The beginnings of Husserl's philosophy. Part 2: Mathematical and philosophical background

The article examines the development of Husserl’s early philosophy from his Habilitationsschrift (1887) to the Philosophie der Arithmetik (1891). An attempt will be made at reconstructing the lost Habilitationsschrift (of which only the first chapter survives, which we know as Über den Begriff der Zahl). The examined sources show that the original version of the Habilitationsschrift was by far broader than the printed version, and included most topics of the PA. The article contains an extensive and detailed comparison of these texts to illustrate the changes in Husserl’s position before and after February 1890. This date is taken as a turning point in his development, because of Husserl’s announcement in a letter to Carl Stumpf that he was mistaken in his basic assumption, i.e. that the (psychological) analysis of the concept of Anzahl would yield a foundation for arithmetic. Some interesting conclusions in this respect can also be drawn from an unpublished lecture that Husserl held in the WS 1889/90, in which he anticipates aspects of his position hitherto deemed to belong to the last phases of the PA.
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