Mr. Noam Cohen
Department of Philosophy
Faculty of Humanities
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Jerusalem, Israel
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Community, Language, and Mathematical Objectivity

In his Origin of Geometry, Edmund Husserl portrays a conception of scientific community in which language plays a central role in establishing mathematical objects. Mathematical objectivity, he says, depends on the continuous process of communication, “reciprocal linguistic understanding,” which enables repetition of evidence and the consequent assertion of a persisting identity of meaning. But the exact extent to which language plays a role in the constitution of ideal objects is unclear, for Husserl assigns central significance also to idealization through free variation. Accordingly, the precise character of the relation between mathematical objectivity and intersubjectivity or community in this framework is uncertain. Is language an essential characteristic of the intersubjective conditions of mathematical objectivity, or is it just a facilitator for discovering mathematical objects established by a pre-predicative intersubjectivity or community? In order to answer this question, this paper will set out to determine what kind of intersubjective structure, according to Husserl, is central in constituting mathematical objectivity, and the precise role language plays in this framework. A central aspect of my inquiry will consider the possibility that transcendental intersubjectivity itself manifests a mathematical structure antedating the constitution in language of mathematical objects as such.