Mathematical roots of phenomenology: Husserl and the concept of number

History and Philosophy of Logic 27 (4):319-337 (2006)
Abstract
The paper examines the roots of Husserlian phenomenology in Weierstrass's approach to analysis. After elaborating on Weierstrass's programme of arithmetization of analysis, the paper examines Husserl's Philosophy of Arithmetic as an attempt to provide foundations to analysis. The Philosophy of Arithmetic consists of two parts; the first discusses authentic arithmetic and the second symbolic arithmetic. Husserl's novelty is to use Brentanian descriptive analysis to clarify the fundamental concepts of arithmetic in the first part. In the second part, he founds the symbolic extension of the authentically given arithmetic with stepwise symbolic operations. In the process of doing so, Husserl comes close to defining the modern concept of computability. The paper concludes with a brief comparison between Husserl and Frege. While Frege chose to subject arithmetic to logical analysis, Husserl wants to clarify arithmetic as it is given to us. Both engage in a kind of analysis, but while Frege analyses within Begriffsschrift, Husserl analyses our experiences. The difference in their methods of analysis is what ultimately grows into two separate schools in philosophy in the 20th century
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