Logik und psychologismus

Since Quine has claimed that there is no absolute distinction between analytical and synthetical sentences the question whether logical laws might not be high order empirical laws about the ways humans actually think has become once more relevant. The affirmative answer was defended in the nineteenth century as the doctrine of psychologism. Frege and Husserl were vehemently opposed to this doctrine and many believe that they have destroyed it once and for all. This essay restates the doctrine of psychologism and critically examines the counter arguments of Frege and Husserl. The conclusions reached are as follows: 1. Psychologism is a hard doctrine to state, because at its heart lies both a sceptical claim concerning the possibility of knowledge, in the strong sense of the word and a tendency towards idealism; 2. Frege defends the possibility of knowledge in the strong sense and ridicules the idealistic tendencies of psychologism but he cannot and does not refute the sceptical claims involved in any other than a polemical fashion; 3. Husserl tries to refute psychologism by attacking its roots: scepticism, but his sustained attempts are not successful; 4. Psychologism stands therefore unharmed by Frege and Husserl and is a viable, though perhaps unattractive philosophical option. The laws of logic might not be empirical claims about how humans think but they might be nevertheless empirical claims about how the world as a whole is cemented together
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DOI 10.1007/BF01801375
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