Logic as a Universal Medium or Logic as a Calculus? Husserl and the Presuppositions of “the Ultimate Presupposition of Twentieth Century Philosophy”

Southern Journal of Philosophy 44 (4):569-580 (2006)
Abstract
This paper discusses Jean van Heijenoort’s (1967) and Jaakko and Merrill B. Hintikka’s (1986, 1997) distinction between logic as auniversal language and logic as a calculus, and its applicability to Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology. Although it is argued that Husserl’s phenomenology shares characteristics with both sides, his view of logic is closer to the model-theoretical, logic-as-calculus view. However, Husserl’s philosophy as transcendental philosophy is closer to the universalist view. This paper suggests that Husserl’s position shows that holding a model-theoretical view of logic does not necessarily imply a calculus view about the relations between language and the world. The situation calls for reflection about the distinction: It will be suggested that the applicability of the van Heijenoort and the Hintikkas distinction either has to be restricted to a particular philosopher’s views about logic, in which case no implications about his or her more general philosophical views should be inferred from it; or the distinction turns into a question of whether our human predicament is inescapable or whether it is possible, presumably by means of model theory, to obtain neutral answers to philosophical questions. Thus the distinction ultimately turns into a question about the correct method for doing philosophy
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