Intuition and Conceptual Construction in Weyl’s Analysis of the Problem of Space

  • Francesca BiagioliEmail author
Part of the Studies in History and Philosophy of Science book series (AUST, volume 49)


Hermann Weyl adopted the Kantian definition of space as a form of intuition and referred to Edmund Husserl’s phenomenological approach for the philosophical characterization of space in the introduction to Raum-Zeit-Materie (1918) and other writings from the same period (1918–1923). At the same time, Weyl emphasized that subjective factors are completely excluded from the mathematical construction of physical reality in Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, with the sole exception of the setting of a coordinate system, which for Weyl is what remains of the original perspective of the self in becoming aware of one’s own intuitions. This paper reconsiders Weyl’s philosophical position as a possible response to the earlier debate on the relation between intuition and conceptual construction in the foundation of geometry, key figures of which, besides Husserl, included Hermann von Helmholtz, Felix Klein, and Moritz Schlick.


Classical and relativistic problems of space Form of intuition Hermann von Helmholtz Hermann Weyl 



This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant Agreement No. 715222). Prior to this, research leading to this paper was carried out within the project “Mathematical and Transcendental Method in Ernst Cassirer’s Philosophy of Science”, funded by the Marie Curie Actions in co-funding with the Zukunftskolleg at the University of Konstanz. I wish to thank Julien Bernard, Carlos Lobo, Silvia De Bianchi, Paola Cantù, Thomas Ryckman and Georg Schiemer for helpful comments and discussions of this material.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

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