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Edmund Husserl's Origin of Geometry through history and philosophy of science

Special issue of Philosophia Scientiæ 29/1 (February 2025)

Editors: Andrea Ariotto, Baris Dirican, Davide Pilotto

Submission Deadline: October 1st 2023

Acceptance Notification: January 1st 2024

Addresses for submission:;;

Call for papers

  • 1 It is the third appendix in volume 6 of the Husserliana and the French translation of the Krisis, w (...)

Most investigations on the relationship between Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology and the issues arising from the philosophy and history of science have focused, so far, on the theoretical contributions of the early Husserl, emphasizing mainly his scientific interests – in particular his logical interests – and linking them to the Austrian logical tradition or the founding moments of analytical philosophy. While this kind of research has mostly been based on Husserl’s Logical Investigations (1900-1901), the implications of the transcendental turn of Husserlian thought – starting with the publication of Ideas I in 1913 – and the development of genetic phenomenology in the 1920s and 1930s have always remained on the margins of the work in the history of the philosophy of science. Compared to the project of a theory of science formulated in the Prolegomena to Pure Logic (1900), Husserl’s late thought, which is expressed in a paradigmatic way in the third appendix1 to The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology on the Origin of Geometry, seems to modify this project in a radical way, opening up new paths of research.

The present call for papers aims at emphasizing the themes developed in the Origin of Geometry, considered an exemplary text of the theoretical novelties of the late Husserlian thought, starting from the questions raised by the sciences and their history. The few pages that constitute this text were published by Eugen Fink in 1939 in the Revue internationale de philosophie, before being included in 1954 in the sixth volume of Husserl’s complete works. Subsequently, the Origin of Geometry progressively acquired a considerable influence mainly in the French-speaking philosophical scene, most notably from the famous Introduction by Jacques Derrida (1962).

Despite its interest in the most disparate problematics, the Origin of Geometry, as an appendix to § 9a of The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology, is directly linked to Husserl’s considerations on the establishment of the style proper to modern mathematical physics, represented by the emblematic figure of Galileo. In Husserl’s proposal, the “Galilean geometry” assumes an exemplary value for the problem of the historicity of any science and, more generally, of the historical constitution of any ideal object, which implies taking into account the totality of sciences considered as cultural objects. The question of the historicity of the scientific formations is directly linked to the problem of the origin of the meaning: indeed, confronted with the historical development of the sciences, Husserl’s problem is rather that of the conceptual structure of the latter, i.e., of the origin of the meaning as an institution of the founding meaning of a discipline which determines its validity. It is not by chance that Husserl’s meditation on the historicity of sciences derives from the effort to thematize the original meaning that determines the validity of a scientific discipline and to found the possibility of returning to this original meaning, by making its reactivation possible. It is thus a question, in general, of how the meaning is transmitted within a community and through the different epochs, as well as of the mutations of meaning that can occur.

Several possible analyses can be developed from these themes. Without claiming to be exhaustive, in the framework of this thematic issue, the following points can be addressed:

  • The question of the meaning of science starting from the thought of the last Husserl.

  • Husserl’s reconstruction of the formation of modern science and its historiographic models.

  • The forms assumed by the historicity of scientific knowledge.

  • The historical constitution of objectivity and of the scientific object.

  • The forms of expression of scientific activity, as well as the relation of scientific knowledge to written texts.

  • Scientific objects as cultural objects in the form of “sedimented traditions”.

  • The role of scientific and prescientific practices in the formation and validation of notions and disciplines.

  • The paradigmatic value of geometry and its relationship with other scientific disciplines (mathematics, physics, etc.).

  • The place and status of the subject in scientific knowledge.

The articles will focus both on the philosophical and scientific context that nourishes Husserl’s problematics stemming from the Origin of Geometry and on the authors with whom Husserl is in dialogue, as well as on the heritage and the place occupied by his thought in the philosophy and the history of sciences. An aspect of primary interest is the relationship of Husserl’s thought with lesser-known authors within the phenomenological tradition (such as Jacob Klein or Oskar Becker) or with different traditions that share similar interests (for example, logical empiricism, French epistemology, or pragmatism). Consideration will also be given to contributions that confront the phenomenological approach to problems that traditionally belong to the field of philosophy of science with the aim of showing the contribution and the limits of a phenomenological epistemology. Proposals that deal with the general idea of science, Husserl’s notion of scientificity and forms of scientific rationality in a less technical way may also be included. In any case, we particularly encourage proposals that explicitly focus on the links of these possible approaches with the Origin of Geometry.

The theme of this issue is related to the seminar for Ph.D. students and young researchers in phenomenology entitled “Edmund Husserl’s Origin of Geometry and its legacy”, which took place between November 2022 and June 2023 at Sorbonne Université, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and École normale supérieure. The seminar was organized by Andrea Ariotto (EA 3552, ED 433, Sorbonne Université), Eleonora Degli Esposti (EA 3563, ED 280, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne), Baris Dirican (UMR 8547, ED 540, École normale supérieure), Davide Pilotto (EA 3552, ED 433, Sorbonne Université), and Riccardo Valenti (EA 3563, ED 280, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne).

  • Manuscripts must be original, and cannot be in the process of being submitted for another publication.

  • Manuscripts should be submitted in French, English, and prepared for anonymous double blind peer review.

  • Abstracts in French and English of 200-300 words in length should be included.

  • Articles should not exceed 40,000 characters (spaces, list of references and footnotes included).

  • They should be written under LaTeX, Word or OpenOffice (

  • Submission addresses:;;
    Guidelines for authors:


1 It is the third appendix in volume 6 of the Husserliana and the French translation of the Krisis, while in the English translation it is the sixth appendix (cf. E. Husserl (1970). The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology. An Introduction to Phenomenological Philosophy. Translated by D. Carr. Evanston: Northwestern University Press. pp. 353–378).

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