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Husserl and Hilbert

Mirja Hartimo

pp. 245-263

The paper examines Husserl's (1859–1938) phenomenology and Hilbert's (1862–1943) view of the foundations of mathematics against the backdrop of their lifelong friendship. After a brief account of the complementary nature of their early approaches, the paper focuses on Husserl's Formale und transzendentale Logik (1929) viewed as a response to Hilbert's "new foundations" developed in the 1920s. While both Husserl and Hilbert share a "mathematics first," nonrevisionist approach toward mathematics, they disagree about the way in which the access to it should be construed: Hilbert wanted to reach it and show it consistent by his formalism on the basis of sensuous signs, Husserl held that there should be a reduction to elementary judgements about individuals. Husserl's reduction does not establish the consistency of mathematics but he claims it is important for the considerations of truth.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-94-024-1132-4_11

Full citation:

Hartimo, M. (2017)., Husserl and Hilbert, in S. Centrone (ed.), Essays on Husserl's logic and philosophy of mathematics, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 245-263.

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