A Brief Introduction to Transcendental Phenomenology and Conceptual Mathematics

University essay from Södertörns högskola/Filosofi

Abstract: By extending Husserl’s own historico-critical study to include the conceptual mathematics of more contemporary times – specifically category theory and its emphatic development since the second half of the 20th century – this paper claims that the delineation between mathematics and philosophy must be completely revisited. It will be contended that Husserl’s phenomenological work was very much influenced by the discoveries and limitations of the formal mathematics being developed at Göttingen during his tenure there and that, subsequently, the rôle he envisaged for his material a priori science is heavily dependent upon his conception of the definite manifold. Motivating these contentions is the idea of a mathematics which would go beyond the constraints of formal ontology and subsequently achieve coherence with the full sense of transcendental phenomenology. While this final point will be by no means proven within the confines of this paper it is hoped that the very fact of opening up for the possibility of such an idea will act as a supporting argument to the overriding thesis that the relationship between mathematics and phenomenology must be problematised. 

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