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How to Read the Logical Investigations? About

Husserls Guide for the Reader and
a Rediscovered Typescript of It

Ullrich Melle
katholieke universiteit leuven

One of the many remarkable documents to be found in the papers of

Winthrop Bell is a typewritten copy and transcription of two fragmentary
drafts, one in longhand, the other in shorthand, for a preface to the second
edition of the Logical Investigations that Husserl conceived in late summer
1913. The typescript Entwurf zur Einfhrung der zweiten Bearbeitung der
Logischen Untersuchungen was produced in summer 1924 by Ludwig
Landgrebe, who was Husserls research assistant at the time.1 Eugen Fink,
who became Husserls assistant in 1928, published the text of Landgrebes
typescript after Husserls death in 1939 in two parts in the first two issues of
the Tijdschrift voor Filosofie, under the title Entwurf einer Vorrede zu den
Logischen Untersuchungen.2
The original Husserlian manuscripts were published only recently
in 2002 in the Husserliana, the critical edition of Husserls works. At the
time of the critical edition of the original drafts, it was known from an
inscription on one of the manuscripts that Landgrebe had produced a type-
script of the drafts. This typescript, however, seemed to have been lost.
It was also known through the pagination in the drafts from the hand of
Edith Stein, who preceded Landgrebe as Husserls assistant, that she had

journal of speculative philosophy, vol. 25, no. 3, 2011

Copyright 2012 The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

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already occupied herself with the drafts. It was probably she who arranged
the fragmentary texts into the unified text as it is found in the typescript.
The division into paragraphs and the titles of the paragraphs in the pub-
lished text are certainly from Fink, since the text of the typescript is not yet
subdivided into paragraphs.
The typescript of Landgrebe that has recently been discovered in the
Bell papers contains a number of handwritten insertions and other tex-
tual revisions with pencil and ink by Husserl. The text published by Fink
in 1939, however, does not take into account these revisions. Since it is
unlikely that he just ignored them, he must have based his publication on
another unrevised copy.3
Unfortunately, no sources have yet been found that tell us precisely
when, how, and to what purpose Winthrop Bell received the annotated type-
script. It seems likely that Husserl himself sent the typescript to Bell shortly
after Landgrebe had produced it in 1924. A long letter by Husserl to Bell
from November 1925, though, does not mention the sending of the type-
script. If Husserl himself sent the typescript to Bell, to what purpose? Did
he ask Bell for his comments on the text?
The major task Husserl assigned to his research assistants was the
preparation of his stenographic manuscripts for publication. This involved
not only the transcription of the manuscripts but also their arrangement
into a coherent and unified text. The fact that Husserl had Landgrebe pro-
duce a typescript of the drafts that Stein had probably already unified, and
that he then revised, would seem to indicate that he still intended to pub-
lish the text in 1924. Certain features of the text, however, make this some-
what doubtful. First, the text of the typescript still expresses the original
purpose of the drafts to compose a preface to the second edition of the
Logical Investigations. But that second edition had been published with the
exception of Logical Investigation VI in 1913, with the second edition of
investigation VI finally having been published in 1921. Second, the text
also preserves the rather disdainful remarks on Meinong and his theory of
objects (Gegenstandstheorie), as well as the sarcastic polemics with Wundt
where Husserl expresses his frustration and anger about the denial of the
originality of his insights and about the crude misinterpretation of his work
in the original reception of the Logical Investigations. It is hard to imagine
that Husserl in 1924 would still feel the need to denounce Meinong and
ridicule Wundt in such an aggressive tone.

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how to read the logical investigations? 249

Landgrebes typescript in the Bell papers closes an important gap in

the textual documentation and history of how Husserls original drafts for a
preface to the second edition of the Logical Investigations were transformed
into the text published by Fink a year after Husserls death in 1939. It is
noteworthy that all of the three illustrious assistants of HusserlEdith
Stein, Ludwig Landgrebe, and Eugen Finkwere involved in this textual
history, and they are now joined by Winthrop Bell, whose relationship with
Husserl may have been closer than has been understood so far.

Let us now turn to the two original drafts from late summer 1913. First,
it has to be noted that it is likely that the first draft in longhand is already
a more or less revised copy by Husserl himself of an earlier stenographic
manuscript. The second fragment in shorthand starts with a reference to
what has previously been indicated. This at first suggests that the second
fragment could simply be the continuation of the stenographic manuscript
underlying the longhand text. But the existing overlap between parts of the
first and the second fragment make this unlikely. It rather seems that the
two texts present two alternative conceptions of an introductory preface.
The first clears up prominent misunderstandings concerning Husserls
conception of logic, the relation of logic to psychology, the method used,
and the idealism defended in the Logical Investigations. The second at first
gives an account of the genesis of the Logical Investigations by sketching the
development of Husserls thought and then rejects the association made
between his idea of ontology and Meinongs theory of objects. It next gives
credit to Lotzes and Bolzanos inspiration while at the same time stressing
the radical limitations of these thinkers, then addresses two misinterpreta-
tions of phenomenology, and finally turns to Wundt and his completely
unfounded interpretation and critique of the Logical Investigations. The pre-
cise relationship between the two fragmentary drafts, therefore, remains
an open question.
However, both drafts contain equally important expositions and clari-
fications concerning the project of the Logical Investigations, the intuitive
method, Husserls notions of the formal and material a priori as well as the
conception of logic and of ontology related to these notions, and also his
conception of phenomenology as an ontology of intentional consciousness.
The many succinct formulations in both drafts show Husserl at the height
of his philosophical and expressive powers. These texts offer a remarkably

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clear presentation and explanation of the foundational notions and ideas of

Husserls phenomenology at its origin in the Logical Investigations.
In the most general terms, Husserls project in the Logical Investigations
was to provide the epistemological foundation of logic. For this it was first
necessary to purify logic from all empirical content and to show that logic
essentially is beyond and unrelated to all experience of matters of fact: Its
objectsmeanings, propositions, inferences, and theoriesare ideal and
not real, and its laws are ideal and apodictic rather than being inductively
general and probable. There is an unbridgeable ontological gulf between
the ideal and the real, between logic and empirical science. The prelimi-
nary task of the purification of logic is executed in the Prolegomena of the
Logical Investigations in the form of a refutation of psychologism. The six
Logical Investigations themselves are devoted then to the epistemological
foundation of pure logic.

The first draft starts with an acknowledgment of the shortcomings and

deficiencies of the Logical Investigations when they were first published.
Husserl states that, at the time, he did not have full reflective clarity about
the proper sense and the full implications of the applied method. He lacked
comprehension of how his work was related to the history of philosophy
and to contemporary philosophical efforts. In order to avoid getting lost in
the obscurities of past philosophies, he had brushed aside all history. Exter-
nal circumstances, which actually were concerns about his career, forced
him to publish the work in spite of its deeply felt insufficiencies. He saw
the work only as a beginning, not as an end.
Husserl then points out that he did not expect much attention to be
paid to his work since it aligned itself with neither of the two major trends
in contemporary philosophy that tried to found a truly scientific epistemol-
ogy: the return to Kant and the turn toward experimental psychology. For
Husserl, to found epistemology on empirical psychology leads to relativism
and skepticism, and the return to Kant is futile because it does not draw
directly from the clearest and most originary sources of knowledge, those
of pure intuition.
To his surprise, the Logical Investigations did arouse considerable inter-
est, probably, as Husserl states, because his work inscribes itself into the
teleology of the history of philosophy, in particular of the history of modern
philosophy. The goal toward which modern philosophy strives, according
to Husserl, is an intuitive philosophy from ultimate origins, an idealist

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how to read the logical investigations? 251

and rational philosophy from apodictically evident foundational insights.

To achieve this goal the one-sidedness of both empiricism and rational-
ism has to be overcome in the form of an integration or synthesis of the
legitimate motives in each of them. Of course, Husserl will later claim that
his transcendental-eidetic phenomenology is exactly that synthesis with
which the history of philosophy comes to an end in one sense and which
brings it to its true beginning in another. The short remarks in his draft
from 1913 on how the logical investigations are in alignment with the major
developmental tendencies in the history of philosophy foreshadow already
Husserls teleological account of the history of philosophy from its primal
establishment in ancient Greece, its new establishment at the beginning
of modern philosophy, and its final establishment in his transcendental
phenomenology as he presents it in his final work, The Crisis of European
Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology.
Unfortunately, Husserl points out, most reactions to the Logical Inves-
tigations were characterized by serious misunderstandings. The aim of the
preface therefore is to help future readers by clearing up the most impor-
tant of these misunderstandings.
The first of these misunderstandings Husserl addresses relates to the
overall coherence of the two parts of the Logical Investigations, the Prole-
gomena and the six Logical Investigations. Simply put, it may seem that the
refutation of psychologism in the Prolegomena is followed by nothing less
than a psychological foundation of logical entities and laws in thesixLogical
Investigations that follow.
The Prolegomena demonstrates that pure logic deals with ideal objec-
tivities, meanings that are free and independent of all empirical content.
It is an a priori science of the forms of meanings, propositions, and theo-
ries and correlatively of the forms of objects, states of affairs, relations,
and manifolds as meant by these meanings, propositions, and theories.
Having cleansed logic from all empirical content, however, Husserl in the
first Logical Investigation describes meaning-giving acts in which mean-
ings originate, and in the fifth Investigation he analyzes, describes, and
classifies intentional acts. Moreover, in the sixth investigation he gives
an account of knowledge and truth in terms of a synthesis of fulfillment
between empty and intuitive acts, and he founds logical laws in categorial
intuitions. To make matters even more misleading he characterizes these
investigations of intentional acts as descriptive psychology! Is this not a
relapse into the discredited psychologism? In a section in the second draft,

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Husserl acknowledges that the use of the term descriptive psychology for
his descriptions of intentional acts was misleading. He therefore replaced
this term shortly after the publication of the Logical Investigations with the
term phenomenology. But a perceptive reader of the Logical Investigations
would recognize that the descriptive psychology of intentional acts is not an
empirical psychological study but an eidetic analysis, that its descriptions
of different kinds of intentional acts and of the structure of consciousness
claim to have an a priori character, and that they are based on the intuitive
givenness of the essences of such intentional acts. Pure logic is not to be
founded on empirical facts of consciousness but, rather, on the essences of
the intentional acts that achieve knowledge and truth.
Pure logic and its objects in their ideality cannot be completely unre-
lated to consciousness. They are after all accessible and known in their
truth by acts of thinking, and they are the ideal laws of thinking coher-
ently and truthfully. The refutation of psychologism in the Prolegomena
only demonstrates that it cannot be empirical consciousness or empirical
generalization about factual consciousness that founds these ideal laws.
The ideality of these laws requires an ideal foundation, a foundation in the
ideas, the essences of the acts of meaning, of judging and theorizing. Only
by such a foundation can pure logic become a philosophically grounded
and justified logic.
Fundamental for Husserls epistemology and philosophy is the
intuitive-descriptive method. The philosopher, Husserl says in the draft,
has to pledge allegiance to the principle of all principles: to not construct
from above but to lead all knowledge back to its ultimate source, the see-
ing (280). One must on all accounts give credit to that which is clearly
seen. This is the original, that which precedes all theory; it is the ultimate
source for the norm of truth. The ultimate ground of all philosophical theo-
rizing is the unprejudiced and not already theory-laden seeing of the prob-
lematic phenomena, in our case of thinking and knowing, and the careful
and precise description of what is seen. It sounds rather naive and simple
to just look at thinking, bring it to a clear intuition, and then describe what
we see, but this turns out to be not easy at all. It requires a rigorous meth-
odological discipline and great effort to bring the phenomena at issue to
intuition. The intuitive-descriptive method also implies a particular ethos
of philosophical work, an ethos that is characterized by diligence, patience,
modesty, honesty, and unrelenting effort: a philosophy of laborious and
detailed work of analysis and description of concretephenomena in their
essential characteristics, structures, foundational layers, and relationships.

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how to read the logical investigations? 253

The ontological difference between real and ideal objects is not the
result of a theoretical argument but, rather, is given in a pretheoretical intu-
ition. It can be seen directly in looking at exemplifications of real and
ideal objects, for example, a tree and the meaning of a sentence, that these
are two radically different kinds of objects, real ones and ideal onesboth
of them being subjects of valid judgments, the first of empirical judgments,
the second of a priori and apodictic judgments. The charge of metaphysical
Platonism against the essentialism of the Logical Investigations is therefore,
according to Husserl, completely unjustified and is a misunderstanding
caused by historical prejudices. The ideal essences Husserl describes are
not metaphysical or epistemological substructions, hypotheses, or stipu-
lations; they are, rather, originally and evidently given, that is, intuited
objects. It is, Husserl says, mere prejudice not to accept as validly and truly
existing what one clearly sees, what one clearly has before ones minds
eye, even if it is nothing real. The difficult philosophical task, however, is
to describe the specific kinds of intuitive givenness of the real and of the
ideal. But what precedes this task is that which no theory can remove. The
evidence of the seen is the ultimate measure of all theory and philosophy.
The final part of the first draft is devoted to misunderstandings con-
cerning Husserls idea of pure logic. In the final part of the Prolegomena,
Husserl had shown that pure logic in its full extent comprised all purely
formal disciplines. It was mathesis universalis, of which propositional-
syllogistic logic was only a certain stratum. Arithmetic, the theory of num-
bers, algebra, the theory of theory-forms, and correlatively the theory of
manifolds were all part of pure logic as mathesis universalis, the a priori
science of the whole analytic or formal sphere.
This delineation of pure logic as well as the distinction between its
different levels can be achieved and made evident without recourse to phi-
losophy in a naive and technical fashion. This straightforward, unreflective
logic is transformed into a philosophically grounded and pure logic by the
phenomenological investigations of the correlation between intentional
consciousness and that which is given in its acts, that is, the different kinds
of objects.
While pure logic as mathesis universalis comprises the formal disci-
plines, there are also material ontologies of the material regions of being.
One could call such a material ontology also a logic, for example, the logic
of nature. This logic of nature would comprise all a priori determinations
and laws of nature, which together would explicate the essence of nature.
Again, this logic of nature can be developed in an unreflective attitude

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directed toward essences as exemplified in real natural objects. Like pure

logic, such a material logic calls for a philosophical grounding in phenom-
enology. The Logical Investigations, however, are restricted to the analytic
sphere. It is the most fundamental task of a scientific philosophy to delin-
eate this formal-analytic sphere and to define, in relation to this sphere,
the position, the task, and the method of a theory of analytic knowledge or
of an analytic epistemology. This, Husserl says, is precisely the goal of the
Logical Investigations.
Husserl distances himself from the association made between his idea
of ontology and Meinongs theory of objects (Gegenstandstheorie), and he
reacts sharply against the suggestion that his idea of ontology is somehow
indebted to Meinongs theory of objects. He can see no progress but only
regress in Meinongs efforts to characterize the purely logical and math-
ematical realm! Husserl actually makes clear that his revival of the idea of
ontology owes much to Bolzano, Lotze, and Hume. Fundamental for his
idea of ontology is the distinction between formal and material essences,
which corresponds to the distinction between formal ontology and material
ontologies, formal ontology being part of pure logic as mathesis universalis
owing to the correlation between categories of meaning and formal object
categories. One should therefore not subsume the a priori of all and every
object under the title of an a priori theory of objects as such, as Meinong
did. Finally, Husserl points out that because of their eidetic character, the
phenomenological descriptions in the Logical Investigations themselves are
ontological investigations relating to a material region of beingnamely,
the region of consciousness.

The second fragmentary draft of a preface to the second edition of the Logi-
cal Investigations from late summer 1913 first traces the development of
Husserls thought leading to the breakthrough of phenomenology in the
Logical Investigations. Then, Husserl again elaborates his idea of ontology as
a priori eidetic science, rejecting even more sharply than in the first draft its
suggested closeness to Meinongs theory of objects. In the following part of
the draft he gives credit to Lotze and Bolzano for their inspiration while also
pointing out their shortcomings and limitations. Next, he briefly discusses
and corrects the often-heard charge that phenomenology is merely an anal-
ysis of the meanings of words. The discussion then follows the above-men-
tioned acknowledgment that the term descriptive psychology used in the first
edition of Logical Investigations for the eidetic descriptions of intentional

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how to read the logical investigations? 255

consciousness was misleading. The last part of the draft, making up more
than a third of the manuscript, is devoted to a biting and sarcastic critique
of Wilhelm Wundts discussion of the Logical Investigations. Husserl vehe-
mently rejects the way Wundt presses the Logical Investigations into precon-
ceived schemata of a constructed historical dialectic and distorts Husserls
terms so that they become utterly nonsensical. In the course of his polemic
with Wundt, Husserl characterizes and elucidates the intuitive-descriptive
method of phenomenology.
The development of Husserls thought had its beginning with the foun-
dational problem in the philosophy of mathematics of the psychological ori-
gin of numbers. Husserl was trained in philosophy by Franz Brentano and
Carl Stumpf, for whom philosophy became scientific through descriptive
psychology. Husserl soon discovered the importance of merely symbolic
thought, that is, nonintuitive representations by signs, in mathematics. His
effort to understand the possibility of such symbolic thought and to find
an answer to the question of how the objectivity of mathematics and logic
can be constituted in subjectivity led him to the Leibnizian conception of a
pure mathesis universalis and the rejection of psychologism as expressed
and argued for in the Prolegomena. To reject psychologism meant to accept
idealism as a kind of Platonism. Husserl acknowledges that he owed the
turn to his own kind of Platonic idealism to his study of Lotzes Logik.4
After his conversion to logical idealism, he suddenly realized that the first
two volumes of Bolzanos Wissenschaftslehre on representations as such and
propositions as such could be read as a pure logic.5 Bolzanos draft of such
a pure logic was incomplete, however. The idea of a purely formal math-
ematics, of a theory of manifolds, was still missing. Bolzano had no idea of
the inner unity of formal logic and arithmetic and, connected to this, of the
correlation between the formal theory of meanings and formal ontology.
However, it took Husserl, as he himself acknowledges, much effort to fully
comprehend the correlation between formal-ontological propositions about
objects as such, states of affairs, relations on the one side, and propositions
about meanings on the other. All of these logical studies were not yet an
epistemology. They simply relied on the evidence in which such ideas as
numbers, meanings, and propositions are given to us. Such ideal objects
are evidentially given to us as substrates of valid predications. We should
not immediately try to deny such a givenness because of certain ontological
or metaphysical preconceptions we might have. The task of epistemology,
then, of course, is to elucidate this evidence and its validity.

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After the sketch of his philosophical development, Husserl turns to

the discussion of his ideas of pure logic, ontology, and phenomenology and
their relationship to Meinongs theory of objects. There is some overlap in
this discussion with the similar discussion in the first draft. When Stein
unified the two drafts into a single text, she therefore eliminated the dis-
cussion in the first draft, such that in Landgrebes typescript and in the
published text only the more substantial discussion in the second draft is
The idea of an a priori or rational ontology is an ancient idea. However,
Kants reaction against all metaphysical ontologies and the advance of
empiricist philosophy discredited this idea completely. In his own work,
Husserl says, he revived this old idea, though he made it independent of
any historical precedent and therefore free from all unclarities and errors
characteristic of the old ontologies. He conceived ontology first as a purely
rational science of objects as such, exclusively founded in eidetic intuition.
The mathesis universalis is such an ontology as an a priori science of
objects as such and correlatively of meanings as such, referring to objects
as such (302). Since this was explicitly expressed already in the Prolegom-
ena, nobody, Husserl remarks, had to point out to him the object-theoretical
(gegenstandstheoretischen) character of logic and mathematics.
Not only does the mathesis universalis belong to ontology, but also
the phenomenological analyses of consciousness are ontological investiga-
tions. Consciousness itself, its intentional acts, and their noematic object
correlates are an immensely rich field for a priori knowledge.
Fundamental for his conception of ontology is the interpretation of the
insight in which Humes relations between ideas or Leibnizs truths of rea-
son are given to us as forms of seeing in which ideas are originally given to
us. This led Husserl early on to acknowledge that each kind of object has
an essence such that eidetic insights pertain to it. He remarks with a jab
at Meinong that he did not, however, conceive of ontology as a container
in which all a priori knowledge and sciences could be lumped together.
The task of philosophy is not to lump together but to search for eidetic dis-
tinctions. He spent many years getting clear about the genuine notion of
the analytic and, further, finding the fundamental demarcation of analytic
ontology and separating it from material ontologies that are synthetic and
a priori.
It was only after the Logical Investigations, Husserl remarks, that he
addressed the issue of the fundamental demarcations of the material regions

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how to read the logical investigations? 257

of being. It became evident then that the phenomenological a priori was

essentially different and had to be opposed to the ontological a priori. This
seems to contradict what he had said earlier about the ontological character
of the phenomenological analyses. But that is because Husserl here implic-
itly presupposes the transcendental understanding of phenomenology as
the science of transcendental consciousness and of transcendental consti-
tution. Transcendental consciousness is not a material region of worldly
being to which the material ontologies are related. These material ontolo-
gies, then, serve as guiding threads for the phenomenological investigation
into the transcendental constitution of the different kinds of objects in the
intentional acts and achievements of transcendental c onsciousness.
Husserl wrote the drafts half a year after the publication of his large new
introduction to phenomenology, Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology
and to a Phenomenological Philosophy. To the dismay of many disciples who
endorsed the Logical Investigations because they understood them as being
committed to realism, Husserl presents phenomenology in the Ideas as a
transcendental-eidetic science of a nonworldly transcendental and absolute
consciousness that constitutes the world.6 By this he moves beyond the
eidetic idealism of the Logical Investigations toward an explicit endorsement
of transcendental idealism.
Returning to the text of the second draft, Husserl next discusses the
influence of Lotze and Bolzano on his thought. He acknowledges with grat-
itude the strong inspiration he received from them in certain directions.
He then proceeds, however, to point out the radical shortcomings of these
authors that Husserl, of course, thinks to have overcome in his philosophy.
It was Lotzes interpretation and adoption of Platos doctrine of the
Ideas that convinced Husserl of the ideal existence of logical entities and
laws. But in spite of Lotzes explicit rejection of a psychological founda-
tion of logic, he succumbs to a naturalistic relativism in his epistemology.
For Lotze, the possibility of knowledge is an unfathomable enigma because
we do not understand how our merely human thought and its laws can
accord with reality as such and in itself. For Husserl, Lotzes problem of
the formal and real meaning of logic, its validity for us and its objective
validity, is utterly mistaken because the problem presupposes already that
which needs to be accounted for by epistemology: the knowledge of the
existence of a metaphysical reality. The mere thought of a reality in itself
that has nothing at all to do with our knowledge of it and our logical forms
of thought, and which we then afterward, so to say, have to approach and

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grasp with our representations and thoughts, is for Husserl nonsensical.

Itleads Lotze to a mythological metaphysics that separates our subjectively
represented world of merely human-relative validity from a metaphysical
world of monads in themselves, about which we can only make metaphysi-
cal speculations. But these are, Husserl remarks, less than novels because
novels still have an aesthetic truth, they still tell us something about reality
that these metaphysical fabrications do not.
Again, what is implied in Husserls criticism of Lotzes theory of
knowledge, but not explicated in the draft, is the transcendental viewpoint.
Lotzes failure consists in not bracketing the natural attitude and not per-
forming the transcendental-phenomenological reduction. Fundamental for
the natural attitude is precisely the belief in the existence of a reality in itself
that is independent from and precedes all knowing. In the natural attitude,
we also see ourselves as human beings in the world. Lotzes problem of the
formal and real meaning of logic arises from these beliefs characteristic of
the natural attitude. It is only when we bracket these beliefs and investigate
concretely and intuitively the intentional acts involved in knowing various
kinds of objects that we will discover the necessary correlation between
immanent acts and their intended objects.
Husserl appreciates Bolzano as an important logician who developed
an original theory of syllogism and laid the foundations for a scientific the-
ory of probabilities. He had some influence on Husserls logical idealism,
though Bolzano himself would have adamantly rejected the idea of a pure
logic in Husserls sense. Nobody, according to Husserl, has realized the
extreme empiricism of Bolzanos theory of knowledge. Nothing, therefore,
could be more mistaken than regarding Bolzano to be the founder of phe-
nomenology. He had no inkling of the enormous tasks of phenomenologi-
cal research.
After Husserls discussion of Lotze and Bolzano, he shortly turns to
the misunderstanding of phenomenology as an analysis of the meanings of
words. Wundt is a representative of that misunderstanding, which can only
arise by a very superficial reading of the Logical Investigations. It is true that
the first Investigation is devoted to an analysis of meaning and of meaning-
giving acts as the instantiations of ideal meanings. But that does not mean
that phenomenology is linguistic analysis. Meanings and meaning-giving
acts are among many other objects of phenomenological description. An
investigation of meaning and meaning-giving acts stands at the begin-
ning of the Logical Investigations simply because logical phenomena are

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how to read the logical investigations? 259

given to us in linguistic form, in propositions, that is, in certain meanings.

Theextensive and highly polemical debate with Wundt that concludes the
draft has an exemplary character for Husserl because the complete mis-
interpretation of his work by Wundt was not accidental but was for him
symptomatic of contemporary views and attitudes.7
Wundt largely accepts the refutation of psychologism in the Prolegom-
ena, and he also recognizes the great importance of the second book of
the Logical Investigations. But what he sees in it is a dangerous invasion
of logic into the domain of psychology. Somehow, albeit darkly, he senses
connections with the rationalism and apriorism of historical philosophies.
But since he does not understand the eidetic description of the phenomena
or the strictly intuitive method, he misses the radical difference between
Husserls rationalism and idealism from all earlier historical forms of it
and certainly from scholastic ontologism. Wundt accuses Husserl of an
unyielding logicism that tries to transform psychology into conceptual
and linguistic analysis. It was for Wundt the most extreme effort so far to
transform psychic being into logical being.
Certainly, Husserl replies to this charge, the Logical Investigations deal
with logical matters, and they seek to contribute to the epistemological foun-
dation of logic and logical validity. But is it scholastics if one tries to bring
the subjective phenomena in which these logical matters are given to us
into view, to grasp them directly in immanent reflection, to describe them
and terminologically fix them? Exasperated, Husserl states: Of course, one
cannot read and understand the Logical Investigations like a newspaper
(320). We usually read and understand a newspaper without actually bring-
ing to intuitive clarity what we read. Think of the economic news these days
about the financial troubles of banks, the debt crisis, stimulus packages,
and so on. Our understanding of the printed words and sentences is largely
in the form of empty intentions; their meanings are vague and shot through
with empty horizons. Such an understanding is not sufficient when dealing
with a philosophical text. The words and phrases of the descriptions in the
Logical Investigations have to be cashed in by the reader; one has to make
the considerable effort to bring that which is described to clear intuition.
Then the task of the descriptive work is to express the seen phenomenon
by concepts and words that are absolutely true to the essence of it, such that
these can guide the reader to produce the appropriate intuition.
According to Husserl, Wundt disdains the considerable effort of reflec-
tive and phenomenological analyses. He pretends to understand what the

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260 ullrich melle

Logical Investigations are about with the help of a few schematic concepts,
and he deduces on a priori grounds the impossibility of such analyses.
Wundt is blind to whole worlds of immanent differences, and nowhere in
his work can one find a truly descriptive analysis of phenomena.
Over many years of strenuous effort, Husserl claims, he learned to see
and to keep the seen free from introjections and projections. He can see
phenomenological differences between intentional acts as clearly as he can
see the difference between the color white and the color red. Husserl calls
upon the reader to try to read the descriptions in the Logical Investigations
as one would read zoological or botanical descriptions. The only test of
the description is whether it is true to the phenomenon, and in order to
pass judgment on its correctness or incorrectness one has to clearly see the
relevant phenomenon. Certainly, descriptions can be deficient and wrong
in various directions; they can be imprecise or too general, or they can fail
to discriminate between moments or layers in the phenomenon just like a
geographer can mistake two separate rivers for two parts of the same river.
There is only one way to correct such descriptive errors: to look again and
to look more carefully. This explains and justifies why the whole being and
life of phenomenology is nothing else than the most radical inwardness of
the description of purely intuitive givens (323).
The radicality of the seeing and the purity of the intuition are all-
important. This requires a critical discipline of identifying and excluding
presuppositions and prejudices that can distort the seeing and the seen.
Here Husserl for the first time (and the only time in both drafts) touches
upon the phenomenological reduction. Phenomenology at first is a new
kind of rational psychology, an a priorieidetic science of consciousness. As
such, it is analogous to other a priorieidetic sciences like geometry, except
that phenomenology is not a deductive science. It was several years after
the publication of the Logical Investigations that Husserl realized that this
rational psychology has to be distinguished from transcendental phenom-
enology. It is the phenomenological reduction that reveals transcendental
consciousness and subjectivity as the research field for transcendental phe-
Husserl does not further elaborate the phenomenological reduction
and transcendental phenomenology here, but he returns to the critique of
Wundt and the further characterization of phenomenologys descriptive-
intuitive method. He stresses the difficulties in achieving the reflective
stance, exercising the reflective gaze, and, in particular, keeping in thematic

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how to read the logical investigations? 261

focus the intentionality of conscious acts in their unique forms of unity and
unification by intentional syntheses and intentional implications. Natural-
ism in modern times was totally blind to this dimension of intentionality.
Surprisingly, only now, close to the end of the second draft, is Brentano
given credit for his general descriptive characterization of psychic phenom-
ena by their intentional directedness. But, Husserl writes, Brentano never
really overcame naturalistic prejudices: The idea of a pure phenomenology
was far from him (326).
Husserl takes leave from Wundt by exposing the climax of all of his
misunderstandings: According to Wundt, the decisive deficiency of the
Logical Investigations consists in its passing by the problem of epistemologi-
cal foundation! Compared with the vitriol Husserl poured on Wundt earlier
on in the text, his response to this confounding judgment is relatively mild:
That a man of such reputation as Wundt could say that the Logical Investi-
gations has passed by the epistemological problem, while, in fact, the work
contains the breakthrough of a radical and new kind of epistemology, will
be an interesting anecdote.
The final two paragraphs of the draft are missing in Landgrebes type-
script as published by Fink. Husserl here discusses the problems involved
in a new edition of the Logical Investigations. His main problem is that with
the publication of the Ideas he has moved far beyond the Logical Investiga-
tions, and from this new vantage point he is painfully aware of the deficien-
cies and the incompleteness of the earlier work. This relates in particular
to the final sense of phenomenology in its relation to psychology and to the
a priori sciences that belong to all domains of being. Husserl then shortly
sketches the directions of his research after the publication of the Logical
Investigations as it is documented in his extensive lecture courses. He did
not want to republish the Logical Investigations before he had yet published
the results of his new research. Since it would still take years to bring these
results to publication, he decided with a heavy heart to follow a middle
path for the new edition of the Logical Investigations. The fragmentary draft
ends here. The middle path, we know from other sources, consisted in a
revision of the Logical Investigations that would lead the reader gradually
through the different investigations up to the level of the Ideas.8

Let us finally come back to Landgrebes typescript of the Draft to an

Introduction for the Second Treatment [Bearbeitung] of the Logical Investi-
gations (Husserl added to the title the date September or October 1913)

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262 ullrich melle

that was discovered in the papers of Winthrop Bell. The typescript is a

unified and continuous text of sixty pages. It contains a number of textual
changes by Husserl, a few in pencil but most of them in black ink. The
first half of the typescript, which makes up the whole of the first origi-
nal draft and the beginning of the second original draft up until the dis-
cussion of Husserls idea of ontology and the rejection of its association
with Meinongs theory of objects, contains only a handful of single-word
corrections or clarifications.
In his discussion of ontology, Husserl in a textual change and an inser-
tion stresses the a priori character of the immanent descriptive analyses of
consciousness in the Logical Investigations. In the progress of the investiga-
tions, he says, these descriptive analyses reveal themselves as a method of
pure a priori eidetic research (als eine Methode rein apriorischer Wesens-
forschung). In another insertion, Husserl explicates his remark in the text
of the draft that it is not the task of the philosopher to lump things together,
as Meinong did with his theory of objects, but, rather, to search for essen-
tial demarcations: It is the task of the philosopher to unify what belongs
to each other by essential necessity, which means to first delineate a priori
the eidetic regions and for each region to prepare the method of systematic
In two places Husserl adds a reference to his later transcendental view-
point. In the sections on Lotze and Bolzano one can find a few minor tex-
tual changes. The statement that Bolzanos epistemology is based on an
extreme empiricism is supported by an inserted reference in a footnote to
Bolzanos comparison of mechanics with pure logic and of physical experi-
ments with trials in the pure logical sphere.
There is an inserted reference to the method of phenomenological
reduction in Husserls recently published work, Ideas Pertaining to a Pure
Phenomenology and to a Phenomenological Philosophy, at the end of the sec-
tion in which Husserl addresses the misunderstanding of the phenomeno-
logical analyses in the Logical Investigations as analyses of meanings. The
reference is inserted in the place where Husserl remarks that many dif-
ferent kinds of experiences (Erlebnisse) or phenomena allow an immanent
psychological description, except that the phenomenological attitude is in
a certain respect essentially different. Two textual changes in the section
on the deficiencies of the first edition of the Logical Investigations in regard
to the relationship between descriptive psychology and phenomenology
slightly temper the self-criticism in the draft.

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how to read the logical investigations? 263

The section in which Husserl discusses at length Wundts radical

isinterpretation contains a considerable number of smaller textual
changes and revisions. A few pages of this section in the typescript are
more substantially revised. Husserl points out in an insertion that Wundts
mistaken characterizations of the Logical Investigations as logicism and as
a threatening invasion of logic into psychology are made in regard to the
eidetic method but also in regard to the intentional analyses as analyses of
meaning and meaning-giving acts in the first Investigation.
Thoroughly revised is the page of the text where Husserl opposes
Wundts charge that he tries in the Logical Investigations to transform all
psychical being into logical being by stressing and elaborating the intui-
tive character of his analyses. The famous quote that one cannot read and
understand the Logical Investigations like a newspaper is to be found on this
page. The changes of the text aim to clarify the intuitive-descriptive method
further in regard to what is required of the reader of the descriptions, and
Husserl points out the great difficulties of intuitive reproductive under-
standing (Nachverstehen). He also explicates his remark about Wundt that
he unfortunately has never entered the great domain of subjective experi-
ences and never made these experiences into research objects of reflection
by changing the text into the statement that Wundt did not have an eye for
the infinite realm of intentionality, that he has never made consciousness as
such according to its sense-giving and its rational achievement [Sinngebung
und Vernunftleistung] into a research object in reflection. In another inser-
tion later in the text where he talks about the lack in previous philosophy
of an unprejudiced immersion (Vertiefung) into the phenomena, Husserl
also adds a reference to intentionality, such that what was missing was in
particular the immersion into the completely unknown peculiarities of
Husserls handwritten insertions and other changes in the typescript
at no point fundamentally revise the content and direction of the text, but
they all have an explicating and clarifying function. These revisions indi-
cate therefore that Husserl was still in full agreement with the content.
But the efforts to improve the text in some detail show Husserls remain-
ing interest in it, possibly still with the intent to publish it. The two drafts
for a preface to the second edition of the Logical Investigations, with their
intriguing textual history, are a rich source for scholarship on the Logical
Investigations and the development of Husserls thought, of Husserls self-
understanding, and of the foundations of his philosophical project.

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264 ullrich melle

1. Ludwig Landgrebes typescript of Edmund Husserls Entwurf zur
Einfhrung der zweiten Bearbeitung der Logischen Untersuchungen
(1924) is archived in the papers of Winthrop Bell as File 20, no. 57.
2. The original manuscripts are published in Edmund Husserl, Logische
Untersuchungen. Ergnzungsband. Erster Teil. Entwrfe zur Umarbeitung der VI.
Untersuchung und zur Vorrede fr die Neuauflage der Logischen Untersuchungen
(Sommer 1913), ed. Ullrich Melle, Husserliana 20, no. 1 (Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2002),
272329; hereafter cited in the text by page number. All translations are mine.
The full bibliographic reference for the publication of the drafts in Tijdschrift
voor Filosofie is Edmund Husserl, Entwurf einer Vorrede zu den Logischen
Untersuchungen (1913), ed. Eugen Fink, Tijdschrift voor Filosofie 1, no. 1
(February 1939): 10633; and 1, no. 2 (May 1939): 31939. The text of the Tijdschrift
is translated in Edmund Husserl, Introduction to the Logical Investigations.
ADraft of a Preface to the Logical Investigations (1913), ed. Eugen Fink, trans.
Philip J. Bossert and Curtis H. Peters (The Hague: Nijhoff, 1975). Further
information about the history of the texts can be found in Karl Schuhmann,
Forschungsnotizen ber Husserls Entwurf einer Vorrede zu den Logischen
Untersuchungen, Tijdschrift voor Filosofie 34, no. 3 (September 1972): 51324.
3. The published text of the typescript contains a number of smaller changes
of and a few larger additions to the text of Husserls original drafts. The changes
and additions in the text of the typescript are certainly made by Husserl himself.
Regarding these changes and additions, see ibid., 52324.
4. H. Lotze, Logik. Drei Bcher vom Denken, vom Untersuchen und vom Erkennen.
Erster Theil, 2 (Leipzig: Auflage, 1880).
5. B. Bolzano, Wissenschaftslehre (Sulzbach, Germany: Dritter Band, 1837).
6. One of the disciples who could not comprehend and embrace Husserls
transcendental turn was Winthrop Bell.
7. The title of Wundts extensive review of the Logical Investigations is
Psychologismus und Logizismus; it is to be found in W. Wundt, Kleine Schriften,
Erster Band (Leipzig, 1910), 511634.
8. Concerning this middle path and Husserls work on the revision of the
Logical Investigations, see Ullrich Melle, Einleitung des Herausgebers, in
Husserl, Logische Untersuchungen, XXIVXXVI.
9. Husserl, Entwurf zur Einfhrung der zweiten Bearbeitung der Logischen
Untersuchungen, 32; my translations.

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