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Some things about Husserl that I would like to remember for longer than ten seconds at a time

This is just a reference post. I look these things up and then forget. Maybe writing it out will help, and if it doesn't at least I know where to look.


This is what he wrote when. There are probably enormous gaps, this is just what I currently know about:

  • 1887: On the Concept of Number. Ph.D thesis... oh hang on, no, that was in maths, and this is a 'habilitation dissertation' instead, whatever that is. Influenced by Brentano. Was incorporated into...
  • 1891: The Philosophy of Arithmetic. This is the one with the counting past twelve stuff in it. Started making notes here. This is also when he got into arguments with Frege about psychologism.
  • 1900: Logical Investigations. This is a major work but I don't know anything about it. According to Stanford 'Husserl now adheres to a version of platonism that he derived from ideas of Hermann Lotze and especially Bernard Bolzano, where he embeds platonism about meaning and mental content in a theory of intentional consciousness'. I'm going to hope I can ignore that for now. (Later edit: oh no, I've just remembered that this is the one Derrida talks about a lot in Voice and Phenomenon, and is possibly where the indication/expression thing comes from, so I probably can't ignore it.)  
  • 1913: Ideas 1. As I understand it, this is the big one that introduces all the phenomenology jargon about 'transcendental reduction' and 'the natural attitude'. I've got as far as finding a pdf of this but have only read the contents page.
  • 1928: On the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time. Derrida talks a lot about his time-consciousness stuff, though I don't know if he's mainly referring to this or something else.
  • 1936: The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology. I only know about this one because it has an appendix called 'The Origin of Geometry' that Derrida wrote a famous critique of. Given the title it's probably also relevant to Leszek's Husserl and the Search for Certitude (notes here), but Leszek only mentions the book once by name. Unfinished.

There is also an Ideas 2 that must fit in there somewhere but I don't know how.


  • the natural attitude: the kind of normal implicit attitude that I live in a world full of already-meaningful objects external to me, extending in space and time, bla bla, something like that
  • eidetic reduction: this is the Descartes piece of wax thing. Trying to find the essence of something by varying various properties. E.g. shape changes as the wax melts, so shape is not essential to being a piece of wax.
  • Bracketing, epoché, phenomenological reduction: suspending judgement about the real existence of stuff you're experiencing and focusing on the direct experience
  • transcendental reduction: Wikipedia has this lumped in with the three above but I am unsure, maybe it is subtly different
  • 'the principle of all principles': this goes along with bracketing. Anything in our direct experience 'is to be offered simply as what it is presented as being, but also, only within the limits in which it is presented there'. Quote is from Ideas 1.

OK that was actually very helpful. And reading back old notes is also helpful. This notebook was a good idea.