Husserl and the Sciences
Publication Year: 2004
Published by: University of Ottawa Press
About the authors
The founder of the phenomenological movement, Edmund Husserl (1859-1938), lived through a dynamic time for the sciences. 1 Not only were there major developments in mathematics and physics, but some of the greatest practitioners of these discplines were pursuing foundational questions with an unprecedented depth and rigour. Although Husserl did not ...
PART I: PHENOMENOLOGY, EPISTEMOLOGY, AND THE SCIENCES
Chapter 1 Edmund Husserl and the History of Classical Foundationalism
According to many present-day epistemologists, the justification of scientific theories is relative in at least two respects. Whether a specific theory is justified at time t depends both upon the set E of empirical data available at t, and upon the set R of rival theories which are considered by the relevant scientific community at that time. Indeed, ...
Chapter 2 What Is Wrong with Naturalizing Epistemology? A Phenomenologist's Reply
In recent philosophical disputes the odds are on the naturalist's side. Despite regular complaints about the ambiguity of the term 'naturalism,' there exists a tacit agreement among scientists and a growing group of philosophers that defending some version of naturalism is the only tenable position. I shall not discuss the prospects of naturalism in general; rather, I shall criticize the idea...
Chapter 3 Erl
Husserl, a trained mathematician, just like Frege and Bolzano, and student of two of the most notable scholars of that field, Kronecker and Weierstrass, had first-hand knowledge of his contemporaries' scientific work. Although his contribution to mathematics as such remains modest, one would be wrong to minimize the importance of formal and natural sciences within Husserl's philosophical itinerary. For instance, ...
PART II: PHENOMENOLOGY, MATHEMATICS, AND PHYSICS
Chapter 4 Husserl and Hilbert on Geometry
Anyone who attempts to compare Husserl's and Hilbert's approach to geometry faces an almost insurmountable difficulty. Whereas Hilbert, over a period of more than ten years, worked out a systematic and detailed presentation of geometry which was published in his book Grundlagen der Geometric, there is nothing comparable in Husserl's work.1 All that we find in Husserl's ...
Chapter 5 Husserl and the Theory of Multiplicities "Mannigfaltikeitslehre"
Husserl's idea of a general theory of deductive systems was motivated by the mathematical theory of multiplicities. Husserl mentions the names of Riemann and Grassmann as the originators of the concept of multiplicity and he adds the names of Lie, Hamilton, and Cantor.1 However, ...
Chapter 6 Husserl's Legacy in the Philosophy of Mathematics: From Realism to Predicativism
The list of mathematicians and philosophers of mathematics who claimed to have been influenced by Husserl is rather impressive. It includes Weyl, who successively claimed that his own predicativist programme in his 1918 book The Continuum, and a few years later, the intuitionism of Brouwer that he espoused at that stage were to be linked, as far as epistemology is concerned, to Husserlian phenomenology. In the ...
Chapter 7 Husserl and Weyl: Phenomenology, Mathematics, and Physics
In the early years of the twentieth century, Edmund Husserl and Hermann Weyl exchanged a number of letters on the foundations of mathematics and science.1 On 10 April 1918, Husserl writes that reading Weyl's The Continuum was a meaningful event since he himself had been on a "similar path" for many years.2 The following comment ...
Chapter 8 Herman Weyl's Later Philosophical Views: His Divergence from Husserl
In what seems to have been his last paper, >Insight and Reflection (1954), Hermann Weyl provides an illuminating sketch of his intellectual development, and describes the principal influences - scientific and philosophical - exerted on him in the course ofhis career as a mathematician. Of the latter the most important in the earlier stages was Husserl's phenomenology. In Weyl's work of 1918-22 we find much evidence of the great influence Husserl's ...
PART III: PHENOMENOLOGY, THE SCIENCES, AND COMMUNITY
Chapter 9 From the Lifeworld to the Exact Sciences and Back
Ever since the rise of the modern exact sciences, it has become more and more clear that the scientific mind is not bound by an exhaustive understanding of its own doings. The fact is that, while discovering the inner structure or the nexus of relations pertaining to an object, science ignores the paths that led to this structure or these relations; but these paths ...
Chapter 10 Husserl on the Communal Praxis of Science
It is well known that for a long period within the phenomenological tradition itself, there was a tendency to view the Crisis-texts of Husserl's last years as marking a radical shift in his thought. Major figures such as Gadamer and Merleau-Ponty1 are well-known exponents of this view, and even circumspect and insightful subsequent scholars such as Carr tend to stress the novelty, for example, of the infusion of history into Husserl's later philosophy2 Some treat this 'novelty' as ...