PHIL 285 -- Husserl's Logical Investigations
Fall 2008

Instructor:    Clinton Tolley
   office:   HSS 8061
   hours:   tbd
   phone:  2-2686
   email:   ctolley [at]

Teaching Assistant:   {to be determined}
   office:   ---
   hours:   ---
   phone:  ---
   email:   ---


Time:         Wednesdays, 2:00-4:50pm
Location:  Philosophy Seminar Room [H&SS 7077] [map]

Required textbooks

{available at Groundwork Books}

Husserl, Logical Investigations, Volumes 1 & 2
  tr., Findlay (Routledge, 2000)

** additional required readings to be made available on WebCT

Recommended textbook

{also available at Groundwork Books}

Brentano, Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint

Husserl, Ideas pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology

Course description

In this course, we will work through Husserl's early master-work, his 1900-1 Logical Investigations.  The Investigations stand almost unrivaled as the founding document for the phenomenological tradition^, even if their significance for this tradition -- not to mention their significance for the history of 20th century philosophy in general -- has still not yet been adequately appreciated, and even as their main theses have yet to be fully understood, let alone sufficiently exploited, in contemporary discussions.

(^: Compare Heidegger's remark in the introduction to Being and Time: 'The following investigation would not have been possible if the ground had not been prepared by Edmund Husserl, with whose Logical Investigations phenomenology first emerged' (sect. 7).)

To orient ourselves with respect to the historical and philosophical context, we will begin by reading selections from
Brentano's 1874 PsychologyWe will conclude by looking ahead to the changes effected by Husserl's later 'transcendental' turn in his 1913 Ideas.

Topics to be covered include:

* the place of subjectivity and objectivity in the theory of knowledge,
* debates about psychologism in logic and ethics,
* the role of normativity and value within logic itself,
* the intentionality of consciousness,
* the role of consciousness and language in a theory of meaning,
* the distinction(s) between the real and the ideal,
* the problem of universals,
* the distinction between abstract and concrete,
* the status of so-called 'intentional' objects
* the relation between logic, grammar, and ontology,
* the foundational(?) status of the theory of part-whole relations (mereology),
* the distinction between concepts and intuitions (intentions and
* the relation between truth and evidence, and
* the idea of 'categorial intuition'.

Husserl's text puts forward a highly sophisticated system of thought, fashioned at the intersection of the emerging fields of empirical psychology, mathematical logic, Austrian Sprachphilosophie and Gegenstandstheorie, and neo-Kantian and neo-empiricist Erkenntnistheorien.  The content of the Investigations will be of deep interest to anyone interested in philosophy of mind, language, psychology, epistemology, ontology, philosophy of logic, phenomenology, or the broader history of modern European philosophy.

Course requirements

* two reading-responses, circulated electronically the previous Monday night
* seminar paper proposal (300 words); due Sunday night, 9th week (Nov. 23)
* seminar paper (3500 words); due 5pm, Weds, exam week (Dec. 10)
* attendance(!)

Schedule of readings

{TBD: syllabus will be posted on WebCT}

Reference links


Husserl, Logische Untersuchungen (1st edition)
  Erster Teil: Prolegomena zur reinen Logik
  (Halle: Max Niemeyer, 1900)   [googlebooks] [pdf]
  Zweiter Teil: Untersuchungen zur Phaenomenologie und Theorie der
  (Halle: Max Niemeyer, 1901)  [googlebooks] [pdf]

Brentano, Psychologie vom empirischen Standpunkte, Erster Band
 (Leipzig: Duncker und Humblot, 1874) [googlebooks] [pdf]


Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy entries (requires sign-in)

Overview of the phenomenological movement
Franz Brentano
Edmund Husserl

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entries

Overview of phenomenology
Franz Brentano
Edmund Husserl

Course URL

last updated: August 12, 2008