Access to the full content is only available to members of institutions that have purchased access. If you belong to such an institution, please log in or find out more about how to order.



Brouwer, L.E.J. (1881–1966)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DD3593-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 2016
Retrieved June 13, 2024, 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,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.