From February to May 2014 I will be Visiting Fellow in Philosophy at Harvard. Among other things, I will be doing research on Franz Brentano’s unpublished manuscripts at the Houghton Library. I have long been interested in his nearly completely unknown papers on Megethology (the “theory of magnitudes”) and also look forward to examining his manuscripts dealing with logic, epistemology, and philosophy of science. As you can see on the list of topics provided by the Houghton library, the papers on Megethology have the potential to be highly relevant for many fundamental systematical and methodological issues and moreover contain interesting historical materials for Brentano’s reception and interpretation of authors such as Bolzano, Cantor, Lobachevsky, etc. Then, of course, there are some manuscripts dealing more directly with topics that are central to my current research on Brentano’s project of the renewal of philosophy as science, such as his writings regarding the classification of sciences, the history of philosophy, positivism, etc. As a historian of philosophy, I am also very curious about his notes on Russell’s Paradox, on Meinong’s theory of relations, on Mach’s works, on Tonpsychologie and Verschmelzung, etc.
I also hope to be able to use this visit to finally finish my book on The Beginnings of Husserl’s Philosophy, which as an appendix will contain notes from Brentano’s lectures on Die elementare Logik und die in ihr nötigen Reformen (Elementary Logic and the Necessary Reforms in it) from the Winter Semester 1884/85. These notes are kept at the Husserl-Archives Leuven in two notebooks labeled Y 2 and Y3 (sometimes referenced as “Mappe Brentano”). In the process of editing these lectures I have already profited from comments and feedback from Robin Rollinger, who had access to copies of Brentano’s manuscripts in Austria and could compare them to Brentano’s own annotations (in manuscript EL 72). At Harvard I expect to be able to complete this work and appropriately correct and complement my set of notes with those kept at the Houghton Library.
My visit to Harvard presents many extraordinary opportunities for my research, but it also requires a subtle balancing act as a working father to be where I am needed both professionally and privately. Fortunately, I reserved an adequate amount of funds specifically for such an occasion in my NWO VENI grant and will be able to attend the conferences to which I have been invited on the continent as well as to be present at home.