Edmund Husserl

Edmund Gustav Albrecht Husserl was a German philosopher who established the school of phenomenology. In his early work, he elaborated critiques of historicism and of psychologism in logic based on analyses of intentionality. In his mature work, he sought to develop a systematic foundational science based on the so-called phenomenological reduction. Arguing that transcendental consciousness sets the limits of all possible knowledge, Husserl re-defined phenomenology as a transcendental-idealist philosophy. Husserl's thought profoundly influenced the landscape of twentieth-century philosophy, and he remains a notable figure in contemporary philosophy and beyond.
Husserl studied mathematics under Karl Weierstrass and Leo Königsberger, and philosophy under Franz Brentano and Carl Stumpf. He taught philosophy as a Privatdozent at Halle from 1887, then as professor, first at Göttingen from 1901, then at Freiburg from 1916 until he retired in 1928, after which he remained highly productive. Following an illness, he died at Freiburg in 1938.
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With a new foreword by Dermot Moran

‘the work here presented seeks to found a new science – though, indeed, the whole course of philosophical development since Descartes has been preparing the way for it – a science covering a new field of experience, exclusively its own, that of "Transcendental Subjectivity"’ - Edmund Husserl, from the author’s preface to the English Edition

Widely regarded as the principal founder of phenomenology, one of the most important movements in twentieth century philosophy, Edmund Husserl’s Ideas is one of his most important works and a classic of twentieth century thought. This Routledge Classics edition of the original translation by W.R. Boyce Gibson includes the introduction to the English edition written by Husserl himself in 1931.

Husserl’s early thought conceived of phenomenology – the general study of what appears to conscious experience – in a relatively narrow way, mainly in relation to problems in logic and the theory of knowledge. The publication of Ideas in 1913 witnessed a significant and controversial widening of Husserl’s thought, changing the course of phenomenology decisively. Husserl argued that phenomenology was the study of the very nature of what it is to think, "the science of the essence of consciousness" itself.

Husserl’s arguments ignited a heated debate regarding the nature of consciousness and experience that has endured throughout the twentieth and continues in the present day. No understanding of twentieth century philosophy is complete without some understanding of Husserl, and his work influenced some of the great philosophers of the twentieth century, such as Martin Heidegger and Jean-Paul Sartre.

In his first book, Philosophy of Arithmetic, Edmund Husserl provides a carefully worked out account of number as a categorial or formal feature of the objective world, and of arithmetic as a symbolic technique for mastering the infinite field of numbers for knowledge. It is a realist account of numbers and number relations that interweaves them into the basic structure of the universe and into our knowledge of reality. It provides an answer to the question of how arithmetic applies to reality, and gives an account of how, in general, formalized systems of symbols work in providing access to the world. The "appendices" to this book provide some of Husserl's subsequent discussions of how formalisms work, involving David Hilbert's program of completeness for arithmetic. "Completeness" is integrated into Husserl's own problematic of the "imaginary", and allows him to move beyond the analysis of "representations" in his understanding of the logic of mathematics.
Husserl's work here provides an alternative model of what "conceptual analysis" should be - minus the "linguistic turn", but inclusive of language and linguistic meaning. In the process, he provides case after case of "Phenomenological Analysis" - fortunately unencumbered by that title - of the convincing type that made Husserl's life and thought a fountainhead of much of the most important philosophical work of the twentieth Century in Europe. Many Husserlian themes to be developed at length in later writings first emerge here: Abstraction, internal time consciousness, polythetic acts, acts of higher order ('founded' acts), Gestalt qualities and their role in knowledge, formalization (as opposed to generalization), essence analysis, and so forth.
This volume is a window on a period of rich and illuminating philosophical activity that has been rendered generally inaccessible by the supposed "revolution" attributed to "Analytic Philosophy" so-called. Careful exposition and critique is given to every serious alternative account of number and number relations available at the time. Husserl's extensive and trenchant criticisms of Gottlob Frege's theory of number and arithmetic reach far beyond those most commonly referred to in the literature on their views.
Coming from what is arguably the most productive period of Husserl's life, this volume offers the reader a first translation into English of Husserl's renowned lectures on `passive synthesis', given between 1920 and 1926. These lectures are the first extensive application of Husserl's newly developed genetic phenomenology to perceptual experience and to the way in which it is connected to judgments and cognition. They include an historical reflection on the crisis of contemporary thought and human spirit, provide an archaeology of experience by questioning back into sedimented layers of meaning, and sketch the genealogy of judgment in `active synthesis'.
Drawing upon everyday events and personal experiences, the Analyses are marked by a patient attention to the subtle emergence of sense in our lives. By advancing a phenomenology of association that treats such phenomena as bodily kinaesthesis, temporal genesis, habit, affection, attention, motivation, and the unconscious, Husserl explores the cognitive dimensions of the body in its affectively significant surroundings. An elaboration of these diverse modes of evidence and their modalizations (transcendental aesthetic), allows Husserl to trace the origin of truth up to judicative achievements (transcendental logic).
Joined by several of Husserl's essays on static and genetic method, the Analyses afford a richness of description unequalled by the majority of Husserl's works available to English readers. Students of phenomenology and of Husserl's thought will find this an indispensable work.
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