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The Logical Investigations (German: Logische Untersuchungen) are a two-volume work by the philosopher Edmund Husserl, in which the author discusses the philosophy of logic and provides a critique of psychologism, a doctrine according to which the theoretical foundations of logic lie in psychology; they were published in 1900 and 1901. Husserl's opposition to psychologism has been attributed to the philosopher Gottlob Frege's criticism of Husserl's Philosophy of Arithmetic (1891). The Logical Investigations, which have been compared to the work of the philosopher Immanuel Kant, influenced Martin Heidegger and the development of phenomenology and continental philosophy.

Logical Investigations
Logical Investigations.jpg
AuthorEdmund Husserl
Original titleLogische Untersuchungen
TranslatorJ. N. Findlay
SubjectPhilosophy of logic
  • 1900 and 1901 (first edition in German)
  • 1913 and 1921 (second edition in German)
  • 1970 (in English)
Media typePrint (Hardcover and Paperback)
ISBN978-0415241892 (vol. 1)
978-0415241908 (vol. 2)



Husserl discusses logic and mathematics. He writes that logic "seeks to search into what pertains to genuine, valid science as such, what constitutes the Idea of Science, so as to be able to use the latter to measure the empirically given sciences as to their agreement with their Idea, the degree to which they approach it, and where they offend against it." He provides a critique of psychologism, a position on the nature of logic represented for example by the philosopher John Stuart Mill, according to which, the "essential theoretical foundations of logic lie in psychology".[1]

Publication historyEdit

The Logical Investigations was published in two volumes in 1900 and 1901.[2]



Helmut R. Wagner described the Logical Investigations as Husserl's first major work in Phenomenology of Consciousness and Sociology of the Life-world (1983).[3] Donn Welton stated in his introduction to The Essential Husserl (1999) that in the Logical Investigations, Husserl introduced a novel conception of the relationships between language and experience, meaning and reference, and subject and object, and by his work on theories dealing with meaning, truth, the subject, and the object, helped create phenomenology, a new form of philosophy that went beyond psychologism, formalism, realism, idealism, objectivism and subjectivism, and made twentieth century continental philosophy possible.[4]

Martin HeideggerEdit

The Logical Investigations influenced the philosopher Martin Heidegger.[5][6][7] According to Hugo Ott, Heidegger studied them while a student at the Collegium Borromaeum (Freiburg im Breisgau) [de], where they were so rarely requested from the university library that he was easily able to renew them.[6] According to the philosopher David Farrell Krell, Heidegger was disappointed to find that the Logical Investigations did not help to clarify the multiple meanings of being, but they nevertheless impressed him and convinced him to study philosophy.[5] According to Michael Inwood, Heidegger, like the philosopher Theodor W. Adorno, believed that the second volume of Logical Investigations marked an apparent revival of psychologism, which puzzled him.[8] In Being and Time (1927), Heidegger credited the Logical Investigations with making his work possible.[7] Heidegger noted the influence of the Logical Investigations on Emil Lask in Being and Time, crediting him with being the only person who had taken up Husserl's investigations "from outside the main stream of phenomenological research". Heidegger pointed to Lask's Die Logik der Philosophie und die Kategorienlehre (1911) and Die Lehre vom Urteil (1912).[9]

Jacques DerridaEdit

The philosopher Jacques Derrida studied the Logical Investigations as a student in the 1950s, according to his biographer Jason Powell.[10] Derrida offered a critique of Husserl's work in Speech and Phenomena (1967).[11]

Academic journalsEdit

Dieter Münch described the Logical Investigations as a "highly theoretical book" in the Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, finding it similar in this respect to Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (1781). He maintained that Husserl's development of a theory of "symbolic knowledge" in the Logical Investigations showed that such a theory had been a significant problem for the early Husserl. He also argued that Husserl put forward a theory of truth in the work that represented a departure from that of his early writings, and that Husserl anticipated both aspects of artificial intelligence and criticisms of artificial intelligence made by philosophers such as John Searle and Hubert Dreyfus. He rejected the view that the Logical Investigations can be understood only from the perspective of Husserl's later work, in which he developed transcendental phenomenology.[12]

Other evaluationsEdit

Husserl commented in Ideas (1913) that the Logical Investigations had led to phenomenology being mistakenly viewed as a branch of empirical psychology, despite his protests, in the article "Philosophy as Strict Science", that this was a misunderstanding of his work.[13] The philosopher Karl Popper commented in Objective Knowledge: An Evolutionary Approach (1972) that the Logical Investigations started a "vogue" for "anti-psychologism". He attributed Husserl's opposition to psychologism to the philosopher Gottlob Frege's criticism of Husserl's Philosophy of Arithmetic (1891). He believed that Husserl, in his discussion of science, proposed distinctions similar to Popper's three worlds, but suggested that Husserl had written in a way that had caused confusion about his views. He also criticized Husserl's view that a scientific theory is an hypothesis that has been proven correct.[14]

The philosopher Paul Ricœur credited Husserl, along with Frege, with helping to establish the dichotomy "between Sinn or sense and Vorstellung or representation" in the linguist Sheldon Sacks's anthology On Metaphor (1979).[15] The philosopher Roger Scruton criticized the Logical Investigations for their obscurity in Modern Philosophy: An Introduction and Survey (1994);[16] however, in A Short History of Modern Philosophy (1995), Scruton described the Logical Investigations as being of "great interest", and noted that, alongside Ideas for a Pure Phenomenology (1913) and Cartesian Meditations (1929), they were among the writings by Husserl that had attracted the most attention.[17]

The philosophers Barry Smith and David Woodruff Smith credited Husserl with discrediting psychologism in The Cambridge Companion to Husserl (1995). They added that Husserl's critique "succeeded in bringing the heyday of psychologism to an end", and was more influential than similar critiques from other philosophers.[18] The philosopher Judith Butler compared the Logical Investigations to the early work of Ludwig Wittgenstein in the preface to the second edition of Subjects of Desire.[19] The philosopher Robert Sokolowski criticized the first edition of the Logical Investigations for sharply distinguishing between things as they appear and the thing-in-itself, a standpoint he considered comparable to Kant's, in The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy (1999). He noted that between 1900 and 1910, Husserl abandoned the Kantian distinctions made in Logical Investigations. According to Sokolowski, when Husserl expressed a new position in Ideas (1913), he was misinterpreted as adopting a traditional idealism and "many thinkers who admired Husserl's earlier work distanced themselves from what he now taught."[20] Thomas Mautner credited Husserl with providing a new account of logic and mathematics in The Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy (2000). He suggested that Husserl's views were influenced by Frege's criticism of Husserl's Philosophy of Arithmetic.[21] Powell described the analyses of signs and meaning in the Logical Investigations as "rigorous and abstract", "scrupulous", but also "tedious" in Jacques Derrida: A Biography (2006).[10]

The philosopher Ray Monk wrote in the New Statesman that the Logical Investigations is difficult to read because of Husserl's obscure prose, adding that the philosopher Bertrand Russell reported finding reading it difficult.[22]


  1. ^ Husserl 1999, p. 3–22.
  2. ^ Welton 1999, p. ix.
  3. ^ Wagner 1983, p. 215.
  4. ^ Welton 1999, pp. ix, x.
  5. ^ a b Krell 1993, pp. 7, 12–13.
  6. ^ a b Ott 1994, p. 57.
  7. ^ a b Heidegger 2008, p. 62.
  8. ^ Inwood 2005, p. 409.
  9. ^ Heidegger 2008, p. 494.
  10. ^ a b Powell 2006, p. 25.
  11. ^ Derrida 1989, p. 3.
  12. ^ Münch 1990, pp. 107–118.
  13. ^ Husserl 1962, pp. 37–38.
  14. ^ Popper 1999, p. 162.
  15. ^ Ricœur 1979, p. 142.
  16. ^ Scruton 1997, p. 72.
  17. ^ Scruton 2002, p. 265.
  18. ^ Smith & Smith 1995, p. 5.
  19. ^ Butler 1999, p. xi.
  20. ^ Sokolowski 1999, p. 404.
  21. ^ Mautner 2000, p. 260.
  22. ^ Monk 2016.


  • Münch, Dieter (1990). "The Early Work of Husserl and Artificial Intelligence". Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology. 20 (2). doi:10.1080/00071773.1989.11006840.
Online articles

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