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Philosophy Compass 7/7 (2012): 436447, 10.1111/j.1747-9991.2012.00493.

Roman Ingardens Aesthetics

Jeff Mitscherling*
University of Guelph

While Roman Ingarden remains best known among English-speaking philosophers and literary
theorists for his work in aesthetics, and primarily for his study of the literary work of art, his stud-
ies in aesthetics and art belong in fact to the comprehensive program of phenomenological
research in ontology and metaphysics that occupied him for his entire career. In this article I
briefly describe this program of phenomenological research, then I discuss some of the major
features of Ingardens analyses of works of art and the aesthetic experience.

Roman Ingarden (18931970) always conceived of his philosophical task as unraveling

the problem of reality, and lifes work was devoted to working out the problem of
idealism versus realism.1 He remains best known, however, for his contributions to aes-
thetics and the philosophy of art, and particularly to literary theory.2 Ingarden was among
the group of students who gathered around Edmund Husserl in Gottingen during the
decade preceding WWI, and throughout his life he regarded himself as continuing in the
phenomenological tradition initiated by The Master. Like most of his fellow students,
however, Ingarden found himself in disagreement with the idealist tendencies of Husserls
phenomenology, which entailed the claim that it is solely the intentional acts of
consciousness on the part of the cognizing subject that give rise to the world that we
experience.3 Ingarden viewed the idealism of Husserlian phenomenology chiefly as the
unavoidable consequence of Husserls insistence that phenomenology must begin with
epistemological analysis; that is, with the investigation of the nature and necessary condi-
tions of cognition. Ingardens own realist rejoinder to Husserls position begins with the
contrary claim that epistemological investigations may proceed only on the basis provided
by the prior completion of the fundamental ontological investigation of the objects of
cognition. To support this claim, Ingarden opened his response to Husserla response
that in fact continued to guide his research throughout his entire careerwith the
demonstration that even such purely intentional objects as works of art, which everyone
recognizes as originating in acts of consciousness, in fact owe their existence to more than
these acts of consciousness alone. Ingardens analyses of the ontology and cognition of the
various sorts of works of art have exercised considerable influence in continental philoso-
phy and aesthetics, as well as in contemporary art and literary theory.
Some features fundamental to the ontology of all works of art become apparent when
we contrast them to other sorts of objects, both natural objects and artificially produced
objects, which also may function as objects of aesthetic experience. Nature affords us
boundless opportunity to engage in the aesthetic experience of its beauty, and it seems at
first not at all unreasonable to ask, since it is possible to have an aesthetic experience of,
say, a sunset, whether the sunset itself is not indeed a work of art. So also in the case of
such naturally occurring objects as seashells or gemstones that one might collect on an

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Roman Ingardens Aesthetics 437

afternoons walk and carry home to display on a coffee table or bookcase, with the inten-
tion of providing a visiting friend with an engaging aesthetic treat: If they are capable of
provoking an aesthetic response, are objects such as these not works of art? Ingardens
answer is that they are not. While a natural object (e.g., a seashell) or a produced artifact
(e.g., Duchamps Fountain) may indeed become the object of an aesthetic experience, it
will always do so after the fact of origination or production and through an agency that is
accidental, not essential, to its being. But it belongs to the essence of the work of art that
it be a potential aesthetic object. The work of art simply does not exist4 without this
potentiality; this potentiality, that is to say, is constitutive of its being. When we, as the
experiencing subject, engage with the work of art in an aesthetic experience, it is pre-
cisely this potential of the work that we actualize in our construction of the aesthetic
object of that experience. It is necessary to bear in mind throughout what follows that,
according to Ingarden, a work of art is both (i) an intentional object, and (ii) a potential
aesthetic object.
To understand how such construction of the aesthetic object is possible and examine
how it proceeds, we must grasp the peculiar ontological status of the work of art, and to
do this we must examine Ingardens conception of the work of art as a stratified forma-
tion (schichtliches Gebilde). According to Ingarden, the work of art is essentially a structure
formed of heterogeneous strata that differ from one another in both their material and
their function, and different sorts of artworks contain different sorts, and different num-
bers, of strata. In examining the stratified character of a particular work of art, we will
immediately find that it must be distinguished from both the physical, material object
(which in everyday discourse we commonly identify with the work of art) and from the
aesthetic object (which the work of art has the potential to become). To take a particular
literary work of art as an example, we distinguish the novel David Copperfield from the
countless physical books that bear that title on their cover: Charles Dickens wrote only
one such novel, and the fact that he did not create all of the physical copies establishes
this distinction.5 The novel is also to be distinguished from the aesthetic object that is
experienced by its reader, for the subjective states of the readers of one and the same
work of art are not themselves identical: The act of reading, as an aesthetic experience
extending over a longer or shorter period of time, is guided by the literary work of art
and is aimed ultimately at the construction of an aesthetic object, which will be charac-
terized by qualities that originate in this experience on the part of the subject (the reader)
and that do not belong to the work of art itself. This construction of the aesthetic object,
which Ingarden also refers to as its actualization,6 proceeds by way of the concretiza-
tion (or concretion) of schematically presented elements belonging to one or more of
the various strata that are together comprised by the work of art.
Fundamental to Ingardens conception of the work of art in general is its essentially
schematic character, which constitutes both an essential structural moment of the work of
art and the framework within with which all cognition of the work, both as work of art
and as aesthetic object, proceeds. In all works of art, certain features of the work are
given only schematically and remain to be filled out, as a potentiality to be actualized,
by the person who apprehends the work. Chief among these schematically presented fea-
tures are what Ingarden refers to as spots of indeterminacy (or gaps or places of inde-
terminacy) and unfulfilled aspects, both of which features are present, at least to some
extent, in all works of art. While it is for his analysis of the literary work of art that he
remains best known, he also wrote extensively on the ontology and cognition of many
other sorts of works of art. We shall here consider his examination of the following sorts
of artwork: the literary, the dramatic, the musical, the visual, and the architectural.7 I shall

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include with the treatments of the literary, visual, and musical works of art a brief
explanation of the manner in which the schematism I have just described functions in
the cognition of the work of art and the construction of the work as aesthetic object.

The Literary Work of Art

Ingarden published his landmark study The Literary Work of Art: An Investigation on the Border-
lines of Ontology, Logic, and Theory of Literature (LWA) in 1931. In this work he demonstrates
how the literary work of art is comprised of four distinct strata: (1) the stratum of word
sounds and more complex linguistic sound formations (Ingarden also refers to this as the
language stratum); (2) the stratum of meaning units; (3) the stratum of represented objects;
and (4) the stratum of schematized aspects. We may describe these strata by examining some
of the functions that each of them performs in making possible our act of reading.8
When I open the physical book in my hands and glance at one of the pages, I visually
encounter countless specks of black ink that I perceive as letters and words, which I
immediately interpret as belonging to sentences, which themselves belong to paragraphs
on the page. Each individual word represents a single word sound, and each sentence
represents a more complex linguistic sound formation built upon those word sounds. This
generally holds true for every sort of book I might read. Cookbooks and dictionaries
have words no less than do novels, but the word sounds and linguistic sound formations
of the literary work of art function differently than do those in non-artistic literary works,
for while the latter are most commonly employed for the purpose of instruction or infor-
mation, the words belonging to a literary work of art are intended not only to communi-
cate information but to do so in an aesthetically appropriate manner. It is the function of
the language stratum to provide the literary work of art with such artistic features as
rhythm, tempo, melody, rhyme and assonance, which may serve in turn to generate the
particular atmosphere or mood quality of a workits lightness or heaviness, for exam-
ple, or its playfulness or seriousness. The phonic formations of the literary work of art
may also provide the reader with insight into the psychic state of the represented charac-
ter speaking in the text, whose tone of speech may indicate kindness and generosity, for
example, or spitefulness and greed.
While clearly the language stratum already plays on its own an essential role in the lit-
erary work of art, it performs an equally important task in the constitution and function-
ing of the stratum of meaning units, for each word sound corresponds to a word
meaning, and it is these meanings that are combined into the more complex sentence
meanings.9 A single word may have any number of different meanings, and it is the task
of the word sound to determine which of these meanings is appropriate in the given con-
text. This task is especially important given that there is no sentence sound analogous to
the word sound: If a sentence is to be understood as a meaningful wholethat is, as a
single complex meaning unitit can do so only with respect to its meaning content,
which operates as a functional-intentional unit of meaning. It is said to be functional in
that it determines which particular function each of its constituent word meanings must
perform if the sentence meaning as a whole is to be coherent, and it is said to be inten-
tional in that it is directed toward something other than itself. This intentional correlate
of the sentences meaning content is most often a state of affairs, and as this state of affairs
obtains within the non-real world that is represented in the literary work of art, it is
called a purely intentional state of affairs.
The objects that are represented in the literary work of art by virtue of the functional-
intentional operation of the sentence meanings are called purely intentional objects, and

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these, together with the purely intentional states of affairs, in conjunction with all of the
other actions and activities, occurrences and events that are represented in the work, con-
stitute the third stratum of the literary work of art, the stratum of represented objectivi-
ties, which contains everything that is intended by the various meaning units of the
work. The innumerable such objectivities that are represented in the work are related to
one another in such a way as to constitute a single, unified ontic sphere in which these
various entities and conditions are portrayed as really existing. This ontic sphere, charac-
terized by such features as its atmosphere(s), mood(s), and so onis what Ingarden refers
to as the world of the work.
Just as the entities that inhabit the real world in which we actually live are rarely pre-
sented to us in their entirety at any one momentat any given moment, for example,
we see only the top of a desk and not its bottom, or only the most general features of a
person standing far away from us and not, say, the colour of her eyes or hairso too are
the objectivities of the world of the work rarely given to us in their entirety. Instead,
they are represented schematically, with any number of their various features, or aspects,
left undetermined by the author of the work. Ingarden calls these schematized aspects,
which together comprise the fourth stratum of the literary work of art, and it is the task
of the reader to fulfill these aspects during the course of the reading of the work. This
is the previously mentioned activity of concretization, through which the potentiality of
the work of art (for example, the schematic linguistic structure called David Copperfield) is
actualized and this work of art becomes an aesthetic objectthat is, the object of the
readers aesthetic experience of the literary work of art (David Copperfield as it is inter-
preted and experienced by the individual reader).
This stratum of schematized aspects in fact underlies that of the represented objectivities
as the condition of its possibility: Whenever a particular object is represented in a literary
work, it is never fully represented all at once. For example, in constructing a particular char-
acter, the novelist must present first one feature of that character, then another, then
another, and so on. At any given point in the novel, it is the task of the reader to concretize
the character with regard only to those of its aspects that have been given. The precise man-
ner in which this concretization is to proceed, however, remains largely undetermined by
the text, for the character is never given as completely determined but is instead only sche-
matically represented. The situation is identical in the case of spots of indeterminacy: An
author can never provide us with all of the physical details of a persons appearance, for
example, or all of the details of a particular setting, and the reader is thereby forced to fill
in and determine these gaps during the course of the reading. If the author continues to
provide further details regarding particular places of indeterminacy, the reader will modify
accordingly his or her determination of them, altering the manner in which he or she con-
cretizes both the individual features of the work and the work as a whole. The possibility of
such modification of a previous determination enables the author to employ schematized
aspects in such a way as to hold in readiness a determination of a given aspect that may
stand in startling contrast to its previous determination: When such a schematized aspect
held in readiness is then determined, and the particular feature of the work concretized, the
objectivity is suddenly seen in a new light.

The Dramatic Work of Art

The situation is far more ontologically complex in the case of the dramatic work of art. The
dramatic literary work, Ingarden explains, is not a purely literary work, for it is written to be
staged. The written text itself is structurally different from that which we find in a novel or a

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poem. As he explains earlier in The Literary Work of Art,10 the written dramathe drama that
is readhas two texts: the main text, sentences that are really spoken by the represented
characters (LWA 208), and the side text, which consists of the stage directions. In a drama
that is staged, on the other hand, the stage directions are eliminated as text (LWA 319). In
this stage play, two means of representation appear that are not found in the purely literary
work: (i) real objects on stage that perform the function of reproduction and representation,
and (ii) already determined aspectsthat is, not held in readiness, as in the purely literary
work, but determined by the physical properties of the real objects on stage.
We may elucidate Ingardens point in terms of actuality and potentiality. A stage play is
one step between the text and the performance. The stage directions have been eliminated
from the text and actualized in the staging itselfthat is, in the determination of the physical
sets, the blocking, the physical mannerisms and tones of voice to be adopted by the actors
during the performance, and so on. The stage play, in other words, actualizes the potential
of the dramatic works side text: certain aspects of the text are concretized in accordance
with the authors more or less clearly (but never exhaustively) specified instructions. This
concretization is accomplished by the director, the actors, the set designers, and so on. But
the play has not yet been fully actualized. Two further steps are necessary: (i) the individual
performance and (ii) the apprehension of the individual performance by the spectator. At
each step of concretization, features of the text previously left indeterminate come to be
determined; at the final step, the spectators apprehension of the performance, the dramatic
work becomes fully concretized in the aesthetic object (in which the represented objectivi-
ties are actualized in their full concreteness [LWA 320] by the spectator). While it is the
activity of concretization on the part of the reader that actualizes the potentiality of the liter-
ary work of art as an aesthetic object, the concretization of the dramatic work of art is the
product of several distinct instances of separate acts of concretization taking place consecu-
tively and culminating in the audiences aesthetic experience of the performed play.
In the case of the purely literary work of art, we are presented with merely a written
main text. In the case of the dramatic work, however, we are presented with a perfor-
mance that is ontologically dependent upon a stage play that is ontologically dependent
upon a side text and a main text. What we have, then, is a progression of four steps of
actualization, with each subsequent step being ontologically dependent upon all of those
which precede it:

Step 1 The written work: The author composes the main text (text a) and the side text (text
b). Each text consists of undetermined objectivities that exist as potentially determined.
Step 2 The stage play: The director, cast and crew actualize the potential objectivities of
text b and, in so doing, partially actualize the potentialities of text a.
Step 3 The performance: The actors further actualize the potentialities of text a.
Step 4 The aesthetic object: The spectator further actualizes the potentialities of text a.

A similar sort of hierarchical ontological progression presents itself in the case of the
musical work.

The Musical Work of Art

Ingarden seems to have regarded the ontological and metaphysical difficulties surrounding
the question of the identity of the work of art as especially pronounced in the case of the
musical work,11 as we read in the following passage from his Introduction to The Work
of Music and the Problem of Its Identity (WM 23):

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The composer fashions his work in a creative effort, over a certain period of time. This labor
fashions somethingthe musical work in factthat previously did not exist but from the
moment of its coming into being does somehow exist quite independently of whether anyone
performs it, listens to it, or takes any interest in it whatever. The musical work does not form
any part of mental existence, and, in particular, no part of the conscious experiences of its crea-
tor; after all, it continues to exist even when the composer is dead. Nor does it form any part
of the listeners conscious experiences while listening, for the work of music continues to exist
after these experiences have ceased.
Moreover, so it is said, the musical work is not identified with its various performances. Despite
this difference, the performances resemble the particular work, and the more they resemble it
the better they are. The performance of a musical work reveals it to us in its characteristics
and in the whole sequence of its parts. Finally, the work is totally different from its score. It is
mainly or wholly a sounding work, while the notation of the score is simply a defined arrange-
ment, usually of graphic signs.
Ingardens lengthy and detailed analyses support the conclusion that the musical work is
not itself real, as are both the score (or at least any given physical copy of the score)
and any given performance of the work. It is instead, like all other sorts of works of art,
a purely intentional object, and it has its source of being in the creative acts of the com-
poser and its material ontic foundation in the score. The score guides the performance of
the work, but just as the literary work as it is written down in the book contains innu-
merable place of indeterminacy that must be filled out by the reader, so too does the
musical work as it is written down in the score (WM 117):
Actually, in the [musical] work itself as notated [in the score], we have gaps or areas of indeter-
minacy which can be removed only in performance.12 The fact that such gaps or areas of inde-
terminateness are found in a musical work is sufficient reason to regard the work designated
by its core as a purely intentional object whose origins spring from the creative acts of the com-
poser and whose ontic base rests directly in the score.13
As a schematic formation, then, the musical work of art finds its material ontic founda-
tion in the score, which guides the performance that initially concretizes the work, and
this initial concretization is apprehended by the individual listener, who further concret-
izes the work as the aesthetic object of his or her experience. The musical work is, as it
turns out, ontologically distinct from (i) the score, (ii) its performances, (iii) the mental
experiences of the composer, and (iv) its perception by the listener. The musical work is
neither a material nor a psychological mental neural entity or activity, and it is neither
real nor ideal. It is, quite simply, a purely intentional object that has its source of being
in the creative acts of the composer and its material ontic foundation in the score, which
contains the schematic construction that is the work of art proper and that guides the
performance in which the work is initially concretized; the listener apprehending that
initial concretization of the performed work then concretizes that work further as the
aesthetic object of his or her aesthetic experience.

The Visual Work of Art

The aesthetic subject (reader, spectator, audience, viewer, etc.) engages in essentially the
same activity of concretization actualization in the cognition of every sort of work of art.
We can see how this takes place in the case of the aesthetic experience of visual art by
briefly considering painting. While it might at first glance seem that the indeterminacy
and schematism that belong to literary, dramatic, and musical works of art would play no
role whatsoever in visual artfor in the visual arts the material is (generally) presented to

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us as fully determinedthis turns out not to be the case. Bearing in mind Ingardens fun-
damental observation that the work of art is a schematic formation that must always be
distinguished from its material ontic foundation (just as the novel, as a schematic linguistic
formation, is to be distinguished from each physical copy of the book), and that the
(actual) work of art is essentially a potential aesthetic object, we proceed by first distin-
guishing the painting from what Ingarden calls the picture. The painting is the physical,
material entity, the framed canvas on the wall, while the picture is the work of art that
guides the activity of concretization engaged in by the individual person who apprehends
it. When we apprehend the physical painting, we concretize the picture; this activity of
concretization consists in the filling out of that which is given in the painting only sche-
matically. Objects depicted in a painting present themselves to us in only one aspecta
lamp on a desk, for example, will always be depicted from one side or anotheryet,
since we recognize it as a lamp, we intuitively and involuntarily complete the picture
by imaginatively determining the places of indeterminacythe sides and other aspects of
the lamp that are only cogiven, only surmised, but not actually seen directly. (OWA
226) As Ingarden explains further: In the seeing of the picture we involuntarily complete
some sides or parts of the presented thing; we somehowdepending on the case and the
circumstancesdetermine it more specifically and thereby eliminate one of the places of
indeterminacy that are present in the picture. (OWA 226) This determination of the
only partially presented visual elements is at the same time the actualization of the poten-
tiality of the visual work of art to be realized as an aesthetic object, and it is possible only
by virtue of the schematic visual structure of the pictureby virtue, that is, of the
essence of the individual work of art.

The Architectural Work of Art

Ingarden begins his analysis of the ontology of the architectural work of art by establish-
ing a firm distinction between the real building and the architectural work. The former
is simply the physical, material building or structure, while the latter is such a building or
structure that has been designed and constructed as a possible object of aesthetic experi-
ence. In other words, the architectural work (of art) is a potential aesthetic object that
has the real building as its material ontic foundation. Ingardens discussion of the distinc-
tion between the real building and the architectural work revolves around the difference
between the attitudes we might adopt when confronted with these two different sorts of
entities. Given its material ontic foundation in the real building, the architectural work
remains physically always the same, yet it can appear to us in any number of different
ways depending upon the concern and attitude that we adopt in apprehending and
attending to it. In each different case of its appearance, the object is, so to speak, a differ-
ent objectthat is, it is in each case a different phenomenon, with its own distinct phe-
nomenal meaning, and it is always this particularly meaningful phenomenon that is the
object of our consciousness.
To take, say, the Parthenon as an example, the concerns of the archaeologist, the tourist,
and the artist will guide the formation of three different attitudes to the architectural struc-
ture, and these three different attitudes will in turn direct three distinct experiences of three
accordingly different sorts of phenomenon. The concerns of the archaeologist will be
directed toward features of a specific sort of physically, geographically, and historically
located objectivity, and the particular phenomenon must, as a result, be an archaeological
object. The concerns of the tourist will perhaps be directed toward the sort of phenome-
non that will lend itself to being photographed, and the phenomenon will be recorded as

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such. The artist may adopt a different attitude, with the resultant phenomenon being
recorded on canvas as an entirely different sort of entity. The point here is that our atti-
tudes play an all-important role in determining the manner in which we comport ourselves
to the objects of our cognition, and the manner in which we do so determines, in turn, the
very nature of those objects as cognized. This leads us, however, to another difficulty:
The architectural work of art is an ontically relative object, whose ontic relativity is, though,
not one-sided. It refers back not only to the creative acts of the architect and the reconstructive
acts of the viewer, but also to its ontic foundation in a fully determined real thing shaped in a
particular way.... Only when the building is so fashioned that in the concrete material the
embodiment of the architects artistic idea is achieved, only then is the work of architecture
truly realized, created, whereas previously, when perhaps only the plans of the cathedral, say,
existed, then it was only intentionally thought or maybe imagined in its sensible qualities, but
not yet truly realized. (OWA 2634)
The existence of the architectural work of art, in other words, is dependent upon two
other objectivities: (i) the real building itself, and (ii) the act of consciousness, be it cre-
ative or re-creative, in which that work appears (qua phenomenon) as the aesthetic
object of that act. This two-sided ontic relativity of the work points to the ontological
complexity of the aesthetic object itself, a complexity that in fact involves a dialectic, of
sorts, among three different elements: artistic imagination, physical realization, and aes-
thetic concretization. We have then to distinguish among three different entities: (i) the
real, physical edifice; (ii) the architectural work of art; and (iii) the architectural work of
art as aesthetic object. Each of these three entities corresponds to a separate activity: (i) is
physical, (ii) is imaginational intentional, and (iii) is intentional aesthetic.14 We can
sketch this as follows:

(i) the real building, or real physical edifice itself, is the physical embodiment, or the
physical realization, of the work of art that is imagined by the architect;
(ii) the architectural work of art is the [first] purely intentional objectivity that existed
originally in the imagination of the architect and that continues to obtain in the real
building as a potential aesthetic object;
(iii) the architectural work of art as aesthetic object is the [second] purely intentional
objectivity coming subsequently into being as concretized in the aesthetic experi-
ence of the viewer.

Artistic and Aesthetic Values

As Piotr Graff has remarks, Ingarden has traced the directions of aesthetic inquiries in
general, and of ontological researches in the aesthetic field in particular, in such far-reach-
ing manner that the questions raised by him are still the central issues in philosophical
aesthetics, in spite of the now obvious necessity to change its language and its methodo-
logical approaches.15 Ingardens conception of the work of art as both a stratified forma-
tion and a schematic construction has proven especially influential in both contemporary
aesthetics and contemporary theories of art and literature.16 More controversial, but in a
sense equally influential, has been his distinction between artistic and aesthetic values and
his further distinction between these values and their corresponding value qualities. While
Ingardens conception of these values and value-qualities has generally been either
ignored or summarily dismissed by recent Anglo-American philosophy of art,17 it has

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inspired and sometimes proved foundational for a good deal of the research pursued by
central figures in phenomenology and continental aesthetics.18 While we cannot here
examine Ingardens distinction in depth, we can at least offer a brief summary of his posi-
tion by way of concluding this discussion of his aesthetics.
Ingarden offered an easily accessible treatment of this topic in Artistic and Aesthetic
Values, a paper that he delivered to The British Society of Aesthetics on 6 November
1963.19 His discussion proceeds as a demonstration that the popular view that aesthetic
values are subjective and relative is mistaken. The first step, he writes,
is the distinction between a work of art and an aesthetic object and the next is the differentia-
tion of artistically valuable from aesthetically valuable qualities. Without these distinctions it is
impossible to reach agreement about the subjectivity or relativity of aesthetic (or artistic) values.
(AAV 94)
Ingarden observes that the seeming plausibility of the subjectivist view derives from the
obvious fact that some works of art cause us pleasure (AAV 95), and he suggests that the
popularity of this view rests on the common failure to distinguish the pleasure character-
izing the aesthetic experience from more common, everyday sorts of pleasure, which are
identical with mental states or qualities of mental states. Ingarden asserts, on the contrary,
that It is precisely in the sphere of the work of art and its concretions, a sphere beyond
that of our experiences and their content, that we must look to see whether it is or is
not possible to find something which can be recognized as specifically and truly valuable.
(AAV 95) Submitting artistic value to ontological analysis, Ingarden identifies several
requirements to which it must conform, and he then considers particular examples of
artistic and aesthetic values and value qualities in order to determine whether they meet
the following conditions:
Artistic value if we are to acknowledge its existence at all is something which arises in the
work of art itself and has its existential ground in that. Aesthetic value is something which mani-
fests itself only in the aesthetic object and as a particular moment which determines the charac-
ter of the whole. The ground of aesthetic value consists of a certain aggregation of aesthetically
valuable qualities, and they in turn rest upon the basis of a certain aggregate of properties which
render possible their emergence in an object. Both the one and the other kind of value assume
the existence of a complete work of art (or aesthetic object). (AAV 98)
The examination of examples that follows establishes that artistic value qualities inhere in
the work of art itself, and that these qualitiesfor example, in a literary work, lucidity,
clarity of expression and precision of constructionoccurring along with other similar
value qualities, may acquire a special character, a special role in the structured organic
whole which is the work of art, and harmonizing with other artistic value qualities it
may induce the emergence of new features of value either in the work of art or in its
concretions (AAV 1001). When these features of value are seen to emerge not in the
work of art but in its concretion (or concretization)that is, in the aesthetic object that
is constituted by the subject engaged in the aesthetic experience of the work of artwe
are then dealing not with artistic but with aesthetic value. The artistic values of a work
of art, and the artistic value qualities upon which these are based, belong to the work of
art itself, and they derive from the creative effort and technical skill of the artist. The
aesthetic values of a work of art, and the aesthetic value qualities upon which they are
based, belong, strictly speaking, not to the work of art but to the aesthetic object that is
said to be co-created by the person experiencing the completed work of art. Even
aesthetic value, then, which inheres in the aesthetic object that arises through the subjec-

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tive operations of concretization carried out by the cognitive agent, is not itself subjec-
tive or relative to the observer, who merely carries out the actualization of potentialities
that belong to the work of art itself. The analysis of the distinction between artistic and
aesthetic value qualities, then, is by no means peripheral to Ingardens philosophical pro-
ject as a whole, for we see even here how his investigations into the ontology and cogni-
tion of art served his overall, life-long project of working out the problem of idealism
versus realism.

Short Biography
Jeff Mitscherling received his BA in Philosophy and German Language & Literature from
the University of California at Santa Barbara in1973, his MA from McMaster University
in1976, and his PhD from the University of Guelph in 1984. While still working on his
dissertation, he studied for one year in Athens as an Associate Member of the American
School of Classical Studies, then taught at the University of Saskatchewan at Saskatoon
for two years and at the University of Western Ontario for one year. After defending the
dissertation in 1984, he taught for two years at McGill University before returning to join
the faculty of the Philosophy Department at the University of Guelph, where he has
remained since 1986. He is the author of Roman Ingardens Ontology and Aesthetics (Uni-
versity of Ottawa Press, 1997), The Authors Intention (with Tanya DiTommaso and Aref
Nayed; Lexington Books, 2004), The Image of a Second Sun: Plato on Poetry, Rhetoric, and
the Techne of Mimesis (Humanity Books, 2009), Aesthetic Genesis: The Origin of Conscious-
ness in the Intentional Being of Nature (University Press of America, 2010), several transla-
tions from German and Greek, and numerous articles in aesthetics, phenomenology,
hermeneutics, classical philology, and the history of philosophy.

* Correspondence: Philosophy Department, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada. Email: jmitsche

OWA x.
The limited extent of Ingardens influence among philosophers, particularly in North America, may be partially
explained by the embarrassing fact that The Literary Work of Art remains catalogued by the Dewey Decimal Classifi-
cationwhich is the worlds most widely used library classification system, used by over 200,000 libraries world-
wide. [Online]. Retrieved on 25 February 2012 from: PN 49.1613,
and The Cognition of the Literary Work of Art as PN 45.1513. That is, they are bibliographically associated and physi-
cally shelved in libraries with works on literary criticism, despite the fact that the former is obviously a study pri-
marily in ontology and logic (as indicated by the works subtitle) and the latter is an extensive study in
The earliest written expression of Ingardens criticism of the idealism he detected in Husserls phenomenology is
found in his letter to Husserl of July 1918, which he wrote while on some private teaching assignment in Konskie,
Poland. See Ingarden, The Letter to Husserl about the VI [Logical] Investigation and Idealism , in Tymieniecka,
41938. For details of Ingardens life, see Mitscherling 1997, esp. Chapter One, A Sketch of Ingardens Life,
Career, and Works.
As I shall explain below, the word exist is not entirely accurate when speaking of the work of art, for as an
entity that enjoys intentional being, the work of art may more precisely be said to subsist or obtain.
In other words, were the work of art identical with the physical book, then there would be as many David Cop-
perfields as there are physical books of that titlebut Dickens wrote only one David Copperfield.
Ingarden here, as elsewhere, employs familiar Aristotelian terminology. Regarding Aristotelian elements in Ingar-
dens phenomenology, see Mitscherling 2010b.
Ingarden also offers two analyses of film, both of which are surprisingly brief and lacking in detail. His earlier
analysis appears in chapter 12 of LWA, where he deals with borderline cases, or works that have an affinity to the
literary work of art. The treatment of film is offered in 58, which is only five pages in length. Ingarden presents

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his second analysis in a 21-page paper that appeared in 1947: Le temps, lespace et le sentiment de realite. Revue
International de Filmologie (no. 2 I, Paris). This paper appears under the title The Film in OWA 31742.
Well over half of LWA is devoted to the discussion of these strata and the roles they play; more pages are
devoted to the discussion of the stratum of meaning units (154 pages) than to the other three combined (113
The word sound is not the actually heard sound of the spoken word. It is, rather, the form that the phonic
material will take when spoken. The function of the word sound is to direct the understanding of the speaker and
the listener to that particular meaning which corresponds to the word as it is to be spoken. The relation of the
word sound to the word meaning is of no small importance to Ingardens analyses of the first and second strata, but
the details of this relation need not concern us here. For more on this, see Mitscherling 1997, 12932. It is to be
noted here that Ingardens description of the operation and nature of both the word sound and the word meaning
already constitutes an extremely important element of his realist rejoinder to Husserl: Neither the word sound nor
the word meaning finds its origin in the readers act of consciousness; that is, they enjoy some kind of real being
or subsistence on their own. While I shall not be dealing at length with this topic in this paper, both the word
sound and the word meaning enjoy what is called ideal being, which is distinct from both the material being of
the physical book and the intentional being of the work of art and the aesthetic object. For discussion of the con-
cept of intentional being and its centrality to realist phenomenology, see Mitscherling 2010a.
In 30. Other modes of representation by means of states of affairs, in Chapter 6, The Role of the Stratum of
Meaning Units in the Literary Work. The Representation Function of the Purely Intentional Sentence Correlates.
Still more pointedly, in his Introduction to The Musical Work in OWA, Ingarden writes:
Let us look at a specific work, for example the well-known C-Minor Sonata, opus 13 (Pathetique) by Beethoven.
How do matters really stand with it? According to the preceding assertions, it should be distinct from the mental
experiences of both composer and listener; at the same time, it seems not to be a material thing. But, we will be
asked, how can something that is neither mental nor physical exist, especially when no one is consciously concerned
with it? And, analogously, we say, whenever we hear a performance of this sonata, even when it is performed by a
different musician and each time in a somewhat different way. How can the same thing disclose itself to us in quali-
tatively different performances? When we perceive the same tree several times, this seems understandable; the per-
ceptions of the tree are, to be sure, something subjective, but they open up for us cognitive access to a material
object, which exists of itself in space, independently of our mental experiences, and which can wait in space as the
same tree, so to speak, until it is perceived by us again. But how can a musical composition, which is neither mate-
rial nor mental, wait for our perceptions and show itself to us as the same in different performances? Where then
does it wait? In space? Surely there are no musical works in space, especially when no performances of them are
being given. Moreover, the separate performances are nothing subjective, as is, for example, the hearing of the
work, and they can neither confer existence upon the work nor guarantee its existence. What makes it possible for
the musical composition to exist, what guarantees its sameness, when it is neither being played nor being heard?
What permits it to show itself as self-identical in different performances? It cannot be regarded as an ideal object,
for it is something created by someone at a certain time and not something discovered. For the same reason, it
cannot be timeless, as ideal objects are supposed to be. (OWA 45)
[Ingarden notes here: Something similar occurs in a theatrical performance that in its staging comprises the per-
formance of a certain written work. WM 117, n. 1.]
[Ingarden notes here: I have elsewhere shown in detail that a schematic construct with areas of indeterminate-
ness is and must be a purely intentional object whose mode of existence is heteronymous and dependent on acts of
consciousness. See my The Literary Work of Art and Does the World Exist? (i.e. Controversy Over the Existence of the
World), volume 2. WM 117, n. 2.]
While the three distinct steps of the architectural work seem clear enough, the relations and distinctions among
the imaginational, the intentional, and the aesthetic require further investigation.
Graff Piotr, 69.
For further discussion of Ingardens influence, see Andrzej Gniazdowski, Roman Ingarden (18931970), in
Sepp and Embree 2010, 1689; see also Mitscherling 1997, 1936. Ingardens influence has been enormous in
Poland; see Piotr Graff and Krzemin-Ojak.
For an excellent summary of the most relevant features of this tradition, see James Shelley, esp. section 2.1 Aes-
thetic Objects, which discusses Arthur Dantos identification of formalism with aesthetics, and his rejection of
Mikel Dufrennes conception of the affective (and of affective qualities and the affective a priori), which he
treats in some depth in chapters 16 and 17 of his influential The Phenomenology of Aesthetic Experience, is clearly
indebted to Ingardens distinction between artistic and aesthetic value. The wide variety of investigations in conti-
nental aesthetics inspired by the work of Ingarden is perhaps most clearly evident in the following collections: On
the Aesthetics of Roman Ingarden (Dziemidok and McCormick 1989); Ingardeniana II. New Studies in the Philosophy of
Roman Ingarden (Rudnick 1990); and Ingardenia III. Roman Ingardens Aesthetics in a New Key and the Independent
Approaches of Others: The Performing Arts, the Fine Arts, and Literature (Tymieniecka 1991). Problems surrounding

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Roman Ingardens Aesthetics 447

Ingardens distinction have provided a constant source of material for investigation among recent and contemporary
Polish philosophers; see, for example, Maria Goszewska, Aesthetic Values in Ingardens System of Philosophy.
The paper was subsequently published in the British Journal of Aesthetics 4 (1964): 198213. It is included in In-
garden 1985, 91106; references in the current paper are to the latter.
Numerous details concerning the chronology of Ingardens works and their publication are offered in Mitscher-
ling 1997, Chapter One (940) and 2169 of Bibliography of Works Cited. The record of the writing, versions,
and revisions of Ingardens various works is sometimes extremely confusing. The OWA and The Musical Work
provide a good example of this confusion. In his forward to the German edition of OWA (ixx), Ingarden
The studies collected in this volume were written, in their first version, in the early months of 1928, immedi-
ately after, and as an appendix to, my book The Literary Work of Art. However, as I prepared that book for the
press in 1930, it became apparent that the volume had become too bulky, so that I had to forego publication of
the appendix, In 1933 I translated a large part of the essay on The Musical Work into Polish and published it
under the title The Problem of the Identity of the Musical Work. [Ingardens note: Przeglad Filozoficzny, Vol.
XXXVI (1933).] The preparation of other publications at that time made it impossible for me to publish these
studies before the outbreak of war in 1939.
OWA is a translation of the German text, Untersuchungen zur Ontologie der Kunst, originally published by Max Nie-
meyer Verlag in Tubingen in 1962. The Musical Work appearing in OWA is a translation of the original German
version that was written in 1928, while Ingarden was staying briefly in Paris; WM is a translation of the Polish ver-
sion published in 1933, when Ingarden was residing in Lwow. Ingarden revised the German version of The Musi-
cal Work in 1957, while residing in Krakow. In note 1 to The Musical Work (OWA 123), Ingarden remarks
that The present German edition differs only in a few unimportant alterations from the Polish version.

Works Cited20
Dziemidok, Bohdan and Peter McCormick. eds. On the Aesthetics of Roman Ingarden. Interpretations and Assessments.
Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1989.
Dufrenne, Mikel. The Phenomenology of Aesthetic Experience. Trans. Edward S. Casey, Albert A. Anderson, Willis Do-
mingo, Leon Jacobson. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1973.
Gniazdowski, Andrzej. Roman Ingarden (18931970). Handbook of Phenomenological Aesthetics. Eds. Hans Rainer
Sepp, Lester Embree. Dordrecht: Springer, 2010. 16770.
Goszewska, Maria. Aesthetic Values in Ingardens System of Philosophy. Roman Ingarden and Contemporary Polish
Aesthetics. Eds. Piotr Graff, Saw Krzemin-Ojak. Warsaw: Polish Scientific Publishers (PWN), 1975. 4768.
Graff, Piotr. The Ontological Basis of Roman Ingardens Aesthetics. A Tentative Reconstruction. Roman Ingarden
and Contemporary Polish Aesthetics. Eds. Piotr Graff, Saw Krzemin-Ojak. Warsaw: Polish Scientific Publishers
(PWN), 1975. 6995.
and Saw Krzemin-Ojak, eds. Roman Ingarden and Contemporary Polish Aesthetics. Warsaw: Polish Scientific
Publishers (PWN), 1975.
Ingarden, Roman. Einfuhrung in die Phanomenologie Edmund Husserls. Tubingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1992.
. Ontology of the Work of Art: The Musical Work, the Picture, the Architectural Work, the Film (OWA). Trans. Ray-
mond Meyer, John T. Goldthwait. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1989.
. The Work of Music and the Problem of Its Identity (WM). Trans. Adam Czerniawski. Ed. Jean G. Harrell. Berke-
ley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1986.
. Selected Papers in Aesthetics. Ed. Peter J. McCormick. Vienna: Philosophia Verlag Munchen, 1985.
. The Literary Work of Art (LWA). Trans. George A. Grabowicz. Evanston: Northwestern University Press,
. Le temps, lespace et le sentiment de realite. Revue International de Filmologie 2.1 (1947).
Mitscherling, Jeff. Aesthetic Genesis: The Origin of Consciousness in the Intentional Being of Nature. Lanham: University
Press of America, 2010a.
. Aristotelian Metaphysics and the Distinction between Consciousness and the Real World in Husserl and
Ingarden. Polish Journal of Philosophy 4.2 (2010b): 13756.
. Roman Ingardens Ontology and Aesthetics. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 1997.
Rudnick, Hans H. Ed. Ingardeniana II. New Studies in the Philosophy of Roman Ingarden. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1990.
Shelley, James. The Concept of the Aesthetic. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2012). [Online]. Retrieved on 15
January 2012 from:
Tymieniecka, Anna-Teresa. Ed. Ingardeniana: A Spectrum of Specialized Studies Establishing a Field of Research [Analecta
Husserliana volume 4]. Dordrecht Boston: D. Reidel. 1976.
. Ed. Ingardenia III. Roman Ingardens Aesthetics in a New Key and the Independent Approaches of Others: The Per-
forming Arts, the Fine Arts, and Literature. Dordrecht: Kluwer. 1991.

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