Skip to main content
Harvard University Press - home
From Kant to Husserl

From Kant to Husserl

Selected Essays

Charles Parsons

ISBN 9780674048539

Publication date: 03/15/2012

Request exam copy

In From Kant to Husserl, Charles Parsons examines a wide range of historical opinion on philosophical questions, from mathematics to phenomenology. Amplifying his early ideas on Kant’s philosophy of arithmetic, Parsons uses Kant’s lectures on metaphysics to explore how his arithmetical concepts relate to the categories. He then turns to early reactions by two immediate successors of Kant, Johann Schultz and Bernard Bolzano, to shed light on disputed questions regarding interpretation of Kant’s philosophy of mathematics. Interested, as well, in what Kant meant by “pure natural science,” Parsons considers the relationship between the first Critique and the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science. His commentary on Kant’s Transcendental Aesthetic departs from mathematics to engage the vexed question of what it tells about the meaning of Kant’s transcendental idealism.

Proceeding on to phenomenology, Parsons examines Frege’s evolving idea of extensions, his attitude toward set theory, and his correspondence, particularly exchanges with Russell and Husserl. An essay on Brentano brings out, in the case of judgment, an alternative to the now standard Fregean view of negation, and, on truth, alternatives to the traditional correspondence view that are still discussed today. Ending with the question of why Husserl did not take the “linguistic turn,” a final essay included here marks the only article-length discussion of Husserl Parsons has ever written, despite a long-standing engagement with this philosopher.


  • Charles Parsons is the master of historically oriented philosophy of mathematics, and his writings have done much to illuminate the historical figures he treats—especially Kant—well beyond their views on mathematics in particular. This volume brings together Parsons's later writings on Kant (appearing after 1980), and includes essays on Frege, Brentano, and Husserl as well. The result is a deeply insightful contribution to our understanding of one central strand in the development of philosophy from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century.

    —Michael Friedman, Stanford University


  • Charles Parsons is Edgar Pierce Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, at Harvard University.

Book Details

  • 256 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

From this author