Gödel and the intuition of concepts

Synthese 133 (3):363 - 391 (2002)
Abstract
Gödel has argued that we can cultivate the intuition or perception of abstractconcepts in mathematics and logic. Gödel's ideas about the intuition of conceptsare not incidental to his later philosophical thinking but are related to many otherthemes in his work, and especially to his reflections on the incompleteness theorems.I describe how some of Gödel's claims about the intuition of abstract concepts are related to other themes in his philosophy of mathematics. In most of this paper, however,I focus on a central question that has been raised in the literature on Gödel: what kind of account could be given of the intuition of abstract concepts? I sketch an answer to this question that uses some ideas of a philosopher to whom Gödel also turned in this connection: Edmund Husserl. The answer depends on how we understand the conscious directedness toward objects and the meaning of the term abstract in the context of a theory of the intentionality of cognition.
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