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Volume 16, Issue 2, Fall/Automne 2012

Husserl and the Göttingen Circle

Horacio Banega
Pages 64-88

Formal Ontology as an Operative Tool in the Theories of the Objects of the Life-World
Stumpf, Husserl and Ingarden

It is accepted that certain mereological concepts and phenomenological conceptualisations presented in Carl Stumpf’s Über den psychologischen Ursprung der Raumvorstellung and Tonpsychologie played an important role in the development of the Husserlian formal ontology. In the third Logical Investigation, which displays the formal relations between part and whole and among parts that make out a whole, one of the main concepts of contemporary formal ontology and metaphysics is settled: ontological dependence or foundation (Fundierung). My main objective is to display Stumpf’s concepts of partial content, independent content, spatial wholes, sound wholes, and the different kinds of connection among parts, in particular, fusion (Verschmelzung). Second, I will show how Husserl improved this background, in particular with regards to the exact nature of the theory of manifolds (Mannigfaltigkeitslehre), in discussion with Georg Cantor, the father of set theory. Third, I will focus on Ingarden’s use of formal ontology and on the different modes of being that can be justified by appealing to the concept of ontological dependence in its Ingardenian variations. If my interpretation is adequate, it should be inferred that formal ontology is the operative theory of phenomenological philosophy, and this must be acknowledged in its full significance with respect to the supposed independence of the phenomenological method since 1913. A further consequence, not developed in this essay, is that formal ontology can be mathematised.

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