Logic and Time. an Essay on Husserl's Theory of Meaning

By Schellhammer, Erich P. | The Review of Metaphysics, June 1999 | Go to article overview

Logic and Time. an Essay on Husserl's Theory of Meaning


Schellhammer, Erich P., The Review of Metaphysics


MICHALSKI, Krzysztof. Logic and Time. An Essay on Husserl's Theory of Meaning. Translated from the Polish by Adam Czemiawski. Translation revised by James Dodd. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1997. viii + 162 pp. Cloth, $97.00--Logic and Time deals with Husserl's response to "psychologism" in chapter 1. Chapter 2 explores the difference between Husserl's and Descartes's understanding of meaning. Chapter 3 discusses Husserrs categorization of time and its importance for consciousness. Throughout the book Michalski describes Husserl's philosophical development with regard to the discussed themes. Logic and Time concludes with a short Postscript stating the inclusion of historicity by the late Husserl.

Michalski first explores Husserl's response in Logical Investigations to psychologism. Psychologism assumes that knowledge is grounded in empirical psychology. Husserl criticizes psychologism for not distinguishing the content of judgment (meaning) from the act of judging. For Husserl, meaning must be differentiated from the object. The object appears to the mind through sense-bestowing acts. Meaning is thus based on logical consciousness. In these respects Husserl follows psychologism. Michalski then argues that Husserl moves beyond psychologism by grounding meaning in the "real, factual processes of consciousness" (p. 10). Consequently, Husserl distinguishes the act of representing, the object, and its sense, establishing the universality of that which is represented and the mode of representation (p. 12). He thus finds a middle way between logicism and psychologism.

In chapter 2 Michalski first employs Husserl's The Idea of Phenomenology. Initially, he characterizes Husserl as a Cartesian because he identifies Husserl's starting point for all meaning as the direct cognition of one's own cognition. Husserl then makes the distinction between transcendence and immanence. Transcendence embraces indirect cognition, that is, relating to an object, whereas immanence means direct cognition, that is, cognition without mediation. For Husserl only immanent knowledge is certain, thus a theory of cognition requires a reduction to immanence or a phenomenological reduction. This also implies that one has to differentiate the I from consciousness, whereby only the latter is immanent (this is, in turn, a rebuttal of Descartes's cogito ergo sum). After outlining Husserl's sophisticated reworking of Descartes's position, Michalski moves to Ideas I to present Husserl's theory of meaning. …

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