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Iser’s Anthropological Reception of the

Philosophical Tradition
Gabriel Motzkin

I
n premodern philosophy all relations to another world were
conceived in terms of transcendence. The world that is another
than the one we are in is transcendent to it. The way we get from this
world to that one is through transcending this one. And the presence,
however conceived, of the other world in this one is the presence of
something in this world that is transcendent to it.
In reading Wolfgang Iser’s The Fictive and the Imaginary, it became clear
to me for the first time what is wrong with this conception. It is not a
priori erroneous to suppose that some other world than this one, with
other laws, exists. Nor is it a priori erroneous to suppose that we
conceive of this other world in terms of laws that do not properly belong
to our world. Nor even is it a priori erroneous to suppose that we
conceive of one world in terms of laws that do not properly belong to it,
but that have their origin elsewhere.
The philosophical tradition’s basic error was to presuppose that
absolute transcendence, the act of transcending, and transcendence-in-
immanence, are all the same thing, or indeed that they belong together.
If one substitutes the imaginary for the absolutely transcendent,
whether as dream or reality, the fictionalizing act for the act of
transcending, or of boundary crossing, and the synthesis of absence and
presence, of exclusion and inclusion, of imaginary object and real
object, for the three phenomena labelled transcendence, then instead
of transcendence, one obtains the imaginary, the fictive, and the
synthesis of consciousness and object. While these may belong together,
there is no reason to suppose that they have a common origin, or are
similar phenomena. Iser points out that the source of a phenomenon,
or the reason for it, and the phenomenon itself, are not the same thing.
He does not go as far as Hans Blumenberg, for whom the connection
between a place vacated for a phenomenon and that phenomenon may
be quite happenstance. There is for Iser an inherent link between the
fictive and the imaginary, but it does not derive from an ontological
identity.

New Literary History, 2000, 31: 163–174


164 new literary history

In my language, that means not only that the path out of the world
and the place whither we are going, while related, are different. The
relations of constitution between them are also different. Iser’s polemic
is directed against those who would derive the fictive from the real. No
less, however, does his polemic work against those who would derive the
fictive from the imaginary. The transcendent world, the substitute world
of a “reality” beyond itself does not emerge from this one.1 Nor, however,
was this one created through a procession from another one. It is the
main point of the text that world-making takes place between worlds, in
the cross between them, and it is therefore the fictionalizing act that
must be shown in its world-creating order. Instead of immanence in
transcendence, or absolute transcendence, the transcending act be-
comes central.
However, the transcending act becomes central in another way than it
does in most modern philosophy, or indeed in traditional religion. For
this transcending act, Iser’s fictionalizing act, is not a self-transcendence,
a self-invention, or a self-creation, but rather a world-creation. Nowhere
does the self go along entirely with the transcending act. While in Iser’s
model, the self is preserved even while it is annulled in another world,
there is no final synthesis of the real, the fictive, and the imaginary.
In opting for this plurality of modes, Iser clearly sides against a
traditional philosophical view that was current even at the beginning of
this century. However, by refusing the evisceration of the distinction
between the imaginary and the real, Iser seeks a way out of that late
twentieth-century sophism which would derive the identity of both from
the imaginary.
At the beginning of this century, German Idealist philosophy dis-
solved in (at least) three distinct ways. Iser is obligated to two of them
directly, and to a third indirectly. These three ways are signified by the
names Emil Lask, Hans Vaihinger, and Edmund Husserl. Lask appears
in Iser’s work in the guise of Constantine Castoriadis, who, like Lucien
Goldmann and Martin Heidegger, was affected by his modern Neo-
platonism. Vaihinger appears as Vaihinger, a second-rate philosopher
who happened upon, malgré lui, a very interesting theory which has
continued to serve as a reference point. Husserl is rarely discussed
explicitly in Iser’s work, but it is unclear how Iser’s work could have been
written without presupposing Husserl.
As neo-Kantians, Lask and Vaihinger both began with an ideal of a
logic of knowledge that would provide access to laws which could
account for the phenomena that appear to consciousness as indicating
objects that can be presumed to exist in a world that is transcendent to
consciousness. Neither was able to maintain Kant’s equilibrium between
the intuition and the understanding. However, neither replicated the
iser’s anthropological reception 165

consequent development from Kant to Hegel. Instead, Lask opted for a


hyperrealism, presupposing a primordial world in which all real and
logical statements really exist.2 Whereas Bernard Bolzano had also
believed in such a transcendence of truth to consciousness, he, like
Husserl, did not qualify this transcendent world with the predicate of
existence. For Lask, the two worlds of material being and logical validity
exist independently of the mind, including all the negations that they
contain. Negations have the same ontological status as positions, to
which they are conjoined. The mind crosses this boundary in a negative
fashion: in searching for the positions and affirmations, the true
statements, it breaks them off from the false statements, and in that way
destroys the primordial harmony between validity and being. It then, in
a quasi-transcendent act, seeks to reunite these worlds. However, it
cannot do so, for it cannot penetrate back to the world from which it has
extracted true statements, and therefore it creates a world of its own, a
quasi-transcendent realm that Lask qualifies as the realm of sense. In
this philosophy there exist two worlds. In each world, the excluded and
negative exists primordially as the included and positive. Excluded by
consciousness, it then resurfaces in a pale, ectypical way in a world that
is created by a boundary-crossing subjectivity. This subjectivity cannot be
said to create an imaginary world, or even a fictional one, but the world
of sense or meaning with which it then surrounds itself is clearly
different from the primordial world. And this ontological difference
between meaning and primordial Being in turn signifies a fundamental
disjunction or heterogeneity between the activity of the mind and the
world, one which the mind seeks to destroy. This destructive search for
identity then creates a second, virtual world. Castoriadis is a Laskian
romantic: he has substituted the imaginary for the primordial, and Iser
has accepted this notion of the primordial nature of the imaginary, a
second potential world lying alongside a real one. For Iser, however, the
point is that this second world is only a potential world: it must first be
awakened through an act such as the fictionalizing act.
If Lask stretched Kantianism in the direction of realism, then Vaihinger
took it in the opposite direction. Faced with the Idealist problem of the
reality of Kantian appearances and representations, Vaihinger drew the
conclusion that all worlds are only accessible to consciousness through
virtual acts, because the only way for consciousness to obtain access to a
world is—not to take the real world as if it were fictional—but rather to
take the fictional world as if it were real while at the same time
maintaining the consciousness of its fictionality. In this way, Vaihinger
came up with a variation of the theme that both Lask and Husserl
confronted: if for Lask the output of sense is only quasi-existent, that is,
nonexistent, just because a real world exists, for Vaihinger the
166 new literary history

transformation of the input is such that we treat it as if it exists, but the


hiatus between sense and construct is such that we cannot say that the
construct is a consequence of elements that exist for the original feeling
that we had of the existence of something. In this way, Vaihinger was
able to develop much more thoroughly than Lask the possibility of a
simultaneously double consciousness, one of Iser’s central motifs, that is,
a consciousness that is transgressive precisely because it can be at two
aspects or points of view at the same time. While Lask had some
primitive suggestions to make in this regard, he was much more
interested in the decomposition and recomposition of consciousness.
If Lask surfaces as Castoriadis in The Fictive and the Imaginary, Husserl
surfaces as Sartre. A move from Sartre should then have been like a
move to Heidegger, but Iser notes that Castoriadis explicitly rejects this
Heideggerian move precisely because he values the primordial more
highly than Heidegger (FI 209). What does it mean, however, to say that
Husserl surfaces as Sartre? Husserl also believed in the essential neces-
sity of nonexistent frameworks in order to penetrate, or even in his later
philosophy, in order to constitute reality. However, Husserl locates
nonexistence in a different place than either Lask or Vaihinger, and he
thus firmly betrays his sources in the anti-Idealist tradition stemming
from Bolzano. Namely, Husserl does not suggest either the nonexistence
of the input, of the subjective act of cognition, nor of the output, of the
world that the subject creates as a heuristic frame for knowing, but
rather locates his nonexistence in the middle. Entities of sense are not
the objects that are intended: consciousness intends real objects, but in
order to make meaningful truth-statements, consciousness must traverse
an ideal but nonexistent realm of ideal meanings so that out of this
certain realm the probabilistic nature of the real, transcendent world
becomes apparent. This phenomenon of nonexistence is what makes
bracketing out the real world possible, since by leaving out what is really
intended, the process of constituting what is intended first becomes
visible. In the same way, what consciousness does is to create noemata,
schemata of the object that organize the pixels that are appresented to
sensation. Every object has in it inherently a moment of ideal nonexist-
ence, and it is through this ideal nonexistence that consciousness
constitutes the objects with which it deals in the world.
For Husserl, however, this ideal sphere can never exist: one cannot
make a reality from a noema. What consciousness does then is to enter
the ideal sphere in search of the real one: all that consciousness adds to
this world as for both the others and for Iser as well is an act; there is no
special sphere or being belonging to consciousness. However, this act is
not an imaginary act, not for Husserl, not for Vaihinger, not for Lask,
and certainly not for Iser. The fantastic makes-believe that the act of
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consciousness is imaginary, but Iser’s discussion of the fantastic shows


his rejection of this possibility implied by Kant’s discussion of the
imagination. Reality, instead of being in the world, or in the mind, is in
the act itself. And if this act is a fictionalizing act, then that act is as real
in this actual sense as any other act. If we were to map Iser’s terminology
onto Husserl, we would say that the fictionalizing act enters the
imaginary in search of the real, and from out of the imaginary composes
its access to the real. Now this is not at all what Iser says, but its family
resemblance is apparent.
However, all three philosophers succumb to what could be called the
philosopher’s temptation, from which Iser saves himself. Namely, they
are unable to distinguish ontologically between the act of consciousness
and its creation. For Lask, a decomposing consciousness extracts truth-
particles from the world-mine, and then builds its meaning-edifice from
those truth-particles: there is no difference between consciousness’
quest for truth and the truth that consciousness makes or fails to make.
For Vaihinger, the as-if nature of reality can never be transcended: there
is no consciousness that does not have an as-if dimension; the not-as-if
functions only as an impassable boundary-condition. “Das Ding an sich
ist keine Hypothese, sondern eine Fiktion” [“The thing in itself is not a
hypothesis, it is rather a fiction”].3 While Lask believed that conscious-
ness provides a distorted picture of the world, Vaihinger believed that
the purpose of consciousness is not to represent the world, but rather to
provide a practical orientation within it; representations are an instru-
ment of this purposiveness (22–23). Whereas the world as such is
inaccessible to a representational consciousness, in the sphere of that
representation, there can be no distinction between consciousness and
its representations. For Husserl, an intentional consciousness confronts
the heterogeneous experience of sensation by creating intentional ob-
jects, rather than representational objects, in order to organize its
sensations. These intentional objects of consciousness in turn make the
world accessible.
Both Heidegger and Derrida criticize the philosophical tradition for
its preference for a presentist philosophy of identity. I think that this
cursory examination shows that the objection is well-taken if we under-
stand identity as meaning homogeneity, that is, the denial of the
experience of heterogeneity as being itself a founding experience of
consciousness. For a philosophy that accepts heterogeneity, however,
there can be no good-faith investigation of the ways in which the mind
transforms its inputs in order to know them because such a philosophy
would have to deny the possibility that things can be known through
their homogeneous transformations. Heidegger appeared to accept
heterogeneity, but the heterogeneity he had in mind was ultimately not
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the Husserlian one between a thinking consciousness and the things you
can touch or bite, but rather between time-things as being now and me
as never now. In the end, he was in our sense also a traditional
philosopher, because the world of the now-things is ultimately swallowed
up in my world, the apparently nonexisting but actually only existing
world. Nonexistence and existence converge. Heidegger had a different
theory of subjectivity from all the others, including Iser, who also
believes in a weakly cognitive subjectivity, but he could not accept that
the world is composed of different structures that can never add up.
Derrida has quite accurately recognized this problem, but he wishes to
conserve Heidegger’s nihilism in a heterogeneous world-scheme, a
nihilism that is unnecessary for Iser because of what philosophers would
view as Iser’s essential lack of seriousness. The question that should be
posed following Iser is not if the procedure he outlines applies only to
literary texts, as he seems to think it does, but rather whether the good-
faith position must be that all acts function like his fictionalizing acts,
but some are qualified as thetic or doxic, or whatever. However, in that
case the question arises of whether the imaginary only exists for the
fictionalizing act, or for example whether a doxic imaginary exists as
well. One could argue that all acts draw from the same imaginary. I do
not think that this is Iser’s position. One could argue that what the
doxic, the act of belief, confronts, is quite different from what the
fictionalizing confronts, so different that it cannot at all be called
imaginary. Finally one could argue that there are different imaginaries
that make themselves available to different acts, just as there are
different possible worlds, and that following Iser we have to understand
these as different ontological worlds. We thus find ourselves in a limitless
set of different ontological worlds all the time.

II

Iser is concerned to retain one element of traditional philosophy


which both Lask and Heidegger deny: the possibility of observability, or
at the extreme, of self-observability. In modern philosophy, this problem
of self-observability reveals a fundamentally aesthetic conception of
observability, namely that observability is linked to the problem of
whether the observer is part of the same world together with what is
observed. Can I look at a picture, and then observe myself looking at the
picture? I can, if I either assume that I am performing two acts at the
same time that are very different, because looking at a picture and
looking at myself looking at a picture take place in different worlds; or if
I assume that I can look at myself looking at the picture either by
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asserting that there is no world-difference between the picture and


myself, in either direction: either I say that looking at the picture is like
looking at anything else, assuming I can look at myself like looking at
anything else. Or I can say that in looking at a picture I enter the world
of the picture and then look at myself in and through the picture, since
I am now part of the picture. Or, finally, I can say that observability can
take place as a boundary crossing, that I can look at myself looking at the
picture in and through the picture because I can actually see from one
world to another, and even see from the other world back into this one.
In other words, I can assert that perception is not a sign of immanence,
but rather of transcendence. But if my aim is self-observability, I have to
assert some sort of homology between perception and self-perception,
for otherwise I would have to assert some other kind of link between the
two, and then I would have to find a way of grounding self-perception,
assuming that self-perception is possible, in something other than
perception. In that case, if I think that both are foundational acts, I
would have to develop a theory of double constitution, for I have then
denied the common origin of perception and self-perception.
In traditional philosophy, this problem is a central issue because the
aim of philosophy is not only the legitimation of the knowledge of the
external world, but the acquisition of such knowledge as an indispens-
able correlative to self-knowledge. Kant argued that self-knowledge and
knowledge of the external world belong to separate realms. Since self-
knowledge has no bearing on existence, therefore, the rules of percep-
tion for knowledge and for self-knowledge are different: knowledge is
perspectival, since objects can only be viewed through aspects, but self-
knowledge is not perspectival, since we must know the whole being from
all sides, and therefore self-knowledge cannot be based on self-perception.
If there is any point on which the German Idealists disagreed with
Kant, it was that one. Johann Gottlieb Fichte begins philosophy with the
possibility of self-representation, that is, self-perception becomes a
necessary founding element of self-constitution and hence of world-
constitution. Hegel also believed in the necessity for self-perception
both in the encounter with the external world, and finally as an
indispensable part of the truth process. Nineteenth-century theories of
edification through literature as well as psychological theories all
believed in the possibility of self-perception, although Ernst Mach
revealed his doubts precisely on this point.4
None of the twentieth-century philosophers we have mentioned
believed in the possibility of a self-perception that is founded on
external perception and that is then arrived at through introspection. In
Downcast Eyes, Martin Jay has argued that twentieth-century culture is
characterized by the denigration of vision as the basic metaphor for the
170 new literary history

human relation to the external world.5 I believe that this is not quite
precise: there is a great deal of counter-evidence. But certainly very few
twentieth-century thinkers have argued for the possibility of self-perception
based on external observation. A behaviorist would argue for such a
possibility, but then the self-observation in question is as external as were
Hermann Ebbinghaus’s memory-experiments.
Lask engaged in a lengthy polemic against the possibility of arriving at
truth through the logic of reflection, through self-reflection, indeed
through any kind of introspection. Vaihinger thought that only a limited
kind of self-observation is possible, a self-observation that recognizes the
fictional nature of the as-if sphere, and then fictionally posits external
reality by fictionally doubling the sensations that are the basis for as-if
representations (FI 144). Husserl believed that consciousness could
make itself into its own object, but only through the double procedure
of focussing on itself as its object and at the same time bracketing out
the question of its existence. One should note that this is not the way in
which Husserl thought external objects are constituted. External objects
are constituted through noemata. Bracketing out the external objects
makes the noemata visible. But here the object in question is itself the
noema. Normally in order to constitute the noema, I first have to focus
on some object, and then extract the noema from it. There is no blank
noema. Therefore consciousness, while a consciousness of objects,
cannot be an object. If consciousness is not an object, then it cannot be
perceived in the same way. Husserl actually sought to avoid this
conclusion, especially in his later writings. The consequence, however,
was, that like the Idealists, he then had to argue for the possibility of
deducing perception from self-perception and not self-perception from
perception. However, he did not really believe that we perceive con-
sciousness. The sense of external time is founded in the sense of internal
time, but the sense of internal time can only be visible through
extraction from a process that is itself not just time, such as listening to
a melody. Thus self-perception is actually not deduced from perception
at all, but rather from some other act, and a hiatus is required for self-
perception. Husserl is then forced to conclude that there really exist two
quite different kinds of external perception, sense-perception and
object-perception. Self-perception would then be an act between the
two. In that case, it must be modally different from external perception.
Hence perception cannot be self-perception, but, unlike Kantian and
Hegelian perception, must be able to cross the world-boundaries,
especially the world-boundary between inside and outside.
Heidegger believed that there is only one world and that in that world
we simply can never perceive ourselves. He concluded that we cannot
perceive ourselves because there is no inside, no distinction between self
iser’s anthropological reception 171

and world, no position outside of the picture. In the picture we cannot


perceive ourselves because we cannot perceive the horizon of the world
in which we are, in his case, the temporal horizon. Heidegger must have
believed that if we could perceive the limit of the world, then, through
an act of refraction, we could perceive ourselves, but that this is precisely
what is not given. We therefore then have no position from which to
look back. Our relation to the past is much more one of bringing the
past into the present than the specular relation that is assumed by
believing in a past that belongs to an external world.
What does Wolfgang Iser believe? He believes, like Husserl, and
unlike anybody else on this list, that perception can cross world-
boundaries. Moreover, he also believes that perception always crosses
world-boundaries, since the act of perception must always assume the
nonexistence of the excluded, and by that act have already taken
account of that exclusion. He does not really believe that the fictionaliz-
ing act brackets out existence in some Husserlian way, since the realm
that is activated by the fictionalizing act is the imaginary, and on all
accounts the imaginary is distinguished by its own kind of existence. So
far he would seem to be closest to Lask. But that is not his position at all.
The reason is that Husserl did not believe that we can take up a point
of view that is outside our world. Starting from an existing point of view,
we go through a nonexistent world to get at the real one. However, Iser
does believe that we can take up a virtual position. He does not believe
like Vaihinger that all positions are virtual. Rather we can look out from
the picture into the world, and therefore I can look from the fictional
me into the real me. I cannot look from the real me to the real me. Now
here there arises a problem. For while it becomes clear that all
perceptions are boundary crossings, and that therefore reality requires
the imaginary, does the imaginary require reality in the same way as the
real requires the imaginary? In other words, does an imaginary me need
to enter the real in order to look at the imaginary me? Is the imaginary
of equal status with the real as world-constituting? I believe that the
answer is no, the imaginary does not need to enter the real. However,
that does not mean, as Lask thought, that all imaginary worlds are of
equal ontological order, that therefore the imaginary world is a closed
world of homogeneous actions, that in the imaginary world I can look at
myself, since both the imagined ego and its imagined objects are
imagined. Iser would reply that an imaginary me is bound by the same
reality-rules as the real me, even when it appears to violate those rules. In
other words, the imaginary me, in seeing itself, looks at an infinite series
of mirrors. For an imaginary me to see an imaginary me, it must go
through a fictionalizing act of the same kind, and therefore construct an
imaginary world of second degree through a fictionalizing act of second
172 new literary history

degree. Moreover, that second-degree world is only called by us an


imaginary world because we characterize it through an act of the first
degree, but it is quite different. I imagine a fictional me who certainly
believes in the existence of God. A first-order fictionalization creates a
second-order doxic context.
From this, two conclusions emerge. First, the fictionalizing act is
directional: it is away from the given. A return to the given from the
imaginary is simply a boundary transgression from that world. For the
movie characters in The Purple Rose of Cairo it must be the real viewers
who are beyond the line. The real self becomes the dream self of the
other. This directionality cannot be changed: there is no towards in the
fictionalizing act; it must always be away. Is that then true of all
perceptions, or only of literature? I am not sure. Second, there can be
no closure. Oscillation cannot be transcended, since there is no way to
synthesize the real and the imaginary. In other words, for Wolfgang Iser,
it is the fact that boundaries are constantly being crossed that makes it
certain that worlds can never collide or merge together. Thus self-
perception is always possible, but only through the admission of its
virtuality.
In what way is that different from Kant? Namely the following: for
Kant the rules of perception are different in the two cases of perception
and self-perception. Normally this has been taken to mean that we can
never know the object as it is, since we can never see it from all sides. On
the other hand, the reverse must also be true: namely that we can never
see a moral object perspectivally, for the moment we do so, it ceases to
be a moral object. There can be no moral science. Therefore we cannot
study morality or social behavior. Something is lost by giving up the idea
of the good as an object, as something that we can look at and admire.
Iser has no such problem, since he does not base his distinction
between worlds on the kind of vision that is in play, on the difference in
the way that we perceive one world and then perceive the other world.
Therefore there is no discussion of a difference in the way of seeing in
the real world and in the imaginary one. In this, he learns from Husserl.
Virtuality confirms the rules of vision rather than defeats them.
What is it then that we see when we view perception as boundary
crossing? How is that different from a perception that is immanent to
our worlds? Must I conclude that all vision is perspectival, all vision
follows the rules of Piero della Francesca and Albrecht Dürer, that I see
objects as if they were part of paintings?
What does it mean however to look at an object as part of a painting?
Surely, it means the ability to see the painting as finite, as having
borders. Perhaps one cannot see a work by Christo in this way, because
it is so big, so that the border has to be imputed. But when one sees a
iser’s anthropological reception 173

Christo work, one is actually seeing part of the border at each moment,
although one can never see the whole border. In the same way when we
see the world, we see it enframed so that it has a border. However in
seeing the real world, I assume that the real world has no border, that my
sense of a border at thirty-seven degrees and twenty-eight degrees is an
illusion;6 whereas through the fictionalizing act we make the border
explicit. No, that is wrong: we accord truth-value to the border which we
denied to the border of perception in the real world.
However, there can be no closure because while we can hold both
contradictory beliefs simultaneously, we cannot make them dialectically
into one and the same belief: I can believe that I can see the border, the
frame, the closure of a work of art, while I also believe that it has no
border, and that I also do not see the border of my perception of this
room, while also believing that this border of perception is really there,
but I cannot believe that there is any way in which these two quite
distinct doxic imputations are identical. In reading this paper, I can both
be conscious of myself and myself-reading-this-paper, and moreover be
conscious of an identity between the two, but this identity is not a strict
identity and can never be one. Therefore the border crossing it takes to
be able to read this paper means that I can see myself both perspectivally
and aperspectivally, but I cannot believe, as Kant did, that there is some
point of view which totalizes all perspectives, that all points of view seek
unity. Hence Iser turns to the philosophy of play, for everything is to and
fro. Anthropology emerges from the recognition of difference. It
assumes the ability to take on another point of view, but it also assumes
that Bali will never be Konstanz.
There is a quite banal danger here, and I think a clear one:
abandoning a faculty theory of human capabilities means that there can
be no faculty theory of human nature. We are not alike because we are
possessed of similar faculties. All men are not created equal. If they are to
be viewed as equal, it must be on some other basis than a logic of
participation in a common essence. I think that there is a solution to this
problem in the concept of the fictionalizing act: it is not because we
possess common faculties, nor because we hold the same imaginary
absolutes, that a common humanity is to be desired, but rather because
of the quite universal capability of fictionalizing, that is, of seeing aspects
from different worlds. Derrida, following Husserl, is quite right that that
is not enough. Husserl wanted to limn a consciousness that is the same
in God, humans, and animals, with no difference—and the Jewish
convert quite religiously believed in his Protestant God. Derrida accuses
Heidegger of not having thought of the problem of animals in Being and
Time. Any anthropology raises this kind of question, for in denying the
possibility of a universal perspective, it must affirm the universal
174 new literary history

possibility of boundary crossing. But then the question to be addressed


to any postmodernity must be the one of the desirability of difference,
not of its facticity.

Hebrew University of Jerusalem


NOTES

1 Wolfgang Iser, The Fictive and the Imaginary: Charting Literary Anthropology (Baltimore,
1993), p. 3; hereafter cited in text as FI.
2 Lask’s main works are collected in Emil Lask, Gesammelte Schriften, ed. Eugen Herrigel
(Tübingen, 1923).
3 Hans Vaihinger, Die Philosophie des Als Ob. System der theoretischen, praktischen und religiösen
Fiktionen der Menschheit auf Grund eines idealistischen Positivismus, 8th ed. (Leipzig, 1922), p.
109; hereafter cited in text; in English as The Philosophy of “As If”: A System of the Theoretical,
Practical and Religious Fictions of Mankind, tr. C. K. Ogden (London, 1968).
4 Manfred Sommer, Evidenz im Augenblick. Eine Phänomenologie der reinen Empfinding
(Frankfurt, 1987).
5 Martin Jay, Downcast Eyes: The Denigration of Vision in Twentieth-Century French Thought
(Berkeley, 1993).
6 For a discussion of the issue of the borders of the visual field see Michael Kubovy, The
Psychology of Perspective and Renaissance Art (Cambridge, 1986), pp. 104–11.