The Shorter Logical Investigations

The Shorter Logical Investigations

The Shorter Logical Investigations

The Shorter Logical Investigations

Synopsis

Edmund Husserl is the founder of phenomenology and the Logical Investigations is his most famous work. It had a decisive impact on twentieth century philosophy and is one of few works to have influenced both continental and analytic philosophy.This paperback abridged edition makes the key sections available in one volume for the first time. Edited and with a detailed new introduction by Dermot Moran, this shorter version also includes a new preface by Sir Michael Dummett.

Excerpt

Edmond Husserl’s Logical Investigations, little known to English-speaking students of philosophy but well known to most students of the subject with a different mother tongue, is a work of the first importance in the history of philosophy. It was written at a turning point in Husserl’s philosophical development, between his earlier book, Philosophy of Arithmetic (1891), deeply embedded in the psychologism so prevalent in German philosophy of the time, and the Ideas towards a pure Phenomenology and phenomenological Philosophy (1913) in which the notion of noema was first presented and the programme of phenomenology was first set out. In Philosophy of Arithmetic Husserl had criticised Gottlob Frege’s Foundations of Arithmetic from a psychologistic standpoint. Psychologism attempts to explain concepts by reference to the inner mental operations supposedly involved in attaining them or grasping them; Frege had engaged in denouncing this methodology - the intrusion of psychological considerations into logic and the analysis of meaning - from the Foundations of Arithmetic onwards. Husserl, whose previous relations with Frege had been fairly cordial, was deeply affronted by his savage, and in certain respects unfair, review in 1894 of thePhilosophy of Arithmetic, and had no further contact with him for the next twelve years. Frege’s review was his most sustained attack on psychologism; and although it was resented by Husserl for its unkindness, it is widely believed to have influenced him profoundly, albeit some reject this conjecture. However this may be, Husserl had completely changed his attitude to psychologism by 1900. His arguments against it in the Prolegomena often coincided with those used by Frege, although he elaborated them in far more detail. Yet while Frege’s objections to psychologism had made little impact, that of Husserl’s assault on it was overwhelming: the Prolegomena came close to killing off the influence of psychologism within German philosophy, although Husserl’s old teacher Brentano remained bewildered by this turn of events.

Attention to Husserl’s famous book may help to correct the impression of ‘German philosophy’ often given by those who declare their enthusiasm for what they describe as the German tradition in the subject. This they see as originating in the work of Hegel and the idealist school generally and . . .

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