On the completion and generalization of intuitive space in der raum: Husserlian and drieschian elements


The paper focuses on some puzzles about Carnap's intended epistemological point in the "completion" and "generalization" of the Anschauungsraum in sec. II of Der Raum (leaving aside the technical problems which also arise). Since any global structure at all requires that eidetic intuition be supplemented with freely-chosen postulates and/or intuitively unmotivated generalizations, it is unclear, as several authors have pointed out, how and in what sense "intuitive space" as a whole represents a distinctive, a priori contribution to our knowledge. I suggest a way of approaching this issue based on Carnap's sources -- in particular, Husserl and Driesch, both of whom he repeatedly claims to be following. The idea of a severely finite realm of possible intuition, which both requires and allows supplementation with an infinite conceptual structure, is central to Husserl's thought, and, I argue, it would be natural for Carnap to rely on it in attempting to reconcile Husserlian eidetic intuition with the general theory of relativity. That this larger conceptual structure owes its details to free postulation is, on the other hand, decidedly un-Husserlian. But here, I claim, Carnap takes his cue from Driesch's view, in the first edition of the Ordnungslehre, that natural actuality is the result of a certain demand for order: we demand such order in natural things and reject as non-actual (hallucinatory, dreamed, etc.) whatever nature-like elements of experience fail to fit into it. In conclusion I suggest that more radical versions of this particular constellation of ideas provide the key to understanding much of Carnap's later thought.



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