The Impersonalien Controversy in Early Phenomenology. Sigwart and the School of Brentano

Varga, Péter András (2016) The Impersonalien Controversy in Early Phenomenology. Sigwart and the School of Brentano. Brentano Studien, 14. pp. 227-278. (In Press)

Text (Penultimate manuscript deposited in the Open Access repository ( of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS) by the author, Peter Andras Varga, under obligation imposed upon him by the HAS.)
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The puzzle of sentences lacking proper grammatical subjects not only challenged mainstream logical and psychological theories of judgements in post-Hegelian German academic philosophy, but it also gave rise to a historically well-defined controversy between Christoph Sigwart, a major logician of that time, and the School of Brentano in the 1880s. I analyze Sigwart’s biographical and philosophical trajectory and the early interactions between him and the nascent School of Brentano. The controversy was triggered by a philosophical and academic alliance between Brentano and a colleague of him in Vienna, the linguist Franz Miklosich, which I reconstruct through an investigation of Brentano’s theory of judgement and its contemporaneous reception, as well as through a microhistorical analysis of the genesis of Brentano’s Psychologie of 1874 and his appointment to Vienna. I provide a detailed reconstruction of the actual controversy that was to a large extent fought as a proxy war between Sigwart and Brentano’s orthodox disciple Anton Marty and gradually evolved into a cluster of debates on issues in the philosophy of language, burdened by ad hominem attacks. I argue that the controversy was fundamentally shifted by Brentano’s personal intervention in 1889 but, at the same time, Sigwart’s original theory of denominative judgements, the merits of which went unnoticed in his debate with Marty, is worth being studied on its own. I investigate the strata of Edmund Husserl’s engagement with Sigwart and use Husserl’s marginal notes in his copy of Sigwart’s Logik to argue for an influence of Sigwart’s theory of denominative judgements on Husserl’s descriptive analysis of judgements and their fulfillments, especially on Husserl’s idea of categorial intuition. In sum, the Impersonalien Controversy could be added to the list of historiographically relevant controversies in the post-Hegelian German academic philosophy (e.g., the recently highlighted Ignorabimus controversy, the debates on materialism and Darwinism, the less-known pessimism or the well-known psychologism controversies) and, furthermore, it could constitute one of the historically well-defined links between Early Phenomenology and the contemporaneous post-Hegelian German academic philosophy.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion / filozófia, pszichológia, vallás > B1 Philosophy (General) / filozófia általában > B11 Philosophical systems / filozófiai irányzatok
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion / filozófia, pszichológia, vallás > BC Logic / logika
Depositing User: Péter András Varga
Date Deposited: 02 Jan 2017 20:31
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2023 11:59

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