Psychologism in logic: Husserl's critique

Inquiry 19 (1-4):325 – 339 (1976)
Psychologism in logic holds that logic is a branch of psychology. This view has been vigorously defended by John Stuart Mill and by a number of German philosophers of logic, notably Erdmann. Its chief critics have been Husserl and Frege and, to a lesser extent, Russell. Husserl set forth a profound and detailed critique of psychologism in Logical Investigations. This paper examines this critique. First, I explain why the psychologistic theory is attractive. Then I show that Husserl's critique is not convincing, partly because he does not take the theory in its most plausible form and partly because he ignores certain important distinctions (for example, between what a statement is about and what it is true in virtue of). Then I raise two new objections to the psychologistic theory. The purpose of this paper is to suggest that the psychologistic theory remains an important and serious position from which we can learn much about the status of logic
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DOI 10.1080/00201747608601795
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