Constitution and Construction

  • Mirja HartimoEmail author
Part of the Logic, Epistemology, and the Unity of Science book series (LEUS, volume 44)


In the recent literature on Husserl’s philosophy of mathematics the notions of constitution and construction have been assimilated (Da Silva 2017; van Atten 2017). The aim of this paper is to explain why this is problematic. The crux of the argument is that while construction in Husserl’s texts takes place in the natural mathematical attitude, constitution of the mathematical reality is revealed in the transcendental phenomenological attitude. Equating the two notions leads to misreading either Husserl’s notion of the transcendental attitude (cf. Da Silva 2017; Hartimo 2017) or else to a failure to appreciate the role of the natural attitude in Husserl’s approach (cf. van Atten 2017; Hartimo 2016). Since both mathematics and phenomenology are eidetic sciences, i.e., they are both about ideal structures, the difference between the two is perhaps difficult to grasp. However, a closer look shows them to be fundamentally different, both in method and in subject matter. The most fundamental difference between construction and constitution is in the attitude: in Husserl’s approach, construction takes place in natural mathematical attitude and constitution is something studied in transcendental phenomenological attitude.


Phenomenology Logical construction Constitution of abstract objects Husserl 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tampere UniversityTampereFinland

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