September 7, 2011
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v2.1 Reference

The Origin of the Logic of Symbolic Mathematics

Edmund Husserl and Jacob Klein

Burt C. Hopkins presents the first in-depth study of the work of Edmund Husserl and Jacob Klein on the philosophical foundations of the logic of modern symbolic mathematics. Accounts of the philosophical origins of formalized concepts—especially mathematical concepts and the process of mathematical abstraction that generates them—have been paramount to the development of phenomenology. Both Husserl and Klein independently concluded that it is impossible to separate the historical origin of the thought that generates the basic concepts of mathematics from their philosophical meanings. Hopkins explores how Husserl and Klein arrived at their conclusion and its philosophical implications for the modern project of formalizing all knowledge.

About the Author

Burt C. Hopkins is Professor of Philosophy at Seattle University. He is author of Intentionality in Husserl and Heidegger and The Philosophy of Husserl. He is founding editor (with Steven G. Crowell) of The New Yearbook for Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy and is permanent secretary of the Husserl Circle.


"The Origin of the Logic of Symbolic Mathematics initiates a radical clarification of François Vieta's 17th century mathematical introduction of the formal-symbolic, which marks the revolution that made and continues to make possible modern mathematics and logic. Through a philosophically subtle, clarifying, and exacting elaboration of Jacob Klein's Greek Mathematical Thought and the Origin of Algebra, Hopkins reveals flaws (and strengths) in Edmund Husserl's thinking about numbers, the formal-symbolic, and the phenomenological foundation of the mathesis universalis."—Robert Tragesser, Author of Phenomenology and Logic and Husserl and Realism in Logic and Mathematics

"The Origin of the Logic of Symbolic Mathematics is a very important work. From an exegetical point of view it presents careful readings of an amazing amount of texts by Plato, Aristotle, Diophantus, Vieta, Stevin, Wallis, and Descartes and shows at the same time a profound knowledge of Husserl's earlier and later texts . . . ."—History and Philosophy of Logic

"This much needed book should go a long way both toward correcting the under-appreciation of Jacob Klein's brilliant work on the nature and historical origin of modern symbolic mathematics, and toward eliciting due attentio to the significance of that work for our interpretation of the modern scientific view of the world."—Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"Hopkins brings all of the myriad concepts of Klein's analysis of the origins of logic and symbolic mathematics into play as he elucidates the significance of the roles algebra, logic, and symbolic analysis generally have played in the development of modern mathematics"—Mathematical Reviews

"Hopkins' detailed and careful readings of the texts make his book a source of numerous insights, and its erudition is breathtaking."—Husserl Studies

"This book serves not only as the first major contribution to scholarship on the thought of Jacob Klein, but also as a significant contribution to that of Husserl as well."—The Review of Metaphysics

"[The Origin of the Logic of Symbolic Mathematics] contains a very precise thesis and claim, which can only be tackled by applying the technical terms and methods from the tradition in which it originated.June 2014"—Philosophia Mathematica

"A striking, original study . . . for the history of mathematics, our understanding of Husserlian phenomenology, and the concepts of formality and formalization."—Robert B. Pippin, University of Chicago
Indiana University Press
Studies in Continental Thought

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$49.95 USD

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