Logic and formal ontology

Manuscrito 23 (2):275-323 (2000)
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Abstract

Revised version of chapter in J. N. Mohanty and W. McKenna (eds.), Husserl’s Phenomenology: A Textbook, Lanham: University Press of America, 1989, 29–67. Logic for Husserl is a science of science, a science of what all sciences have in common in their modes of validation. Thus logic deals with universal laws relating to truth, to deduction, to verification and falsification, and with laws relating to theory as such, and to what makes for theoretical unity, both on the side of the propositions of a theory and on the side of the domain of objects to which these propositions refer. This essay presents a systematic overview of Husserl’s views on these matters as put forward in his Logical Investigations. It shows how Husserl’s theory of linguistic meanings as species of mental acts, his formal ontology of part, whole and dependence, his theory of meaning categories, and his theory of categorial intuition combine with his theory of science to form a single whole. Finally, it explores the ways in which Husserl’s ideas on these matters can be put to use in solving problems in the philosophy of language, logic and mathematics in a way which does justice to the role of mental activity in each of these domains while at the same time avoiding the pitfalls of psychologism.

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Barry Smith
University at Buffalo

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