Die Lehre vom Urteil im Psychologismus

The Theory of Judgement According to Psychologism

Heidegger’s inaugural dissertation, The Theory of Judgment According to Psychologism: A Critical and Positive Contribution to Logic, was published in 1913. It consists of two parts.

In the first part, he criticizes four psychologistic theories, which respectively see judgment in terms of a genesis from apperceptive mental activity (Wilhelm Wundt), as consisting of component acts (Heinrich Maier), as a basic class of psychic phenomena (Franz Brentano), and as something fulfilled through the action of the psychical subject that is demanded by the object (Theodor Lipps). Heidegger’s main criticism is that the very questioning in psychologism has already from the start turned away from the logical content of judgment to the psychical act of judging. It is therefore not a theory of logic, but a psychology. Its failure to understand is a genuine non-understanding. Psychologism omits the essential distinction between the noetic act and the pure noematic logical sense to which the act is intentionally directed. Heidegger’s critique is to a large extent a retrieval of Edmund Husserl’s destruction of psychologism in the first book of his Logical Investigations.

The second, much shorter, part is an outline of a pure logical theory of judgment. Heidegger explains that there are four distinct and irreducible kinds of reality: the realm of the physical, the realm of the psychical, the realm of metaphysical entities, and the realm of logical sense. Since the realm of sense is not to be confused with the other realms, we must not say that it exists or that it is, but rather that it validates, it has validity. The being-there of logical sense has an irreducible givenness that cannot be explained through anything else. We can only show and describe sense through evidential acts of nonsensory categorial intuition.

Heidegger concludes his dissertation with the claim that his investigation provides the basis for a pure logic, which would include ontology in the form of categories that articulate being into its manifold senses.