David Corfield Husserl

Anything relating to Husserl (and Lotze and Brentano) relevant to type theory. Especially as antecedents to Martin-Löf.

From the SEP: Husserl article

Quite generally, a given object aa of type FF is founded in a particular object bb of type GG (where aa is different from bb and FF is different from GG) relative to a particular whole cc of type HH if and only if (i) there is an essential law in virtue of which it holds that for any object xx of type FF there is an object yy of type GG and a whole zz of type HH, such that both xx and yy are (proper) parts of zz, and (ii) both aa and bb are (proper) parts of cc. Of course, the notion of an essential law needs further clarification.

Elements of the type of physical objects are given via ‘adumbrations’.

it is doubtful whether this distinction really helps Husserl overcome the difficulty the phenomenon of context-sensitivity poses for his species-theory of content. If intentional contents are ideal matters in the sense of types of particular matters, and if this kind of type may remain constant while the intentional object and hence the (sub-)propositional content differs, then surely intentional contents thus conceived cannot always function as (sub-)propositional contents, as Husserl’s theory would have it.

Why not have dependent types? `(Jay is here now)$(x, t)$'.

What binds together the intentional horizon of a given indexical experience? According to Husserl, all of the (actual or potential) experiences constituting that horizon share a sense of identity through time, which sense he labels as the determinable X they belong to.

All very modal. Time acts on the spaces of experiences. Orbits are determinables.

unlike spatio-temporal objects, lived experiences “do not adumbrate themselves”; cf. Husserliana, vol. III/1, p. 88

States of affairs.

f we ask what constitutes the connection between a multitude of things as disparate as redness, the Moon and Napoleon that we think of [as a multitude], then the answer runs that this connection merely consists in the fact that we connect these contents in thought [daß wir diese Inhalte zusammendenken], that we think of them in one act (Hua XII, 74; my translation).

Collecting does not serve to constitute a sensual whole; the elements of the manifold (where it is assumed that it is sensual objects that are collected) are not related to it in the manner in which the parts of a sensual whole are related to that whole. [][T]here is a sense in which elements of the manifold remain ‘apart from each other’ [außereinander’]. Their form of unity is not a sensual one but a syntactical one, precisely their ‘being collected’. And since we can collect eachand every object of any type whatsoever, this means that this form of unity is completely independent of the conditions of homogeneity, or at least of the relations of similarity and dissimilarity that apply in the case of sensual-intuitive unification. We are dealing with a syntactical form of unity. (Husserl 1999, 296f; my translation)


Essence covers “what” (Was) an individual is, but an essence is ideal and can be shared by other individuals (§ 3). Indeed, “The essence (eidos) is a new type of object [Gegenstand]”, an ideal object that can be experienced or known in essential intuition (Wesens- anschauung) (§ 3). Later Husserl adds “syntactical objectivities” (§ 11), notably including states of affairs (Sachverhalten), which are presumably formed by the formal “syntactical” combination of individuals and essences (including relations).

“Pure” logic, ontology, and phenomenology

… “[0]bject” [Gegenstand] is a title for diverse but connected forms [Gestaltungen] such as “Thing” [Ding], “Property”, “Relation”, “State of Affairs” [Sachverhalf], “set” [Menge], “Order”, and so forth … [§ 10]

Specializing is … something entirely different from deformalizing [Entformalisierung], the “filling out” of a logico-mathematical empty-form [logischmathmatischen Leerform], or of a formal truth. [§13]

a moment M is defined as a “dependent” or “abstract” part of something W that is a whole (Logical Investigations, III, § 17.) Thus, M is a part of W but could not exist unless W existed. We can think of M apart from W, and in this sense we abstract M from W But M could not exist apart from W This notion of dependence was assumed in the discussion above.


Husserl (1960, p. 114) postulated an “‘innate’ Apriori, without which an ego as such is unthinkable.” This explains why he (see Husserl, 1968, pp. 250, 300, 328, 344) assumed our world experience is relative to an absolute, transcendental subjectivity that constitutes it.

“Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind.”

a:A How is one able to have x:A in context, but not a: X? May be multiple arrows between objects, but an arrow has a target.

(a) With Kant, Husserl assumes that there are a priori laws governing conscious states and processes. (b) He furthermore assumes that these laws are enforced through the activity of a transcendental subjectivity. (c) They are nonetheless the same for everyone. (d) They are also thus generalizable results of an introspective exploration of consciousness. (e) In contrast to Kant and in line with Hume, Husserl strives to explore these laws based on intuition. (f) Finally, he assumes with Kant that concepts and intuitions need to be explored in strict correlation.

However, you can also focus your awareness on the appearance in such a way that you disregard the transcendent aspects just described. From this perspective, you do not experience the phenomenon as a side of some thing, but as a pure “this-here” (Husserl, 1999, p. 24) in your visual field. This result of looking at the “bare phenomenon” is what Husserl calls the “immanent object.” The immanent object, at least at first glance, is not missing anything and is therefore “an absolute givenness” (Husserl, 1999, p. 24). This absolute givenness of the immanent object contrasts with the way the transcendent object is never given with all its features.

(1) “Immanent object” refers to the “bare” conscious phenomenon without all the intentions of currently absent impressions. (2) “Noema” or “transcendental object” refers to phenomena which are: (a) transcendent in the sense of including all the intentions abstracted from in order to be aware of the immanent object; and (b) still immanent to consciousness in contrast with “consciousness-external” things. (3) “Thing” or “transcendent object” refers to that which is not itself of consciousness (like the stone as a physical object) and hence is transcendent in the second sense.

understanding all conscious experiences as representations (Vorstellungen) “is one of the worst conceptual distortions known to philosophy. It is without doubt responsible for an untold legion of epistemological and psychological errors.” Husserl (2001a, p. 276)

leaving out the transcendent object, when we perceive there are three elements involved: (1) the immanent object (2) the act or noesis (3) the noema as the result and correlate of this act. Another way to express the relation is to say that whenever we perceive something, upon closer scrutiny we perceive “something as something.” The first something is the immanent object, the second one is the noema—and both are connected by means of the conscious act, the noesis.

You may take a concept like “thing” and start imagining different possible experiences of it. Husserl (1973b, p. 341) observed that it “then becomes evident that a unity runs through this multiplicity of successive figures, that in such free variations of an original image, e.g., of a thing, an invariant is necessarily retained as the necessary general form, without which an object such as this thing, as an example of its kind, would not be thinkable at all.”

Amie Thomasson, Husserl on Essences A Reconstruction and Rehabilitation, Grazer Philosophische Studien 94 (2017)436-459

On Husserl’s (plausible) view, judgments of different types, directed towards objects of different types, may require different sorts of grounding. It may indeed require grounding in experience to properly judge that there is a leopard or a centaur before me. However, judgments that 2 is less than 4, or judgments that beliefs are never colored, require no such grounding in sensory experience. A different epistemic route is appropriate to justifying judgments about objects of different types. As such it is entirely inappropriate—something like a category mistake—to reject judgments about abstract objects because they are not grounded in sensory experience, when they are not the sorts of judgments that require such grounding. (p. 442)

Note difference between concepts and essences.

Ontological Minimalism Amie L. Thomasson American Philosophical Quarterly

Vol. 38, No. 4 (Oct., 2001), pp. 319-331

Something like type-shifting

X is Y Bob asserts that X is Y Bob’s assertion that X is Y

Fido is a dog Fido has the property of being a dog.

Is being a dog a property?

I guess if we have Dog,Animal:TypeDog, Animal: Type, and we have i:DogAnimali: Dog \to Animal, then there must be x:AnimalDog(x):Propx: Animal \vdash Dog(x): Prop.

We shouldn’t just say that being a dog is a property. But then how was Fido introduced?

The apple is red

That the apple is red is true

Colour: Type, red: Colour, colour_of: [Object, Color], is_red(x) = (colour_of(x) = red)

Fido bit Fi Fi Fido’s biting Fi Fi.

What comes first?

X bites Y: Prop X’s biting Y: Event

  1. They are in some sense language-created. 2. The terms referring to them are guaranteed of reference. 3. To learn of their existence and all there is to know about them, one need only adopt the relevant language game.

AT dubious that 2 and 3 always hold. But this seems to be down to whether it’s about generation of a type or a term. Of course nothing guaranteeing existence of a term. A type is less committing, it might be empty.

Christian Beyer Towards a Husserlian (Meta-)Metaphysics

I have experienced the object multifariously, I have made ‘multifarious’ judgments about it and have gained multifarious [pieces of] knowledge about it, at various times, all of which I have connected. Thanks to this connection I now possess a ‘concept’ of the object, an individual concept[][W]hat is posited in memory under a certain sense [mit einem gewissen Sinn] gains an epistemic enrichment of sense, i.e., the x of the 8 sense is determined further in an empirical way erfahrungsmäßigX/2, 358; my translation).

Husserliana: Edmund Husserl – Gesammelte Werke [Hua]. Den Haag/Dordrecht: Nijhoff/Kluwer/Springer, 1950ff.

Why do we call an entity in a category an object? Objects in this sense are types. We also speak of GroupGroup as the type of types that are sets with group structure. Why not then physical object as type? And what of the object of computer science, object-oriented.

Perry, John. “A Problem About Continued Belief.” Pacific Philosophical Quarterly61 (1980), 317-332

Experience and Judgement § 4: every kind of object has its kind of being self-given.

If a law of essence means that an AA cannot as such exist except in a more comprehensive unity which connects it with an MM, we say that an AA as such requires foundation by an MM or also that an AA as such needs to be supplemented by an M. (114)

Husserl, E. (1900/1901).Logische Untersuchungen. Zweiter Band. Untersuchungen zur Phänomenologie und Theorie der Erkenntnis.Niemeyer, Halle.(Englishtranslationby J. N. Findlay.Logical Investigations, Volume Two, Routledge andKeganPaul, London, 1970.)

Last revised on February 1, 2022 at 15:03:57. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.