This paper develops a novel reading of Husserl’s critique of Brentano in Logical Investigations via the fundamental distinction between Brentano’s 1874 project of psychology as a positive, empirical science and his later descriptive psychology. I argue that the genesis of phenomenology lies in a confrontation with Brentano’s Comtean Positivism. This improves understanding transformations and innovations by Husserl of Brentano’s fundamental concepts of empirical psychology in the development of phenomenology. I begin by discussing the aims, tools, and scientific method of Brentano’s positive psychological science in Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint. Further, I identify the main points of divergence between Husserl’s view of the domain and method of phenomenology and that implied by the Brentanian ideal of positive science. Finally, to better grasp how Husserl transforms Brentano’s concept of physical phenomenon, I focus on the fundamental distinction between real (reell) and intentional contents elaborated in the Fifth Logical Investigation.