Brouwer, L.E.J. (1881–1966)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DD3593-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 2016
Retrieved April 15, 2021, from

Article Summary

L.E.J. Brouwer was a mathematician and philosopher. He graduated from the University of Amsterdam in 1907 and remained there, from 1913 to 1951, as full professor. Brouwer was a founding father of modern topology. In the foundations of mathematics he launched ‘intuitionism’: a mathematical ontology and epistemology, based on a philosophy of mind, that yields a form of constructive mathematics. Although intuitionism was designed as a Kantian approach, Brouwer’s conception of the intuition of time supports a much richer mathematics than Kant’s. Arguably, a closer affinity with Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology transpired as the latter was being developed. A by-product of intuitionism, intuitionistic logic, found application independently of the foundational programme. Intuitionism presented the first full-scale alternative to classical mathematics and logic. Brouwer was also interested in mysticism, and in language reform in the service of spiritual and political progress.

    Citing this article:
    van Atten, Mark. Brouwer, L.E.J. (1881–1966), 2016, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DD3593-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
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