciation for detail, you would find Husserl's Ideas I
absolutely fascinating. It can be dry and dogmatic, but here he lays down a theory of phenomenological philosophy. I can't, and shouldn't, give a summary account. Like Kant, it has to be studied. Another, whom I haven't read, is Levi Strauss. He is on my list.
Here is a taste of what I like to do with philosophical texts (it is from an exchange I am currently having on Kierkegaard's Concept of Anxiety. It is not really a religious discussion at all, btw):
Freedom (65). Interesting what he says about the history of the race and how we "later" individuals, unlike Adam, receive the distinction between good and evil only through an intimation, in a "more or less" way. I think he is talking about the way "habits' of behavior and thinking possess the way the spirit self-posits. If present, this distinction is imparted through habit, that is, I think, the habits of culture and language which are amassed through generations, which have become "second nature" and anxiety enters "into the world in another sense". "Sin entered into anxiety" but presented its own anxiety. This is fairly confusing; a bit, at any rate. We have to rephrase K's language to understand him, and it is here we can get it wrong.
I see that anxiety is there, prior to sin, and when the explicit positing of spirit, which really is seeing that a self is divided, occurs, the anxiety already in play (recall his talk about childhood and the experience of adventure and melancholy, and so forth) is augmented by this invisible actuality "with no substance" (65) So we go about our lives prior to positing the spirit and there is this quantitative anxiety that is "not an anxiety about sin" (65) This is living the mundane life, through which daily anxieties rise up, worries about family, work, and so on. It is the "history of te race" that has produced this, that is, these institutions that define our culture. Worry about marriage, for example, is bound to conventions of marriage that took centuries to construct. All around us are these kinds of conventions, norms, laws, inhibitions and taboos, liberties, and so on; and these produce anxiety in the familiar way. THEN, as you are in it all, you step back and have a philosophical/religious realization, an epiphany about what we are, and your spirit is thereby posited and sin and a qualitatively new anxiety enters into your world.
Now, what does he mean by salvation? Look at the bottom of the page: It's not a "sweet longing" for this is to misunderstand; it would be taking the quantitative sin, the familiar habits of expectation that actuality have an object, something like one's job, to be worried about, and here one is "still in the hands of sin". I guess he means by this that it is sin to put forth what is of the world to answer to only to what God can bring. Only a God can save, says Heidegger many years later (though he disparaged Kierkegaard as a "religious writer"). Not your boss, nor your family and friends, for these are finite, perishable.
I like to go slowly through things when it gets thick,and Kierkegaard gets very thick. These texts need interpretation,clarification, simplification (if possible) for these guys do NOT write to be immediately understood. They do not want this. They write from their own world of extraordinary thinking and it's our job to penetrate into this. Analsis is required, and this is, well, fun for me.
So, what would you like to read? I can't do Fink's Play (I won't pay that kind of money, but I may be able to get it free as PDF) but most anything else. Husserl's Ideas I strikes me as something you would find worthy. But I'm easy on this matter.