From geometry to phenomenology

Synthese 162 (2):225 - 233 (2008)
Richard Tieszen [Tieszen, R. (2005). Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, LXX(1), 153–173.] has argued that the group-theoretical approach to modern geometry can be seen as a realization of Edmund Husserl’s view of eidetic intuition. In support of Tieszen’s claim, the present article discusses Husserl’s approach to geometry in 1886–1902. Husserl’s first detailed discussion of the concept of group and invariants under transformations takes place in his notes on Hilbert’s Memoir Ueber die Grundlagen der Geometrie that Hilbert wrote during the winter 1901–1902. Husserl’s interest in the Memoir is a continuation of his long-standing concern about analytic geometry and in particular Riemann and Helmholtz’s approach to geometry. Husserl favored a non-metrical approach to geometry; thus the topological nature of Hilbert’s Memoir must have been intriguing to him. The task of phenomenology is to describe the givenness of this logos, hence Husserl needed to develop the notion of eidetic intuition.
Keywords Husserl  Geometry  Eidetic intuition  Group theory  Foundations of geometry  Hilbert
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