You and I experience things around us. We see tables and chairs and smell burnt toast. Yet we experiencers, you and I, are people, too: we make marks and noises saying ‘we’, ‘you’, and ‘I.’ And with these marks and noises happen everything humanly possible—playing tag, waging wars, burying brothers, and avoiding love. Does our ability to experience depend on our ability to express a human standpoint? Does our ability to express a human standpoint, moreover, depend on our ability to experience?
I pursue this question of mutual dependence by study of two philosophical traditions: East Asian philosophy, and phenomenology.
My work is historical in character. But three features distinguish the sort of work I do. First, my historical work is shaped by methodological questions about globalizing philosophy. Second, analytic philosophy's history and its ongoing inheritance of Aristotle, Kant, and Hegel informs my ways of navigating phenomenology and East Asian philosophy. Third, I believe that a philosopher, at their best, illuminates how thinking and knowledge-creation happen in art, science, and everyday life. My work therefore strives to be sensitive and attuned to how the arts and humanities, the cognitive and social sciences, and the many global lineages of thinking philosophically conceptualize the issues I investigate.
An Unbridled Search for Logic: Four Studies of Husserl Logical Investigations (1900-01)
The early Husserl wants to know what logic is, or what we should call ‘logic.’ He poses the question in a way that knowingly encompasses both what the 19th century (after Kant but before Frege) and the 20th century (since Frege) call ‘logic.’ But that he asks the question, and with such scope, has yet to be widely recognized. In particular, Husserl scholars still lack an overview of how Husserl’s early, explicitly logical inquiries, driven more by this single question than any worry about doctrinal consistency, does at least two things at once: probe what will later be called ‘pure phenomenology’ or ‘transcendental logic,’ and delimit logic as a positive yet mathematical discipline. With the aim of providing the neglected overview of this project, this dissertation takes the measure of Husserl’s two-volume Logical Investigations (1900-01) in four studies. Chapter I argues that the first volume, the Prolegomena to Pure Logic (1900), intends at once to resolve a 19th-century conflict and to establish logic’s possibility as its own discipline, all by means of demonstrating the confusion of psychologism (the view that empirical psychology could set the terms for logic as a discipline). Chapter II then contends that most of the Prolegomena’s first chapter falls outside this intention, departing from the book’s Bolzano-inspired argumentative framework yet thereby anticipating Husserl’s later ‘transcendental logic.’ Chapter III presents Frege and Husserl as two images of indecision as to how it falls to logic to know truth’s laws. Chapter IV concludes by expounding Husserl’s conception of logic as noetics, the self-clarification of knowing, thus completing the picture of Husserl’s indecision, while also laying groundwork to track the development of his thinking after the Logical Investigations.
"The intention and other beginning of Husserl's Prolegomena to Pure Logic"
Husserl’s Prolegomena to Pure Logic came to immediate acclaim as dealing the ‘deathblow’ to psychologism; since then, it has been read mostly as a propaedeutic to Husserl’s phenomenology. But what does the Prolegomena intend to do? I argue that it intends to resolve what, after Hegel, was known as the ‘logic question’ (the question of logic’s content as doctrine) and that the Prolegomena’s first seven paragraphs constitute an other beginning. These paragraphs assert that logic, per its concept as a ‘teaching’ or ‘doctrine’ (Lehre), is the self-knowing of science rather than any expansion of scientific knowledge. And while this beginning anticipates just what the later Husserl calls ‘transcendental logic’, it cannot be what the Prolegomena concludes logic to be, namely ‘pure logic’, the study of proof-theoretic and model-theoretic facts. Respecting how foreign the Prolegomena’s beginning is to the rest of the book lets us see many new things, including the early Husserl’s complex relation to post-Kantian logic and the unity of Husserl as an author.