Husserl’s Notion of Manifold

Carlo Ierna's Blog

In November 2010, following an invitation by Claudio Majolino, I gave a presentation in the seminar Formes et Trasformations in Lille, on “Husserl’s Notion of Manifold: Beyond Cantor and Riemann”.

In my presentation I argued that the concept of Mannigfaltigkeit (variously translated as “manifold” or “multiplicity”) in Husserl has been given various interpretations, due to its shifting role in his works. Many authors have been misled by this term, placing it exclusively in the context of Husserl’s early period in Halle, while he was elaborating his habilitation essay into the Philosophy of Arithmetic, as a friend and colleague of Georg Cantor. However, at the time Husserl distanced himself explicitly from Cantor’s definition and was rather inspired by Bernhard Riemann’s work, having studied and lectured extensively on Riemann’s theories of space. Cantor generally used “manifold” simply as synonym for “Menge” (quantity), or “Inbegriff” (collection), thereby laying the…

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