Skip to main content

Husserl and Frege: A New Look at their Relationship

  • Chapter


Husserl’s explicit rejection of psychologism as a theory of the origin of the logico-mathematical entities and his advocacy of a conception of pure logic as a science of objective meanings were first expounded in the Prolegomena to Pure Logic (1900), and Husserl tells us that the Prolegomena, in its essentials, is a reworking of lectures he had given at Halle in the year 1896.1 Føllesdal, in his careful study of the relation between Frege and Husserl during these years, asks the question, at what point of time between 1890 (the year of publication of the Philosophic der Arithmetik) and 1896 did this change in Husserl’s mode of thinking take place?2 The papers published during 1891–1893 do not, according to Føllesdal, bear testimony to any such change. In the paper “Psychologische Studien zur Elementaren Logik” of the year 1894, Husserl is still found to believe that the foundations of logic can be clarified with the help of psychology. Accordingly, the change must have occurred between the years 1894 and 1896. Frege’s famed review of the Philosophic der Arithmetik appeared in the year 1894. Follesdal therefore conjectures that it is Frege’s review which must have led Husserl to a complete revision of his prior mode of thinking.3 This view about the Frege-Husserl relationship is shared by many writers. A recent writer even speaks of Husserl’s “traumatic encounter with Frege.” 4


  • Logical Investigation
  • Conceptual Content
  • Pure Logic
  • Prior Mode
  • Algorithmic Content

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

First appeared in Research in Phenomenology, V, 1975. Reprinted here with permission. J. N. M.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-94-010-1055-9_3
  • Chapter length: 11 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
USD   109.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-94-010-1055-9
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   149.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Husserl, E. Logical Investigations, E. tr. By J. N. Findlay, Vol. I, New York: Humanities Press, 1970, p. 47

    Google Scholar 

  2. Føllesdal, D. Husserl und Frege, Oslo: I Kommisjon Hos H. Aschehoug xxamp; Co., 1958, p. 23

    Google Scholar 

  3. Solomon, R. C., “Sense and Essence: Frege and Husserl,” International philosophical Quarterly, 10, 1970, p. 380S

    Google Scholar 

  4. Embree, Lester E. Life-World and Consciousness, Essays for Aron Gurwitsch, Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1972, pp. 139–140 (in H. Dreyfus, “The Perpetual Noema: Gurwitsch’s Crucial Contribution”).In a footnote on p. 140, Dreyfus rejects Gurwitsch’s claim that Husserl discovered the distinction between real mental states and ideal meanings and refers to “Husserl’s explicit attribution of this distinction to Frege” in the Logical Investigations, I (Findlay edition), p. 292. This reference however is misleading. First, this is not the place where Husserl first introduces the distinction. The distinction is introduced, first, in the 1891 Schröder review as this paper will argue. Secondly, at this place, Husserl is only referring to Frege’s different terminology.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Frege, G., “Kritische Beleuchtung einigeer Punkte in E. Schröders Vorlesungen über die Algebra der Logik,” Archiv für systematische Philosophie, I, 1895, pp. 433–436.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Husserl, E., “Persönliche Aufzeichnungen”, edited by W. Biemel,in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, XVI, 1956, 293–302, esp. 294. (Italics mine). — J. N. M.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 1977 Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Mohanty, J.N. (1977). Husserl and Frege: A New Look at their Relationship. In: Mohanty, J.N. (eds) Readings on Edmund Husserl’s Logical Investigations . Springer, Dordrecht.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Dordrecht

  • Print ISBN: 978-90-247-1928-0

  • Online ISBN: 978-94-010-1055-9

  • eBook Packages: Springer Book Archive