Gödel's philosophical program and Husserl's phenomenology

Synthese 175 (1):33 - 45 (2010)
Abstract
Gödel’s philosophical rationalism includes a program for “developing philosophy as an exact science.” Gödel believes that Husserl’s phenomenology is essential for the realization of this program. In this article, by analyzing Gödel’s philosophy of idealism, conceptual realism, and his concept of “abstract intuition,” based on clues from Gödel’s manuscripts, I try to investigate the reasons why Gödel is strongly interested in Husserl’s phenomenology and why his program for an exact philosophy is unfinished. One of the topics that has attracted much attention recently is the development of Gödel’s philosophical thoughts and its connection with other philosophical ideas. For instance, some scholars are searching for the possible connections between Gödel’s philosophy and Husserl’s phenomenology and examining if there is any solid evidence of Husserl’s influence on Gödel from Gödel’s works (Tieszen, Bull Symbolic Logic 4(2):181–203, 1998; Huaser, Bull Symbolic Logic 12(4):529–588, 2006). Why is Gödel’ s interested in Husserl? How should this turn to Husserl be interpreted? Is it a dismissal of Leibnizian philosophy, or a different way to achieve similar goals? Way did Gödel turn specifically to Husserl’s transcendental idealism? (Van Atten and Kennedy, Bull Symbolic Logic 9(4):425–476, 2003) I believe, the reason is that Gödel has a valuable program for “developing philosophy as an exact science” and he believes that Husserl’s phenomenology is relevant to the realization of this program. So far there are no sufficient evidence to show that there is a direct inheritance relation between Gödel’s and Husserl’s thoughts. However, from the clues in Gödel’s idealistic philosophy, conceptual realism, and his concept of “abstract intuition,” we can perhaps explore some similarities between his thoughts and Husserl’s thoughts, and analyze the reason why Gödel is interested in Husserl’s phenomenology and why his program for an exact philosophy is unfinished.
Keywords Gödel’s philosophical program  Husserl’s phenomenology  Conceptual realism  Abstract intuition  Essential insight
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    References found in this work BETA
    Kurt Gödel (1972). On an Extension of Finitary Mathematics Which has Not yet Been Used. In Solomon Feferman, John Dawson & Stephen Kleene (eds.), Kurt Gödel: Collected Works Vol. Ii. Oxford University Press. 271--284.
    Kurt Gödel (1946). Remarks Before the Princeton Bicentennial Conference on Problems in Mathematics. In Solomon Feferman, John Dawson & Stephen Kleene (eds.), Kurt Gödel: Collected Works Vol. Ii. Oxford University Press. 150--153.
    Kurt Gödel (1944). Russell's Mathematical Logic. In Solomon Feferman, John Dawson & Stephen Kleene (eds.), The Philosophy of Bertrand Russell. Northwestern University Press. 119--141.
    Donald A. Martin (2005). Gödel's Conceptual Realism. Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 11 (2):207-224.

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