What is “Logical” in Husserl’s Logical Investigations? The Copenhagen Interpretation

  • David Woodruf Smith
Part of the Phaenomenologica book series (PHAE, volume 164)


In Wim Wenders’s 1987 film Himmel Über Berlin (Wings of Desire in the English subtitle version), an angel moves silently among mortals, listening to their thoughts as they read in the Berlin public library. In this spirit, assume that Husserl is listening to our readings today of his Logical Investigations (1900–01).1


Ideal Species Logical Investigation Formal Semantic Intentional Content Ideal Content 
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  1. 1.
    I shall quote from J. N. Findlay’s 1970 English translation, Logical Investigations (Volumes One and Two), of the German edition which combines the first edition of 1900–01 with revisions in the second edition of 1913 and revisions of the Sixth Investigation in the edition of 1920.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See in particular D. Willard, Logic and the Objectivity of Knowledge: A Study of Husserl’s Early Philosophy, Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1984; J.N. Mohanty, “The development of Husserl’s thought.” (In B. Smith and D. W. Smith (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Husserl, Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995); and C. O. Hill and G. E Rosado Haddock (eds.), Husserl or Frege? Meaning, Objectivity, and Mathematics, Chicago and La Salle: Open Court, Cams Publishing Company, 2000.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    J. Hintikka, Knowledge and Belief, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1962; Models and Modalities, Dordrecht and Boston: D. Reidel Publishing Company, 1969.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    However, see the line of argument in D. W. SMITH, “Intentionality Naturalized?” (In J. Petitot, F. J. Varela, B. Pachoud, and J.-M. Roy (eds.), Naturalizing Phenomenology: Issues in Contemporary Phenomenology and Cognitive Science,Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999) and other essays in the same volume.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    B. Bolzano, Theory of Science: Attempt at a Detailed and in the main Novel Exposition of Logic With Constant Attention to Earlier Authors. Edited and translated (selections) by R. George,Berkeley: University ofCalifomia Press, 1972. German original, 1837. See also P. SlMOxs, “Bolzano, Tarski, and the limits of logic”, In P. Simons, Philosophy and Logic in Central Europe from Bolzano to Tarski: Selected Essays. Dordrecht and Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1992.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    B. Smith, “Logic and Formal Ontology”, in J. N. Mohanty and W. McKenna (eds.), Husserl’s Phenomenology: A Textbook,Lanham: University Press of America, 1989, 29–67, aptly discusses many of the issues to follow. However, I want to stress how three distinct disciplines are related: formal logic, formal ontology, and (if you will, formal) phenomenology.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    I. Kant, Critique of Pure Reason. Transi. and edited by P. Guyer and A. W. Wood, Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997, 1998. German original, 1781, revised 1787.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    See W. v. O. QUINE, Methods of Logic, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1950, 1959; Philosophy of Logic, Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1970; Pursuit of Truth, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1992, 1990; From Stimulus to Science, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1995.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    E. Husserl, Ideas pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and a Phenomenological Philosophy, First Book: General Introduction to Pure Phenomenology,translated by W. R. Boyce Gibson, London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., and New York: Humanities Press, Inc., 1969. First English edition, 1931; German original, first published in 1913. Called Ideas I.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    See E. Husserl, Early Writings in the Philosophy of Logic and Mathematics. Translated by D. Willard, Dordrecht and Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1994. Original German texts here gathered, from 1890–1901; and the essays in C. O. Hill and G. E. Rosado Haddock, Husserl or Frege?,on the connections and differences between Husserl, Cantor, Frege, and others in late 19th century foundations of mathematics.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Extending Husserlian part/whole theory, P. Simons, Parts,Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987, pursues nonextensional mereology, which contrasts with set theory and with extensional mereology (where wholes are treated extensionally, rather like sets without braces). See also K. Fine, “Part-whole”, in B. Smith and D. W. Smith (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Husserl. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995, reflecting on Husserl’s part-whole theory.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    See D. W. Smith and R. Mcintyre, Husserl and Intentionality: A Study of Mind, Meaning, and Language, Dordrect: D. Reidel Publishing Company, 1982. Now from Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht and Boston, Chapter V on horizon. The horizon of an experience includes only “motivated” possibilities, those with appropriate probability given what is prescribed by the content or noema of the experience.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    For an illuminating assessment of Husserl’s ideal of a theory of manifolds, see C. O. Hill, “Husserl’s Mannigfaltigkeitslehre”,in C. O. Hill and G.E. Rosado Haddock, Husserl or Frege? Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Husserl later used ’Mannigfaltigkeit’ for a more special purpose when launching his notion of “horizon”. See D. W. Smith and R. Mcintyre, Husserl and Intentionality,Chapter V.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    R. Tieszen and P. Martin-La have both made this observation to me in discussion.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    See P. Simons, Parts,distinguishing Husserlian part theory from extensional mereology, the latter akin to extensional set theory.Google Scholar
  17. 19.
    For details see my reconstruction of Husserl’s ontology in D. W. Smith, “Mind and body”, in B. Smith and D. W. Smith (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Husserl,Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995; and D.W. Smith, “`Pure’ Logic, Ontology, and Phenomenology”, in Revue internationale de philosophie,2001, issue edited by D. Fellesdal.Google Scholar
  18. 20.
    See A. Tarski, “The Concept of Truth in Formalized Languages”, in A. Tarski, Logic, Semantics, Metamathematics,Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1956. Second edition. Indianapolis: Hacket, 1983. Essay originally published in Polish, 1933; in German translation, 1936; and “The Semantic Conception of Truth”, in L. Linsky (ed.), Semantics and the Philosophy of Language. Urbana: The University of Illinois Press, 1952, 1964. Original, 1944, in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 4.Google Scholar
  19. 21.
    The details are reconstructed in D.W. Smith and R. Mcintyre, Husserl and Intentionality. What is new here is the way in which that analysis fits into the overall system of Husserl’s Logical Investigations.Google Scholar
  20. 22.
    This is especially clear in the case of indexical forms of awareness. See D.W. Smith, The Circle of Acquaintance: Perception, Consciousness, and Empathy, Boston and Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1989.Google Scholar
  21. 23.
    See the Introduction to D. W. Smith, The Circle of Acquaintance.Google Scholar
  22. 24.
    Many of the issues here discussed come together in the logic, ontology, and phenomenology of self-awareness. See two complementary recent studies: D. W. Smith, The Circle of Acquaintance, and D. Zahavi, Self-Awareness and Alterity: A Phenomenological Investigation, Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1999. Where the former analyzes the formal structure of self-awareness (and other types of acquaintance, or “intuition”), the latter analyzes the material structures of the same intentional phenomena.Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Woodruf Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaIrvineUSA

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