(Dordrecht: Springer Verlag 2008)



The publication of all but a small, unfound, part of the complete text of the lecture course on logic and theory of knowledge that Edmund Husserl gave at Göttingen during the winter semester of 1906/07 became a reality in 1984 with the publication of Einleitung in die Logik und Erkenntnistheorie, Vorlesungen 1906/07 edited by Ullrich Melle. Published in that volume were also twenty-seven appendices containing material selected to complement the content of the main text in significant ways. They provide valuable insight into the evolution of Husserl's thought between the Logical Investigations and Ideas I and, therefore, into the origins of phenomenology. That text and all those appendices but one are translated and published in the present volume. Omitted are only the "Personal Notes" dated September 25, 1906, November 4, 1907, and March 6, 1908, which were translated by Dallas Willard and published in his translation of Husserl's Early Writings in the Philosophy of Logic and Mathematics.

Introduction to Logic and Theory of Knowledge, Lectures 1906/07 provides valuable insight into the development of the ideas fundamental to phenomenology. Besides shedding considerable light on the genesis of phenomenology, it sheds needed light on many other dimensions of Husserl's thought that have puzzled and challenged scholars. For example, this is precisely where many of the clues are to be found that are needed to answer questions of a controversial nature about seemingly enigmatic aspects of Husserl's thought, among them questions regarding the nature and evolution of his views on psychologism, meaning, analyticity, logicism, mathematics, Platonism, idealism, phenomenology, the relationship between his formal and his transcendental logic. Moreover, it provides material needed to situate and evaluate Husserl's philosophy in relation to the ideas and innovations of the most eminent and influential thinkers of his time, thinkers who often shared Husserl's concern to reform logic, his desire to discover secure foundations for it, mathematics, the theory of knowledge, and all of science, his intent to fight against psychologism, to develop a theory of meaning, and so on. It also provides material essential to establishing Husserl's proper place in twentieth century philosophy of logic and mathematics, a field with deep roots in Austro-German ideas about mathematics, logic, and philosophy that flowered in English speaking countries in the twentieth century, but into which Husserl's ideas have never been properly integrated. Given the preeminent role that philosophy of logic and mathematics played in shaping philosophy in English speaking countries in the twentieth century, this volume also supplies material essential for the building of any possible bridge between phenomenology and analytic philosophy.

Husserl himself considered that with the lecture courses on logic and theory of knowledge that he gave at the University of Göttingen during the early years of the twentieth century he had progressed well beyond the insights of the Logical Investigations. He indicated this in a draft of a letter to Hans Cornelius dated September 28, 1906, where he wrote: "Unfortunately, I must time and again bewail the fact that my reflections on the meaning of phenomenology in the introduction to my Logical Investigations (and Investigation V) express so very inappropriately the true meaning of the investigations and their true methods. My publication of the lecture courses on theory of knowledge given since 1902 will succeed in redressing the situation".

On the cover of the manuscript of the course on general theory of knowledge that Husserl gave at Göttingen in 1902/03, he wrote that at times he felt certain that he had progressed further in the critique of knowledge than any of his predecessors and had seen more substantially and to some extent more perfectly clearly what they had barely suspected or had left in confusion. In a letter to Dietrich Mahnke of May 25, 1907, Husserl wrote that for his course of that year, he had improved upon the content of his lectures on theory of knowledge in very essential ways, had developed more fully many a thing that had only been briefly indicated, and had made important additions and improvements. In Alte und Neue Logik, Vorlesung 1908/09, while still defending as unimpeachable what he called the dreadfully misunderstood arguments of the second volume of the Logical Investigations concerning the classification of the laws of the theory of forms of meanings as analytic a priori laws, he explained that he had come to grasp the concept of meaning better and more appropriately than he had at the time he wrote the Logical Investigations, the Fourth Logical Investigation in particular. On February 18, 1905, he had written to Heinrich Gomperz that the methodological and theoretical issues making up the main content of his Göttingen courses had been presented in an incomparably clearer manner in them than in the Logical Investigations, a fact about which scholars familiar with the content of those courses are in total agreement.

It was during those early years of the twentieth century that Husserl developed the phenomenological method, the ins and outs of which already make up a large portion of his 1902/03 course on general theory of knowledge. In the letter of 1905 to Gomperz just cited, Husserl expressed his firm conviction that the phenomenological method was the true method of critique of knowledge. He said that he saw his life's goal as being to solve the main problems of critique of knowledge one after the other by means of it and was working on that continually year after year. In personal notes of September 1906, Husserl confided that the general problem that he believed that he had to solve if he were to be able to call himself a philosopher was "A critique of reason, a critique of logical and practical reason, of normative reason in general". He even wrote that he believed that unless he attained clarity regarding "the general outlines of the sense, essence, methods and main points of a critique of reason, without having thought out, outlined, formulated and justified a general sketch of such a critique" he could not "live truly and sincerely".

As Ullrich Melle points out in his introduction to Einleitung in die Logik und Erkenntnistheorie, Vorlesungen 1906/07, Husserl's course fell exactly midway between the publication of the Logical Investigations in 1900-01 and Ideas I in 1913. Melle presents the course as being to a large extent a summation and consolidation of Husserl's logico-scientific, epistemological, and epistemo-phenomenological investigations of the preceding years and as representing an important step in the journey from descriptivo-psychological elucidation of pure logic in the Logical Investigations to the transcendental phenomenology of the absolute consciousness of the objective correlates constituting themselves in its acts in Ideas I. Melle considers that without a doubt the course represented an attempt to present and publish the extensive findings of Husserl's investigations from the years following the publication of the Logical Investigations under the heading of a critique of theoretical reason.

In his introduction, Melle describes the philosophical straits in which Husserl found himself upon the completion of the Logical Investigations. The proper determination of the relationship between theory of knowledge and psychology, Melle explains, is decisive for reaching or failing to reach epistemological goals. Shortly after the publication of the Logical Investigations, it had already become clear to Husserl that he had not succeeded in proving that the alleged contradiction between the refutation of psychologism in the Prolegomena to Pure Logic, the first volume of the Logical Investigations, and the epistemological elucidation of pure logic by recourse to subjective acts in the six Logical Investigations was only apparent. He had also come to see the misunderstandings about a blatant contradiction existing between the two parts of his work as having been additionally fostered by the unfortunate decision on his part to speak of phenomenology as descriptive psychology.

In his early Göttingen courses, Husserl defined theory of knowledge as the investigation of the thorny problems involving the relationship of the subjectivity of the knower to the objectivity of what is known. He was intent upon teaching his students to separate different layers of philosophical issues that had obscured theory of knowledge's proper relationship to other disciplines. He taught them to liberate themselves from the damage wrought by psychologism and to loose theory of knowledge from both it and metaphysical presuppositions. He drew their attention to the ties that he saw linking the theory of knowledge to its complement, pure, formal, analytic logic and introduced them to his own very Bolzanian alternative. This period of his thought bears the unmistakable imprint of Bolzano's Wissenschaftslehre. In his logic course of 1896, Husserl explicitly told his students that more was to be learned about the descriptive laying of the foundations of formal logic from Bolzano's book than from all other past and recent logical work combined.

In these courses, Husserl taught that objectivity of thinking was grounded in purely logical forms. Pure logic, he told students, was the science of concepts and relations of concepts, of propositions and relations of propositions, of the possible forms grounded in these concepts and propositions. It defines the form concepts to which the objective content of all logical and all scientific thinking in general is subject and on whose basis they develop the laws of validity grounded in these form concepts. Science, in the objective sense, is a web of theories, and so of proofs, propositions, inferences, concepts, meanings, not of experiences.

The whole of arithmetic, Husserl taught, belonged within the scope of a sufficiently broadly understood logic. He defended the view that he repeatedly attributed to Gottlob Frege's teacher Hermann Lotze that pure arithmetic is basically no more than a branch of logic that had developed very early through independent treatment. He bid his students not to be "scared" ("Ich bitte Sie nicht zu erschrecken!") by that idea and to grow accustomed to the initially strange idea of Lotze that arithmetic is only a relatively independent, and from time immemorial, particularly highly developed piece of logic. Purely arithmetical theories, all purely mathematical theories, the theory of syllogism, he stressed, are purely logical because their basic concepts express reasoning forms that are free of any cognitive content and cannot be had through sensory abstraction. No epistemological reflection is required. That pure logic does not merely consist of trivialities is already shown by pure mathematics.

These were years that found Husserl pursuing his interest in axiomatization and the theory of the manifolds. On the basis of the axioms of pure arithmetic, he taught, the theorems of the discipline were derived by pure deduction following systematic, simple procedures. The field then branched out into more and more theories and partial disciplines, ever new problems surfaced and were finally solved by expending the greatest mathematical acumen and following the most rigorous methods.

Husserl found nothing extraordinary about the idea of calculating with concepts and propositions. He even detailed his axioms, notation, rules of inference for so doing. It is worth noting in this regard that, like his contemporaries in Germany, he used Peirce's symbols for the universal and existential quantifiers ?, S, which, unlike Frege's, were widely used.

Such considerations went into the making of the first section of Introduction to Logic and Theory of Knowledge, Lectures 1906/07, where Husserl told students of how he had come to detect a certain natural order in formal logic and to broaden its domain to include two layers above the traditional formal logic of subject and predicate propositions and states of affairs that deals with what might be stated about objects in general from a possible perspective. In the second layer, it was no longer a question of objects as such about which one might predicate something, but of investigating what was valid for higher order objects dealt with in an indeterminate, general way, not as empirical or material entities, but determined in purely formal terms, removed from acts, subjects, or empirical persons of actual reality. It was a matter of an expanded, completely developed analytics where one reasoned deductively with concepts and propositions in a purely formal manner since each concept was analytic and each procedure purely logical.

According to this theory, the third and highest layer of formal logic was that of the science of deductive systems in general, the theory of manifolds, theory forms, logical molds totally undetermined as to their content and not bound to any possible concrete interpretation. There it was a matter of theorizing about possible fields of knowledge conceived of in a general, undetermined way, simply determined by the fact that the objects stand in certain relations that are themselves subject to certain fundamental laws of such and such determined form, are exclusively determined by the form of the interconnections assigned to them that are themselves just as little determined in terms of content as are the objects. This science of forms of possible theories was a field of free, creative investigation made possible once form was emancipated from content. Once it had been discovered that deductions and sequences of deductions continued to be meaningful and remained valid when another meaning was assigned to the symbols, people were freed to reason completely on the level of pure forms. They could vary systems in different ways. Ways of constructing an infinite variety of forms of possible disciplines could be found.

Husserl considered the detection of these three levels of formal logic to be of the greatest importance for the understanding of logic and philosophy. In teaching in the Introduction to Logic and Theory of Knowledge, Lectures 1906/07 that the purely logical disciplines rising above the logic of subjects and predicates were characterized by the fact that they study higher order objects grounded in the essence of directly logical forms, Husserl told his listeners that he considered that what he was teaching had benefited from the essential progress that he had made since he wrote the Prolegomena to Pure Logic, the first volume of his Logical Investigations.

However, for Husserl, all questions concerning the relationship between objectivity and subjectivity were ultimately to be answered by going back to the sources from which logical ideas originate. So, once he had exposed the objective theoretical scaffolding that he had found was necessary to keep philosophers from falling into the quagmires of psychologism and skepticism, he was free to set out once again on his voyage of discovery of the world of the intentional consciousness and to introduce the phenomenological analyses of knowledge that were to yield the general concepts of knowledge needed to solve the most recalcitrant problems of theory of knowledge.

So it is that Husserl turns to the subjective side of science in the second section of Introduction to Logic and Theory of Knowledge, Lectures 1906/07, which Melle characterizes as a sketch of the actual carrying out of the phenomenology of reason that comes very close to being the thinking out, outlining, formulating, and justifying of the general sketch of the critique of reason whose importance for Husserl was underscored by him in the personal notes of September 1906 cited above.

As Melle explains, in the first section of Introduction to Logic and Theory of Knowledge, Lectures 1906/0, Husserl dealt with the objective side of science as a system of propositions relating to states of affairs, but he realized that science also has a subjective side in the form of empirical acts and acts of thinking in which scientific theories are put forward and substantiated and that the justifiability of any scientific statement must be proven in such acts of observation and substantiation. What is more, Husserl now stressed that the investigation of these subjective sources of justification concerned all sciences in a similar manner, for even the formal and mathematical disciplines appeal to subjective experience and apodictic evidentness for justification.

Following the arguments of Introduction to Logic and Theory of Knowledge, Lectures 1906/07, Melle reasons, one can see the above-mentioned contradiction between the refutation of psychologism in the Prolegomena and of the epistemological elucidation of pure logic by recourse to subjective acts in the six Logical Investigations as the expression of an as yet unresolved antinomy. Theory of knowledge with and on the basis of psychology is impossible. It leads to the abandonment of all ideal validity and to absurd skepticism. If it draws subjectivity and subjective acts into the investigation, theory of knowledge must be psychology. So Husserl labored to develop techniques for resolving the antinomy of which he (not to mention Frege) was so painfully aware. Melle identifies Husserl's search for a solution to this antinomy as being the fundamental driving force determining the evolution of Husserl's logical and epistemological thinking between the Logical Investigations in 1900-01 and Ideas I in 1913.

In Introduction to Logic and Theory of Knowledge, Lectures 1906/07, Melle points out, Husserl made explicit use of the method of phenomenological reduction to bracket out all natural objectivities indubitably and unquestionably extending beyond what was given and thereby to demonstrate the possibility of a non-psychological investigation of subjectivity and its acts, to avoid the absurd consequences of psychologism, and to establish a radical, presuppositionless theory of knowledge and phenomenology that could ultimately elucidate all knowledge. With the world of phenomena, Husserl considered, phenomenological reduction opens up its own field of scientific investigation to us; in phenomenology as the science of phenomena all epistemological problems are then solvable.

Chapter 6 of Introduction to Logic and Theory of Knowledge, Lectures 1906/07, opens with Husserl's announcement that a new field of possible scientific investigation has now indeed been opened up to us, a new, phenomenological objectivity, a new science, therefore, phenomenology. In §36, he describes phenomenology as universal science of pure consciousness. For him, it "is the truly immanent philosophy in contrast to the immanent positivist philosophies that speak of immanence and the need to circumscribe immanence, but do not understand genuine immanence and the phenomenological reduction that yields it. It has the task of analyzing pure phenomena, insofar as this is in general within reach, of setting up the categories of their elements and of the forms of their relations and the accompanying laws of essence".

In Appendix BV (dated 1908 by Melle) of the present volume, we find Husserl writing of the development of a transcendental phenomenology as the genuine realization of what had only been realized in fragmentary form in the Logical Investigations. He regrets that in that work phenomenology had passed as descriptive psychology. He explains that he had since come to realize that descriptive psychology, understood as empirical phenomenology, had to be seen as distinct from transcendental phenomenology. Since descriptive natural science is description of concrete natural objects, natural processes, and so on, descriptive psychology is, therefore, not limited merely to psychological experiences, and their content to the content of kinds of actual consciousness-processes of experiencing human beings and animals, but also includes a descriptive, experiential description of associating types, of temperaments, characters, etc. What he had called descriptive psychological phenomenology in the Logical Investigations, however, concerned just the sphere of experiences in terms of their real (reellen) content. Inasmuch as empirically related to natural objectivities, the experiences were experiences of an experiencing I. For epistemological phenomenology, for an essence-theory of knowledge (a priori), the empirical relationship had, however, to be eliminated.


Part of the philosophical task is to adjust one's thinking, be it temporarily, to that of philosophers who expressed their ideas in different times, different languages, from within different philosophical traditions. All philosophical writing has its special terminology and philosophers are always obliged to accustom themselves to the terminology and style adopted in philosophical works if they are ever to enter into the ideas expressed there.

Moreover, every translation has its share of recalcitrant terms that frustrate efforts to capture their author's true meaning. For example, readers of German philosophical writings translated into English are always obliged to keep in mind that the English word 'science' and the various words derived from it are far narrower in meaning than the German word for science, 'Wissenschaft', and the words that are derived from it are. It always helps to keep in mind that these words contain the little word 'Wissen', meaning knowledge. Likewise, it is good for readers of English to keep in mind that for many of Husserl's contemporaries Erscheinungen (appearances) were Phänomene (phenomena).

Of course, Husserl's writings present their share of challenges to readers and translators. It is fortunate, though, that Introduction to Logic and Theory of Knowledge, Lectures 1906/07 appears at a time when philosophers in English-speaking countries have heartily embraced the thoughts of Husserl's German contemporary Gottlob Frege and his concerns, among which may be cited: his anti-psychologism, meaning, the foundations of mathematics, logic, science, and knowledge, his questions about sets, and classes, intensions, identity, calculating with concepts, perspicuity, and even his idealism ?all of which he shared with Husserl. Indeed; Introduction to Logic and Theory of Knowledge, Lectures 1906/07 is rife with insights into matters that many philosophers have now been primed to appreciate out of enthusiasm for Frege's ideas.

For example, the following passage from Frege's "The Thought: A Logical Inquiry" of 1918-19 addresses one of the most central concerns of Introduction to Logic and Theory of Knowledge, Lectures 1906/07:

The word 'true' indicates the aim of logic as does 'beautiful' that of aesthetics or 'good' that of ethics. All sciences have truth as their goal; but logic is also concerned with it in a quite different way from this…. To discover truths is the task of all sciences; it falls to logic to discern the laws of truth. The word 'law' is used in two senses. When we speak of laws of morals or the state we mean regulations which ought to be obeyed but with which actual happenings are not always in conformity. Laws of nature are the generalization of natural occurrences with which the occurrence are always in accordance. It is rather in this sense that I speak of laws of truth. That is, to be sure, not a matter of what happens so much as of what is. Rules for asserting, thinking, judging, inferring, follow from the laws of truth. And thus one can very well speak of laws of thought too. But there is an imminent danger here of mixing different things up. Perhaps the expression 'law of thought' is interpreted by analogy with 'law of nature' and the generalization of thinking as a mental occurrence is meant by it. A law of thought in this sense would be a psychological law. And so one might come to believe that logic deals with the mental process of thinking and the psychological laws in accordance with which it takes place. This would be a misunderstanding of the task of logic, for truth has not been given the place which is its due here (pp. 507-08).

Both Husserl and Frege fought their way through a terminological jungle and at times made similar choices of terminology. For example, in Introduction to Logic and Theory of Knowledge, Lectures 1906/07, Husserl significantly makes generous use of variations on words like 'auffassen', 'erfassen', 'befassen', 'umfassen' that contain the verb 'fassen', which means, to grasp, to lay hold of, to apprehend, to understand.

In his essay "Frege as Philosopher", Husserl scholar Paul Linke argued that Frege knew that it is by no means true that what is logical has nothing to do with mental phenomena and with psychology and discovered independently that the prerequisite of any logical behavior is intentionality, the psychological possibility of being directed towards something extra-mental, and also towards something not presently mental. According to Linke, Frege used the good graphic term 'Ergreifen' and later, 'Fassen' to designate this. What Franz Brentano meant by simply 'being directed toward', the 'intending of' something, Linke contended, is what Frege meant by laying hold of and grasping.

A look at the passages of Frege's writings that Linke cites helps set into perspective Husserl's struggle with what Melle described as the "antinomy" that determined the evolution of Husserl's logical and epistemological thinking between the Logical Investigations and Ideas I. In the case of 'Ergreifen', Linke cites the passage of the introduction to the Basic Laws of Arithmetic I of 1893 in which Frege wrote:

If we want to emerge from the subjective at all, we must conceive (auffassen) of knowledge as an activity that does not create what is known but grasps (ergreift) what is already there. The picture of grasping (Ergreifen) is very well suited to elucidate the matter. If I grasp (ergreife) a pencil, many different events take place in my body…. But the totality of these events neither is the pencil nor creates the pencil; the pencil exists independently of them. And it is essential for grasping (Ergreifen) that something be there which is grasped (ergriffen wird); the internal changes alone are not the grasping (Ergreifen). In the same way, that which we grasp (erfassen) with the mind also exists independently of this activity….

In the case of 'Fassen', Linke cites the passage of "The Thought: A Logical Inquiry" in which Frege wrote:

We do not have a thought as we have, say, a sense-impression, but we also do not see a thought as we see, say, a star. So it is advisable to choose a special expression and the word 'apprehend' (fassen) offers itself for the purpose. A particular mental capacity, the power of thought, must correspond to the apprehension (Fassen) of thought. In thinking we do not produce thoughts but we apprehend (fassen) them. For what I have called thought stands in the closest relation to truth…. How does a thought act? By being apprehended (gefasst) and taken to be true. This is a process in the inner world of a thinker which can have further consequences in this inner world and which, encroaching on the sphere of the will, can also make itself noticeable in the outer world. If, for example, I grasp (fasse) the thought which we express by the theorem of Pythagoras, the consequence may be that I recognize it to be true and, further that I apply it, making a decision (einen Beschluss fassend) which brings about the acceleration of masses. Thus our actions are usually prepared by thinking a judgment. And so thought can have an indirect influence on the motion of masses. The influence of one person on another is brought about for the most part by thoughts…. When a thought its apprehended (gefasst wird), it at first only brings about changes in the inner world of the apprehender (Fassenden), yet it remains untouched in its true essence….

I have usually chosen to translate Husserl's widespread use of 'auffassen' by 'to apprehend', 'Auffassung' by 'apprehending'. It is worth noting, however, that in Husserl's time German translators of the writings of the British empiricists tellingly commonly translated 'to perceive' and 'perception' by 'auffassen' and 'Auffassung'.

In §15 of the First Logical Investigation, Husserl noted how in the absence of fixed terminological landmarks, concepts run confusedly together and fundamental confusions arise, and he went on to defend his decision to use 'sense' and 'meaning' as synonyms in the following way:

It is agreeable to have parallel, interchangeable terms in the case of this concept, particularly since the sense of the term 'meaning" is itself to be investigated. A further consideration is our ingrained tendency to use the two words as synonymous, a circumstance which makes it seem rather a dubious step if their meanings are differentiated, and if (as G. Frege has proposed) we use one for meaning in our sense, and the other for the objects expressed. To this we may add that both terms are exposed to the same equivocations, which we distinguished above in connection with the term 'expression', and to many more besides, and that this is so both in scientific and in ordinary speech.

Husserl in fact made liberal use of synonyms. In particular, attentive readers will find a liberal shifting back and forth between synonyms of Germanic derivation and those of Latin derivation. Illustrative of this would be Husserl's use of 'Wesen' and 'Essenz'. For example, in §47, he says, "In weiterer Folge, heißt jedes Allgemeine objectiv genommen ein Wesen, eine Essenz". In Appendix BIII, he writes, "Ich meinte nun, eine Wesenlehre von dem Bewußtsein sei möglich. Wesen gleich Essenz". Thus we find him interchanging 'rein' and 'pur', 'Unabhängigkeit' and 'Independenz', 'Anschauung' and 'Intuition', 'Aufmerksamkeit' and 'Attention', to name but a few examples.

Fortunately, Husserl himself provided explicit, clear explanations of many of the most problematic terms that he used. For example, logicians nowadays do not ordinarily speak of apophantic logic, but the puzzlement that readers may feel upon encountering the term is allayed when Husserl explains in §18a of these lectures that it comes from the Aristotelian word '?p?´fa?s??', meaning proposition, and that by 'apophantic logic' is meant "the totality of laws of essence pertaining to the idea of apophansis, therefore, of proposition".

Likewise, the word 'noetics' would be an unfamiliar word to some. In §27 of these lectures, Husserl explicitly equates it with "a theory of norms of knowledge". By this, he hastens to add, he does not mean "a practical art of judging the legitimacy claims of alleged knowledge", but "a science that investigates cognitive acts (i.e., intellective position-takings by their nature making claims to legitimacy) one after the other out of pure scientific interest and evaluates the relationships of legitimacy belonging to them, both in isolation and in combination and based on one another".

Melle draws attention to the fact that Husserl saw the need to advance from a superficial, externally morphological noetics (whose task it is to show the various kinds of evidentness and the formal, ideal conditions upon which they depend) to a deep internally analyzing noetics that strives for ultimate insight that would elucidate the consciousness of objectivity, that is, make the relationship of thought acts to objectivity by means of ideal meanings definitively understandable. This ultimately elucidating noetics is nothing other than the actual carrying out of critique of knowledge by means of which the fundamental problem of theory of knowledge regarding how objective being can be conscious and known in subjectivity finds its definitive solution.

In his course on general theory of knowledge of 1902/03, Husserl explained what he meant by 'Evidenz', a word that does not have a satisfactory equivalent in English and is customarily translated by 'self-evidence'. He explained to his students how in the past and occasionally still in recent times, Evidenz was described as an illuminating light. It was the lumen naturale of reason as compared to the lumen supranaturale of religious faith. However, Husserl did not consider the metaphor of light to be very appropriate. A light, he explained, makes visible what was not visible, but Evidenz does not make something visible; it is seeing itself. Only, it is seeing in the most authentic, strictest sense that really sees what was seen and sees it precisely as what is presumed in the seeing. Husserl considered this only to be possible when seeing was really (reell) one with what was seen and when seeing was simply of the nature of a mere attending having what was simply there in the same act of consciousness.

In §30e of Introduction to Logic and Theory of Knowledge, Lectures 1906/07, Husserl asks what Evidenz is and answers that it is nothing other than the quality of givenness understood in a comprehensive enough way and not just limited to the being of individual real things. If we come to an understanding of that correlation of consciousness and object that concerns all, even dreaming, hallucinatory, erring consciousness, and then we ask how we can come by the existence of any object in itself at all then we face, Husserl maintains, the problem of Evidenz, or what amounts to the same thing, the problem of givenness. Husserl sees these as being closely interrelated questions about how we know that any object at all exists in reality, where and when an object is truly given to us, or how we know that an object is given and what it means for an object to be given to us. 'Evidenz', Husserl continues his explanation in §30e, "is a word for the fact that, as noeticians affirm and prove, there is a difference between acts that not only think that something is thus and thus, but are fully certain and aware, in the manner of perspicacious seeing, of this being and being thus. Therefore, the thing, the state of affairs is given in insight".

It is helpful at times to turn to etymology for elucidation. For example, sight and seeing play a preeminent role in Introduction to Logic and Theory of Knowledge, Lectures 1906/07. The word 'Einsicht' is translated by 'insight' and 'einsichtsvoll', by 'insightful'. For 'einsichtig', however, I turned to 'perspicacious' or 'perspicuous' and for 'Einsichtigkeit' to 'perspicacity' or 'perspicuity'. According to The Random House College Dictionary, originally a word for "sharpness of sight", 'perspicacity' "refers to the power of seeing clearly, to clearness of insight or judgment", to "keenness of mental perception, discernment, penetration", while 'perspicuity' "refers to that which can be seen through, i.e. lucidity, clearness of style or exposition, freedom from obscurity".

Oral delivery is what most characterizes the distinctive style of Husserl's lecture courses. It accounts for the omnipresence of sentence fragments, run on sentences, sentences beginning with conjunctions, and interjections, all of which are effective devices in an oral presentation, but are eschewed in written prose. It also accounts for a relative lightness of syntax, and the abundant recourse to illustration. Moreover, it introduces a note of a refreshing liveliness and spontaneity.

Husserl's word choice is frequently aimed at the ears of his listeners. For example, he often resorts to the ear-catching poetic devices of assonance, consonance, repetition of sounds, as when he says in §33c: "Das Ideal is ein wissenschaftliches Erkenntnisganzes, das durch und durch im Bewußtsein immanenter Evidenz durchlaufen und als rechtmäßig begründet bewußt werden kann". In Appendix BIIIa, he writes "Es sind 'Bedeutungen' in gewissem Sinn, eine Sphäre, die vor dem Sein im Sinne des Realen liegt: die 'Sinne'". In his logic course of 1902/03, he enthused: "All of arithmetic is grounded in the arithmetical axioms. The unending profusion of wonderful theories that it develops (entwickelt) are already fixed, enfolded (eingewickelt) in the axioms, and theoretical-systematic deduction effects the unfolding (Auseinanderwicklung) of them".

We find Husserl interlacing of themes of truth and perception in his telling use of the word 'wahrnehmen', to perceive, which he does not hesitate at times to use as a separable verb: to take (nehmen) as true (wahr). So it is that in §38, we find him saying, "evident ist es zum Wesen der Wahrnehmung gehörig, daß sie etwas wahrnimmt, einen Gegenstand, und ich kann nun fragen, als was nimmt sie den Gegenstand für wahr", or at the end of §49b, "Dagegen 2 ´ 2 = 5, das ist nicht so, das ist keine Wirklichkeit, das ist nicht Wahrheit, sondern Falschheit, nämlich die Vorstellung stimmt nicht mit einer entsprechenden Wahrnehmung, das Vorgestellte kommt nicht zur Wahrnehmung, sondern zur evidenten Falschnehmung…." Such playing with language always represents a challenge to translators. However, Husserl's plays on words in Introduction to Logic and Theory of Knowledge, Lectures 1906/07 often do have equivalents in English or the spirit of them can often be otherwise captured in English.

Readers of philosophical works in English are primed to spot confusions of meaning and use. So, it is important to note Husserl was always conscious of the difference, but did not resort to the use of inverted commas to indicate the differences, a convention that was only consistently adopted in the English-speaking philosophical world at a later date. In Einleitung in die Logik und Erkenntnistheorie, Vorlesungen 1906/07, Husserl spells out the difference by using phraseology of the kind: the word apple. This is compatible with the fact that these lectures were delivered orally and this is the clearest way of marking the difference when speaking. I did not add inverted commas.


The lectures of Einleitung in die Logik und Erkenntnistheorie, Vorlesungen 1906/07 were delivered at a crucial point in Husserl's career. These were years of personal crisis for him. On June 28, 1906, he was promoted to persönlicher Ordinarius over the opposition of his colleagues in the philosophy department. In the entry for September 25, 1906 of his personal notes, we find him writing: "O God! This last year! How could I have allowed myself to be so crippled by the disdain of my colleagues, by the rejection of the faculty, by the disappointment of my hopes for a higher position".

On May 12, 1905, W. Fleischmann, the dean of the Philosophy Faculty, informed Dr. Ernst Höpfner, Royal Trustee of Georg-August University of Göttingen, of the philosophy faculty's objections to the intention to appoint Husserl professor Ordinarius. After a hearing with expert witnesses, Fleischmann wrote to Höpfner, the faculty had reservations about the appointment and stood prepared to provide detailed reasons for their decision.

This was this same Dr. Höpfner who, after collecting letters of protest written by Elias Müller, Julius Baumann of the philosophy faculty, had earlier objected to Husserl's appointment to Göttingen as professor Extraordinarius. In a letter of August 1900, Höpfner informed the Ministry of Education that the university's professors Extraordinarius hardly had any prospect of achieving a decent professorship and since they tended to the disgruntlement that inevitably befalls people in a hopeless situation, they were a burden to the university. Höpfner expressed his fear that their unpleasantness would become apparent all the more quickly and clearly with the presence of another Extraordinarius who too, might shortly become more or less disgruntled. Höpfner feared that, although Husserl was said to possess perspicacity and knowledge, his presence would worsen the mood among the present philosophy instructors, since he would probably not have a real future at any strictly scientific institution of higher learning. Höpfner even said that, reading the Prolegomena, one might guess that Husserl was Catholic, which would hardly make it easier for him to gain influence in his department. Höpfner claimed to have observed a markedly scholastic form of thought about Husserl, who as a philosopher issued peremptory orders as if a philosophy pope stood behind him assigning him a mission.

During his fifteen years as a Privatdozent at the University of Halle, his colleague and friend, the famous mathematician, Georg Cantor had multiplied efforts to find Husserl a regular position. At Göttingen, it was the famous mathematician, David Hilbert, who came to his defense. In 1908, Hilbert would argue that it was critical and in the general interest of the faculty and the university for Husserl to be retained and suggested that he should be made permanent Ordinarius in philosophy. In later years, Hilbert would boast that if it were not for him Husserl would not have stayed at Göttingen.

In his personal notes of March 6, 1908, Husserl confided that for reasons that he would not give, it was the most miserable period of his life, that he saw his energy ebbing away, that his life was in peril. He wrote that he hoped to pull himself together, to overcome his inner fragmentation, to rebuild his life, to give his spiritual existence a unified reference to its great goals. Nonetheless, in his course on Alte und neue Logik of 1908/09, he summoned up the courage to teach his students that it was a delight to be alive and to share in striving after the greatness coming into being in those days, which were not, as often said, a time of decadence, but the beginning of a truly great philosophical era in which age-old goals would finally be met at the cost of truly heroic strain from toil and new, higher goals would everywhere be held out. "We in modern philosophy are no less than visionaries" (Phantasten), he told listeners. "We have the courage and determination of the highest goals, but we strive after them on the most reliable paths, those of patient, constant work".


This translation was made possible by a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, D. C. I am very grateful to it for its assistance. I am particularly indebted to Dallas Willard and Barry Smith for their support, but also to Paul Gochet, Ivor Grattan-Guinness, Jaakko Hintikka, and Ruth Barcan Marcus for theirs. I am most grateful to Dr. Ruth Ellen Burke for volunteering to help me with the final version of translation.

Claire Ortiz Hill